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Why Guests Are Vexed and Impatient Over Food at Most Public Events

A serious fight broke out between some ladies at a public event. According to eye witnesses, the fight started following a tensed argument over food at the event. The ladies who were ‘dressed to kill’ in red and white attire – threw punches at each other and dragged themselves by the hair while the fight raged on. Even one of the ladies’ wig was removed in the clash and some who tried to separate the fight, pushed away. Other guests and staff at the event who were left shocked and embarrassed by the fight, later separated the aggrieved ladies.

Food is often one of the largest, if not the largest expenses for most events. As budget continues to shrink and the cost of food continues to rise, our capability to cater and serve our event guests satisfactorily increase our heartbeats. If serving food at events was really about feeding people, it would probably be more cost effective to give guests and attendees cash or vouchers to go across the street to the nearest fast food restaurant. Culturally, some believe that it is shameful for you when your guest goes hungry. However, service styles and strategies play an important role in the success of the event. There have been reported cases of events that turned violent. I’m sure you don’t want people to be stampeded because of food in your event. In fact, it costlier when your guests angrily walk out of the hall due to food matters.

Why food is so tied to events goes back to the basics of hospitality. Events are ultimately about hospitality. If you intentionally make the connection between event planning and hospitality, it’s easy to realize that food service in any event is hospitality. Little wonder in most events, a certain behavioral pattern in many people (irrespective of their social class or status) is usually unmasked whenever they are not served properly, lately or at all. It is a magical psychological consequence. Don’t be so surprised when a respected personality suddenly gets vexed in your event over a trivial issue as food. It’s not often about the meal, it’s more about the hospitality. A meal isn’t just a meal; presentation plays a big role in your guest’s satisfaction with their meal.

Wait, you will be served! Just relax! Go back to your seat! And suddenly the breaking news, Food is finished! Almost all of us have experienced this at one event or the other. It is even more frustrating when one is coming from a far distance. One might argue that this happens only in low class events, but incredibly it can happen to all social class in any event that lacks proper organization.

There are simple basic rules in food service. The decision to offer your guests a sit-down dinner or buffet is not just a matter of preference. Consider the setting of the event and who will be attending. In short, more formal the event, more appropriate a served meal is for the occasion. However, almost everyone would prefer to be served their food as opposed to getting it themselves. This is the most functional, common, economical, controllable and efficient type of service. Table service allows for better conservation between guests and maintains consistent serve times for each individual. This will go a long way to reduce the probability of some guests ‘packing or taking’ more foods. Event guests are averagely cheerful at the beginning of the event, but if not served food towards the end, they could become impatient and sometimes aggressive. Serve them early enough. Don’t wait till they get on their feet towards the serving point. The unexpected might happen.

For table service, the use of trays, disposable gloves and hair restraints are recommended. The wave style of service is a quick, but risky method of serving. Large number of guests can be served very quickly with less labor. However, I suggest that one server should be stationed at every table. This is a very elegant style of service. I call it synchronized service.

If you have a small budget, please don’t be lousy or obsessed to invite more than you can cater for.  Nobody receives an award for hosting the most expensive event. Don’t organize a formal three-course meal if you can’t afford it. Ensure you have enough plates and cutleries for all your event. An unstaffed buffet is a little more work for the organizer but can really help reduce the budget since staffing is a big expense for caterers. Keeping the plates small helps prevent guests from taking more food that they might eat from a buffet. Go as simple as you can.

Adopting these tips will save you a lot. I’m sure you find this helpful. Thank you for reading. Please, drop your comments in the comment box below.

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