Author Topic: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?  (Read 16919 times)

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misha412

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #75 on: February 19, 2013, 02:21:23 PM »
I will say I have heard of this concept, but never really understood it or experienced it. Now that I understand it, I can say that I hope it does not become a regular practice in the U.S.

I think the biggest problem from the O.P. was the fact that the two choices were so different and not of similar content. The organizers might have thought that saving money on a vegetarian quiche was a smart business move, but it was a stupid one.

Who serves a room full of men quiche unless it was a convention of lacto-ovo-vegetarians????  :o

There may be a few in the crowd who would prefer it, but I can say with some conviction that at least 80-90 percent would overwhelmingly prefer the BBQ. Even as a woman, I would say the only choice for me would be the BBQ as I cannot stand quiche's texture or flavor.

As far as etiquette, I think the event organizers were rude for not thinking about the event's guests in a realistic manner. The men at the first tables were rude for demanding the BBQ when it was obviously an alternate drop situation. The servers were rude for giving into those demands at the expense of tables not yet served.

gramma dishes

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #76 on: February 19, 2013, 02:22:28 PM »
I don't see how it could ever work!  It definitely gives guests the impression of being on the A-list or the B-list with some people getting gold nuggets and other people getting sludge. 

I think it's incredibly offensive and can't imagine what was going through the planners' minds when they conceived this idea in the first place.  Really.  What did they think was going to happen?

P.S.  I'm guessing all the "planners" got beef!    ;D

Cami

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #77 on: February 19, 2013, 02:31:37 PM »


Cami since you are currently in the business, who do you track who gets which entree for 100 plus guests?  Do you also require assigned seating?

No assigned seating. Not necessary as it's really NOT a problem to have guests chose their meals ahead of time.

The SOP with big events is that each guest gets a ticket that they place above their plate on the table.

At corporate/organizational events, I have the name of the  meal chosen on the ticket and each option gets a different color to make it easier for the server. So for example, I have an event coming up with three options that for ease of description, I'll call meat, gluten-free and vegetarian. The meat ticket will be red with the word "MEAT" on it, the blue ticket will have "GF" on it and the green ticket will have "VEG" on it. The guest just puts the ticket on the table.  Sometimes I've also had a colored sticker that affixes to their name tag.  Iin either case, the servers make a count of the entree types per table as they are doing the salad serving and are then prepared to serve the table. I do not allow them to serve all of the meat first, then the veggie, then the GF; all of the table must be served at once.

At weddings, the place card will have some sort of label/flower/trinket indicating which kind of meal. I had a client request that each guest get a colored ribbon which was tied to the back of their chair, but I don't recommend that as often the guest did not tie the ribbon securely enough and the ribbons fell off.

This service is not a logistical nightmare. Far from it. Yes, it does require some planning. A very modest bit of planning and effort. To be honest, the indication of food choices is probably the easiest thing I do as an event planner. It's a matter of asking for the information, collecting it and then telling the caterer, "X Meat, X Veggie, X GF". Not hard, not a nightmare.  I really don't know how guesstimating would be easier as you'd end up with unhappy people at/after the meal that you'd have to refund and pacify. Guesstimating would certainly would NOT be better because providing people with food they do not want is the worst sort of non-hospitality.  I'd say that if a host is not willing to plan an event so that guests get served efficiently and have food they actually want to eat (especially if they've paid for it), then one  should not be hosting an event.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 02:49:07 PM by Cami »

Iris

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #78 on: February 19, 2013, 03:11:45 PM »
I don't see how it could ever work!  It definitely gives guests the impression of being on the A-list or the B-list with some people getting gold nuggets and other people getting sludge. 

I think it's incredibly offensive and can't imagine what was going through the planners' minds when they conceived this idea in the first place.  Really.  What did they think was going to happen?

P.S.  I'm guessing all the "planners" got beef!    ;D

Honestly, I''ve been to about a million (give or take) weddings that use the alternate drop and it works fine. l think this thread is giving people the wrong idea because this instance is an extremely bad example of the alternate drop. It is important to understand that as a general rule meals at an alternate drop are equivalent meals in the sense that were you to order them in a restaurant, they would cost about the same amount. It's extremely rare to have one meal favoured over the other like this. Add in that most alternate drop weddings also tend to have "and guest" invitations and you can usually sort things out to everyone's satisfaction with little drama.

As I said earlier, my bet is that the planning went something like this:

*caterer has menus A , B and C
*dinner has budget for menu B
*Jim Jones on the organising committee really really wants the bbq plate from menu A but they can't afford that.
*jim is a persuasive person who convinces the other committee members to team the bbq plate from menu A with the quiche from menu C

My only alternate solution is that someone vaguely said "well we should probably have a vegetarian option. Some people are vegetarians."
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

Amanita

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #79 on: February 19, 2013, 03:28:15 PM »
Count me in as another one who hopes that "alternate drop" NEVER becomes common practice here!
I'm a somewhat picky eater, and I hate being at the mercy of "random" situations like this.
I've tried quiche before- my home ec teacher made some mini quiches, and the ones with ham or mushrooms were tasty. But would I want a whole serving? It might be overwhelming, too rich. And that's the meat or mushrooms, that I happen to like. Vegetarian, not so much. And any time you offer me a choice between that and BBQ, the BBQ is going to win, hands down.
Even a more equitable choice- salmon vs BBQ, I'm not going to be happy if I get the salmon. Because I just don't like cooked salmon- I like it in sushi, where its texture and flavor are different. But cooked, it's entirely different.

