Establishing and maintaining a solid relationship with each of your clients is one of the ways you can ensure their continued business.  After all, we all tend to do business with people we like.  The more time you spend with someone outside of the confines of business deals, negotiations and contracts, the more they will relate to you in more ways than your mutual concern for the bottom line.  The ability to entertain clients successfully is definitely a strength that will set you apart from the rest.

Likewise as a college town and home of the best fans in the nation, tailgating in Lincoln, NE is a major event that is shared by hundreds of thousands of people each year.  It is a one-of-a-kind experience for clients that aren’t familiar with the downtown scene that is normal to us Lincolnites, and for those who live here it is a great chance to see an abundance of familiar faces and to gather for a fun day of Husker festivities.  This positions tailgating as a down to earth way to entertain your clients is a casual, yet upbeat environment.  In honor of the upcoming Nebraska football season and all of the ensuing opportunities to entertain clients, make sure to check out the special “Tailgating Spotlights” for ideas and tips.  Go Big Red!

Photo_Jennifer_Jones_Raising_Canes_Lincoln_NebraskaThe gesture of treating your clients to an event or outing specifically arranged for them is simple yet very powerful.  Jennifer Jones, owner of the Lincoln Raising Cane’s locations, explains, “Clients, current or potential, need to ‘feel the love.’ Whether they have been a client for 20 years, or if you are in the ‘courting’ stage, it’s important to make them feel special. One great way to show others how much you appreciate them is with food. Food is something that brings people together, evokes conversation and makes them feel welcome.

At Raising Cane’s we have several different ways to show your clients the love. We can make up individual meals, bring in tailgates to serve family style or if you have a large event with 500 people or more, we have a trailer with a full kitchen on board that allows us to serve your guests on site at your event.”

She adds, “With fall quickly approaching and the many events that keep us busy, it is important to utilize resources in the community to help with our tasks.  Why not do this when entertaining as well?  At Raising Cane’s we make it easy to get everything you need for your meeting, party, tailgate, or simple gathering.  While planning your event is no easy task with all the options out there, you can rest assured that our Chicken Fingers will be a success!  At Raising Cane’s we serve fresh-NEVER FROZEN chicken tenderloins that have been marinated at least 24 hours, each battered and seasoned by hand, then cooked to order.”  Jones adds, “When deciding upon your many restaurant options to assist with your event and planning your menu; always consider your guests and their needs, the ease of use of a particular restaurant, and of course the quality of the meal each restaurant can offer.  At Raising Cane’s, we always strive to provide the best chicken fingers and the best customer experience; give us a call to help assist with your next event!”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “Tailgates are a great way to feed a lot of people at one time. We have a great selection of Tailgate packages for any size party and we can tailor the entire order to fit your specifications, which makes it easy to order just what you need for the size of crowd you have to feed. Each tailgate order comes with our fresh-never frozen premium chicken fingers in sizes of 25, 50, 75 or 100 fingers and Cane’s Sauce. And if you are looking to add a little more to the tailgate experience, you can add on our grilled Texas Toast and creamy Cole Slaw. Placing a tailgate order is easy:  Simply call one of our restaurants to speak with the Manager on Duty and they will take care of everything. And if you’re struggling with how much food you’ll need, we’d love to help out. Our Community Coordinator is an expert when it comes to planning tailgates and on-site events and will be able to help you every step of the way. If you’re interested in scheduling and on-site event, email to learn more.”

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Photo_Kelli_Pilkington_Venue_Restaurant_and_Lounge_Lincoln_NebraskaOne of the goals of entertaining clients is to make a favorable impression.  At Venue Restaurant and Lounge guests will have an experience like no other–from the eclectic ambiance and outstanding service to their award-winning mixologists and nationally recognized master Chef.  “We take pride in our private event spaces and our excellent catering and events team, promising our guests an above and beyond hospitality experience. As a result, our guests are consistently blown away by the level of hospitality that is displayed during their gatherings,” says Kelli Pilkington of Venue Restaurant and Lounge. “Whether it be the masterpiece selection prepared from our kitchen or the true caring service from our staff, creating connections and amazing delivery is our passion.  Mixing true service with indescribable presentation leaves a lasting impression of a wonderful experience.  That’s just the care and dedication our team presents; it’s not just a job, it’s their home.”

