How Serving Food & Drinks At Trade Show Booths Can Bring More Leads

Trade Show Survey Data Collection
(Credit: Exhibitor Online/ASTOUND Group)

With trade show attendance steadily rising after a number of down years, now is a good time to get competitive about the ways to attract people to your booth. Assuming you have a reliable tool to capture leads, getting them to your booth is half the battle.

Why not consider serving food and drinks?

Once upon a time exhibitors would present candies in bowls to lure attendees, now they’re giving aways things like sandwiches, popcorn, cookies and coffee. While this may seem strange to businesses outside the food and beverage industry, it’s a worthwhile trend noted by trade show experts.

Here are a couple reasons you might want want to consider it.


Keep Attendees Focused On Your Product

Plenty of research suggests that people are more likely to make a purchase when they aren’t distracted by their hunger pangs. Couple this with the fact that trade shows can be long and tiring events with enough walking to build up an appetite, and you’ll want to have snacks on hand to keep people’s energy levels up. While most shows have designated areas for people to buy food, free snacks will not only attract people to your booth with pleasant aromas, but will provide an opportunity for them to engage with your brand just long enough to give your two sentence pitch.

An Opportunity For Branding

Let’s be frank, lots of people go to trade shows just for the freebies. But giving away a branded pen is so over done, as are several other items. Why not put your logo on a plastic water bottle or the wrapping for a cake-pop? And if you don’t like the idea of putting your logo on disposable packaging that won’t stick around, think about giving away a branded thermos full of coffee or a wooden tea box with herbal tea bags, assuming you have the budget. Just remember to serve food that aligns nicely with your brand and doesn’t contradict it in anyway. For example, if you are a high-end furniture retailer, the last thing you’ll want to do is serve a hot dog.


All things considered, free food at an event or trade show simply makes sense. Everyone can get behind yummy treats. But there are a few types of food you’ll want to avoid for various reasons, so check out this list explaining which foods to pass on and why.

Shereen Dindar
Shereen Dindar was a Content Manager at QuickTapSurvey in 2015 and 2016. Have a story idea? Email us at