A BRUNCH AF­FAIR

Caterer Middle East - - News And Comment - Dun­can Fraser-Smith Dun­can Fraser-Smith is the di­rec­tor — global food & bev­er­age for The First Group who is de­vel­op­ing, cre­at­ing and ex­e­cut­ing more than 30 new con­cepts to site within the com­pany’s ho­tel port­fo­lio. Email him at dun­can. [email protected]

The phe­nom­e­non that is brunch in this part of the world con­tin­ues to amaze me. We are con­tin­u­ally spoilt for choice and the of­fer­ings just go from strength to strength in op­tions, va­ri­ety, and style. In fact, there are so many ways to ex­pe­ri­ence brunch now that it sad­dens me to share one with you that has left a bit­ter taste in my mouth.

I have men­tioned pre­vi­ously, in fact prob­a­bly be­moaned pre­vi­ously, how the ex­cess of huge buf­fet brunches needs to be ad­dressed by the in­dus­try as a whole to min­imise wastage and pro­vide bet­ter ef­fi­cien­cies in brunch op­er­a­tions. I am pleased to say that the emer­gence of a la carte brunch of­fer­ings has done a lot to ad­dress this.

Be­ing pre­sented with an a la carte menu at the be­gin­ning of your brunch ex­pe­ri­ence, where by you can choose your of­fer­ings, and re­peat the or­ders as much as you like en­sures two key things: A mas­sive re­duc­tion in food wastage and freshly pre­pared meals mean­ing higher qual­ity of prod­uct. Re­sult!

Un­til now… I was re­cently ex­posed to a brunch whereby the en­tire restau­rant presents as per above. A la carte menu on the ta­ble, in­clu­sive of bev­er­ages for a fixed price, and a three-hour win­dow of ser­vice. Ideal for a larger group I thought, but no! The menu is a la carte to a point, i.e. the restau­rant de­ter­mines when the food is to be served, not the cus­tomer. What? Yes, you heard me cor­rectly, there are 1015 items on the menu and the restau­rant serves those items to the en­tire din­ing room at tim­ings of its choice. What did this mean for ser­vice? Well given that not all ta­bles ar­rived right on time of open­ing, our first cour­ses were served 40 min­utes af­ter seat­ing in wave ser­vice, like a ban­quet.

There are ob­vi­ous is­sues here such as peo­ple’s di­etary re­quire­ments, mean­ing that a cou­ple of the guests were not able to eat un­til af­ter the sixth course had been served. Sorry guys but in this day and age this is ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able and tak­ing the whole brunch ex­pe­ri­ence to a new level… down­wards.

Surely, we have com­pe­tent chefs and floor staff that can man­age serv­ing 10-15 items in an a la carte fash­ion rather than ban­quet style ta­ble drops? This also, in our case, meant that as this style of ser­vice is not ad­ver­tised, we did not in­form in ad­vance of any di­etary re­quire­ments, hence our guests wait­ing nearly one and a half hours be­fore the freight train of food de­liv­ery came about with some­thing they could eat.

Rant over. We need to re­mem­ber that we are here to pro­vide our cus­tomers and guests with a truly mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence, not dic­tate to them how and when they can eat what they have been promised. How­ever, if you do want to do this make it clear from the out­set please.

Be­cause af­ter all, we all en­joy a good brunch af­fair.

THERE ARE OB­VI­OUS IS­SUES HERE SUCH AS PEO­PLE’S DI­ETARY RE­QUIRE­MENTS, MEAN­ING THAT A COU­PLE OF OUR GUESTS WERE NOT ABLE TO EAT UN­TIL AF­TER THE SIXTH COURSE HAD BEEN SERVED. SORRY GUYS BUT IN THIS DAY AND AGE THIS IS ASBOLUTELY UN­AC­CEPT­ABLE”

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