Pilkington provides several ideas on how Venue can assist business professionals with entertaining their clients.  “One highlight is our monthly dinners, which are created by our team of professionals and allow our guests to get a full evening experience.  These five course dinners are presented by one of our professional Chefs accompanied by our resident mixologist and wine expert showcasing the courses as they are served.  These dinners are exquisite and can only be described as uniquely showcased cuisine perfect for entertaining or treating your clients for a nice evening out.

Our Happy Hour is another tremendous entertainment feature with unique hand-crafted cocktails, full size house appetizers and numerous wine, beer and liquor mixed beverage specials for that after work gathering.  With the Happy Hour being Monday through Saturday from 4:00pm – 6:00pm, there’s plenty of time to enjoy.

Last but certainly not least, our events and catering team is one of the best in town with an array of fare perfected by our expert Chefs to gorgeous set-up, promising deliverance and amazing service all guaranteed to deliver the best in all we do.

Always count on us around the corner for your business lunches, after work drinks or social gatherings to ensure over-the-top hospitality with passion from the kitchen.”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “Venue is a local gem and being built on Husker soil, we live and breathe Husker red!  We are the neighborhood go-to place before heading down to the tailgates.  Our guests can have the guarantee of a great cocktail or glass of wine, relaxing atmosphere and the spirit of the Huskers without the big crowds.  The lounge will be filled with red while our fellow fans are indulging in great dishes and creating memories with Saturday laughter; we are your venue, so make yourselves at home.”

Photo_Michele_Barron_Gretas_Gourmet_Lincoln_NebraskaGood food and drinks are a staple when hosting guests, and the same is true for entertaining clients.  “Catering is a wonderful way to treat potential and current clients.  Anything from sending a simple lunch or platters of hors d’oeuvres or desserts to hosting a catered event will make every client feel as though they are being taken care of very well,” says Michele Barron, Catering Manager at Greta’s Gourmet Butcher Shop, Deli & Catering. “Greta’s Gourmet offers a very wide variety of catering options from boxed lunches to a variety of hors d’oeuvres to plated dinners that will wow your customers.  We provide catering in beautiful venues in Lincoln such as the Rococo Theatre, The Del Ray Ballroom, Rule G, Hidden Valley Golf Course, The Grand Manse, and The Apothecary as well as in privately owned spaces. For those looking to treat their clients I’d suggest contacting us at Greta’s to arrange special deliveries and unique catering menus for entertaining events.  Let your creativity run wild – we have no restrictions in our kitchen!”

Barron advises, “When getting to know new clients it is important to make the best possible first impression and make the clients feel incredibly special.  Potential clients should know how an individual or company plans to take care of their customers by accommodating their every need.  Hosting a special event to entertain potential or current clients is an excellent way to go that extra mile, making the client’s interaction with your business a positive and memorable one.   As important as it is to be constantly gaining new clients, it is equally as important to maintain a great relationship with current clients.  Doing something special for current clients will keep customer relations continually positive and your business with the clients steady.

Tailgating Spotlight:  “Tailgates are a fun way to interact with clients on a common ground. Greta’s tailgate catering can be anything from Burgers, Brats, BBQ, Hog Roasts, Wings and casual fare to on-the-go foods or special dinners.  We also offer a portable grill to cook on-site for those looking to create a fun and interactive experience for their guests.  Check out our tailgate menu at for some delicious ideas for your upcoming tailgates!”

Photo_Todd_Knorr_Zoup_Lincoln_NebraskaIf you wish to treat your clients to a meal and are looking for something new and delicious, Zoup! can accommodate just about anything you have in mind—especially with their amazing selection of gourmet soups in tons of different, and even seasonal, flavors.  Zoup! offers catering services for groups of all sizes that can include any combination of their signature soups, salads and sandwiches.  Todd Knorr of Zoup! says, “Zoup!’s fresh concept allows us to offer something unique and different, which is perfect for entertaining clients because it will make an impression.  Our base catering can involve any combination of our soups, salads and sandwiches and you can pick from our entire selection of menu items.  This allows you to plan for as heavy or light of a meal or snack as you need; we have plenty of different catering options.  We also accommodate dietary restrictions with gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian options to name a few.  We are excited to share what we have to offer with the Lincoln community, and look forward to assisting you with your next event!”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “It can get really chilly after the first few games, so your guests will really enjoy the opportunity to warm up with delicious soup from Zoup!”

