Author Topic: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?  (Read 19026 times)

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Cami

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #45 on: February 19, 2013, 09:34:00 AM »
I'm from the US and had never heard of an alternate drop, but the whole practice sounds rude to me!  What if I hate the dish I'm given and can't find anyone at the table who wants to trade?
Exactly. I loathe quiche -- it truly makes me gag. I cannot eat it. So what if no one wants to switch with me? Or I was a guest at one of the last tables served and everyone got quiche so no one can switch? I just paid for a meal I cannot eat!  And I sit there watching everyone else eat? That sounds like very rude hosting.

Winterlight

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #46 on: February 19, 2013, 09:38:22 AM »
I think that this was a mistake on the part of the organizers, both in doing Alternate Drop with an unfamiliar audience and by trying to feed half the group a decidedly different dish that would quite likely be seen as inferior.

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lowspark

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2013, 09:40:51 AM »
I agree that it was the organizers who failed here mainly due to the inequality of the dishes but also due to that it seems that the guests didn't understand the rules and the servers didn't follow them.

But wow. The whole alternate drop plan seems doomed to fail. I've never heard of it and hope never to see it. The idea of sitting at a table where others are eating something you want while being stuck with something you don't is just so disheartening.

I've definitely been to dinners where everyone is served the same thing. So if you don't like that, oh well. But at least you're not watching the people on either side of you eat something you would have liked while you're staring down at your plate of something you don't want to eat.

And it's one thing to serve people whatever you want to at a wedding or such, but at a paid dinner? No. Just no. When I pay for my meal, I do not want to be told I can't have what's being served to the person sitting next to me. We either all get the same meal or at least all get the same choices.

bonyk

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #48 on: February 19, 2013, 09:42:06 AM »
I wonder if the organizers didn't even realize it was going to be alternate drop.  Maybe the hall told them it would be BBQ or quiche, and the organizers assumed that people would be able to choose, but the hall assumed they realized it would be an alternate drop.

Zilla

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #49 on: February 19, 2013, 09:46:28 AM »
For a self paid event, I see the alternate drop a miserable failure.  But for an invited event such as a party or wedding, I can see this working to save money for the hostesses and especially if it's a known custom.  You as a guest aren't paying for this meal which is a gift to you.  If you don't wish to risk the alternate drop, then don't attend.  But I actually am okay with the custom if it's known ahead of time.

SamiHami

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #50 on: February 19, 2013, 09:48:00 AM »
The concept of the alternate drop is inherently rude and I hope it doesn't catch on in my area. Those men deserve a refund and an apology

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rose red

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #51 on: February 19, 2013, 09:49:51 AM »
Even for a wedding where I'm not paying, I think it's rude.  I'd rather they serve an inexpensive pasta or rice dish than different meals for different guests.

amylouky

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #52 on: February 19, 2013, 10:19:58 AM »
I'm a little confused on how the alternate drop saves money. I can see where it would be less expensive than having guests order at the dinner (you'd have to have enough to cover everyone wanting the same meal, for example). But, I don't see how it saves money over having guests choose their preference in advance. Unless the point is to have one good meal (aka expensive) and one lesser one? That seems ridiculously rude, why not just have two middle-ground meals?

I agree the OP situation sounds like very poorly thought out planning. I don't think a BBQ plate and quiche are remotely comparable, and I'd be sorely disappointed if I had been stuck with the quiche. And I'm not even an older Australian man.. can't imagine what the planners were thinking offering a vegetarian quiche at all.

Yvaine

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #53 on: February 19, 2013, 10:28:01 AM »
I'm a little confused on how the alternate drop saves money. I can see where it would be less expensive than having guests order at the dinner (you'd have to have enough to cover everyone wanting the same meal, for example). But, I don't see how it saves money over having guests choose their preference in advance. Unless the point is to have one good meal (aka expensive) and one lesser one? That seems ridiculously rude, why not just have two middle-ground meals?

I agree the OP situation sounds like very poorly thought out planning. I don't think a BBQ plate and quiche are remotely comparable, and I'd be sorely disappointed if I had been stuck with the quiche. And I'm not even an older Australian man.. can't imagine what the planners were thinking offering a vegetarian quiche at all.

The bolded is exactly what comes to my mind too. It's a way to look like you're offering an expensive choice while ensuring that no more than half your guests will pick that expensive choice (whereas if you let them choose, let's say 75% might pick the pricier option). It bothers me less if the other dish has "plausible deniability"--i.e. fish might be cheaper than red meat, but some fish is expensive so you never know, and some people genuinely prefer it to red meat no matter the cost, etc. But it's pretty plainly obvious in this case, IMO.

lowspark

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #54 on: February 19, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »
I'm a little confused on how the alternate drop saves money. I can see where it would be less expensive than having guests order at the dinner (you'd have to have enough to cover everyone wanting the same meal, for example). But, I don't see how it saves money over having guests choose their preference in advance. Unless the point is to have one good meal (aka expensive) and one lesser one? That seems ridiculously rude, why not just have two middle-ground meals?

