Last week was MOA (Missouri Organic Association) conference in Springfield Mo which is 250 miles from here. For many years I've been a supporter, showed up to help whomever is dealing with the food.
Last year a friend who owns a restaurant catered the 2 day event and had serious issues with timing....getting food to the event on time....as in entree showing up an hour after it was supposed to, with the legs of lamb not cut off the bone when it arrived....timing is typically where a restaurant guy falls down when trying to cater offsite.
This year I offered to be the intermediary between the Ramada Inn conference center and the farmers donating food. TRAIN WRECK....seriously it was a friggin' train wreck.
The exec over 5 properties went MIA until 5 days out, the girl in charge of booking the party was seriously cooking inept, the conference head thought that Ramada was fine dining and surely that means they can develop menus/recipes with whatever shows up.
Meanwhile I'm just shooting for damage control and to make sure there's enough for the higher than normal % of vegetarians. Wed after begging for the chef to call to work out a final menu with the copious quantities of great MO organic food being donated, staying within a nominal budget, one shows up in my email at 6pm that's a lame joke.
Thursday morning, the first day of the conference I'm sitting in a meeting with head of catering, booking catering girl, exec chef....hammering out a menu.
AAAAARGH.........it would have been so much easier to just make the food myself....250 miles away....really, comeon.
They just are not used to various farmers dropping off food....sysco typically takes care of their needs.
The catering girl actually sent me recipes using Organic whole chickens, miracle whip, grapes, dried parsley!!!! Seriously, is anyone home?
When booking the 3 day conference, the hotel staff promised that they'd be more than happy to work with local organic food, shoot they'd consider it a challenge. Then it became evident to me that food donations were seen as cutting into their profit margin...that it was more important to get that $$$pp each meal than have thousands of dollars in premium product that would need more prep time show up.
Those of you who have worked for corporate event centers and have experience with groups donating product (that needs more effort) what OP works best for you?