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WHEEL OF BANQUETS
Banquet department as we know is the major revenue producing department in a hotel. 60% of the Food & Beverage revenue comes from Banquet Operations. Banquet Operations need to be very systematic, so as to reduce the complaint level & hence increase guest satisfaction. Every staff in Banquets has to have a sense of guest orientation. Each & every staff should know the importance of pre-empting or anticipating guest needs & giving them the service before they even ask for it. For a Banquet function to be a success, every department of a hotel has to give its support to the operations. The support can be in the form of flower arrangements, fused bulbs, food etc. Banquet department just assembles all these functions & presents it to the guests in a dignified manner. Let us list all department which provide support functions to banquets & how do they provide?
Food & Beverage Production As per the function prospectus received from the Banquet Office, the Kitchen prepares the food, keeping in mind the special instructions from the office & the guest. The function prospectus has all the information regarding the function. Sample enclosed for reference. Kitchen stewarding This department is a part of the Kitchen, but comes directly under the control of the Food & Beverage Manager. The Kitchen Stewarding Manager receives a copy of the function prospectus & starts planning the functions. This department is responsible for giving all equipment like chauffing dishes, special crockery, special cutlery or glassware etc & anything not in the inventory of the Banquets.
In larger hotels, the Stewarding department is supposed to even put in the chairs & tables for the service staff. They are also responsible for the washing & wiping of the hollow ware & flatware.
They are responsible for keeping the areas clean & filling up the fuel for the chauffing dishes. The month end reports are done by the Stewarding department for service. For example – breakage, inventories etc are calculated by the Stewarding & submitted to the Food & Beverage Manager. Housekeeping Besides the normal routine of giving the staff clean & pressed uniforms, the linen room gets a linen requisition for the next days function. This has to be signed by the Banquet Manager & the time for pick up specified. The time is usually the same time as the rest of the outlets pick up linen. After the function is over the linen is counted & again given for wash. This process continues. All departments get a function sheet everyday at about 1800 hrs. The function sheet gives the basic details about the function for example timing, the name of the hall, the nature of
the function, the name of the function as in the function board & the number of guests attending the function. This gives a guideline for the Housekeeping to send staff for cleaning the hall depending on the time the function gets over & the time when the next function starts. This also helps Housekeeping for keeping staff ready for cleaning the toilets during the functions. Housekeeping is also responsible for flower arrangements in the hall. The Banquet Manager sends a requisition to the Housekeeper specifying the type of arrangement required for the function & the time required. Accordingly, the Housekeeper gets the flowers organized. Housekeeper also organizes for special linen & special uniforms for special events after she receives a requisition from the Banquet Manager. In case new linen is required or to be budgeted for, the Housekeeper along with the Food & Beverage Manager plans the colour scheme for napkins, uniforms, linens etc. this might be depending on the halls. This department is also responsible for pest control in the hotel, the timing & the date is coordinated with the HOD & done.
Engineering By looking at the sheet they know, where the function is & which hall needs to be checked for fused bulbs, lose electrical sockets, additional power supply or extension boxes etc. these are all provided by the Maintenance department. The air conditioning requisition is sent by the Banquet Manager specifying the duration it has to be switched on & is accordingly done. Audio/visual requirements are sent to the Maintenance from the Banquet Manager in a printed form, which will specify the nature of equipment required & the time required. In case anything special is required like electrician, recording facility, disco lights etc is all coordinated by this department on the request of the Banquet Manager. Maintenance is responsible for the upkeep of all equipment. The Engineer & Banquet Manager for all the equipment in use work out preventive maintenance schedule.
It is important for all Front Office staff to know what are the functions in the hotel, so that they can guide the guests to the respective halls.
Incase of important telephone calls for the guests the operator knows which hall is the guests attending the function & can put the call through.
Accounts & Food & Beverage Controls After the function is over, the bills have to be sent to Accounts for collection & settlement. This is after the guests sign the bills. In case the guests are not in the credit list the letter from the person who has authorised the credit is attached & sent to Accounts for collection. Controls play a very important part. The function prospectus is sent along with the bills to Accounts & the Kitchen FP also reaches Controls, then the Controller starts to match the bill & the FP just to tally if everything has been charged or no. The Controls & Accounts play a back role to support Banquets or any other Food & Beverage outlet.