ChefauChef specializes in offering catering to any event space, whether it be an in-home catering or an off-site location such as a farm, outdoor picnic in a park, lakeside, etc. Additionally, ChefauChef’s new restaurant concept, A Cafe, can be rented in the evening or weekends as an event space to hold a function.

Photo_Aaron_Young_Chefauchef_Catering_Lincoln_NebraskaEspecially when it comes to entertaining clients, Aaron Young, owner of ChefauChef Catering and A Café, also recommends picking something unique. “My best advice is doing something fun and different than what you are all used to. For example, let’s say you know your client wants to try sushi.  From this base idea, ChefauChef can generate several options.  In this case, we can plan for an in-home sushi demo and catering to your place or we can even teach you and your clients how to make their own rolls. One of my favorite places to cater an event is in-home, so make sure you don’t forget about that option! Everyone is more relaxed, you are on your own time, and you get to show off your beautiful home and dishes that you never to get use.”

He adds, “The main benefit for entertaining your potential clients and existing clients is to show them how much you appreciate and want their business. They are probably being approached by other business similar to yours that want their business, so offer them something fun and unique that will make your company stick out and be remember when it comes down to signing a contract.”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “The sky truly is the limit with ChefauChef—we can create a traditional tailgate menu or something out of the box that is inspired by the game day festivities.”

Photo_Tammy_Nun_Sam_and_Louies_Omaha_NebraskaHow you entertain clients can look very different depending on your type of business, but one thing holds true no matter what the business or who the person.  “We all entertain our potential and existing clients for one reason–relationship building,” says Tammy Nun of Sam & Louie’s.   “Business relationships are built on a foundation of trust and then supported by the quality of the products and services which we are selling.  At Sam and Louie’s we offer a variety of solutions when it comes to entertaining clients.  Our pizzeria’s dining room provides the perfect atmosphere for a casual lunchtime, happy hour or evening meet-up.  You can rest easy knowing that your image will be supported by our great quality food and exceptional service.”

She adds, “Our party room has seating for 30-35 and provides the perfect setting for a small to mid-sized function needing a bit of privacy.  Party room orders can be placed in advance, or on the spot and parties can be served buffet style of individually.  If snacks for a meeting, or drinks for a cocktail hour is all you need we will happily accommodate your group.  Reservations for the party room are strongly encouraged.  Your Lincoln Sam and Louie’s also provides full service corporate and event catering.  With a variety of different menu options, packages and price points we can service any event from a delivered lunch for a small business meeting to a full-service, formal banquet for hundreds.”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “We have recently introduced bone-in chicken wings to our menu and this fall we are focused on providing catering options to serve all of your tailgating needs. Nothing puts a smile on a client’s face like a great tailgate and a pair of game tickets.  The laid back, good-natured, we are one atmosphere of a game day in Lincoln sets the stage perfectly for a great, lifelong relationship (and doing this year after year certainly helps to keep them around).”

While you may have the fare covered for your event, don’t forget the beverages!  The Margarita Man is a frozen beverage machine rental company which offers high capacity, commercial grade margarita machines for all sizes and types of special events, including weddings.  There are 22 gourmet flavors to choose from; all of which can be made virgin so that kids can also enjoy a tasty treat during the reception.   The popular Fiesta Package includes local delivery, setup and mixing of your first batches, drink cups and straws, pick up and cleaning of the machine.  The Margarita Man also offers a Grande Fiesta Package which includes rental of two machines. This package is perfect for larger events or for those who want to provide both regular and non-alcoholic options.

