A New Approach: The Impact of Social Distancing on Event & Food Services

April 13, 2020


Last week, we formed the Boston Event & Food Service Collaborative (BEFSC), a small group of local Event and Food gurus to collaborate and share potential best practices for the “new normal”.

After sharing some battle stories of how March played out with cancellations and postponements, we charged forward with positive thinking! Whenever this ends, we all agree there will be pent up demand for gathering again and perhaps even some revenge spending.

While we all wait for the CDC and government to outline exactly what the new directives will be, we all agreed on a few likely outcomes as follows:
Relentless focus on Sanitation. Much less self-service at gatherings (re-think buffets, self serve coffee & beverage stations); plated meals will be more common.
Larger events will likely have fewer attendees in general.

Floor plans will need to be re-done and room capacities adjusted to allow for more social distancing (see renderings). Tables will be spaced further apart with less seats at each table.
Hybrid events will become the norm, meaning a smaller in-person gathering coupled with live streaming or virtual elements.

Pre-packaged/self-contained food will be more popular.
Before: Ten (10) people per 72″ round table. Tables arranged 5’6″ apart. 650 guests.

Social Distancing: Six (6) people per 72″ round table. Tables arranged 6’6″ apart. 275 guests.

The BEFSC group was made up of some esteemed industry colleagues and friends:

Shira Brandt, Event Manager, Corinthian Events
Courtney Church, CEO, Corinthian Events
Lisa Flores, President of SERV and Director of Sales & Marketing, Columbus Hospitality Group
Jenni Logan, Director, Corinthian Events
Catering Manager, The Catered Affair
Amy Porchenick, Director of Sales & Marketing, Gourmet Caterers
Chuck Ray, General Manager, Capers Catering
Emma Roberts, Owner, Capers Catering
Gail Sarni, Director of Catering Services, Gourmet Caterers
Two Catering Directors from Boston Based Hotels
We will be convening again on Friday, April 17th, so there will be more information to come. If you would like to receive updates from the BEFSC, please email Shira Brandt at and she will add you to the list.