Security Security Manager should know about Banquet functions so that he can organise car parking facilities or valet parking in case of full Banqueting. He can pre-empt in case of a problem & post security guards accordingly in consultation with the Banquet Manager. General Manager’s Office & Sales Managers Office The General Manager/Sales Manager should know what functions are on for the next day as he gets direct calls from clients asking for bookings. All these calls cannot be put to the Banquet Manager, but a few important clients have to be handled directly by the General Manager/Sales Manager. Plus the General Managers copy of the function sheet has rates for each function. This will let the General Manager decide whether the rate for a particular function needs to be re-looked into as the company is a future prospective client & may give more business.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONFERENCES & THEIR SETUPS
ROAD SHOW/EXHIBITION This is basically a display of a particular product. This maybe from the same company – different types, for example range of Akai TV’s or maybe different company TV’s displaying their range of products. The set up for all road shows or exhibitions will differ from product to product. In this sort of an event a hall hire is charged to the concerned as guests keep coming & going. Their will be an add in the newspaper regarding the timing of the road show & guests will choose a convenient time to visit. The hotel might organise a coffee tea service for all the guests who come in. For example – 1. An exhibition of sarees will require a platform or a stage in each stall to display the entire saree with lot of spotlights so that the colour is not hidden. They will also require tables behind to store the sarees. One man per counter from the company as a salesman displaying. 2. A computer road show will require stalls as in cubicals with spotlights highlighting the product & a display table with focus light to display the catalogues of the product. They would also require
lot of extension cords to operate the computers & printers & a three phase power supply available at all times. In these sort of road shows no one speaks, but each stall has a salesman who takes care of getting the addresses of the guests who are interested to buy the stuff. These guests are approached at a later date by the company for sales. PRODUCT LAUNCH This type of a function mainly is for company who has just launched a new product in the market. This will mainly consist of a presentation regarding the product to the dealers. May it be a medical product, toothpaste or a computer or a new toffee. The presentation will be done by a single person who knows the product well & is confident of handling the questions which may come up by the dealers. The seating will necessarily be a theatre style with a visual aid. After explaining the product, the product is displayed for the guests to see. Spotlights will highlight the product. The dealers can go see the product & take samples & ask the company representatives questions regarding the product. A cocktail & dinner will follow this. This is a very prestigious function for any company. No compromises are generally made on the quality of the hotel & the food. Usually the best is chosen, as this is a time for the company to create an image about itself. Bigger the product, the bigger the type of function & the greater the product awareness in the market.
SEMINAR These are basically lectures given regarding a subject. After the researchers do research on a particular subject, they present the results & what they have found during the research to the other people in the same field. For example, a seminar on ‘Cancer’ will necessarily have doctors, journalist & druggists attending it. Doctors & druggists for sharing the knowledge & the journalist for bringing it to the rest of the world. This also involves a lot of visual aids & the seating will be either theatre style or classroom style. In this sort of a conference, there will be a panel of guests who will be pioneers in the subject & will sit on a stage waiting to present their papers regarding the subject. Each one of them will present what their views are on the same subject & then answer to the questions asked by the audience.
PRESS MEET This is done if a company is making its shares public or a new company is being launched, so that the press can be called & the vital statistics of the company can be discussed so that the company is projected through newspapers to the public. This is a very good way of advertising. To call the press & let the press spread the word around through newspapers to the other residents of the country. This is a theatre style of seating, but very small gathering. This might involve a visual presentation to the press & followed by question answer session by the press directed to the board of directors of the company. POLITICAL PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION MEET This happens when a parliamentary delegation meets the top officials of a Government concern or of a company. For example – Parliamentary Delegation of Railways will necessarily have the Railway Minister of state & the other Cabinet Ministers & the members working for the railway. They usually meet for a tea meeting or a luncheon meeting. The seating is usually two I shapes facing each other. One I shape for the ministers & the other one for the railways. Each member of the ministry will have a mike & the proceedings will be recorded. It is a very high profile function with name cards for each member present in the I shape. The hotel coordinates with organisers regarding the names & the itenerary of the entire function.