I guess a good example would be some of the meals my family has had- when we all had BBQ chicken, that was fine, as I like BBQ chicken, and we were all eating the same thing, with nothing to compare it to. But sometimes my dad would cook himself a steak or pork chop instead, because he didn't like chicken as much. And all of a sudden, my chicken didn't look as good by comparison- I'd rather have been eating the steak.

I'll also second what somebody said about the power dynamics and swapping meals if you get something you don't like. In theory, it's always easy to say "Just swap with somebody" or "If somebody asks you to swap and you don't wanna, you can say no..no is a complete sentance..bla bla bla"
The reality can be different. Sure, Bob may not get fired outright if he doesn't give up his BBQ plate to his boss. But the boss might still hold a grudge that might cause other problems. A child pressured to give something up for another family member is probably going to get heck for it later if they don't.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:30:16 PM by Amanita »

Dorrie78

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #80 on: February 19, 2013, 03:31:10 PM »
I don't see how it could ever work!  It definitely gives guests the impression of being on the A-list or the B-list with some people getting gold nuggets and other people getting sludge. 

I think it's incredibly offensive and can't imagine what was going through the planners' minds when they conceived this idea in the first place.  Really.  What did they think was going to happen?

P.S.  I'm guessing all the "planners" got beef!    ;D

Honestly, I''ve been to about a million (give or take) weddings that use the alternate drop and it works fine. l think this thread is giving people the wrong idea because this instance is an extremely bad example of the alternate drop. It is important to understand that as a general rule meals at an alternate drop are equivalent meals in the sense that were you to order them in a restaurant, they would cost about the same amount. It's extremely rare to have one meal favoured over the other like this. Add in that most alternate drop weddings also tend to have "and guest" invitations and you can usually sort things out to everyone's satisfaction with little drama.

As I said earlier, my bet is that the planning went something like this:

*caterer has menus A , B and C
*dinner has budget for menu B
*Jim Jones on the organising committee really really wants the bbq plate from menu A but they can't afford that.
*jim is a persuasive person who convinces the other committee members to team the bbq plate from menu A with the quiche from menu C

My only alternate solution is that someone vaguely said "well we should probably have a vegetarian option. Some people are vegetarians."
What I don't get is that the attendees paid $100 to attend this dinner. I can see your above scenario in a wedding, but this is a meal that people paid for individually.

If I were at an alternate drop dinner for which I paid $100 and other people got a plate of BBQ meats and I got a slice of goat cheese quiche, I really do think I would have to excuse myself from the room and cry in the bathroom. It would be so completely unfair. And I loathe and detest eggs. I mean with a burning passion. The smell makes me sick and the texture is nauseating.

I desperately hope this terrible idea doesn't catch on in the US.

Iris

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #81 on: February 19, 2013, 03:43:57 PM »
I don't see how it could ever work!  It definitely gives guests the impression of being on the A-list or the B-list with some people getting gold nuggets and other people getting sludge. 

I think it's incredibly offensive and can't imagine what was going through the planners' minds when they conceived this idea in the first place.  Really.  What did they think was going to happen?

P.S.  I'm guessing all the "planners" got beef!    ;D

Honestly, I''ve been to about a million (give or take) weddings that use the alternate drop and it works fine. l think this thread is giving people the wrong idea because this instance is an extremely bad example of the alternate drop. It is important to understand that as a general rule meals at an alternate drop are equivalent meals in the sense that were you to order them in a restaurant, they would cost about the same amount. It's extremely rare to have one meal favoured over the other like this. Add in that most alternate drop weddings also tend to have "and guest" invitations and you can usually sort things out to everyone's satisfaction with little drama.

As I said earlier, my bet is that the planning went something like this:

*caterer has menus A , B and C
*dinner has budget for menu B
*Jim Jones on the organising committee really really wants the bbq plate from menu A but they can't afford that.
*jim is a persuasive person who convinces the other committee members to team the bbq plate from menu A with the quiche from menu C

My only alternate solution is that someone vaguely said "well we should probably have a vegetarian option. Some people are vegetarians."
What I don't get is that the attendees paid $100 to attend this dinner. I can see your above scenario in a wedding, but this is a meal that people paid for individually.

If I were at an alternate drop dinner for which I paid $100 and other people got a plate of BBQ meats and I got a slice of goat cheese quiche, I really do think I would have to excuse myself from the room and cry in the bathroom. It would be so completely unfair. And I loathe and detest eggs. I mean with a burning passion. The smell makes me sick and the texture is nauseating.

I desperately hope this terrible idea doesn't catch on in the US.

