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Beyond the Banquet Table at Global Spectrum

Meeting delegates who are on the road enjoy sitting down to meals at business functions. It’s a real pleasure to gather at a nicely appointed banquet table or at a luncheon setting with colleagues to break bread and enjoy food, stories and laughter. Yes, good food-and-beverage service is an integral part of doing business. The food-and-beverage staff at Global Spectrum wholeheartedly believes in that philosophy.

It is said that business events are most successful when the conversations are lively and rewarding, participants are fully engaged with each other and the experience exceeds their expectations. Without ever realizing it, outstanding food-and-beverage service can make that experience happen for meeting attendees.


‘Nontraditional Food’

“Whether it’s a corporate event, social event or concession stand, we strive to offer the freshest nontraditional convention center food possible,” said Alvaro Beltranena, director of food-and-beverage service and assistant general manager at the Global Spectrum-managed St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. “Any chance we have to showcase the freshness, perhaps with the chef in the room, we do that. We try to prepare many items to order. You no longer just go and pick up a hot dog or hamburger. We prepare a meal for you, right then and there.”

At his convention center in St. Charles, Beltranena is proud of what his staff assembles.

“We deliver a culinary experience that is comparable to the finest local restaurants,” he said. “In-house, we have a European chef.”

Occasionally, local food vendors step in.

“We utilize food trucks when we need to serve a large amount of people within a limited time frame. An example of this would be an event with 1,200-plus attendees with no contracted lunch or dinner service and a one-hour span for their meal,” said Beltranena. “Our menus already incorporate local-regional flavors in markets we serve.”

Beltranena urges meeting planners to inquire about any food restrictions within their groups, such as allergies, health- or cultural-related issues, vegan, and gluten-free, well in advance of the event so the cook staff can prepare the ideal menu.


Culinary Ovations

Global Spectrum manages dozens of venues around the country and the world, providing food service at many, but not all, of its locations. When a client needs dining services, and Global Spectrum can’t accommodate, it strongly recommends its food-and-beverage partner, Ovations Food Services, to handle the arrangements.

Ovations is a nationally ranked food service company. Since 1997, it has served more than 9 million customers at 140 venues in the United States and Canada. That includes college and professional stadiums, convention centers, marinas and Native American-operated casinos and gaming sites, mainly in California, Oklahoma and Arizona. Ovations also serves meals at cultural attractions, zoos, county and state fairs, and various special events.

“Ovations provides its own contract management for food and beverage,” said John LaChance, senior vice president at Ovations. “We don’t do the facility management side of things like Global Spectrum does. We sometimes operate alongside our sister company, and there are many venues where we bundle our services together. But we also operate independently.

“We take a fresh approach in the way we prepare and serve food. Whenever possible, we like the food to be cooked right out front in action stations. It should touch the senses, such as sight, smell and taste. Anytime we can work with a meeting planner to make food a real focus, that is what gets us excited.”

LaChance also wants meeting planners to know that Ovations strives to make the sales experience seamless and not segregated, where a planner has to go meet first with a facility manager and then deal with the food service provider.

At Global Spectrum, Beltranena calls the system “the convenience of one-stop shopping.”

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.