Photo_Matt_Cover_The_Margarita_Man_Omaha_NebraskaMatt Cover, co-owner of The Margarita Man – Nebraska, says, “Our goal for any event, including events where our clients will be entertaining their current and potential clients, is to take all the hassle away from the customer. We deliver, set up, pick up and clean the machines leaving our guest to simply enjoy whatever flavors they decided on. We also accommodate our guest with cups and straws as well as different style of skirts to dress the carts with a particular theme or color they are looking to do for their event. We even provide extension cord(s) as well as making the first batch for our customers and leaving them with easy to follow instructions.”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “What better way to tailgate but with a Margarita Machine with endless flavors. The best part of our machine(s) is that it’s self-serving as easy as pulling the handle down to refill any drink which is important for all football fans who would like to watch the game instead play host! Like stated before we have multiple flavors 3 or 4 of which are red that would make a great GBR drink but also with a little food coloring you can turn any drink/flavor into a Husker drink!”

When planning an event to entertain your clients–this may sound obvious–you want to make sure that they are, in fact, entertained. Aside from being a good host and finding the perfect venue and making sure your guests enjoy a meal and refreshments, the actual entertainment is a decision that should be made with care.  No matter the event, the entertainment should present a “wow” factor without pushing the client(s) out of their comfort zone too much, if at all.  It should also be fun, after all, the point is to forget about business for a little while and just have a good, relaxing time with one another.

Photo_Vicki_Harris_Harris_Academy_Arts_Lincoln_NebraskaIf you really want to treat your guests, consider hiring professional musicians for your next event!  Harris Academy of the Arts offers professional musicians that provide optimal entertainment for most types of events or parties. “From classical violin to jazz piano, Harris has a wide variety of music styles that fit the respective needs of any business that wishes to show their clients an unforgettable time, pertinent to the theme of the event,” says Vicki Harris, owner of Harris Academy of the Arts. “Banquet functions and holiday parties are very common in the business world, and Harris Academy of the Arts strives to make sure that the event is extra special by providing professional musicians such as holiday carolers, string quartets, piano solos, and much more.”

She adds, “Clients want to feel like they are receiving something from your business, whether that be a product or service. If a business can go above and beyond to provide for their client by entertaining them, then the client will be more inclined to stay with the business and provide repeat business. This is the same with new clients. They want to know that the business they are hiring is going to go above and beyond, so what’s better than showing them you care? When entertaining clients, the addition of music creates a memorable experience for guests while enhancing the image of your business.  And make sure to remember that the most important part of planning an event for a new or existing client is planning early. Because of the wide variety of music Harris Academy of the Arts offers, we tend to book dates far in advance, so call today to book professional musicians for your big event!”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “Live music at a tailgate could be a unique twist on the traditional tailgating experience. We have even added the Huskers songs to our repertoire!”

Another unique form of entertainment that is perfect for entertaining clients, or any group for that matter, are Group Therapy Bike Tours.  Group Therapy Bike Tours encourages everyone to “ride their way to happy!”  It is their belief that taking one two-hour tour will help anyone experience maximum stress relief.  A Group Therapy Bike Tour is an excellent opportunity to get yourself and your clients out of the office and submerged into the therapeutic outdoors.  This unconventional and highly entertaining way to tour particular areas of town is especially great for familiarizing your clients with the must-see highlights of our city, whether they are from Lincoln or just visiting.  The 15-passenger pedal-powered bike has seats for those who wish to pedal as well as for your guests who are just along for the ride—and of course, the Group Therapy experience!

Photo_Drew_Philippi_Group_Therapy_Bike_Tours_Lincoln_Nebraska“Doing business is a lot like dating; you want to make the best use of your time in the most effective and enjoyable fashion. Business owners and clients have specific needs and desires and it is important to be cognizant and considerate of these at all times,” poses Drew Philippi, owner of Group Therapy Bike Tours. “When you submerge yourself into the busy world of business it is very easy to focus on titles, positions, and hierarchy. The beauty of Group Therapy Bike Tours is that everyone is equal. Everyone has to work as a team; like it or not. It is simply impossible to not connect on a purely social and human level while pedaling a giant 15-passenger trolley with Whitesnake blasting in the background. Group Therapy Bike Tours breaks down uncomfortable barriers; it opens doors and establishes relationships.”

Tailgating Spotlight:  “As we are regularly spotted in downtown Lincoln and Haymarket/Railyard district, you are sure to see a Group Therapy Bike Tour pass by on Husker game days! Interacting with the spectators and stopping by all of your favorite venues and tailgates is the perfect way to share a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon with your clients.”

