Planning events is no easy matter. There are dozens of details that require attention before the big date. One of the biggest struggles facing event planners today is having to decide between hosting a meal or a non-meal event. Before making the big decision, consider the following pros and cons for both of these type of events.

Non-Meal Events: Pros


Food is arguably the largest expense of events. By choosing to not serve food at your event, you’ll either be able to save this money or spend it on a better venue or even on marketing efforts.

Quality Guests

There’s one thing you can count on when your guests arrive at a non-meal event- they’re there because they genuinely care about what you have to say. Without food, there will be no hidden motive for your clients to come.


With non-meal events, you have the freedom of picking a venue that isn’t a restaurant. You can get creative with your venue location, and are able to choose something that is stimulating for your guests.

Meal Events: Pros

Quantity of Guests

If there’s free food, you can guarantee people will be there. Regardless of the real reason, they’re there, you will have more people to deliver your message to.


It’s an age-old tradition when inviting guests over to serve them food. Meals are a great bonding activity and will spark conversations and lasting connections with your guests.

Affluent Guests

Your venue choice directly relates to the types of people that will show up. Meal events typically draw a higher motivated group of prospects. 

Non-Meal Events: Cons

Less Appealing

Non-meal events have a lower turn out then meal events. However, this can be looked at as a pro, because the guests that do come will be attentive and interested in the discussion. People also tend to think these events are only educational and won’t benefit them in any way other than that.

Lower Prospects

Like I said earlier, your venue choice directly relates to the type of guests that will be attending your event. Higher prospects will be turned off by the idea of an event being at a library or a university.

Stricter Rules

At non-meal events, you’re subject to rules set in place by the venue. Some venues, like libraries, have rules and regulations about what kind of topics can be covered. Make sure to check with the location before booking any events.

Meal Events: Cons


This is arguably the biggest con to booking meal events. The cost of booking a restaurant or paying for meals is grand, but you have to invest money to make money, right?

Venue Booking

Venue options for meal events are limited. You can book at a restaurant, but restaurants get filled quickly and you might not get the dates you originally had in mind. Your options are limited outside of restaurants, simply because many places don’t allow food.

Guests with Wrong Intentions

This is something you can’t avoid with meal events. There will ultimately be a few people who show up for the free meal and nothing else. This is a risk you will have to take if you decide to venture into meal events.

Simply put, non-meal events are a low-risk investment with a low return. Meal events are a higher risk investment but promise higher returns. When deciding on an event, consider the topic and message you’re attempting to get across and go from there. Trial and error might be required to perfect the process, but that’s just a part of the game!
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