The holidays are coming up fast, and businesses of all shapes and sizes are beginning to plan festive events for their employees. While dinners are the traditional holiday choice, a new kind of event is trending: corporate holiday lunches.
Budgets go further at lunch
A lot of businesses – particularly small to mid-sized companies like tech startups, local law firms and doctor and dentist offices – are choosing lunches due to budget considerations, according to Shangri-La Hotel director of events Stephanie Lou-Hing.
“Generally, lunches are a lower price per person,” says Lou-Hing, who estimates the total savings between lunch and dinner to be between 30% and 40%.
Smaller organizations may have smaller budgets, but they still share the same goal: celebrate their hard-working teams. Businesses can stretch their budget further with a holiday lunch. Working with budgets of all sizes, Shangri-La planners help customize the meal and experience, so employees feel appreciated and valued.
Hitting pause on the busy season
Many companies experience their busiest season during the holidays. “While it may seem counterintuitive to take a break for a celebratory meal, we see it has the opposite effect,” says Lou-Hing.
Leaving work midday to break bread with co-workers creates a sense of inclusion. The gesture goes a long way.
An intimate venue creates a cosy ambience
The venue options at Shangri-La range from private dining rooms for 10 guests to its largest event space that accommodates 110 guests. One of the most popular spaces for small to medium-sized organizations is the Barnard Room and Library. The venue can accommodate 40 to 60 guests comfortably and is ideal for cosy holiday lunches, according to Lou-Hing.
“We have a wide variety of intimate spaces, and our clients like that our rooms have a very residential quality to them. It feels like you’re stepping into someone’s home for the holidays.”
Starting mid-November, Shangri-La will transform for the holiday season, adding holiday decor enhancements to the hotel’s lobbies, event space and private dining rooms.
“The fireplaces in some of the rooms really set the mood for the holidays,” says Lou-Hing.
Shangri-La also has various partners that can help enhance the experience.
“Whether they want musical entertainment, a performance or something more interactive like a magician or caricaturist, we’re happy to assist with that.”
Create camaraderie with family-style meals
Corporate lunches tend to have a more casual feel. At Shangri-La, businesses can choose from a variety of menu styles, including traditional plated dishes and buffet setups. But it’s the family-style menu that is gaining popularity these days, says Lou-Hing.
“We see a trend amongst smaller businesses, where guests enjoy sharing the platters on the table with each other. It creates camaraderie between the team members. It’s not quite as formal, which is nice.”
Maintain productivity with spirit-free cocktails
If teams have to return to the office after their holiday lunch, Lou-Hing suggests trying a spirit-free cocktail pairing.
The bar team at Shangri-La incorporates house-blended hydrosols, which create complexity and depth of flavour in the spirit-free cocktails. One of the most popular spirit-free cocktails is the Ginger and Buckthorn Fizz, which is made with vitamin-rich sea buckthorn, ginger and lime juice, sweetened with unpasteurized local honey and topped with sparkling water.
“Spirit-free craft cocktails are a great option for guests who are looking to go light on holiday cheer without defaulting to cranberry and soda,” says Lou-Hing.