Myself and two staff, 50 guests, corporate golf tournament/Canada Day BBQ at a golf course.Tight timeline for set-up, no problem, not our first hustle. Buffet dinner of salmon, flank steak, Caesar salad, pasta salad, cut melon slices and cookies to open at 6:15. Chips and salsa on each table, bar open and notified guests would arrive in small groups relative to their tee-off times. Tournament prizes to be awarded after dinner, followed by our staff cutting/serving a Canada Day cake provided by client. Running a bit late due to venue not having tables/chairs in place – no big deal. Sorted it out and opened buffet to 20 guests at 6:30. Twenty guests, 20 pieces of salmon and half the beef, gone in the blink of an eye.
Silly me for assuming budget conscious client mentioned to invited guests free dinner was a choice of, not both proteins.Never mind that for the same price of salmon and steak, each and every one of them could stuff their belly with 2 burgers and grilled corn. Nope, they were adamant and customized the menu – 40 salmon fillets, 37 portions of beef (Why 37 is beyond me ) 40 portions of Caesar and pasta salads. This is supposed to feed 50 people? As always, our kitchen sent 4-5 extra goodwill portions of both proteins – drop in the bucket, this was an all you can eat pig fest.
We were in trouble. While not my responsibility to slap buffet hands, disgust left no choice but to shame ignorant second helping morons into waiting until first plates had a run at the buffet. Now client is in my face, angrily demanding to know why we didn’t hold dinner till 7. “We’re going to run out of food!” she shrieks, followed by “everyone is supposed to give you a ticket for choice of salmon or beef”. Excuse me, what ticket? Do you see mention of tickets in your contract because I don’t. Did you tell guests it wasn’t all you can eat? Do they realize how little food you ordered? Is your contract different than mine? Mine clearly states dinner at 6:15 and protein tickets are news to me.
Never mind. Client is beyond reason, demanding a refund, calling me a disgrace for cheating them.In the middle of all this my bartender interrupts – “What’s with these tickets? People keep asking if it’s for a free drink.” OMG! A dozen guests go hungry, not so much as a cookie crumb left on the buffet, time to move on. I suggest we cut their cake.
How I managed to keep it together, calmly saying “don’t think that cake will serve 50” is beyond me. A team of comedy writers couldn’t script a more suitable punchline. Riveted, I watched as client ripped plastic cover off the naked 10 inch angel food cake, stunned by futile attempts to jab a small paper Canadian flag into the hard plastic center.
“Can you buy us a cake? We’ll stall tournament awards while you go for a cake”. Holy crap! How would you like to pay for it? I’ll send my chef for cake when we sort out payment. Client agreed to put cake receipt total on her credit card. Chef made good time, back with what he could find in just over 20 minutes, a smallish slab cake and second small layer cake. Client forgot about the stall. Awards over, only a dozen or so guests remaining. “That’s too much cake, I’m not paying for it” client announces. Oh yes you are!
Happy Canada Day