I’ve written about this subject before and will continue to do so. The topic: banqueting menus and menu descriptions. There’s one hotel chain that does a bang-up job of this, to the point that I want to hit the B*LLSH*T buzzer.
I’m working with one of their properties in Southern California. To describe their sliced fresh fruit, they write “local and inspired fresh fruit.”
Really? What is that? What is “inspired fresh fruit”? I’ll tell you what it is: the same ol’ cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon the rest of the banqueting world serves. But they charge extra because they’ve used the word “inspired.”
So tonight I asked the chef, “What type of local and inspired fresh fruit are you serving? What exactly does an inspired piece of fruit look like? What does it inspire to do or be? I am curious. If my client is paying extra, I, as a buyer, want to understand such inspiration.”
This sweet man stumbles as he explains that the company’s mission is to purchase locally. Which leads me to my next question. “What exactly is your definition of local?” He told me they buy their fruit in California. I explained that the entire state cannot be considered local. And that just because they’re buying local doesn’t mean it’s special, especially in a state that’s loaded with fruit farmers. What makes fruit special are the conditions in which it’s grown.
I do understand that this type of direction comes from the corporate level, and I wish hotel corporate America would cut the crap when it comes to banqueting food and beverage. You’re making your food cost from your $45.00++ per person deli buffet lunches. Why try to continue to suck it out of the buyers?
Here’s another item that was printed on their menus. It’s so poorly written it makes my grammar look professional. (I’m purposely leaving the company name blank.)
Products: Welcome to Blankety Blank! We specialize in growing giving the customer the flavors of food that tastes like you would like to remember it tasting. We only grow vegetables, fruits and other crops that we like the taste of, and use largely Heirloom varieties. Where we use modern varieties, they must give the taste experience of the best Heirlooms. We pride ourselves in delivering quality produce to you and your business. We do not sell the same produce as every other grower…
The banqueting menus never mention which of this farmer’s items are being used. For all I know, these special-tasting Heirloom varieties could appear only on the restaurant menus or not at all.
The point of this rant? Read your banqueting menus very carefully. When you see print that you think isn’t true, call them out on it. I’ve done it before and even got my pricing lowered as a result. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.
That’s my story for now, and I’m sticking to it.