Culinary Q&A: Marc Mulherin of the Branson Convention Center

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Branson Convention Center, meeting planning
Branson Convention Center

Ahead of our July/August culinary issue, we asked Marc Mulherin, GM for the Branson Convention Center for a few tips on how leverage food and beverage to create powerful attendee experiences. Here’s what he had to say:

Prevue: Do you implement any of the new culinary trends that the IACC identified this year? If so, how? 

Mulherin: Absolutely! SAVOR…Branson has truly re-defined its food quality, style and presentation since SMG was awarded the contract back in April 2014. Partnering with local vendors and purveyors, introducing small plate presentation and finally gourmet bite size desserts by our in house pastry team have all been established within the last year of operations. We will also look to continue to stay current with all food and beverage trends as well as looking to introduce a couple of our own.

What is the most important factor to consider when creating memorable food & beverage experiences?

The ability to relate to all of your guests, members and attendees. Having a true understanding of your event and programs will help bring out the best experience for all of your attendees. Make food and beverage fun. Getting creative with “Old School” favorites and putting a twist on them always goes far with attendees. Let attendees and guest have a true understanding of what they are eating and if local, then let them know where it has come from. Partner with your local providers to get the best product out on the market.

What is the most common pitfall planners face when developing impactful food & beverage programs and how can they avoid it?

Forgetting about how important Food and Beverage is to the overall experience of the attendees and guests. Unfortunately food and beverage planning always seems to be one of the last items on the list when planning conventions and events.  Move it up on the planning list and start earlier to generate newer and not rushed concepts. Have fun with it but start early!

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