Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest post: A Day in the Life of a Banquet Manager

Today's quest post comes from The Banquet Manager. If you'd like to join the guest post queue, please email me at slightlycranky at hotmail.com.

The corporate group was not supposed to arrive until late Sunday night so they weren’t expected to want access to any of the meeting rooms until early Monday morning. I knew better, so I scheduled my houseman supervisor and 2 other housemen to be there until 11pm “just in case”.
Well what do you think happened?
Of course 6 “meeting planners” for a 70 person group arrived around 8:30pm Sunday and wanted to inspect the rooms (1 general session and 5 breakout rooms). One person was the main contact, 2 people where there for the F&B, 2 for the sleeping rooms and the last was here just to supervise the transportation.
Just another day in paradise!
All the meeting rooms & a/v were fully setup as per the BEO and spotless in condition. All should be fine, right? WRONG!
We set the room crescent rounds of 6 people each facing the long wall (since there were 2 screens & 2 projectors) but they wanted it facing the short wall. Also, they wanted a stage with a panel seating for 6 people in between the screens. My supervisor told them that this would make the room too long for 12 tables with the front tables around 16 ft from the screen and the rear tables too far back.
But what do we know I guess? So my staff changed the setup to accommodate their wishes and got ready for Monday.
Guess what happened? The last row of tables complained all morning that they were too far from the screen and couldn’t see the bottom information. So during their lunch break, we removed some tables, made the others crescents of 7 people each and tightened them up closer to the screen. As a matter of fact, this setup is exactly what I recommended to the sales manager and group contact during the pre-con meeting the week before!
But again, what do we know!
The other screw-ups:
The kitchen didn’t schedule 2 people for the carving and pasta stations for their Tuesday night dinner so I needed to scramble to get extra waiters in to handle this. I charged it off to the kitchen of course.
Our purchasing manager never ordered the 3 kosher meals for Monday’s lunch. So guess who made a mad dash out to the store around 10:30am that day?
The usual problem with a few sleeping rooms not being the type that was requested (Jr suite vs. dbl). This drove their rooms planner bonkers!
We had the same starch and veggies for Thursday and Friday’s lunch. As usual, the kitchen couldn’t keep it straight for 5 days in a row!
A few late deliveries, some a/v problems, banquet checks having to be redone a thousand times, a thousand and one time changes, and a couple of dirty bathrooms rounded out the week.
But guess what? Banquets ROCKED!
Well I kind of cheated. I learned from the past that you need to take extra precautions when you have a group that is looking for an excuse to get a discount. This makes the meeting planners look good when they can get the clients bill reduced. How else can they justify their existence?
I brought all my waiters in a little early the entire week, had extra housemen on to refresh the rooms and I was on top of the kitchen all week.
I refuse to fail…
P.S. I priced-out the extra labor cost I incurred to make sure the group went off as planned and gave a copy to the Dir of Sales, Dir of F&B, and the GM. If Sales wants to book events like this then all involved must know that it costs extra and this takes away from our bottom line. I’ll try to get it charged back to Sales but I know it won’t happen.
Other than that, I’m very happy with my staff. They did all that was expected of them and more. Another day in paradise.
I guess my job is safe for another day…


DMT said...

Can you please come and be my boss because my boss's idea of a good end result is make himself look good in the eyes of accounts by cutting costs through cutting corners and under-staffing leading to customer dissatisfaction and a pain in the ass for those of us who have to deal with them.

Kara Hoag said...

I love it that you always give credit to everyone involved when you post. I'm glad the week turned out well.

visions unto myself