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thoughts on working with event coordinators & professionalism.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I have a small bakery, am very much not a catering company, and have been having some substantial issues with a wedding coordinator. I'm incredibly transparent and straightforward with her. I've repeatedly provided full disclosure as to what I'm capable of doing/providing and what I am not. I'm hoping for a little insight and opinion as to where the culinary professional's responsibilities end and the even coordinator's begin.

 

1. Is it insane to you that an event coordinator has a full voicemail inbox with the number attached to the business? And that she finds it unreasonable if you don't want to coordinate via text message or Facebook, and never responds to emails or phone calls? Because I think that's crazy. Is that crazy?

 

2. Information and details about food for events is often solicited via Facebook message or email, and provided, succinctly, via email, with all information required present in addition to any supplemental details that may be helpful in planning and any questions that I may have about services being provided. These emails are often ignored. I can see that they're read, as sometimes I will receive an email that is Re: [my original topic], but it's only when she's handing out information. She doesn't respond to any of the information contained, or answer any questions therein. I'll send information, she'll not read it, ask for it again, I'll send it, preemptively answering any associated questions I think she may have, and she'll ask them again, after not reading the email. Is it seriously unreasonable to say, in professional dealings, please contact me by business phone or email, not via text message or Facebook? Am I being a fuddy duddy? Am I behind the times? I'm told that I'm the problem because I don't want to resolve event issues using text messaging or Facebook, but I think it's simply good logic to avoid casual, social capacities for important business details.

 

3. There is some ambiguity as to where her responsibilities end and mine begin. Really want hors d'oeuvres made by me for a wedding? Okay. Proposal submitted, accepted by bride and groom, invoice generated, and paid. After the fact: "How are we serving the hors d'oeuvres? Are we doing passed or stationary? Can you stay and pass apps?" Am I nuts to think that's totally unreasonable? After a quote has been provided and paid, to be asked to essentially hang out and waitress for free? And after repeatedly reminding the coordinator that the bakery does not have catering supplies beyond dessert set-ups (i.e., platters for passed apps), to have her call like crazy the day of the wedding to ask if I'm bringing these things and not secure them herself? Is that not just poor planning on her part? Her emergency, not mine? From my perspective, a question like that shouldn't even need to be asked the DAY OF an event like that. That's nuts to me.

 

4. Many other people complain that she is scatter-brained, unprofessional, difficult to work with, doesn't read her emails; when I express to her that she consistently fails in our communication and doesn't read the information she asks for, and that it's not fair to me to ask me to consistently go back and dig up the information I've already provided her, she says that it must be my problem, because no one else has this problem. There's no way to say, "other people feel the same way, they're simply vowing not to work with you again instead of telling you," is there?

 

 

 

Bottom line: Am I being unreasonable to feel as though her last-minute oh-shits have nothing to do with me? And that she needs to take it on herself to make sure her questions are answered and her requested information absorbed prior to the day of an event? Or should I be going further out of my way? At our last wedding, she started taking me to task over her confusion with certain topics, and I was pretty frank-- I told her I'd been emailing her for over a week, repeatedly, and trying to make sure she had all the information she needed, and that to avoid these problems, she needs to be more responsive and on time.

 

Then she cried. Am I an asshole? or does she just suck at her job?

post #2 of 10
I do catering and coordination for events big and small and have si for over 30 years. I'll just jump to your last 2 questions. No you're not an asshole. Yeah she sucks at her job. Another question you should consider is should I work with her? No, you shouldn't.
post #3 of 10

Personally I would bail on her unless you need the revenue. We work with Party Planners and Wedding Coordinators all the time. We have put all our requirements in writing. We also put the requirements for the WC pp's in writing. This is blanket for us and we don't go outside our box. Once you do that it will certainly bite you in the ass.

  Some of our requirements,

The clients tasting and consultation of our product will always be in person with us. At that time we will get with the client, with or without the PP, to discuss all arrangements.

