Gastronomy services represent an integral part of conference and congress activities. They are offered either within the convention complex, hotels or sometimes you can make use of them in different attractive rooms like for example at your office. Everything depends on the individual‘s initiative and fantasy.
In Slovakia several companies offer catering services, also hotels and congress centres pay heed to those activities.
As Mrs. Jana Janúchová from hotel Forum said, „people slowly acquire the general view about all types of events, but they still mix the concepts of banquet and reception pretty often.“ „Ideally the provider of the catering services should be a professional in his field. He should be able to give the client all kind of information and alternatives like for example which gastronomy services are the most suitable for any kind of event.“ According a small market survey, the favourite form used is the cocktail, reception, buffet and served menu. Everything depends on the character of the event, on matters happened before or after, or on the chosen rooms. The next paragraphs should demonstrate and describe several kinds of events.
Coffee breaks are typical for the pauses during the conferences and negotiations. They comprise the minimum of refreshment services in the pauses during the mentioned events. They last usually 15 or 20 minutes. The time possibilities are also reflected in the menu. Mostly coffee, tea, nonalcoholic drinks, small sweet cakes, salty snacks or fruits are served. Coffee breaks are usually not accompanied by the service staff, but for some hotels it is already the standard. The refreshment tables are usually located in the foyer in front of the convention halls. They should be prepared there at the exact time, upon agreement with the organisers of the conference. As a matter of fact these normally conferences last from 8 am till 4 p.m., it became a rule that the coffee break is scheduled both for the morning and for the afternoon. Recently the welcome coffee got pretty popular - served at the beginning of the event. There are also other types of refection event being part of the conferences: cocktail, reception, warm and cold buffet, banquet, or rout. Cocktail or cocktail party are usually prepared during less demanding events like exhibitions, vernissages, concerts, fairs, or at the end of a conference. Many times also the welcome cocktail is used. It means refreshment served in the form of buffet tables. Depending on the type of the event, it is possible to distribute the food among people. The meal assortment can be regarded as finger food and they are famous for their miniature form - small pieces of bread with different ingredients, small desserts. During the cocktails it is a custom to serve a welcome drink, which can be glass of sparkling wine. Furthermore beer, nonalcoholic drinks, wine, coffee or tea can be served.
The rout is regarded as the continuation of any previous event. It is suitable for example after the closure of a fashion show. But the range of meals is supposed to be wider. Both the warm and cold buffet can be seen as a classic business lunch. It can be offered while seating or standing. It is a very convenient form of eating, because it is fast and every-thing is at hand.
Reception is actually a warm buffet, both warm and cold meals are served. One principle is kept - nobody takes a seat. This is the richest alternative among all previous ones as regards the meal assortment.
If more guests are expected for the ceremony, banquet or gala evening can be organised. During the banquet, food is served on tables. All guests are served by the waiters at the same time. Aperitifs, small delicatessen on subtle dishes are distributed on all tables and subsequently served to the quests, unlike the gala evening when ready portions are distributed among the quests.
Recently events organised in the open air became very popular. The basic idea and effort is to create a relaxed and informal atmosphere for the guests. For example: picnic, grill party, garden party etc.