Learn to ask the question H20

Since bottle water costs can be a large portion of a coffee break meeting planners are turning more to using water-coolers. Using a water cooler served a variety of purposes. One they are cheaper and two more green friendly. A new choice we are seeing reading on banqueting menus are fruit and/or cucumber mint. Personally, I love water with cucumber in it. Nothing tastes fresher to me. So this takes me back to the menus and this added choice. I am planning an event for a client that has this water with fruit garnish on their banqueting menus. The cost of this is $50.00++ per gallon. That sounded a high so I went back and asked if we could do this for $50.00 per 3 gallons. The agreeable hotel came back and said sure no problem. It was at this time a light bulb went off. This water is filtered of course? RIGHT?? WRONG! It was tap water that they were adding cut up fruit. My point is in banqueting we are seeing this more and more so learn to ask the questions and then go in an negotiate price points accordingly.
This is my watered down story for now and I am going to be sticking to it.

Claire

My love for Farm Fresh

I am sitting in Pittsburgh Airport waiting for my flight back to Atlanta. One of the things I am going to miss most is the true innocence of the farmers foods for sale at the towns ragtag farmers market twice a week. Ironically their market is located in the parking lot of one of the towns grocery stores.

Atlanta boasts several nice farmers markets but to me nothing compares to the markets in a farming community. These farmers don’t know anything about farm to table. Farm to table is a given not something they strive for in their every day life. While home in Kittanning I was able to go pick blueberries twice, eat the most amazing peaches and buy corn from a stand that operates off an honor system. Oh and the jelly which was from a country couple who has the blackberry patch in her own back yard. Jackie said she would never make jelly if she didn’t know where the fruit was coming from. Now is that food integrity or what. I take my hat off to all the farmers in Western, PA who once again have reminded me what simple, good food is all about. As Delta heads south just know my heart and my stomach will be up north in your country communities. Biting into an ear of corn just isn’t going to be the same.

July 14, 2012 – My farm fresh day.

Today was a great day spent with friends. My friends Jackie, Janine and I got up and decided to spend the morning at a blueberry farm. Jackie was a real sport as we ended up or she ended up driving an additional 25 minutes. We thought we would go to a farm in mind but they were closed so off we went down the road. This farm was beautiful they had rows and rows of blueberries. I found out today that I never really tasted a blueberry. The ones you get in the store are nothing compared to right off the vine. Amazing. I was the slowest picker of the group and 6.25 pounds later we called it a morning. Which was good because morning was actually over and we were all hungry for lunch. Let’s face it BB’s are a good snack but it wasn’t filling up this belly. The gal on the farm was also selling the neighbor’s potatoes for .50 a pound. They were little red potatoes that he dug up that morning.

Lunch wasn’t bad. We went to Eat -N- Park a local chain in Western, PA. I got buffalo chicken mac and cheese. They had one of the better macs as it was creamy and didn’t dry out. After lunch we saw a farmer selling sweet corn out of the back of his truck. I fell in love with this farmer as he was so passionate about his product. It was picked fresh this morning. We all bought some and turned out it was sweeter than sweet.

This is my farm fresh story for now and I will be sticking to it.

Indian Food

Ok, I am officially Indian fooded out! Looking at using Cafe Bombay in Atlanta for my brother’s retreat in August. The food was very good. The thing I don’ t like about the cuisine is it is starchy very starchy. The don’t believe in a good green salad that is for sure. I wasn’t into their soupy pudding desserts either. I had to pass on that. If I eat one more piece of naan bread though I am going to BUST!!

That is my story for now and I am going to be sticking to it.

Food for thought

I love cliche’s. I think it is because on a culinary perspective it opens up  a door for me to do what I want.  Think about it.

Rub it in – for a bbq station

It’s a wrap on the last day of a conference

Sparkling conversations for a starter of champagne or another sparkling drink

Happy endings for dessert

Spicy – for an Asian station

Waffling around – for a dessert that is inspired by waffle cones and waffles. Served with mini squeeze bottles so people could finish it out themselves.

That is what is on my to do list is to design a menu around cliche’s  – The title of the dinner would be called “A Cheeky Affair”

Then when the course is served it would have what the specifics of the dish are – also part of the take home would be pieces from the evening.

A Success in Switzerland

Back home after 10 very productive days in Switzerland.  My aircraft simulation client told me to knock it out of the park and I have done just that for him.  Was busy with two exhibits and 2 VIP dinners.  Was able to go to the Grizzly and eat twice which is an all time favorite in Geneva.  This summer is exceptionally quiet so I guess I am going to be forced to start working on my bucket list projects.

CAE wanted their exhibit to be more technology forward.  We set up a Technology Station that included 2 large monitors that were flush with the wall and obviously wireless keyboard and mouse. Also we purchased 3 iPads that were attached to bistro tables.  I worked with their web division and we designed a microsite that gave people all the information that they needed for the show.  What surprised me is that people really used the iPads. Much more than our competitors because we had them attached to the tables. Our competition had them on stands using their iPads as product descriptions and this way of displaying it wasn’t user friendly as being on a bistro table where you are sitting down and leisurely going through the information. What I learned is ours is definitely the better way to go. I designed their meeting space using glass tables instead of wood grain tables. They actually didn’t get as messy as I thought they would. And I did the meeting rooms in black instead of wood grain. Although the black shows everything it was more technology forward and we were still able to keep it warm through use of lighting.

For their customer dinner I booked a 5 star hotel’s private dining space.

