What’s behind the scenes

I live and work in The Distillery District of Toronto. All around me there are events in the making – from weddings to product launches to outdoor artisans’ events and so much more. I watch setup and teardown almost on a daily basis.

For those of us that plan events and conferences, while we know what goes on behind the scenes for us, are we aware and do we appreciate what goes on behind the scenes so our event comes off without a hitch?

What’s behind the scenes: food and beverage at corporate meetings and events
I believe 80 per cent is what happens before the event; 10 per cent is the event, and 10 per cent is the post-event analytics. Let’s take just one facet of almost every event: food and beverage.

I’m the planner, I gather all the information I need to give my guarantees and any special requirements to the chef or catering department. Then, here’s what happens behind the scenes for the food and beverage staff:

  • The chef takes that meal and must ensure the ingredients are all available and fresh
  • That chef must instruct his/her team as to proper preparation and time frames
  • Once that meal is prepared, the serving team must bring it out to the attendees and what is hot must be hot and what is cold must be cold
  • Special meals must be attended to
  • And then the tables need to be cleared
  • All in precision timing with the planner’s schedule and all the events that could be happening in the dining room.
  • Then the catering staff must tally up everything and bill correctly to the planner’s master account.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? What are the glitches that can happen?

  • The planner doesn’t get the meal guarantee and/or the menu to the catering department in a timely manner
  • The number of special meals is increased at the last minute
  • The event is late getting started

I suspect you get the idea. The back end of a meeting/event is a well-oiled wheel, and the orchestra must all play well together – meeting deadlines, communicating and giving feedback.  My event is only as good as the team behind me – the entire team, in this case, from the purchaser of food to the chef, to the servers.

In today’s hurry-up world we all leave things later and that leads to mistakes. Think about what goes on behind the scenes next time you don’t meet a deadline. Here’s to success of teams to ensure success of events.

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