Take 10! CVB Questions - answered by Arlene Sheff, CMP - firstname.lastname@example.org
From the April 25, 2012 Webinar, F&B: Low-Cost Creativity
How do you handle special menu requests such as gluten-free?
· Advise your catering contact that you have special meal requests, such as gluten-free. Request to know what will be served to accommodate the attendee. Depending on the knowledge of your catering contact, you may want to talk directly to the chef.
· It is advisable to give a card to attendee to present to waiter to identify themselves.
What strategies can you suggest to contain coffee service charges?
· Compare ordering methods...by the cup, by the gallon, set price for coffee by the day
· Track coffee usage and only order the amount needed for your group. Discuss with banquet captain when coffee pots can be refilled.
· Consolidate break areas serving coffee. Many coffee station adds to waste.
· When meeting starts, roll away coffee service - saves on coffee and directs attendees to meeting on time.
· Request NO 'to go' cups
Is Chicken/Beef/Fish still the standard to meet a variety of taste buds?
Yes, but chicken, beef or fish can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Discuss preparation choices with your CSM, Catering Manager and/or chef.
What are some popular suggestions for buffet choices?
· Make your own sandwich buffet with soup and salad bar
· Pizza and salad bar
· Mexican buffet
· Hamburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers hot off the grill
· Baked potato bar with hearty soup or chili (preferred by men)
· Duo plate (2 items on one plate, i.e. filet and prawn)
· Comfort foods such as short ribs, meat loaf, lasagna, turkey with all the sides, hearty soups
How can a dessert reception be both elegant AND affordable?
· Have more expensive bite-sized desserts tray passed (Butlered service) and less expensive items on buffet
· Chocolate fountains serve many
· Make your own sundae bar
· Crepe station
· Serve champagne only at the door. Suggest serving alternative of Perrier and/or plain water for those who do not drink. Inside the room, have an International coffee bar with liqueurs.
What are some suggestions for making breakfast more creative?
Serve family style continental breakfast (platters on each round table that are passed around and shared with guests)
Choose from a variety of stations:
· custom pancakes
· waffles with a variety of toppings
· French toast
What are some items that can be ordered to go along with continental breakfast?
· yogurt parfaits
· containers of yogurt on consumption (paying only for what is used)
· smoothie station
· whole fruits that are easy to eat - bananas, grapes and apples
· individual boxes of cereal (purchased on consumption)
· fruit salad instead of sliced fruit
· hard boiled eggs and/or cheese platter (protein)
· breakfast burritos
· breakfast pizza
· scrambled eggs (with shredded cheese and chives on the side)
· breakfast sandwiches, i.e. eggs on English muffins or biscuits
What about making cocktail receptions more affordable without cutting back on quality?
· Tray passed (Butlered) hors d'oeuvres saves on the quantity consumed.
· Distract attention during reception by adding entertainment. Guests will stop eating to watch entertainment.
· Serve items that take longer to eat...chicken satay (on skewer) takes longer to eat than a meatball that might possibly be the same price.
· Only serve beer and wine, instead of full bar
Any suggestions in working with a hotel’s chef/catering person to help cut corners?
· Communicate your budget restrictions and allow the chef to prepare menus for your group.
· Ask what foods are in season during your meeting.
· Regional foods (what a city is known for) can also be cost effective, i.e. Cajun food in New Orleans or BBQ in Texas. Foods produced in the region of the meeting can also be cost effective.
What do you think is the biggest spending mistake made during F&B functions?
· Not knowing the demographics of your group, i.e. age, male/female ratio, where they are from, what time zone they are on, economic level, etc.
· Not communicating properly with the CSM (Convention Service Manager) or Catering Manager to have chef prepare meals within your budget that meet the needs of your group.
· Inaccurate guarantees can waste a lot of money. Track history for your group.