Rule G, a unique, contemporary venue in the Railyard, offers flexible space and event options for your next one-of-a-kind entertaining opportunity.  “One of the main benefits of entertaining potential and existing clients is relationship building.  It conveys to clients that you not only do you care about their business, but you care about getting to know them better so you can better serve them.   It also tells clients that they are appreciated.  We provide complete event planning and coordination as well as customized menu planning with full service catering for all events held at Rule G,” says Jaime Johnson, Director of Events and Marketing at Rule G Night Club. “A great event is about creating a memorable experience for your guests that engages people to interact with each other.  The direction that most of our corporate clients are going with their events is with food stations rather than a traditional banquet setting where guests are seated at a banquet table for an event, interacting primarily with the small group of people at their assigned table.  Rule G is a great venue for an interactive event, with each area of the club with its own unique feel with the Rooftop Patio, the Ultra Lounge and the Spin Room.  This arrangement is especially ideal for corporate tailgate parties, which are the perfect way to entertain your clients during football season.

Tailgating Spotlight:  “In Nebraska, Husker Football game days are a tradition and bring many people together.  Tailgates are a great way to bring together potential and existing clients in a relaxed fun atmosphere that is outside of the traditional business setting.  Husker football is a common bond that many people share.  It is also a great way to reach out to clients outside of Lincoln, with so many people traveling from all over Nebraska to go to the game.

Rule G offers a very unique tailgate space, just blocks away from Memorial Stadium in the newly developed West Haymarket.  We are booking corporate tailgate parties on both our Rooftop Patio as well as in the Spin Room.  Each area provides the ultimate setting for a corporate tailgate party.  The Rooftop Patio has an incredible view of the Railyard, the Cube as well as Memorial Stadium while guests overlook streets lined in a ‘sea of red’.

The Rooftop Patio offers an incredible view of the Haymarket Area, second to none.  With both outdoor heating and air conditioning, our facility is designed to accommodate events throughout the seasons.  Our event staff takes care of all the set-up, service and clean-up for events.  The Rooftop Patio has a large granite topped stone bar in the center of the Patio, which ensures guests receive prompt service.  Guests can overlook the Railyard and view the game on the Cube or watch it on one of our many outdoor televisions.

The Spin Room is like no other place, with color changing bubble lights throughout the room.  The room features a 15 ft. television for game viewing in addition to several smaller televisions.  This area is perfect for smaller tailgate parties with 50 to 75 guests, reception style.

In addition to our corporate tailgate parties, Rule G is offering table reservations for smaller groups to enhance the game day experience of our guests.  They may reserve seats and/or tables at $25.00 per person to ensure that they are have reserved space to tailgate and/or watch the game.  These reservations will be taken two weeks prior to each game day with seating options on the Rooftop Patio, Ultra Lounge and Spin Room depending on what is already scheduled at Rule G for the day.”

The Lied Center has four completely unique settings available for any special event that you may consider utilizing for entertaining you clients, from trade shows to tailgate parties, inaugurations, fundraising events and more.  Seating capacity ranges are vast to accommodate everything from a large gathering to an intimate evening.  Spaces available include:

• Lied Commons, 175 lecture or 150 banquet

• Steinhart Room, 120 lecture or 95 banquet

• Carson Theater, 250 lecture or 216 banquet

• Katherine Hendy Parker Lobby, 400 reception or 248 banquet

• Main Stage auditorium, accommodates 2,192 people comfortably

Photo_Bill_Stephan_Lied_Center_for_Performing_Arts_Lincoln_NebraskaAccording to Bill Stephan, Executive Director of the Lied Center for Performing Arts, “Few venues in Lincoln share the distinctive culture, prime location and picturesque views that the Lied Center can provide for a special event. Entertaining clients at the Lied can range from ordering a block of prime seats through our group sales program (402-472-8510), hosting a pre-concert reception, or creating your own event. The Lied Center is centrally located between UNL and downtown Lincoln and is steps away from the Historic Haymarket and Memorial Stadium.  Not only is the Lied Center in an optimal location, it is a theatrical and exciting venue.  It is often described by guests as elegant and distinctive, yet friendly.  Many patrons feel the view of the UNL campus from both our new Lied Commons space and our Main Hall Lobby are the most picturesque in the city.  As a theatrical venue, almost anything is possible!  Every event has the option of using colorful, theatrical lighting to highlight rooms and top quality audio systems for entertainment.