We provide the client with  a few of our requirements page so they have an understanding of what happens from our end. Also they can hand other vendors our requirements.

Our requirements page lists our requirements such as

Cake table dressed 2 hr. before delivery.

We do not work with florists. You will have to discuss and arrange all your flower needs with them. We do not put any fresh flowers on your cake.

The client will usually give them a req sheet so they can coordinate a floral arranger knowing when the cake or desserts are delivered.

Florists were a huge PIA for us in the beginning. Charging the client for putting the flowers on the cake and just leave them in a bucket by the table figuring we would just do it.. Calling last minute to get details. Not dealing with florists at all was the best decision for us. The client just gives them the consultation page, w/sketch and size, and the req page. No one has really bitched to us about it and haven't lost business. 

Most of our cakes are mousse filled, they will be delivered 1 hr. before start time.

. examples of what's on our requirements page yadda, yadda etc.. Things like we do not provide serving trays for desserts. They will be delivered in bulk 2 hrs. before function unless noted other wise on our sheet. We do not provide service. we do not set up the trays, etc.

When we work with WC or PP we insist that our photo and products page, consultation page and our requirements page is in their packet.

So everyone is aware what ours and theirs responsibility is.

 

We used to bitch and moan about WC and PP. When we created this system and WC's got used to it, we have really come to like quite a few of the coordinators. They don't have to worry about the cake or desserts. They know when it's arriving and such. In fact for the last 7-10 yrs.we have been nominated in the top three, Bakery vendors, by AACWP, Dallas Best Lists, D Magazine, the knot, etc.Starting close to 10-11yrs. ago, we have aligned ourselves with quite a few of the top CC , PP's and we have enjoyed great success and revenue.

The WC and PP's find that having our packet and promoting our product is in their best interest because, they know our product, enjoy the feedback, makes them look good, and most of all it cut down all the crazy communication that goes on with other vendors.

HTH's you old fuddy duddy

gosh, what an ahole:D 

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #4 of 10
Its too much to read but yeah some people are dumb.

Just email her and keep to your guns. Refer back to original email, don't write it again. Keep sending same message if she asks same question. Keep it simple, learn to say no, and try not to be rude, its not your fault their waitress bailed. Just say your busy and leave.
post #5 of 10

Ha Ha,  That is why I try to lengthen my posts. So you don't post to disagree with me;) 


Edited by panini - 6/14/15 at 11:59am
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #6 of 10

Stop working with her. She's obviously a walking disaster. Getting her act together is not your responsibility. From now on, any date she asks about has already been booked. 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

@Lagom & @chefwriter 

 

It's a very small town, and she's very well known and popular, which means she's used a lot, which is why I hadn't already stopped doing business with her. But at this juncture, I feel that it's all more grief than the revenue would be worth, and that it's inevitable that I will be made to look bad. 

 

I'd been asking her to meet for a while, because I wanted to address some of these issues before they compounded to become an unsavory exchange, but she is always "too busy." 

 

@chefboyOG 

 

Unfortunately, I already tried exactly what you've described. I can re-send and forward the same information a million times and it makes no difference. She actually said "well, email is unreliable for me, because I get SO MANY emails that by the time I'm going through them, I don't see them all." I'm pretty sure it's not the email that's the factor of unreliability, there.

 

@panini 

 

Ha! I really fear sometimes that I'm not "with it" when I get so irritated with the way "professionals" choose to do things nowadays. I think part of the problem is that so many people are homegrown, now. This WC definitely had zero experience-- she just.. decided that she was popular and liked to throw parties, and started a business.. sort of. 

 

But really, thank you for all of the input. I was already considering some fashion of communication contract, and what you've described sounds like exactly what I need. 

 

Can I ask for a rough idea of exactly how specific you get? For example, this WC will order quiche-cheese-fruit-tartines-and-the-like hors d'oeuvres for a barn wedding in June and have a conniption fit once she's informed that a cool area or refrigeration will be necessary as opposed to setting them out in the heat for two hours. In a barn. In June. Do you specify down to the very last detail, or do you leave it up to them? 

