Welcome to Part II of our Retreat Meal Planning Tips! In this entry, we’re going to discuss ways to save money on your meals. After hosting retreats for years here at Canaan, trust us, we’ve seen some expensive meals! Saving money on meals not only helps you but also your guests. Most of the time, all fees are passed on to the retreat guests so if you save money on food, so do your guests.
To avoid over paying, here are a few ways you can save money on the food at your next retreat:
RETHINK THE FIRST AND LAST MEAL OF YOUR RETREAT:
One way to save money is to have your guests fed before they arrive. Consider having your guests arrive after dinner or after lunch instead of just before. This way, your guests can eat at home and will arrive to your retreat fed and ready for an amazing time!
Consider a light meal or snack before the end of your retreat instead of a large meal. Most of the time, your guests will be headed home right after your event so many times it’s not necessary to feed them a large meal. This is not always the case so consider your group and how far they’ll be traveling.
HAVE YOUR CONGREGATION CHIP IN:
We have seen many churches and non-profit organizations have their congregation provide meals. Each meal was provided by a different family or families and is dropped off about 30-45 minutes prior to prepare everything. This is a great way to save your guests money as many of these families make the meals for free as a gift / service to your organization.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GROCERY STORE:
Give a couple grocery stores a call near your retreat venue and see what deals they have. For example, the Harris Teeter up the road from Canaan offers nightly dinner deals and an amazing $5 12″ sub special. As we mentioned in our last blog post, be sure to call ahead as supplies may be limited.
One of the cheapest ways to feed your guests (and it’s typically the most popular!) is good ol’ pizza! Papa Johns offers Canaan a one topping large pizza for $6.99. Not a fan of Papa Johns? Domino’s Pizza typically offers a 50% off discount for non-profits. Lastly, here a is a fun website that will help you calculate the amount of pizzas you need to order for your meal: Pizza Calculator
GRILL OUT OR USE A BBQ SMOKER:
If your retreat venue allows for grilling or smoking, asks your guests to bring their favorite grill item. Whether it be hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers etc… everybody will eat what they like. The best part is, there will be lots of leftovers which will be more than enough for a second or even third meal. Does somebody attending your event have a BBQ smoker? Consider asking them to prepare one of the meals! We’ve seen over the years that individuals with smokers typically love to show the group their BBQ skills.
BRING LOTS OF SNACKS:
If your guests can snack during the day, you won’t have to provide as large of meals. Snacks are typically a cheap option and again, encourage your guests to bring some of their favorites.