In addition to holding special events, guests who are looking to entertain their clients can also hold a dinner at the Lied prior to treating their customers to a world class performance.  Every year the Lied Center presents over 30 programs featuring the greatest artists in the world. We celebrate our 25th anniversary this season with a particularly special line-up of world-class artists including Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Broadway shows like Anything Goes and Elf The Musical.  Businesses who really want to add a special touch can sponsor a show, which often includes a meet and greet with artists that includes photo opportunities.  All of these opportunities are surprisingly affordable at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.”

He adds, “Our advice to all event planners is to go first class.  Find the best venue that is high quality and includes professional staffing.  Identify a catering company that always delivers the best quality food with a creative menu.  The Lied Center allows visitors to order food from the caterer of their choice, and if unsure, will gladly suggest caterers with whom we work with on a frequent basis.  Allowing our guests to choose their own food preferences ensures that they will have a menu that is perfectly suited to their needs, budget, and event atmosphere.  Your entertainment choice should match the taste of your client.  There are lots of very talented artists in Nebraska.  If you are not connected with the talent, partner with an organization or event planner that can provide you with access to quality entertainment.”

Photo_Annette_Marquez_The_Perfect_Occasion_Lincoln_NebraskaAnnette Marquez, Event Planner and owner of The Perfect Occasion LLC, offers advice for entertaining current or prospective clients:

“There are many reasons for entertaining your current clients including thanking them for their loyalty. Entertaining potential clients is a great way for them to meet you and learn about your company. As with all face-to-face events, it is a perfect opportunity for building relationships and trust with clients.  It can also be a way for your clients to meet each other.

As you consider entertaining current clients or potential new ones think about who they are, why you want to entertain them, what you want them to experience, and how best to achieve your goal.  There is no single best way of entertaining clients.  Would it be taking one or two clients to lunch at an elegant restaurant or would a more casual, lively restaurant better fit the bill?  An event with a few hundred people such as an open house to roll out a new product could accomplish your goal. If you have moved to a new facility or completed a major renovation, a tour of the facility could be in order.

Would the clients you will be entertaining enjoy tickets to a sporting event or perhaps tickets to a theater production?  If you are inviting several guests to either of these types of events, consider a tailgating party for a ballgame or a reception prior to a theater production so you will have the opportunity to welcome your guests and visit with one another.

Whatever form of entertaining you choose, it is not the time for a hard sell.  Entertaining should be just that.  Sales calls can follow.

Entertaining clients takes careful thought and planning to be successful.  When you want to entertain more than just a handful of clients, using the services of a professional event planner can be advantageous in many ways. First, event planners know the questions to ask you, so that the event will match your stated goals and your vision.  The answers will determine every aspect of entertaining your clients from just the right venue to designing the program, while working within your budget.  Once I know the who and why, then I can help arrange the other appropriate logistics. I am constantly researching the current trends in event design, food and beverage, décor and much more. This gives you the advantage of hosting an event created just for your clients.  Hiring an outside planner means that staff can be freed to visit with the clients rather than managing the on-site logistics. For more information, please call me at (402) 261-6738 for a free consultation or visit my website at”

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Really getting to know your clients, and putting business aside for a few hours to spend time on a personal level, is as rewarding as it is essential.  However for some, the idea of entertaining clients sounds about as much fun as hanging out with their in-laws and vice versa. Don’t let the pressure to impress deter you—they likely aren’t that scary, and if they are, at least you put forth the effort. Who knows, you might have more in common than you ever imagined!  The trick to entertaining your clients with class is to find a unique experience that is enjoyable but not overwhelming.  Depending on the client, there are a number of possibilities and choosing wisely is the name of the game.  Showing your clients a good time not only shows them that you know how to let loose (in moderation, of course!), but above all, it lets you know that you value their business as well as creating a relationship with them personally.