5 Tips for Throwing the Perfect Company Picnic

Company picnics in and around Chicago are in one word; perfect. We’ve all been stuck behind our desk on the perfect summer day just aching to get outside. Does this ring a bell? A way to keep employees engaged this summer is to throw a simple, yet delicious, company picnic. Whether you have outdoor space, or not, we’ve got The Top 5 Tips for Throwing the Perfect Company Picnic.

Tip 1: Choose the Perfect Menu

The best part of a picnic, in my humble opinion, is to try a little bit of everything without having to commit to one main item. Northern Fork’s Summer BBQ Package offers everything from your Standard Pulled Pork to more exotic Blackened Shrimp. Perhaps Southern BBQ from our Mississippi born Executive Chef, Katie Boyd, is more your style? Slow-Smoked Brisket, Cornbread Muffins with Honey Butter, racks of ribs, and all the fixins’ will allow employees to kick-back, relax, and smell the roses (well maybe smell the smoker in this case). Whichever route you choose; there are always more options than just burgers and dogs on the grill, but we have those too if you’re interested. 

Tip 2: Boost Attendance

Recently, we’ve noticed that attendance to summertime events is sometimes lacking. Employees are on vacation, at the waterpark, maybe the ballpark, or anywhere other than the office. Can you blame them? It’s summertime in Chicago after all! Why not make your summer company picnic a family affair? Allow employees to bring a guest, maybe the kids, or even fur babies to the party. Picnic food is everybody food, no need for special menus. Might I suggest a dunk tank to shake things up? If you can’t find anyone to participate give us a call, there’s a few Northern Fork employees who would love to get dunked!

Tip 3: Dessert with a Twist

Picnic desserts can go one of two ways; you’ve got too many or they get funky in the sun. Why not leave it to the pros? Northern Fork’s Build Your Own Ice Cream Station is back by popular demand serving up locally made ice cream with toasted coconut, sprinkles, salted caramel sauce, cherries, chopped nuts, you name it! Another fantastic option: Chef Katie’s Old-Fashioned Banana Puddings. These are individually portioned and perfect on a warm summer day. Our team will top off the puddings with fresh whipped cream right before service. These are absolute perfection!

Tip 4: Keep Hydrated (well, sort of.)

I may be stealing some of Tip #2’s thunder but one more way to boost enthusiasm for this year’s company picnic: cocktails. HR won’t let you have booze? Bummer (We have mocktails too!). Maybe just this once, with proper paperwork and all that jazz it can happen?! Northern Fork’s summer cocktail list includes an array of light and fresh cocktails perfect for enjoying while in the sun (or cafeteria).

Tip 5: Think Outside the Box

We are thinking of ways to completely shake up this year’s company picnic. How about live entertainment? Maybe a great cover band or DJ? Live hula dancers? Giant Jumpy Houses? Did I already mention a dunk tank? Let your imagination run wild or maybe send out a company survey to see what your employees would like to see. Little details and fun surprises will not only make this year’s company picnic memorable, but your employees will be counting the days until next year’s event!



Kathleen Jenkins

A professional Pinterester, foodie, adventurous traveler, and fur momma.

Director of Sales & Events at Northern Fork Catering.  

— May 25, 2017