Why is offering a meal better than not offering one?
Not for the usual reasons. Of course, there will be more attendees in most cases, but that's not the best reason. When you present without a meal, it's more difficult to make appointments. The usual format is to hand out an evaluation sheet that offers the appointment option. This becomes a yes or no scenario. It's hard to recover from a no. Also, there may be a significant necessity for follow-up that can be left undone when you get too busy. On the other hand, a meal offers the producer an opportunity to visit briefly with each attendee while they eat. This allows some personal interaction time and the possibility of turning some of those potential no answers into yes answers. You can also weed out a few that you can't really help.
So, offering a meal may be a good choice to increase attendance and have better opportunities to make appointments and of course the follow-up sales will result.