• How to Organize a Dine-Around

     
    FROM THE Winter 2019 ISSUE
     

    Choose Chicago’s Ben Smock shares tricks of the trade.

Ben Smock, who operates Chicago Concierge in partnership with Choose Chicago, has been organizing all sizes and styles of dine-arounds for over a decade. According to Smock, the process can be broken down into three steps. First, planners must clearly identify the purpose of the dine-around. 

“Are you trying to facilitate networking opportunities, or are you trying to showcase a city or a set of restaurants? Or simply entertain a group of people?” asks Smock. “These are the questions planners need to answer first,” Smock says. 

After planners determine the objective of the dine-around, the next step is to get to know the audience they will be serving with the program.

“You need to take demographics, budgets and dietary concerns into consideration; all of these factors will help you select the right restaurant,” Smock says. 

Once planners have chosen a restaurant that pairs well with the audience and the goal of the dine-around, the final step is to maintain efficient communication between the client and the restaurant. Smock stresses the importance of communicating the guest’s needs to the restaurant and vice versa throughout the entire process. 

Smock’s Restaurant Recommendations 

SHAW’S CRAB HOUSE: For large groups, Shaw’s Crab House is an accommodating option. “They’re unique in that no matter how large the group is, everyone can order individually off of the gigantic menu,” Smock says.

SIGNATURE ROOM: Located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, Signature Room is an ideal spot for small and large groups and upscale business dinners. “The staff at Signature Room are thoughtful and nonintrusive,” Smock explains. “They understand the difference between a social engagement and a business dinner and switch gears to accommodate that.” 

CARNIVALE: With family-style appetizers and an adventurous wine and cocktail program, Carnivale is a budget-friendly option that’s best suited for midsized groups of co-workers, casual networking events and team-building dinners.  

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in

 

Who says you can’t have a meeting without some pampering mixed in? Several hot springs resorts in the U.S. Mountain West can accommodate smaller meetings complete with lodging, function space, din- ing and soaking. Some even have on-site spas and other standout features like an ice museum or microbrewery to include on an itinerary.

 

Erase any vision you might have of a dude ranch, especially the “City Slicker” version. For the purposes of this story, let’s use the name ranch resort and picture a big dose of vision and thousands of acres for both herds and people to roam. It’s a fairly different option, but one with similar friendliness and the Western spirit of a dude ranch.