 

I'm used to kitchen politics; I'm used to guest and customer service; I'm used to smiling while I do business with unreasonable people. I'm not used to drawing professional lines in the sand between food production and insane PP with zero background, knowledge, or.. an adult level of cognitive aptitude. I just want to make sure I'm not being a dick. I'm not mean. I'm not a jerk. I just.. my patience has limits.

post #8 of 10

I'm rushed right now but,

for specifics like the heat issue we use the client and consultation sheet as a conduit to the WC. When we are in the tasting consultation my wife will usually try to trouble-shoot ahead of time.

Like the heat thing. We have labeled communication boxes on our consultation sheet. Now I think we're down to a box for WC & PP, Florist, and reception site. As she explains what might occur if there will be no refrigeration, etc. She then notes in the planners box." refrigeration needed on site to hold bakery items." etc. The client gets a copy and we email one to the appropriate vendor.

This increases the consultation time to an hour, but my wife says it's well worth it. She loses more money trying to communicate all these things to WC.and vendors. Kinda like you're going through.

hth's

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alisha Nicole View Post
 

@Lagom & @chefwriter 

 

 But at this juncture, I feel that it's all more grief than the revenue would be worth, and that it's inevitable that I will be made to look bad. 

 

 

You are right on both counts. Follow the others advice and get the details nailed down. Clear communication all around is the best way to avoid stupid problems. Stick to your standards.

     Popular she may be until her poor professionalism becomes enough of an issue for enough people. If you are involved with her at that point, you'll go down with her. It's tough for people to sort out the details in a situation like you've described and they won't take the time anyway. You will both be wrong in the mind of the public. 

From your posts here you seem to be on top of things. Keep it up. Don't allow others to drag you down.  

     And if I may, here's an addendum to Panini's post.  You asked " Do you specify down to the very last detail, or do you leave it up to them?" Always state/write down the obvious. 

It would seem obvious to need refrigerated storage in July in a hot barn. It's obvious to you.  You can safely assume it is NOT obvious to anyone else.  

Here's my obvious story, told to me by an importer friend. 

    After contracting with a foreign company to produce their ceramic coffee cups, every effort was made to communicate the cup details- ounces, color of cup, color and size of handle, points of attachment to the handle, style of the rim, size of the bottom inside diameter and outside diameter. Every detail of the coffee cups was specified and sent to the manufacturer. 

After the coffee cups were produced and shipped to the US, (hundreds of cases) a major problem was noted. The glaze on the cups was for cold beverages only 

No one thought to mention that the Coffee cups would be for Hot liquids. 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

@chefwriter 

 

i agree that her own performance will eventually hurt her business; i may be the first person to be forward with her, but i can't imagine being the last. and i figure, most of her events are for local folks; but city folks also come to our town to host events and weddings, and i anticipate they'll be more experienced and less forgiving.

 

noting that totally ridiculous story about the coffee cups, got it. WCS of over-explaining: a slightly prickly or agitated person on the receiving end at all the profuse detail. WCS scenario of under-explaining: ruined or useless product and a seriously impacted profit margin.

 

i think, because providing for events/catering is so foreign to me, being more used to in-house service, i followed her lead a little naively, and ended up doing more than should've reasonably expected of me without realizing it until things started to get ridiculous and over-complicated; and now she feels as though i'm pulling the rug out from under her, but really, i'm just putting a pin in the bullshit.

 

and thank you @panini for taking the time to provide greater detail even when you're so busy. i really value the input.

 

 

 

 

thank you, everyone. i'll be drafting some very specific and thoughtfully crafted contractual paperwork that should make my professional life much simpler and more straightforward; and i now feel much more confident in my opinions regarding what is appropriate and professional and what is not.

 

 

thanks.

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