Planning successful business breakfast events – 8 top tips

Hosting a business event? Why not schedule it over breakfast?!
 
Business events held over breakfast work well for two key reasons. Firstly, attendees are more likely to RSVP as they will not feel like you are interrupting their day or taking them away from their personal time. Secondly, numerous studies suggest that early mornings are when the majority of people are at their most alert and productive. 
 
For these key reasons, events which require participation from attendees, such as training, networking, educational or fundraising events, will get great results. In fact, most business events work well over breakfast, and we think events that include inspirational speakers, motivational business coaching, charity awareness or leadership training work particularly well over the morning time slot.
 
Making the most of this opportunity, however, does take some planning. Not everyone is a morning person and, as always, making sure you make the most of your attendees’ time is paramount. 
 
To discover the secret to planning successful breakfast events we caught up recently with Eyob Yesus from Sydney-based event management company, Memphis Events. Eyob and his team have been planning a series of successful business breakfast events for Sydney Hills Business Chamber and he shared with us his eight top tips for planning business breakfast events… 

1. Serve great coffee!

Coffee! Ensuring there is great coffee available on arrival and throughout your event is a MUST for breakfast events. 
 
Coffee service needs to be available for guests as soon as they walk in the door. Make sure the service is quick and don’t skimp on quality. Australian coffee drinkers know their stuff – weak, cold or tasteless coffee will not be tolerated. 
 
Ensure you also have a steaming hot selection of teas available too.
 
Want to read more about coffee catering? Why your event needs a coffee caterer

2. Serve a balanced breakfast

Breakfast is the first meal of the day and guests are more than likely going to arrive hungry. To ensure your guests feel fresh and energised and ready to tackle the event content, serve a balanced breakfast to kick-start their day. 
 
Having a selection of grab and go items on arrival or served on platters at the table is a great idea to satisfy the super hungry before the event starts. Fruit platters, pots of bircher muesli, pastries, muffins, granola bars, yogurt pots or a selection of fresh fruit smoothies are some great examples. 
 
Once seated, we recommend a plated breakfast is served to the table. This way guests can be seated, the event can start and breakfast can be served discreetly without too much hassle or interruption. A buffet breakfast is generally not suitable for most morning events, as service takes too long and can break concentration during a presentation or speech.
 
Serve a light, yet hearty breakfast menu. Make sure you have a selection of juices available or, for a slightly fancier breakfast, Bellini’s make a nice addition too!

3. Have an energetic MC!

While some people are at their most alert in the morning, others will need a little more encouragement to fire up. Having an energetic MC or host will help to brighten up your event, keep it moving and ensure the event runs on time. 

4. Kick start the day on a positive note!

People have got out of bed early or given up their morning routine to attend your event, so make it worth their while. Don’t fuss about with housekeeping or introductions too long at the start of the event, jump right in with a bang! 
 
Speakers should be motivational, presentations should inspirational, training and workshops should be upbeat! People want to start their day on a positive note, so give them content that fuels this desire. 

5. Prepare questions for the speakers

Having some pre-prepared questions for speakers in the back pocket is a good tip for any type of event. As the event organiser, familiarise yourself with the speaker’s content before they present it. Jot down a few questions or even consult the speaker ahead of time about planned questions. If this is not possible, then listen carefully throughout the presentation yourself and prepare questions as you go (it’s easy for guests to forget questions if they wait right until the end to ask). Lead by example, it only takes a question or two to get the Q&A going. 
 
Extra tip: for large events, make sure you have a roving microphone available and someone to whizz it around to the guests asking questions. For extra large events, consider two mics. 

6. Create easy networking opportunities

Networking is a key ingredient of most business events. Without the confidence booster of a glass of wine, guest may not feel ready to network first thing in the morning and will need a little help from you to get started. 
 
Breakfast networking is best done during the event or after – if you try to force it on guests before the event revs up you will notice people standing awkwardly with coffee cup in hand staring at their phones – they are not awake yet! 
 
If you want to help stimulate some networking, here are some ideas to help get the party started…
  • At the beginning of the event collect business cards from guests and ask if there is anyone there they are particularly keen to meet. Assign a few key staff members to arrange introductions post-event or sit guests at the same table.
  • Facilitate time within your event schedule for guests to introduce themselves to people at their table or sitting near them.
  • Encourage people to hand out five business cards to new contacts they have never met. Setting a challenge to the whole group sees them more likely to take action where they might have otherwise been too shy on their own. 

7. Have an enticing prize draw or goodie bag

You have given your guests a hot coffee, a delicious breakfast and engaging content, what else do they want from you? Well, a little gift doesn’t hurt anyone does it?! 
 
Unlike an evening networking event where guests are on their way home, attendees of breakfast events are more than likely going straight to the office. This means that a branded gift is actually going to end up in the right place – the office desk where they can be reminded day in and out of your cause or brand. 
 
Putting together an enticing prize is also a great way to keep guests lingering around for the prize draw announcement. 

8. Wrap it up on time

Time is precious and while you have managed to occupy your guests’ most productive 2 hours of the day, make sure you send them on their way on time! 
 
People RSVP to breakfast events knowing that attending will not interrupt their day too much - so keep this unsaid promise to your guests and keep your event to time.