LIST OF ALL POSSIBLE GOOF UPS IN BANQUET FUNCTIONS
CONFERENCE/THEME DINNERS/ COCKTAIL PARTIES Banquet office The Banquet Office takes down the wrong dates at the time of blocking the function. The kitchen is prepared with the food, but since the dates are wrong the next doesn’t turn up. This surely a negligence on the part of the Banquet Office. These mistakes can create a revenue loss for the hotel, an increased food cost & an embarrassment for the guest & the hotel & of course the unorganised way of running Banquet Office Operations. If the Banquet Office for some reasons haven’t confirmed the function through a confirmation letter & they haven’t received any return confirmation letter from the guest confirming the function. Suppose if the number of persons attending the function according to the office are 50, but only 25 turn up, the guest can always say that he never asked for a minimum guarantee of 50 as there is no letter confirming the same. If for some reasons known to the hotel staff only, the Banquet Office shifts the function into another hall & doesn’t keep the guests informed. Even though the hotel does everything to communicate the change in venue to all the guests on arrival, but it is very important for the
hotel to keep the guest informed about the change in venue. If not done, will lead to embarrassment to the host in front of his guests. If the Banquet Office does not fill in the function prospectus in detail & misses out a few important points, the function can go on the course of a failure. The function prospectus is a very important document for the Banquet Office to prepare & for the operation to adhere to. If the company is offered credit by the Banquet Office without cross checking the credit list & its name doesn’t feature in the credit list of the hotel. This can cause a very odd situation to arise for the guest at the time of bill settlement. In such cases, the person who has authorised the credit has to give a letter to the Credit Manager, thus offering the credit facility. The Office has to guide the guests to perfection. They cannot afford to supply wrong information to the guests in the terms of size of the hall, seating capacity, the quality of food. They should also be able to plan menus & educate the guests in case they have a problem in choosing the menu. Due to the slow follow up of the Banquet Office, a particular function gets confirmed very late. Due to shortage of time, the kitchen & the operations might not be in a position to give whatever has been promised to the guests.
Due to the slackness of the Office, the Office forgets to pass on the function prospectus to the kitchen. Though it is in the function list, the FP is ready in the Office, but not sent in time for the Chef to prepare food. Banquet Operation The Manager forgets to take a menu briefing in the morning for the next days functions & the Banquet Office has missed out a few points in the function prospectus to be cleared with the guests which can lead to disaster in the function. The staff comes in late as the result when the guests walk in the hall is not ready as per the specifications of the guests. The frilling of the tables is just being done & there is no proper supervisor manning the hall. The guest always want a supervisor in the hall to handle the function. The banners are not pressed & are not put up as specified, the water is still not poured etc. The hall is locked. This can be very irritating for the guests as this shows that the hotel is no where prepared for the function. The board in the lobby does not have the name of the function. The operations have forgotten to put up the name.
The name of the company is spelt wrongly in the board which can be very irritating & can put off the guest. The audio/visual aids are not checked properly by the Manager/Supervisor & when the guest comes in they don’t work as the quality is bad or the extension cord is missing or the equipment is not what the guest had asked for. This leads to a delay in starting the conference. The Supervisor does not meet the guest on arrival due to some reasons. Therefore he does not check the itinerary of the function, the tea time, lunch time etc. Suddenly the conference breaks off asking for tea & there is an obvious delay as the service staff & the kitchen staff is not ready for the service. This again goes on to irritate the guest. Chef changes the menu on his own without consulting with the Manager or the Banquet Office. The food is not ready in time & the quality of food is not good. The Chef needs to check the quality of food personally while the food is being picked up. Every dish needs to be tasted for quality & presented well. THEME DINNERS
Beside the above factors, in case the theme offered during the time of booking for which the guest pays an extra amount is not as specified during the time of booking. The Banquet operation should know what has been promised to the guest & the office should have a fair idea about the theme. In large hotels, it has been noticed that the Banquet Manager usually handles theme dinner bookings. Another possible goof which could happen is that the entertainers have been told a different time & the function started.
LIST OF ALL POSSIBLE PROBLEMS THAT WOULD OCCUR IN AN INTERDEPARTMENTAL AFFAIR
BEFORE THE FUNCTION STARTS KITCHEN A few ingredients are not available & the dish needs to be changed. The chef hasn’t received the FP.
HOUSEKEEPING The flowers don’t come in time. The hall is not cleaned & the toilets are not opened in time. MAINTENANCE The audio visuals are not working properly. The hall is leaking very badly due to the excessive rains in the city. The air conditioning plant has blown off. The extension cords are not in proper order or are not enough in number. The power supply is not coming in the hall. The dimmers are not working.
FRONT OFFICE Front office has not been informed about the change of venue for the conference. All the guests are diverted into another hall where another conference is scheduled to start. The guest tells Front Office the change in the signboard matter which is not communicated to the Banquet Captain. The guest asks the bellboy to take the stationery up to the hall & he takes it to some other hall. The guest has handed over the banner to Front Office who has not handed it over to the Banquets.
DURING THE FUNCTION KITCHEN The food is not ready in time. The change in time has not been communicated to the Chef by the Banquet staff. The food runs short & a particular dish has to be replaced with another. Delay in picking up the food from the counter. The guest asked for an egg less cake, but Chef has forgotten to pass on this information to the bakery staff. HOUSEKEEPING The napkins for the function are not ready in time. There is a guest who has vomited in the toilet. The Housekeeping hasn’t send anyone to clean the same after getting repeated reminders.
