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Plated Meal with RSVP'd choices - How do I tell who gets what?

post #1 of 6
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I probably sound like a rookie for asking this question but I have been in the food service industry for over 30 years and in my own business for more than 10. Most of my background has been doing corporate events and almost always buffet style but now that I am doing more and more weddings I have been introduced to a new challenge; the plated meal. I am going the route of having the guest make their choice ahead of time and RSVP to the host so I will know how much of each entrée I need to have ready. My big question is though, on event night how do I tell who gets what? Is there some established way of doing this or perhaps some kind of a cool suggestion someone could make that would make this easier for us and for the guests? I hate it when servers "auction off" food and couldn't people just change their mind and screw it all up for me? Any t

post #2 of 6

Each chair  on every table  has a pre assigned number . The server writes on his ticket #1 chicken  2/ 3/ 4 may be beef  5 may be fish  Its servers responsibility to deliver it correctly. Its never foolproof but it works most times after at of practise.

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post #3 of 6

I've had a nightmare or two with that ----we make made cards with the guests name and entree--but the people started shifting the name cards around----big mistake--

 

I tried using different colored napkins on another job---yep--they figured it out and switched napkins.

 

After those two experiences--we never allowed that option---Good luck---I could not find a fail safe method.--Mike---

post #4 of 6

Been there and done that as well.

We used a system that sent a colored ticket to the guest in the mail after they RSVP'ed.

They brought that ticket with them to the event.

Of course that didn't work either as guests would leave them at home as well as change their minds once there anyway.

 

Best course of action for this is once you get your counts add 2% over that to prepare....just in case.....

other than that, I can see no other recourse as the human element gets in the way. Good luck

post #5 of 6

Everything in life and business seems to be a tradeoff. Weddings pay more than most gigs you do,

(except your better corporate events), the trade off is they can be quite the hassle. IMO, trying to keep

it on track with color cards, napkins, special tickets, etc, just seems to encourage "plate swapping". 

I think it calls attention to it, and people love to "beat the system". 

 

A more common  reason it happens--guests see whats being served, either before hand or during

initial service..."Hey Tiffany's looks better than Rodney's, I want what she's having.", or

"Wow that beef looks much better than the chicken." 

 

 So as caterer its up to us to make both entrees equally appealing, both mains, sides, and general

presentation. Which  also makes the initial contracted choices very important. It also never hurts before 

recommending entrees to the client to find out as much as possible about the eating habits of the guest

list, in general.  For instance, are they mostly healthy eaters? This can make a difference if the mains in

mind are say, sole filet with rice, vs swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. :-\

Something else to think about...

 

Also, you may think that being plated service, its a completely different ballgame. Well yes and no.

But people eat what appeals to eyes and mood and nose, and as someone with a lot of buffet experience,

(I'm assuming served buffet, not SIY) you have years of watching how people choose.

Call upon, and trust those instincts. 

 

But the bottom line is, the assumption is always that a professional caterer brings enough food to give

all guests what they want, keeping them happy being paramount. So to that end, its best to use the

"mains count" as a guideline, not a blueprint, figure on overlapping mains by at least 8 to 10 percent,

and of course write that right into your bid. 

 

You didn't specify what type of main dishes you're intending, or number of guests but  law of averages

dictates the smaller the event, the more the swapping will screw you up, due to the smaller volume of

product in the first place. So say, under a hundred or so you need a higher overlap percentage, than

say 400. Percentage, not portions of course. 

 

--Hoping it helped.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeswoods View Post
 

I've had a nightmare or two with that ----we make made cards with the guests name and entree--but the people started shifting the name cards around----big mistake--

 

I tried using different colored napkins on another job---yep--they figured it out and switched napkins.

 

After those two experiences--we never allowed that option---Good luck---I could not find a fail safe method.--Mike---

One thing we have done is different plated wedding favors. Maybe cupcakes in clear box, different colors or bagged cookies different styles.

They won't figure it out. People will change their minds anyway, I would average those into the cost

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