I hate being forced to use a venue’s café for my event’s catering

I’m planning an event for 2018. I’ve spent the past few weeks doing a recon of possible venues in Dublin. The same issue has arisen each time, “if you want catering at your event you have to use our in-house café.”

It really infuriates me when this happens. Said café know they have a monopoly and charge stupid money for average food. It doesn’t seem to factor into the venue’s mindset that the café’s offering does not sit with the event brand. I’ve gotten into so many disagreements with venues over this,
“You are taking the proverbial with your beer and wine prices.”
“Sorry, that’s just the way it is.”
“Why though? Your café has a terrible selection of drinks, no local brews. I want to showcase local at this event.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say. So the fee for the venue is…”



Over the years I’ve been to a lot of events and hosted more of them. The majority of the time the venue has been beautiful. The production of the event top-notch. The curation of speakers has been thoughtful and balanced. But then there is the interval or pre-event refreshments. Coffee so burnt that it’s as bitter as Scaramucci. No variety of teas. No alternative drinks to cater for the folks that don’t like coffee or tea, it’s hard to believe but those people do actually exist.


I have sipped on corrosive coffee that gives me heart palpitations and I always have the same thought. The event organiser was let down by the venue’s lack of understanding. The event organiser made the best out of an over-priced situation. But I know, from experience, that that part of the event experience is jarring. It’s all about first impressions in the events game.



I’ve also thrown events in venues that have no cafés, I’ve had the freedom to work with great food and drink suppliers and give the attendee an incredible experience. Yet there is a downside to this. These type of venues aren’t large spaces nor is their primary function to act as a venue. They are art studios etc. You end up paying more money on production to make the space look good, more then you really want to.

For me the main culprit of this lack of flexibility are publicly owned venues such as theatres etc. Surely they should be pushing to support local food and drinks businesses? Does Heineken really need more exposure?

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