• LondonHouse Plays on Nostalgia Factor with New Sweets-Inspired Break

     
    POSTED October 22, 2018
     

    Photo courtesy of Rebecca Marie Photography

  • LondonHouse Plays on Nostalgia Factor with New Sweets-Inspired Break

     
    POSTED October 22, 2018
     

    Photo courtesy of Rebecca Marie Photography

  • LondonHouse Plays on Nostalgia Factor with New Sweets-Inspired Break

     
    POSTED October 22, 2018
     

    Photo courtesy of Rebecca Marie Photography

If Willy Wonka planned a meeting break, this is what it might look like: blueberry treats that can be plucked from the walls, cheesecake pops dipped in Nerds, everlasting gobstobbers in every flavor and strawberry (or snozberry?) smoothie shots. This sweet idea comes to life complete with an accompanying soundtrack at LondonHouse Chicago this fall, thanks to Executive Chef Jacob Verstegen, who was inspired to create the package after an interactive dining and music experience at Elizabeth Restaurant.

The break includes all of the items mentioned above, as well as other options like made-to-order cotton candy. Because it wouldn’t be a true Willy Wonka experience without a golden ticket, LondonHouse can create ideas around them for groups. If a planner wants to raffle an item, for example, the culinary team will make custom-wrapped chocolate bars, with a few golden tickets hidden amongst them for raffle prizes.

It’s a sweet idea, for sure, but at a time when many planners are asking for healthier menu options, does candy still have a place in meeting breaks?

“That’s like asking why we still offer dessert menus at the end of a meal,” says Verstegen. “Is it a necessary part of a meal? Of course not, but dessert and sweets have a way of connecting you back to your childhood.”

Several planners have booked this casual breakout as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up already, much to the delight of attendees. “It doesn’t feel as stuffy as a more basic break, with smoothies or trail mix,” says Verstegen. “It allows event-goers to be playful.”

Visitor spending in Rockford and Winnebago County reached an all-time high of $383.7 million in 2017, an increase of 8.3 percent over 2016. The increase in visitor spending put an additional 196 people to work in new tourism industry jobs, with spending now supporting 3,084 jobs countywide (an increase of 6.9 percent) and $93.8 million in payroll (up 9.6 percent).

 

Energy. Most meeting planners would agree that’s a key ingredient to any successful conference, and the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition—held at McCormick Place Aug. 18-21—was full of it. From an electric-powered city diorama and a digital caricature artist to a nitro-frozen margarita machine and a St. Louis’ Gateway Arch replica, the exhibit floor was like Disneyland for planners, packed with entertainment, refreshments and Instagram moments, along with networking opportunities aplenty.

 

This fall, Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, known for its rich cultural diversity, will see the opening of the 98-room SOPHY Hyde Park. The hotel will now include Mesler, a restaurant whose name literally translates to “to mix and mingle.”