In my area, yes, it's common for the basic menu to be announced for a fundraiser. There are a lot of food allergies in my area though, I'll wager that an alternate drop will never take off here in part because of that. If my husband had ended up with a quiche, and eaten it, everyone nearby would have regretted it before dinner was over. On the other hand, most BBQ sauces have gluten in them, and I would have regretted eating in a few hours, so this dinner might have worked *for us* because we could have swapped with each other...but, I would have been peaved to shell out $100 for a quiche.
Another Australian here. Just wanted to post that generally, if you have food allergies or other dietary requirements you can ask to be specially catered to. The alternate drop is meant to give people a choice in what meal they get while managing expenses. It works best when the two (or more) dishes are of equal value or desirability, so that swapping is kept to a minimum and is normally due to taste preferences.
Eg, a quick search online turned up the following:
Main Meal - choose two for alternate drop
Tender Beef Fillet w creamy mash, roasted baby truss tomatoes, baby spinach, sweet potato crisps & a red wine port jus
Basil & Pinenut Atlantic Salmon w a mix of roasted tomatoes, potatoes, spanish onion & a side of broccolini
Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with prosciutto & camembert on a mixed herb risotto w asparagus & lemon cream sauce
Five Spice Pork Cutlet on a bed of rice noodles, seasonal vegetables w asian sauce
Lamb Shanks slow cooked, served on creamy potato mash w rosemary
(Please choose two options for alternate drop)
Herb rubbed chicken supreme set on mushroom polenta, baby leeks w/ thyme jus
Slow Roasted Pork Scotch on pumpkin puree topped with braised red cabbage and jus
Baked South Island Salmon on a saffron and pea risotto finished with a red pepper oil
Seared Angus Fillet set on potato puree with Confit tomatoes with mushroom jus
**Vegetarian option can be arranged if required**
It doesn't normally turn out as badly as the few times the subject has come up on E-hell. Those were exceptions to the rule, because the caterers did something odd (one dish for men, another for women) or because the value or appeal of the two dishes was widely different.
I don't actually like the alternate drop myself, mostly because it has the potential to go really wrong as we can see in this case, but please keep in mind that only the worst examples are being posted here!
As for the OP, I think the rudeness is mostly on whoever picked the menu. Most Aussie men i know might (maybe!) have eaten the quiche for a starter but not as a main! They are lucky there wasn't a riot!