by Matt Alderton | April 20, 2014
Thanks to the Sunshine Act, supplying food and beverage for pharmaceutical and medical device meetings is harder today than ever before.

“While there are no legal limits on spending, voluntary industry regulations like those put out by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have tight caps, and many companies have adopted even tighter ones out of concern that reporting ‘excessive’ dining bills will attract public perception problems,” reports Successful Meetings Senior Editor Leo Jakobson.

Just because a group has tight purse strings, however, doesn’t mean it has to have empty plates. With the right format — for example, a buffet — you can meet groups’ financial and F&B goals alike.

“Hotels with pharmaceutical business are putting together special menus, but because each company has its own caps, there are always adjustments to make,” Bonnie Weiss, director of global pharmaceutical sales, Americas, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, tells Jakobson. “The majority of meals are now buffets. When we do have plated meals, the number of courses is down from four to three. Bar service is restricted or discontinued.”

Some restaurants also offer attractive choices. “Far from being scared off by [pharmaceutical] regulations, Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chão sees them as an opportunity,” Jakobson says. “Fogo de Chão gaucho chefs grill 16 cuts of meat on skewers and then bring them from table to table, slicing off portions at customers’ request. So while it is still a plated meal, it is less formal and more festive. All locations have boardrooms for 10 to 20 and private dining rooms for up to 120.”

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.