It’s a phrase that one of my first bosses used to say to me and it’s forever stuck in my head – and I think it’s a wonderful approach to take in life in general. Think about how it applies to our sales and catering world..
Many times we become hung up on the little things in our day-to-day work that frustrate us or impede our performance. But how often do we actually sit do and determine a solution? It really is so much easier (and quicker) to just complain to colleagues about a problem than it is to fix it.
The speed of printing banquet event orders has been a major issue for my catering team. For some technical reason which I am unable to fathom, printing (or emailing) more than 5 BEO’s at once seems to take a long time at my hotel, with the worst part being that it locks up our computers through the printing process. The IT team is involved and is ‘working on it’, but in the meantime everyone has been losing productivity and complaining.
The problem is that everyone has just been focused on one solution – and that is that IT will fix our computers ASAP and return the printing speed to an acceptable level. While waiting for the solution everyone complains and the printing issue is now the go-to excuse for any other task not being completed! Sound familiar?
So it was time for us to do a reality check. The reality is that the printing problem is a problem that is not going away for us right this moment so it was time for us to deal with it and find an alternative solution.
“Oh but finding an alternative solution is so much harder than just complaining – can’t I just continue to complain instead?”
The solution in our case was pretty easy. We located a workstation that was not being used each day (as there is pretty much always someone out of the office on sales calls) and made that the printing/emailing BEOs workstation. So until IT gets our problem fixed, whenever we want to print BEOs we go to the other workstation and start the print job and then head back to our normal workstations. Is the solution ideal? No. But is the solution better than sitting and staring at a frozen PC for 5-10 minutes? Absolutely!
I know this seems pretty basic but the point is simple. Instead of focusing on the problem all the time, we should be focusing on ALL the possible solutions. We ask this of our clients all the time when we ask them to shift their dates, move function rooms etc so we need to use our collective minds a little more and focus on solutions – not problems!
I think it’s fairly safe to say that typing up Banquet Event Orders is probably the single most time consuming task for any Catering Sales Manager, Convention Services Manager etc. After years of doing the job, many of us have our little routine and believe that we are fast as possible in doing the BEO’s, but I think it’s worth revisiting processes every now and then to see if there really is an easier way…
Are you copying old BEO’s as much as you could?
We all love repeat bookings because (among many other sales reasons) they offer the opportunity to copy last time’s BEO’s. Crafty meeting planners often suggest copying last year’s BEO’s because they know that there is an increased chance that when we do this that we will forget to change the menu prices on the BEO – which probably have gone up since last year’s event! So a little piece of advice – ALWAYS print up a copy of any BEO you are sending to your client and look it over before you email it out. You are far more likely to catch any errors that way. I personally prefer the method of having a buddy in the office that you swap BEO’s with before sending to your clients as it’s much easier to catch other people’s mistakes. Its one thing to leave the flip chart off of the BEO, but it’s another thing altogether to charge last year’s prices for the coffee!
Ok, so repeat bookings are the obvious chance for saving time through copying BEO’s. But have you ever considered creating template bookings in your system with template BEO’s purely for the purpose of copying to new events?
Think about how many of your events end up looking so similar to each other. Consider weddings. A wedding BEO is probably the most detailed BEO that is prepared, yet most wedding BEOs contain pretty much the same information. I suggest creating a template Wedding booking, with a template Wedding BEO. Spend quite a lot of time putting this template wedding BEO together as its going to become your standard for all future weddings. So put insert all your standard setup information, and include items like ‘Flowers being provided by:…’ and ‘Napkin Fold:..’ – leaving space to fill in the blanks when you are working on a specific wedding. From this point forward, for every new wedding you work with the first thing you will do is copy over the template BEO and from then just filling in all the blank spaces.
Once you have copied over the template BEO to the wedding you are working on you can print it up and take it to your meetings/tastings with the Bride so that it’s a pretty easy worksheet/checklist. Never again will you leave your menu tasting and realize that you forgot to ask the bride which color table linens she wants!
The other advantage for using a template BEO for weddings is that it creates consistency for all future weddings. Obviously consistency makes it much easier for the Banquets team.
Now think about what other events you could create template BEOs for. If you do a lot of day meetings that are set u-shape, with a projector, water station, AM and PM breaks etc – then go ahead and create a template BEO for day meetings. Same would apply for Bar mitzvahs, Breakout meetings, Holiday Parties – any area that you see a trend.
So let’s be clear – a template BEO:
· Saves time
· Creates consistency
· Decreases the likelihood that you will forget something
· Makes it easier to provide more detail
Seems like a no-brainer right?!