Cocktail dinner or banquet dinner for a corporate event?


Cocktail dinner or banquet dinner for a corporate event?

April 21 / 2022

Corporate events are a fundamental tool for the internal and external communication of each company. They favour its projection in the environment, customer loyalty and the motivation of all its professionals. 

The purpose of these events is usually varied: to strengthen the network of contacts with existing customers or to establish a new one of potential customers; to present a product; of a corporate nature, to promote pride of belonging and future plans…

The most common doubt that arises among organizers when looking for the best option is the choice between a cocktail dinner or a banquet dinner. That is to say, to choose between a relaxing event without great formalities or a more serious one, with established protocol and order be follow.

Both alternatives are undoubtedly very interesting. Knowing what each one consists of provides the necessary information to decide which is the most appropriate in each specific case. 

At Cloudworks we explain the characteristics of each one and the main differences between them.

Cocktail dinner versus banquet dinner

Cocktail dinner

In 17th century England, horses whose tails were cut in the shape of a cock’s tail were called cocktails. They were the horses that pulled the carriages. They were not pure-blooded, like the ones in the races. From there it was adopted for beverages that were not pure either, i.e., mixed drinks. 

If the origin of the term takes it away from the orthodoxy of pure spirits, a corporate event with such a name will not be close to the usual strict formalities either. 

At the cocktail dinner, guests are standing, in a relaxed atmosphere and moving freely around the space exclusively used for this service. Meanwhile, the waiters offer them different types of drinks and food. 

The occasion is a great opportunity both for networking and for the company’s employees to interact with each other. Something that often, due to having different schedules or working in other departments, is more complicated.

The most important features of the cocktail dinner are: 

  • It usually takes place during the afternoon or evening (7pm-9pm). The average duration of this type of event is two hours. 
  • The host(s) may receive guests at the entrance. As they are standing, they will be able to interact with them once or several times throughout the event.
  • The meal consists of small hot and cold canapés, easy to eat standing up.
  • Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served.
  • Waiter service is fast and guests are attended almost instantly. 
  • The cocktail dinner is an event that brings together a large number of people at a low economic cost for the organizing company. 

Banquet dinner

Banquet dinners, like cocktail one, as we have already mentioned, can be held both for corporate purposes and for commercial purposes to find potential clients or to reinforce existing ones. 

In this case the business event has a much more formal nature and follows a certain protocol. As the guests are seated, the main interaction between them will take place while they eat. 

It is therefore crucial to properly select the composition of the tables so that they are occupied by clients, managers, potential clients or workers of interest to the organizers. 

Main characteristics of a banquet dinner:

  • This is a formal option for both large and small groups.   
  • Sometimes, as a small concession to break the seriousness of the event, a short and simple cocktail may be offered as an appetizer.
  • Dinner is served at the table. The usual is French style, where the waiters serve the guests. At other occasions, the food is placed in the centre of the table and each guest helps themselves to what they want. 
  • The menu usually consists of three courses: starters, meat/fish and dessert. All accompanied by wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee and liquors. 
  • An open bar is usually offered at the end of the dinner. The ideal moment to strengthen commercial or corporate ties thanks to the invaluable help of spirits. 

Main differences between the cocktail dinner and the banquet dinner

It is obvious which are the most important: the formality and the cost.  It is up to the organizers of the corporate event if they want all guests to be able to interact with each other or whether they prefer to do it in small specific groups.

In the first case, the cocktail option is obvious. Attendees are spared from sitting at tables with guests with whom they may not get along. They can go around talking or greeting whoever interests them. 

At the banquet dinner, on the other hand, the choice of table companion does not depend on the guest. Therefore, there is always the risk of spending an evening that is not as pleasant as expected.   

Regarding the cost of the event, the cocktail dinner is by far the most economical. It allows you to gather a large number of guests and serve them with significantly less food, drink and waiter service than a formal dinner.

Finally, the duration of the event is also shorter for the cocktail dinner. An average of two hours as opposed to the three or four hours that a banquet dinner with an open bar afterwards usually lasts.Members of our cloudworker community often hold events in our spaces enabled for it. Here they enhance professional synergies, celebrate successes or announce interesting plans for the future. Do not hesitate to contact us for any event you want to celebrate!

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