The toilets are not cleaned after every session of service. MAINTENANCE The temperature is too cold in the hall & there is no regulator to control the temperature. The power supply suddenly goes off. The electrician responsible for recording is suddenly missing. The mikes make a cooing sound. Renovation sounds coming from outside the hall, thus disturbing the function. AFTER THE FUNCTION KITCHEN
Banquet Office has sent an amendment form for the reduction of the number of persons for the function. The Chef hasn’t received it. Hence the food has been prepared for the original amount. Thus leading to wastage & increase in food cost. After the function, the guest comments that the food was not up to the mark. The food fell short, one dish was changed. The food is not cleared in time & the waiters are eating food from the buffet. HOUSEKEEPING The napkins are just thrown without making bundles of 10. The tablecloth has been bundled with all the food particles & has been stained very badly. The tablecloth is burnt due to the solid fuel falling on it. The frills are sent for wash as they were dirty but with pins in it.
The Banquet staff forgets to inform the Maintenance that the function is over & the air conditioning has to be switched off. Or it is informed, but the Maintenance staff don’t switch off.
The mikes & the visual aids are not cleared in time. Maintenance staff eating the food remains after the function is over from the buffet. The Manager catches them & raises a bill. SECURITY One of the guests is high on liquor and is misbehaving in the lobby. He is taken into the custody of the Security Officer. There is a theft in the hall & the guest, bring it to the notice of the Duty Manager before leaving. Staff is consuming liquor after the function. The liquor has been given by the guest, but the staff are not supposed to consume it in the hotel premises.
PLANNING FOR A 250 COVER OUTDOOR DINNER
Planning for the function starts 4-5 days in advance. The outdoor site needs to be visited by the Manager & the Captain who will be handling the function. In the site the Manager & the Captain discuss with the guests where the food counters are going to be put & how many numbers. The complete itinerary of the function is written down after consulting with the guest. The menu is discussed again in detail & any changes are incorporated & informed to Chef through an amendment form. The guest is asked important questions like – the entrance & exit gate so that the kitchen etc can be planned out, the water points for the kitchen to be setup & the wash up to be set up.
The seating is discussed with the guest, the position of the bar counter (if cocktails are there) is discussed. The complete plan is finalised. Now the Hotel planning starts. The Manager & the Captain decide exactly on a paper where the bar, buffet counters are to be placed. Where the kitchen is to be placed, where is the stewarding area (preferably near the water inlet) so that washing is not a problem. Ideally the Captain who accompanies for the seeing the site takes care of the function with his team of stewards. The mise-en-place has to reach the outdoor site a day in advance. All orderings are done where necessary. If lights are required, if tables are required, chairs, canopies for the buffet counter & the bar counter, music organised etc.
All contractors are given the outdoor address & are told to report directly at the site at a particular time.
Checklist for the work to be done on the previous day Crockery list to be kept ready. Washed, wiped & stacked in plastic tub & ready to be picked up. Cutlery to be wiped & stacked in tubs. Glassware to be wiped & stacked in glass rack with the list accompanying it so that there is no confusion at the time of pickup. The required tables & chairs if not ordered from the contractor to be kept ready & stacked in the van for transportation. The FP is checked & stewarding is informed to get the ranges, cylinders for the kitchen ready in consultation with the Chef.
The flowers are ordered through Housekeeping for the next day pickup.
The linen is picked up. That is dinner napkins, cocktail napkins, tablecloth & frills. A list is made for the other equipment which are important: Saunf supari tray with tooth pick stand. Salvers & salver mats Water jugs Chef cards & stands Lime cordial/sugar syrup & lime slice in the list but to be picked up the next day & bar mise-en-place. Snack platters Cocktail sticks for snack service Paper napkins Buffet laddles & under liners
Vegetarian & non-vegetarian boards Katories if required Pickle tray Cruet set Salad elevations Board pins for frilling Wine opener & bottle opener Tin opener Salt pepper for the cocktails Canned juices Banquet challan copy with carbon. All the above mise-en-place is kept ready, the items which cannot be picked up this day can be picked up the next day. This means that the outdoor checklist needs to be kept handy till the outdoor is not over. The items are loaded & the van leaves for the setup along with the Captain & the staff designated by the Manager to handle the function.
