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Last night I went to a new non-profit's first benefit.......sometimes you learn from mistakes, last night was a definate learning experience.

PLUS: loads of volunteers....they were workers not slackers but had no guidance

loads of and auction items

free site

Great technology use

Minus: no experience in catered events

no real leader

poor PR, media

I'll set the scene: an event center that has a kitchen that is used to warm.

I showed up early with my 8 year old niece to lend a hand setting up and dropping off the sorghum bars we donated. We were there at 4pm for an event that starts at 6pm
Everyone has left except one of the coordinators and the event spaces' bartender who has not gotten ANY information.

The 25 tables are clothed but not set, the auction area is setup, the bartender is setting up with donated apple cider, beer....has their own wine and booze.

Cost is $25 or $30 at the door. It's a Sat. night.

The coordinator is running out the door to shower and change....across town.

Beka and I start setting the tables, 3 have no chairs.

At 5pm 8 volunteers show up and have no clue what needs to happen. So, I get them to start setting the table. It's a green no input event.

I wanted to preset water but, someone had the bright idea of having every go to the bar for any beverage including water.....(not my event)

Food starts showing up, no one knows what to do with it, nor do they know when food will be served.

107 were expected, they had well over 250.

The signs for donated food had the company's name in 5pt type. NOT COOL

Basically the food committee had asked restaurants to donate food, not specifying amounts and told several they'd pick up the food as it's a Sat. event.

200+ people show up. mill around and look over auction items, cash bar.

Someone had the bright idea to have one large salad bowl, one line, bowl of dressing with ladel and a bowl of parmesan. Basket of bread...... So essentially, the appetizers are delayed the salad goes up at 7pm and next to the bar line is a long slow salad line.

2 8' tables had been setup for 10 large chafers......!!!!!

Dinner plates are now set out for a buffet that does not have fluffy salad in the mix. They seriously run out of food. Send out late in the game to source more from the sister restaurant connected to the site and several pizzas.

Volunteer waitstaff is breaking dishes left and right. It's wild.

The organizers were calm, garcious and apologized all along, which was the saving grace.

Sitting on the outside watching is an interesting place to be.......
For those of you considering starting a catering business, nothing will be more beneficial than working with a caterer for a while. For those of you setting up events, find experience and pay's not as easy as it may look.

Any professionals been to an amatuer event recently, if so what worked/what didn't?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....