Recently (October) our hospitality group, Madmoxie Hospitality, did an incredible event at Wagner Farms. It was our first event and we learned a lot. Heres a couple of things I learned personally and hopefully, you can also learn for your next big event.
First of all, Go small on your first solo event. We did not. When you are used to making food for anywhere from 100-600 people in a professional kitchen, you can get a little cocky about what’s “easy” and how much manpower you actually need.
We decided to feed around 140 people, we ended up feeding 100 people, and it was a struggle. I’m not going to lie, we struggled, man. people kept popping in to say hi, which was great, but we had so much going on and I could see the confusion in their eyes when they walked back into the kitchen area as a chubby bearded man tried to make polite conversation while manhandling food, gently cussing at himself, and crying, which is fine because the rain covered up most of the pain.
Next Lesson, the weather hates you and doesn’t give a shit about your plans. The entire week of our event it was surprisingly warm a dry. The days leading up to, and immediately after were some of the nicest days in October. But our day? The day we had worked on and obsessed over for over three months, The day we rented a tent for, just in case of rain? the day we thought we had covered no matter what? Well, that day was the hardest rain of the entire summer.
our tent got swamped out, our grill was on the verge of waterlogging for hours, It was almost a full-time job just to keep it going, and, AND, in order to man the grill, you had to stand in what felt like a waterfall. AND two people that were supposed to show up didn’t.
Make sure that you have a backup for people not showing up. Make sure that you have over prepared for the number of hands you need. Make sure that you’re not relying on the lovely volunteers to help in your time of need. (although they did help and I love them more each day.)
When doing a shared plate dinner, don’t rely on people to actually share. This was probably the most learning I did that night. People came starving, and the first couple of courses were smaller shared plates, and the later dishes were huge. People didn’t understand what was happening, and they tried to eat as much as possible, leaving other guests without any food. Thankfully we over-prepped and had plenty for everyone. so this for me was a great lesson in portion size, and more importantly, portion control.
Controlling the guests’ portion is king. Making sure that they know what to eat and how much is even more king (the kingliest king…Kingking).
When everything is said and done, the event went great. Everyone left happy and full and we got some glowing reviews! I got to hold a chicken, we met some incredible people, and even with all of our hardships, it was easily one of the best days I had in 2017. It’s incredible how much more I know about hospitality and planning because of this one event, and Honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.