Canoe
Adventure Retreat Leader is a resource for Coaches, Speakers, Authors and Writers, Educators, Practitioners, and all Heart- and Nature-Based Entrepreneurs and Professionals. We offer teleclasses, audios, guidebooks and coaching; all designed to help you lead Outings, Adventures and Retreats in nature as a profitable part of your business.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Options for Meals on Your Retreat

There are lots of ways to feed your retreat participants. Before you set the prices for your next outing, consider these meal options. 
  1. Meals on Your Own: Suitable for all lengths of retreats. On day-long adventures, participants bring their own meals. On longer offerings, the daily activities start after breakfast and end before dinner. Participants are given a break for lunch. This option works best when you have meal providers and/or stores within walking distance of your venue. This is the easiest and least costly option. We highly recommend providing a "surprise" treat (drinks, desert, yummy snack) for your participants if you choose this option. For little cost, you can make your outing more special.
  2. Potluck: Suitable for day-long or weekend retreats. On a day-long retreat, everyone brings a lunch dish to share with the group. On a weekend retreat, consider assigning meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) to participants. We've used this option on retreats as elaborate as renting a cottage or a house on the beach to as simple as a long-weekend camping retreat. As in option 1, considering bringing that special treat. Also consider the extra work involved for you in coordinating potluck meals.
  3. The Retreat Venue Provides Meals: Suitable for all lengths of retreats. Many venues have the facilities to provide meals. With some, meals are part of the venue's rates. With others, meals are available but extra. As the Retreat Leader, you might want to negotiate a package for your participants.
  4. The Retreat Leader Hires a Caterer: Suitable for all lengths of retreats. The meal is usually included in the retreat fee you charge your participants and you then pay the caterer. We've had caterers come to cottages and houses to drop off a nice meal or cook for us. We've also had caterers show up somewhere along the river and feed our hungry paddlers at a nice picnic spot.
Before you set your retreat price, know the answer to these questions:
  • How many participants? If you don't yet know, what are your maximum and minimum numbers.
  • What is the cost per person, per meal? What is the cost per group, per meal?
  • Are gratuities included in the cost of meals?
  • Will meal service be a menu or a buffet?
  • Are there any discounts offered for groups?
  • Are drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol) included or extra?
  • Can the venue provide snacks (in addition to meals) throughout the day?
  • What are the special food needs of your participants?
  • What is the venue's meal reservation/cancellation policy?
  • Are deposits required? Are meals paid for in advance?
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