With its gorgeous weather and stunning natural scenery that ranges from sunny coastlines to awe-inspiring redwood forests, it’s no wonder that the Bay Area offers plenty of wonderful options for company retreats. If you’re planning a company retreat in the Bay Area, you’ll be pleased by the sheer number and diversity of venues, whether you’re thinking of a relaxing wellness-centered day at a sustainable farm or a fun escape room experience in a heritage house, like the Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, just 25 miles from San Francisco.

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz’s Filoli House event, courtesy of Houzz

 

Bay Area company retreat catering corporate event

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

Since we’ve catered plenty of company retreats in the Bay Area, we think we know a thing or two about what it takes to make a company retreat unique and unforgettable. In fact, we think there’s much to learn from one of our clients, Houzz, who has always put a lot of thought and effort into their private events. Read on to find out what you can take away from their amazing events!

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz holiday event, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

Bay Area company retreat catering event corporate party

Photo from Houzz spring retreat, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

Tip #1: Choose the right venue for your company retreat in the Bay Area

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Photo from Houzz spring retreat, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

When planning your company retreat, don’t get dazzled by the latest popular venue. Think hard about what you’re trying to accomplish with your corporate event. Are you trying to build camaraderie and help your team members bond? Look for a venue where people have chances to form small groups and do activities together. Are you trying to create a soothing and restful retreat where your team can destress and center themselves? Look for a venue where there’s plenty of nature and quiet, relaxing spots for meditation or just taking it easy. Are you trying to create an exciting and fun event where people can let loose? Look for a venue with sound systems and areas where you can set up entertainment hubs.

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate events private event catering

Photo from Houzz holiday event, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz holiday event, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

Don’t jump on the first venue that you find; you’ll probably want to visit at least two or three to get a feel for the atmosphere, amenities, and just general vibe of the place. (By the way, Anaviv partners with many of the best venues in the Bay Area, and we’re happy to make recommendations.)

Before making a site visit, make a list of features that are must-haves. Ask how versatile a venue’s features might be: can a big patio double as a location for a yoga workshop and a dance floor? It’s also a good idea to consider the time of year that your event will be taking place. A swimming pool can be a huge wow factor but will event guests enjoy it during winter over a fire pit?

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz holiday event, courtesy of Houzz

 

Houzz’s events have been set in venues with plenty of outdoor spaces for activities to make sure that their team members got to feel like it was a real break from being in the office. Heritage houses with expansive, beautifully maintained grounds like Filoli House also give you lots of versatile spaces that can be used as lounge or quiet areas or as party rooms and dance floors.

 

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Photo from Houzz holiday event courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

Tip #2: Plan company retreat activities that your guests will actually enjoy

Company retreat Bay Area corporate event catering planning

Photo from Houzz spring event courtesy of Houzz

 

Don’t make your team members dread a company retreat by putting together the same, tired team-building activities. Instead of making a decision on your own, make activity-planning a collaborative effort. That way, everyone will feel heard and invested in the company retreat.

However, instead of simply asking your team what they’d like to do (chances are, most people will say they’re happy to do anything), ask them to list down their interests and hobbies or even where they’ve last traveled and what they enjoyed doing there. This information will make it easier for you to see any common interests that can help you brainstorm fun activities tailored to your team’s interests and the goal of the company retreat.

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz holiday event, courtesy of Houzz

 

Think about fun workshops that people won’t normally have a chance to do, for example learning musical instruments like the banjo or harmonica or learning magic tricks. Or for the sportier team members, what about getting coaching tips on croquet or billiards? Themed cooking classes are usually quite popular, and your team members can share their results with everyone, as well!

Apart from workshops, it’s also important to make sure that you have entertainment for the company retreat. A DJ or a live band can really affect the mood and atmosphere of an event, and if you have team members who can play music or sing, try to rope them into performing, as well. You can also hire circus performers, magicians, or like, Houzz did, even Living Statues and Living Vines.

 

Company retreat Bay Area corporate event catering planning

Photo from Houzz spring retreat courtesy of Houzz

 

A trend that has gone mainstream is incorporating wellness and self-care into company retreats, and that could mean anything from yoga and meditation classes to massages and manicures. Give your team a chance to pamper themselves; it’s a great way to help them feel relaxed and revitalized. What about a spa station where guests can make their own facial masks and put them on?

Something as simple as flower arranging or having puppies around to play with can also be great options for team members who need quiet activities to help them unwind.

 

Company retreat Bay Area corporate event catering planning

Photo from Houzz spring retreat courtesy of Houzz

 

Tip #3: Make sure you have plenty of good food at your company retreat

Bay Area company retreat catering corporate event

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

It does sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes, people forget just how important food is to the success of an event. Apart from sit-down meals, think about setting up welcome drinks and hors d’oeuvres for your team as they arrive. Make sure that they match the theme of your event: like smoothies or mocktails for a company retreat centered around relaxation or something like light cocktails for a more energetic event. You can even set up a mix-your-own drink bar with recipes set up for people to try.
Company retreat Bay Area catering events

Photo from Houzz spring event, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

Hors d’oeuvres help set the tone for later meals, so wow your team members from the start with special bites. It’s always a good idea to set up a grazing station packed with fruit, cheese, and charcuterie from the amazing local farms, dairies, and artisans that we have in the Bay Area. Or what about an oyster bar where your team can enjoy freshly shucked oysters?

 

It’s also a good idea to have passed appetizers circulating among the crowd, and the sky is practically the limit when it comes to the variety of appetizers. One thing we do recommend is to choose appetizers that don’t have to be eaten at a specific temperature as they might either cool down or melt as they’re being served. We’re happy to walk you through the best options for your event and make sure that all the food being served complements each other and the beverages as well.

 

Bay Area company retreat catering event corporate party

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

When it comes to meals, why not enjoy the bounty of local farms and markets? At Anaviv, we’re dedicated to using only fresh, locally sourced ingredients, cooked in a way that brings out their natural flavors, no matter what the cuisine may be. There’s also things to consider like buffet style or sit-down service. Buffet style is perfect for casual events where people can serve themselves and eat without a set time.

 

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Photo from Houzz spring retreat, courtesy of Houzz

 

Bay Area catering events corporate

Photo from Houzz spring event, courtesy of Brandon Sampson

 

If you want to gather people to eat together, then a sit-down meal is the best option. However, sit-down doesn’t have to mean formal. Meals can be served family style and shared, for example. Of course, if you want to impress, then a full ten-course meal with wine pairings would be one of the best options.

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

company retreat Bay Area corporate event planning corporate catering

Photo from Houzz Filoli event, courtesy of Houzz

 

While there are plenty of details and logistics to consider in planning a company retreat, being mindful of these important tips will help your planning go more smoothly. If you’re looking for catering help, feel free to contact us and talk about what’s on your mind.