Dietary Restrictions – Hotel side and what we expect from planners

dietary restrictions

Hospitality, by definition, means the act of being friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors.  And, what better way to entertain and celebrate coming together than by sharing a meal?  Sharing food with others helps to build connections, new and old.  It creates an opportunity to share a childhood story over a meal that reminds you of your hometown or a recipe that has been in your family for generations.

These same sentiments apply to meetings and events!  Food can bring an event to life; and, it’s one of the topics where planners and venues get the most feedback.  When planning an event, knowledge of dietary restrictions is a must, as well as keeping up with the current dietary trends of today.  Both have a great influence on how planners and venues execute their menus.  

Below is a brief overview of some of the most common food trends and restrictions today, and how one can properly handle these requests when planning an event.

Dietary Restrictions limit what a person can eat due to allergies or personal beliefs and/or preferences.  

  • Vegetarian – a person who does not eat meat.
  • Lacto-vegetarians – includes milk products.
  • Ovo-vegetarians – includes eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians – includes milk products AND eggs.
  • Pescatarians – includes fish, milk products and eggs.
  • Vegan – ALL animal and animal-derived foods are avoided.
  • Gluten Free – excludes any foods that contain the protein, gluten.

Reasons for Dietary Restrictions

  • Food Allergies – where people are actively avoiding foods, which could prevent life threatening events.  Reactions will depend on the severity of the allergy.
    • Lactose Intolerant – lactose-containing foods.
    • Common Allergens – Peanut, Gluten, Dairy, Nut, Tree Nut, Eggs, Shellfish, Soy, Fish.
  • Personal and Moral Beliefs – the ethics of consumption and the right to know what is in our food.  According to Food Insight, wellness will continue to be top-of-mind for many consumers in 2023, with an eager interest in what we are putting in our bodies.
    • Keto, Low Carb, Paleo, Whole30 = Popular Diets!
  • Religious Practices – i.e., Halal
  • Centers around 4 main features: allowed animals, the prohibition of blood, the prohibition of mixing dairy and meat, and the slaughtering and meat processing methods.
  • Dairy products can’t be mixed with meat and poultry.
  • Fish must have fins and scales.
  • Pareve – foods considered neutral for mixing purposes that you can serve with meat or dairy (fish, eggs, grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables).
  • Do NOT cross-contaminate utensils!

Planners are given a lot of information, but information that is always more helpful before the event is guests’ dietary restrictions.  Planning ahead by including these questions in the registration form can be a great way to avoid any last-minute changes and requests.

Communication is also very important, beginning with the attendees’ registration process to the pre-con meeting with the venue to updating the catering staff during the event.  An open channel of communication allows for easier resolution to those inevitable day-of requests.   

The Four Points by Sheraton Norwood understands that the food and beverage portion of a meeting or event can easily become the most difficult to plan.  Some venues make you choose a menu, putting the responsibility on the planner and not on the venue. At the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood, we take on the menu planning responsibility, so that you don’t have to!  We serve the foods and beverages to your guests who can trust us with their health and safety.  Our extremely talented Chefs create a daily buffet menu that is all-inclusive while our staff takes great measures to properly label every item.  Instead of “just a lunch” at a conference, your guests are treated to an upscale luncheon which is sure to impress everyone. 

Located in Central Massachusetts and only miles from Boston, the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood is ready to host your next meeting or event!  If you are interested in hosting with us, call our sales team directly at 781-255-3159, email us at or fill out an online inquiry on our website.  We look forward to feeding you and your guests!