Article By: Halley Burns and Linnea Crowther

When It Comes to Funerals, Does Food Have a Place at the Table?

When people gather — whether for a night on the town, a family holiday, or some other occasion — there’s bound to be food. “Breaking bread” is one of the most timeless, essential ways that people bond and share time together. Even at funerals, food can be a meaningful part of the services and can even help families honor their loved ones’ legacies.

In 2016, funeral directors are offering families new ways to incorporate food and drink into services. Here are some of the trends we’re seeing.

Liquor Licenses

liquor-licenseAs the typical funeral evolves, more families want post-service receptions that kick it up a notch beyond casseroles and lemonade. Some want to celebrate their loved ones’ lives with Champagne toasts. Others look for beer, wine, and cocktails to accompany their receptions. Funeral directors at a funeral home with a liquor license can host the gathering rather than bid the family goodbye as they head to a favorite bar and grill. Modernized reception rooms make this kind of post-service reception comfortable and easy, with tables to set drinks on, refrigerators for drink storage, and plenty of room to circulate.

Building Relationships with Local Caterers

local-catererThose same families who look for receptions with drinks may also want higher-end food than the traditional assortment of dishes brought by friends and relatives. Any kind of gathering can take place at the funeral home whether it be afternoon receptions featuring cheese boards and finger foods, or sit-down dinners with fully catered spreads. The whole process can be made even easier on the family when the funeral home has a relationship with a local caterer. Funeral directors find that by working together with the caterer to facilitate the reception, they are taking the planning burden off the family.

Tailgating and Food Trucks

food-truckCertain states just won’t allow a funeral home to obtain a liquor license, so guests who want to toast the deceased have become creative — they’re tailgating in the funeral home parking lot before and after the ceremony. Some funeral directors have learned to anticipate this; they plan ahead by contracting with local food trucks to park near the funeral home during the tailgating. For some families, tailgate parties with easy access to burgers and burritos provide the perfect send-offs for their loved ones.

Organic Food at Green Funerals

organic-local-foodAs the green funeral trend catches on, funeral food is following right behind. Many families that want green funerals for their loved ones will want to see the green ethos reflected in all aspects of the services, including healthy and organic food served at their receptions. Some may seek locally sourced food to go along with the locavore movement. Funeral directors can plan ahead for this trend by forming relationships with caterers capable of providing an organic meal or investigating other local options for organic food service.

Adding a Cafe

cafeOne forward-looking funeral director has added a Starbucks franchise right in the funeral home, offering mourners a quiet place to get a coffee or snack away from the reception area. But it’s not just for mourners, as there’s an outside entrance that allows anyone needing a latte to stop in. As the role of the funeral home continues to evolve, more and more franchise opportunities may allow funeral directors and local eateries to collaborate and share business at a single location.

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