23 Nov

Organizing a Company Awards Dinner

Hosting an awards dinner is a powerful way to reward and motivate your company’s employees. It shows your staff that you recognize and appreciate all of their hard work throughout the year, and it gives you the chance to single out exceptional employees for distinction. With the end of the year approaching quickly, you have just enough time to organize an awards dinner for the start of the New Year. Not only is it a great way to kick off another great year of business, but a thoughtful way to recap all the dedication your employees have put forth in the year previous. Start the New Year with a bang and boost your company morale with a January event!

Forward planning is what will make your awards dinner a memorable and impactful event. Now is a great time to start considering your options and solidifying your plans.

Budget and Scheduling

As with any event, budget is an important factor in the planning process because it dictates what your event can be. The amount of money you are prepared to spend will play a key roll in all decision making processes as you plan your event. It can determine where the event is held, the number of guests and the choice of menu. After you set a budget, stick to it. A bit of wiggle room is fine, but remember that you’re setting a budget for a reason.

Next, set a date for the awards dinner and decide on a guest list. This may seem self-explanatory being that you are hosting this awards dinner for your employees, but there are other considerations to make. Will all of your employees be invited or just the main sales staff? Are spouses or dates welcome? These are questions you will need to ask yourself in the early stages of planning for your event. Guest count directly impacts final event costs.

Be sure your scheduling is at a time that is convenient to all of your employees. This is why hosting your awards dinner after the holidays can give you the best attendance. Also provide ample time to invite your employees. Sending something out a week before will likely net you low attendance, but letting your employees know a month in advance will allow them to RSVP in time.

Finding a Venue

We’ve explain the Rule of 5 for choosing a venue in a variety of other posts, but it is still important. Selecting a suitable venue is dependent on a few factors:

  1. Capacity
  2. Location
  3. Interiors
  4. Amenities
  5. Costs

Always visit your potential venues in person as photos can be deceiving. As you narrow the field to your prospective choices, do so with an eye towards the type of event you want to host. Some of the most important amenities you’ll want your venue to have include ample parking, adequate restroom facilities, and its location. Also, choosing a venue with highway accessibility may be the best option if your employees are coming from different areas. You’ll want your employees to navigate there easily. Additionally, you may want to include some type of staging and an audio visual setup to present your awards with. Check to see if your venue has these available, otherwise you’ll need to use an outside vendor. While this isn’t a bad thing, for the sake of convenience, venues that can offer these elements may make your venue short list.

Choosing a Menu


kahns-catering-food-salad-20-bowersockMany event spaces have an on-site catering service or preferred caterers they work with. Kahn’s Catering is the exclusive caterer for three distinguished downtown venues: Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum, and Indianapolis Museum of Art; as well as Montage, located on Indianapolis’ North side, our personal venue.

Unless you have a preferred catering firm, don’t hesitate to rely on the venue’s services for your catering needs. Menu choices will depend on your budget and the tone of your gathering. As this is an awards dinner to reward your employees, a distinctive menu should be chosen. Something special that your employees and their spouses will remember.

If you find the perfect venue and are able to bring your own caterer to the facility, read our advice on how to choose the best catering service for your event.

As you work out the menu, keep in mind that you may have guests with dietary restrictions. Always do your part to find those out in advance and communicate with your caterer so additional selections can be made for those specific people. Kahn’s Catering is happy to accommodate special diets and encourages you to bring those requests forward during planning. Our menus offer a variety of options for both plated and buffet meals including options for vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free, and other dietary needs.

Invitations and Awards


As mentioned previously, you’ll want to give your employees ample time to plan for your event. Invitations can be sent out by email or through office postings. The level of formality you intend to uphold on the night of your awards dinner will dictate the style and method of invitation that you send to your employees.

Do not wait until the last moment to order awards. Forethought and planning are what makes an award dinner a rousing success. You’ll want to order your awards with enough time prior to your event to review them for accuracy and to be sure you have them in advance.

Our Thoughts

Awards dinners are a unique type of corporate event. They require more planning and attention to decor and detail than a typical business meeting, but less than a large format conference. While the focus is more social than typical corporate events, business is still the bottom line. Take your time when planning the event so you don’t miss any odds and ends. Our experienced event specialists are here to assist you throughout the process and provide you with recommendations for reliable and high-quality vendors in the Indianapolis area.

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