Last night at one of our events, a very reputable and well-known location ran out of food while serving a family style entrée for 130 guests. Like receiving a swift kick in the stomach, I was first stunned, then speechless, finally incredulous. How on earth could something like this happen here, at one of our events?
As the Captain and Sales Manager both stood in front of me, pale and uncomfortable, I was reminded of the time I caught my daughter making play dough pizza with her best friend on our new carpeting. How and why didn’t really matter and yelling would only make the situation worse. No excuses. No explanations. Just damage control. Another day in the life of a planner.
Luckily, the venue had an in-house restaurant which we raided. Our clients were assured that we were working to replenish the platters as quickly as possible. With a bit of improvisation, everyone was satisfied and we only lost 15 minutes. The venue threw in an hour of overtime by way of an apology in addition to a bill adjustment, and even paid the band for the extra time. While far from perfect, all’s well that ends well, I suppose.
I spent most of today replaying the scenario in my mind, wondering if there was any way we could have foreseen or averted what was clearly a planning disaster. I’m always looking for a lesson to be learned. But the only conclusion I’ve arrived upon (other than that the executive chef should be tarred and feathered) is that planning is an unpredictable science. We can’t control the wind but we can always adjust the sails.
As for the play dough on the carpeting, that’s another story….