On reaching the site, the Captain meets the guest & starts to set up the physicals or whatever work can be done on that day. Comes back to the hotel to brief the Manager. In an outdoor the planning is very important part. Every staff should be clear what his job is & the goal of the entire team has to be the same. On the day of the outdoor The checklist is again checked & the items which were missed out are picked up & the staff leave for the site. The setup starts in the site. Every action which is done should have a deadline for the Captain set by himself. He should allocate four boys for the buffet set up. Two boys for the bar set up, two boys for the chairs, snack counter & the back area set up. This covers the entire set up. The Manager comes once during the day to check on the site & the progress in the work. He comes to meet the guest so that the guests gets a sense of satisfaction to know that the Manager himself is taking care of the function & nothing can go wrong.
The Captain calls & tells the Chef, the timing for the food pick up. The Chef prepares the food & organises with the help of the stewarding & the Manager to bring it down to the outdoor pickup area. The service staff waits for the food to arrive & as soon as it does arrive, help the production staff to set up the kitchen. The stewarding sets up the washing area & then a briefing is taken by the Manager & the Captain to tell everyone the flow of service. After the briefing the guest is met by the Manager & the Chef just to tell them that the hotel is ready for service. During the briefing, the Manager allocates the staff on bar counter, bar service, buffet pick up etc. every staff is clear on what jobs are to be performed by him & act accordingly.
The guests start coming in & the service starts. The liquor flows, the snack start. Special attention is given to the host & his important guests. The Manager marks all of them with a waiter to see that they are happy. When the party is in full swing, the Manager checks with the host regarding the timing of the dinner & accordingly, Chef is kept informed. Chef starts the buffet pick up along with the banquet staff, once the buffet is ready, it is informed to the host. The communication with the host is very important. From time to time, the Manager must keep talking to the host to see if anything is required & in case the party is going in the wrong direction. Once the buffet is ready, the Manager checks the buffet & the service starts. The Manager/Captain allocates boys for clearance & water & replenishment. Once everything is over the bar extras are charged to the bill & the challan is raised which the host signs & writes his feedback regarding the quality of Food & Beverage. All the guests leave, the host signs the bills & also leaves.
Now the Captain & the Manager takes a deep briefing to tell the staff about the guest comments & to discuss how the operations can be improved. The staff is allocated duties again for clearance & the clearance procedure starts. Three boys are put on bar clearance, three on food & the rest help Chef to get the food loaded in the van with their equipment. Chef leaves with the left over food & the van is returned back for the rest of the clearance. All the rest of the service equipment are loaded in the van & the Captain goes in for the final check of the place to see if anything has been left out. The stewarding finishes off the washing & the crockery, cutlery is stacked back in tubs. The contractors clear off their stuff in the night itself. On return from the site, the Captain makes the challan into the bill & submits to the night auditor. Writes the feedback in the register for the Food & Beverage Manager to see in the morning.
POSSIBLE DIFFERENT COMPLAINTS WHICH CAN ARISE FROM FOOD PRODUCTION & SERVICE
SERVICE The staff is not very helpful or cordial. They do not have a helping attitude. They are not guest oriented. The body language of the staff is negative. They are not open to suggestions or ideas. The staff doesn’t maintain a sense of hygiene while serving. They have black nails, body ordour, ill fitted & unpressed uniforms, wear too much of jewellery, wear too strong perfumes etc. The sense of understanding the guest is lacking. They do not anticipate guest needs, everything has to be asked for. No care for the guest. Don’t listen attentively, but just react & do the wrong thing.
Listen & don’t react at all. Or take too much of time to react. Never in the hall when required to help out the guest either in re arranging or organising a requirement. Delay in replenishment of food & in tea/coffee service, water etc & the food served was not hot. Delay in doing any kind of errands for the guest, which suggests that the commitment towards the guest is lacking. Changing the venue of the function without informing the guest. Communication gap between the office & the operations for transporting the details of the function. All details not written properly & lots missed out. Bad equipment & bad food quality not liked by guests. Stained tablecloth, torn napkins, wobbly tables, stained chairs, poor hall décor & maintenance etc. Too much of noise from outside the hall. The staff laughing & joking with each other & their voices carrying inside the hall can cause a lot of disturbance to the conference.
PRODUCTION The Chef has not tasted or was not there when the pickup of the food was done for the function & hence the quality of food s not up to the mark. The chef has changed a particular dish at his own discretion without consulting with either the banquet office or the manager if it can be changed. Hence leading to another dish being served which was not asked for. If proper instructions are not followed in the FP for example – the food to be less spicy or oily or food should be without onion & garlic etc. Hair in the food, or a glass piece in the food etc. The food fell short & the dish had to be replaced with another one. This can only happen if the chef hasn’t planned properly for the number of pax expected. The food is not hot enough. This complaint goes to the chef too as he is responsible for the temperature in which it is served to the guest. He has to check once in a while if the fuel is burning & if the food is at right temperature.
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