YAPC::Europe 2013 in Kiev, week minus 42. Food

I hope you expect that we announce the date and place of the next YAPC::Europe in Kiev, but please be patient a little bit more. Next week Viacheslav visits a venue where a PyCon was held and after that we select the venue. It is a difficult choice as we don't have now exact budget and the venue rent cost strongly varies. It would be much easier to decide after the attendees pay :-)

Anyway, let's talk today about eating during and around the conference. There are four different type of food supply we have to organise.

1) Pre-conference meeting;
2) Coffee breaks during the conference days;
3) Lunches;
4) Attendees dinner.

Food at a pre-confernece meeting is simple. We invite everybody and depending on the level of sponsorship we get we offer either nothing, or beer, or beer and snacks. It is also possible for any company to become a Pre-conference meeting sponsor right now.

The last position, attendees dinner, is also easy. We do not organise it this time :-) Instead, we propose a river cruise after the second day with beer, wine and snacks.

Coffee breaks. I think everybody agrees that there should be two of them during a day, and looking back to Riga I think it's better to start hungry (people come from their hotels where a breakfast is usually served) and have the first break after the first talk which usually is a long keynote given by one of our guest speakers. The same with the second break: it comes before the last section in the daily schedule, which I think again will be a session of lightning talks. Light snacks and cookies, fruits and tea/coffee are more than enough to let our bodies forget about food and concentrate on Perl talks and Perl community.

And now we come to the main question: what to do with lunches. At my first YAPC, which was Vienna, there were no lunches served in the venue, and the attendees were asked to go to the cafeteria located near the entrance to the university. Honestly, for the first YAPC I was a bit frustrated because I did know what to do, should I pay or not, where do I have to sit and when do I have to return to the venue. Yeah, such an easy task may turn a stressful story for a YAPC beginner.

In Copenhagen, they prepared cold packages with food, including vegetarian packages served in a big canteen located inside the venue. Attendee logistics was much more pleasant this time, although cold food is not always a great choice.

In Riga, we asked a brilliant Sala cafe (an Island in Latvian) to serve everything for us, and the team of about ten people leading by Gunta Rasmane did a great job. There were lots of hot food for the dinner, as well as various cookies and snacks during the day.

What we missed were labels naming the food and its contents. And we also ordered too much cookies, thus we had to bring them out of the canteen to the hall areas so that they disappear before the end of the day.

Another option of having a lunch is to let people go outside and find a place themselves. We did that trick a number of times during YAPC::Russia events both in Kiev and Moscow, and mostly every time it took more than an hour to have people back (or, at least the majority). For me it's too much to let the lunch last more than an hour. But self-serving means that we don't need to pay for everyone :-)

So our question today is a binary one: Do you think that a conference ticket should cover lunches? Please be active with this poll before, not after the conference.

And to finalise today's topic, here's a video from the attendees dinner in Riga. I think we might expect even more enjoyable food in Kiev!


If you include vegetarian options (that would be great) I suggest making them vegan. If the vegetarian dishes include dairy or eggs, vegans will have nothing to eat, really.

It's cascading: everyone can eat vegan food, only vegetarians and meat eaters can eat vegetarian food, and only meat eaters eat meat.

Thanks for being considerate. :)

Please serve lunch right at the venue; it means attendants have to worry much less about where to get lunch, and it makes it much easier to converse with other people during lunch.

I for one attend YAPC mostly for the hallway track (talks are secondary), so having food in the hallway would be important for me.

I also vote for vegan =)

if people go outside for lunch, the break should be at least 1 1/2 hours for the most people to get back in time. (Some people are eating slow, and the order might take its time, and it's really annoying to be too late for the afternoon talks.)

if you serve at the conference, the break can be shorter and people will have a bit more time in the evening to search for restaurants.

I've liked all the conference-provided lunches at previous Yapc Europes. If you can find a way of providing lunch, that'd be fantastic.

But I also didn't mind in Belfast and Vienna having to go and find lunch elsewhere. Chatting in the same small group for an hour or so you can actually get to know people better than milling around in a big room with everybody. Just make sure you allow 1½ hours, or 2 if there's a bit of a walk to likely food providers.

If I'm lucky enough to be a speaker again, I don't want non-speaking conference attendees to be (indirectly) paying for my lunch. If you can find sponsors to cover lunch that's great, but if instead you have to put up ticket prices so as to cover the cost of everybody's lunch, then I think everybody should contribute. I'd be happy to buy a ‘speaker’-level ticket that covers the cost of lunches, rather than having the burden just fall on non-speakers.

Good food is always appreciated. I think you should provide different kind of food according to the guests. Vegetarian food necessary as many people prefer vegetarian food.

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About Andrew Shitov

user-pic I blog about Perl.