I agree the OP situation sounds like very poorly thought out planning. I don't think a BBQ plate and quiche are remotely comparable, and I'd be sorely disappointed if I had been stuck with the quiche. And I'm not even an older Australian man.. can't imagine what the planners were thinking offering a vegetarian quiche at all.

To the bolded above, yeah. I get wanting to save money to stay within budget. And I also get not giving people a choice, as in, everyone gets chicken. But what I can't wrap my mind around is having two different meals with no choice as to which one you end up with. And whether you can swap or not totally depends on the luck of the draw (other people at your table and their preferences) at best, or at worst, as in the case of the OP's father's dinner, whether you were among the first tables to be served or the last.

In addition, I don't think anyone mentioned this before, but swapping plates around the table strikes me as rather, well, icky. I don't mind swapping with my husband or kids, but but swapping with a stranger who happens to be sitting across the table from me is just weird.

Hmmmmm

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #55 on: February 19, 2013, 11:02:50 AM »
I think the premise on saving money is that the caterer does not have to over-make any of the dinners and avoids waste.  Assume you are at a conference of 100 people and your going to give the dinners an option of beef or seafood.  The caterer would need to be ready to serve 60 to 65 of each of the entrees and also have a few vegetarian meals on hand. So he is really going to have around 130 plates ready.  With the alternate drop, they only make as many meals as guests attending with a few vegetarian options available.  I think what the caterer tried to do here was reduce waste even further by making the second option a vegetarian option.  I bet for this event, if a 100 were attending, he only made maybe 110 or less plates.

Even for weddings where you ask for the meal selection back on the RSVP, some people will forget or change their mind so the caterer still has to plan for some overage.  If 60 people had stated they wanted a beef meal and 40 wanted the seafood, most caterers would have 70 or more beef ready and maybe 45 to 50 of the seafood.


TootsNYC

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #56 on: February 19, 2013, 11:16:58 AM »
I think the organizers are definitely the ones in the wrong here for offering two dishes that weren't even close to comparable. I'm not sure about what could have been done in the middle of the event, but the men who got stuck with the lesser dish certainly have a right to politely complain to the organizers after the fact.

I agree! Serving middle-aged Aussie (or even American!) men a goat-cheese quiche as an alternative to BBQ meat?


jellyjar

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2013, 11:18:00 AM »
Then I think the solution is having the reception/dinner that you can afford.  I would rather off have a cheaper option like chicken and have no choice than alienate my guests/patrons.  I think it comes off making the host looks more miserly to treat their guests unevenly than to just offer what you can afford. 

Mikayla

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2013, 11:42:04 AM »
I'm with those blaming the organizers 100 percent.  Like they say "Don't let your poor planning become my emergency".  I think the men, the waiters and the kitchen folks were reacting to a really bad situation.

If the rationale for this is to save waste, I don't get why they couldn't just put 2 equal type options on the response card and ask the guys what they want.  Then just make a few extras of each in case someone forgets what they ordered.  But, at least from my experience, this doesn't happen often, especially with fish and red meat options.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2013, 11:45:09 AM »
I think the premise on saving money is that the caterer does not have to over-make any of the dinners and avoids waste.  Assume you are at a conference of 100 people and your going to give the dinners an option of beef or seafood.  The caterer would need to be ready to serve 60 to 65 of each of the entrees and also have a few vegetarian meals on hand. So he is really going to have around 130 plates ready.  With the alternate drop, they only make as many meals as guests attending with a few vegetarian options available.  I think what the caterer tried to do here was reduce waste even further by making the second option a vegetarian option.  I bet for this event, if a 100 were attending, he only made maybe 110 or less plates.

Even for weddings where you ask for the meal selection back on the RSVP, some people will forget or change their mind so the caterer still has to plan for some overage.  If 60 people had stated they wanted a beef meal and 40 wanted the seafood, most caterers would have 70 or more beef ready and maybe 45 to 50 of the seafood.

This is exactly it.  A host(ess) can save thousands because the caterer will have less waste than if they allowed people to order at the event or get people to RSVP with their preference.  To those people who say this is rude, it's pretty much expected at Australian weddings and problems mostly arise when the meals are very disparate in value.  If it means that a few guests are disappointed because nobody would swap their beef for a salmon dish, well, it's bound to be fewer disappointments than if everyone was served salmon.


If the rationale for this is to save waste, I don't get why they couldn't just put 2 equal type options on the response card and ask the guys what they want.  Then just make a few extras of each in case someone forgets what they ordered.  But, at least from my experience, this doesn't happen often, especially with fish and red meat options.

According to an Australian wedding site I went to, giving people the option on the RSVP still causes waste because people forget what they ordered or they see the other dish and change their mind on the day.  So caterers still have to risk waste.