Amuse – since the company is from Canada

Salmon on Bellini & Smoked Duck Breat with Maple Glaze and Mashed Potato in a Shot Glass

Appetizer – Lobster Spaghetti with Lobster Medallions on a Bed of Lobster Hash Sauteed in a Lemon Grass Sauce

Sorbet – Cherry Sorbet

Entree – Filet Mignon with Micro Garden Veggies

Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding on a bed Of Roasted Pineapple Mint Salad

Chocolate and Candies Served with Coffee

 

 

F&B shortfalls? You have options

March 2012 morsel
Plan Your Meetings Magazine
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Loading …Print By Claire R. Gould
Published: March 2, 2012

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Claire R. Gould is the owner of Possibilities Unlimited and Rx for Catering LLC, a full-service culinary and logistics company that works all over the world negotiating and designing menus for meetings and events. Her company has done work for Coca-Cola, IBM, Honeywell and Embraer Executive Jets, among others. Gould teaches and writes about culinary and banquet trends and topics, and publishes a quarterly online newsletter “The Claire Diaries.” Follow her on Twitter @Rx_for_Catering.
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I did some work for a client last month who had a nice-size food & beverage minimum to play with. Or rather I had a rather large-size F&B minimum to play with. We fed and watered the people all day long. All the guests of this high-income group enjoyed themselves very much. No one wanted for anything.

With all of this being said and done, however, at the end of the day WE WERE STILL a couple of thousand dollars short of the minimum. Sally (that’s what we’ll call this client) called me to discuss. She received the invoice and, of course, had to pay the shortfall difference. That wasn’t the issue. The issue is that she was charged tax and service charges on monies that she technically didn’t use. Right or wrong?

You have a couple of options.

This group meets every year at this facility, and the F&B minimum is a nice chunk of change for the day. One option is to pay the extra money and roll it into next year’s contract. If you are a loyal customer, most facilities are willing to do this. Second — and I have done this with many clients — is to make up the difference in alcohol. Even though this is technically in violation of the liquor license, many facilities will do it, and the client will use the bottles of wine to give out to customers throughout the year.

What would you say to Sally in this scenario? She had a lot of coffee breaks on consumption for 800 people throughout the day. She had about 200 no-shows, which must be allowed for in your original figures. We budgeted for the no-shows and that budgeted money is what led to the shortfall.

Back to the original question about tax and service charges on monies not spent. Right or wrong? I don’t have a legal answer on that, and I am investigating. But the correct answer, in my opinion, is that the tax must be paid because the facility is receiving income from you. But nothing was served, so the service charge should be moot.

If any of you find yourselves in this situation make sure you note on the contract that you will pay taxes on attrition but not pay service charges.

That is my story for now, and I am sticking to it.

Join the discussion

Lunch at Wendy’s on Saturday, March 17, 2012

I was at Wendy’s on Saturday and this elderly couple come in to eat. They both had to be in their mid-80’s. The wife say’s I will take my usual and don’t forget my frosty. The husband then proceeds to talk her into trying out a different type of frosty. She says no I want the one I want. He tries again. No go with her. She goes to sit down and he comes back with what he wants her to try instead…. He explains he thinks she will like it – it is good to try something different. I laughed watching this because one side of me thought at her stage of the game let her have what she wants. But the other side of me respected the fact that at his stage of the game he was open to trying something different – the unkown. He loved his wife so much he wanted her to have a different experence and share something new with her. In the end I sided with the sweet old man and give him a bow of respect.

To Charge or Not To Charge

I did some work for a client last month who had a nice size F & B minimium to play with. Or rather I had a rather large size F & B minimium to play with.  We fed and watered the people all day long.  All of the guests of this high income group enjoyed themselves very much and no one wanted for anything. With all of this being said and done WE WERE STILL short a couple of thousand dollars of the minimium at the end of the day. Sally (that is what we will call this client) called me to discuss.  Sally received the invoice and of course she had to pay the  shortfall difference. That wasn’t the issue. What was the issue is that she was charged tax and service charge on monies that she technically didn’t use. Right or Wrong?

Personally, you have a couple of options.  FACT: This group meets every year at this facility and the F & B miimium is a nice chunk of change for this facility for the day.  One direction is to take the extra money pay it and roll it into next years contract is one scenario. If you are a loyal customers most facilities are willing to do that.  Second and I have done this with many clients – is make the difference up in alcohol. Even though TECHNICALLY this is against the liquor liscense they will do it and the client will use the bottles of wine to give out to clients throughout the year.

What do you say to your client in this scenario.  This particular client had a lot of coffee breaks on consumption for 800 people throughout the day. They had approxiamtely 200 people no show so you need to allow for that in the original figures.  We budgeted for the no shows and that budgeted money is what lead to the shortfall.

Back to the original question about tax and service charges on monies not spent.  RIGHT OR WRONG? I don’t have a legal answer on that and am investigating. What I think is the correct answer is tax needs to be paid because facility is receiving income from you so that needs to be taxed. But nothing was served so the service charge should be mute.  If any of you find yourselves in this situation make sure you note on the contract that you will pay taxes on attrition not pay service charge.

That is my story for now and I am sticking to it.

 

My dislike of sandwiches

Went with CL today to review a couple of restaurants that specialize in sandwiches. What I realize is a turkey is turkey.  Other than Jimmy Johns I am not much of a sandwich person.

That’s my story for now and I am going to be sticking to it.

Claire