I agree wholeheartedly that this is a terrible and awful and rude example of the alternate drop. Frankly I would be miffed that there was an alternate drop at ALL at an event I paid for. I was moved to defend the alternate drop in general though because honestly at a wedding and with comparable meals it is very rarely an issue at all.

I didn't have an alternate drop at my wedding, but my brother did at his very lovely wedding and I don't even remember what I ate to be honest. I DO remember my cousin-in-law who whinged because the first course was a (very nice) soup and "men don't eat soup"  ::)
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

guihong

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #82 on: February 19, 2013, 03:48:57 PM »
I ran this by DH (we're in the US).  He wanted to know if the people attending and paying $100 knew it was going to be alternate drop, and what the entrees would be.  In other words, since he doesn't eat quiche, he would tell whoever was sending him that for $100, he was darn well going to get something he could eat or he would not attend, period.   

A wedding, where the B&G are paying, is different.  There, if you can't get anything, you say "oh well" and get hamburgers afterwards. 



Venus193

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #83 on: February 19, 2013, 03:50:10 PM »
Quote
I DO remember my cousin-in-law who whinged because the first course was a (very nice) soup and "men don't eat soup"

Somebody tell Campbell's that.

Seriously, though, I hope the Alternate Drop idea never catches on here.  Either serve the same thing to everyone or let the guests choose in advance when they RSVP. 

rose red

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #84 on: February 19, 2013, 04:00:18 PM »
For parties and weddings, it's not even the price.  I would rather end up with inexpensive chicken than shrimp or steak (two foods that I don't eat).  How uncomfortable for a table of strangers eyeing each others plates?  I seriously can't imagine asking a stranger to exchange plates with me, and even if I'm so bold, what if nobody wants to change with me?

Oh sure, I may end up with shrimp anyway if that's all they serve, but that doesn't feel as bad.

Dorrie78

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #85 on: February 19, 2013, 04:10:01 PM »
It would definitely not be as bad if everyone was served the slice of quiche. I mean, I would think I was getting ripped off for having to pay $100, but if everyone is served the same thing, it would just turn it into a trip out for a burger later, a funny story to tell friends and a personal vow to never participate in a dinner put on by these organizers again.

I've been to plenty of banquets and events where I hated the main dish and couldn't eat it. I just picked around, ate the starch, salad, an extra roll and called it a day. It's this idea that half of the people got something so much better than me that I would find intolerable.


jedikaiti

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #86 on: February 19, 2013, 05:24:17 PM »
I ran this by DH (we're in the US).  He wanted to know if the people attending and paying $100 knew it was going to be alternate drop, and what the entrees would be.  In other words, since he doesn't eat quiche, he would tell whoever was sending him that for $100, he was darn well going to get something he could eat or he would not attend, period.   

A wedding, where the B&G are paying, is different.  There, if you can't get anything, you say "oh well" and get hamburgers afterwards.

I believe OP posted earlier that the invites said "Menu A or Menu B", leading most of the attendees to believe they'd get a choice at the dinner, only to find out when the food was served that it was Alternate Drop.

Since it seems this was a crowd generally unfamiliar with Alternate Drop, I think they get a pass on the rudeness of requesting the other dish from the wait staff - unless, of course, an individual made their request rudely.

The wait staff was at least horribly clueless in giving in to such requests - possibly rude, but I'll err on the side of kindness and assume they were just clueless. Either they were inexperienced enough to not know what the deal was, or they didn't realize that there were only so many dishes of each and that people at the end would be stuck, or they were trained to be spineless. Who knows.

The organizers, however, need a big ol' whack with a Clue By Four for thinking that doing Alternate Drop with such disparate options was in any way a good idea, especially with a crowd both unfamiliar with the practice and highly likely to heavily favor one option over the other? It's like offering steak and fancy potatoes or a veggie burger and fries at a cattle ranchers convention!

I have to wonder if the sponsoring group didn't contract out the organization of the event, so those arranging the catering incorrectly assumed that there would be a number of people who were vegetarian or otherwise not interested in BBQ? (Even then, the organizer committed the faux pas of not familiarizing themselves with the target audience!)

Any word on the organizers making amends to those stuck with quiche?
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Sootikin

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #87 on: February 19, 2013, 06:00:09 PM »
We do not have the Alternative Drop this side of the Tasman, although I have heard rumours that it was once experienced at a wedding and  has never been repeated.
I experienced the drop last year, when there was a table of Kiwi's at a very prestigious conference in Brisbane.  We sat and looked on in amazement at the Conference Dinner ( which had a very heft price tag) when there was half of us served fish and the other half beef.  Most of the fish people refused to accept their dish and the waitstaff were nonplussed. 
In the end to avoid an international incident we managed to come to an arrangement with empty plates provided and dividing portions in half. The Australians could not understand our concerns about the unfairness of the drop.  And let me not tell you about ire raised around the dessert.

The whole table  were all united in our determination to prevent this vile method from entering the country.

Too late! The alternate drop has thrived in NZ since at least the 70s :)

amandaelizabeth

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #88 on: February 19, 2013, 07:42:34 PM »
Ye Gods, where?  People should be warned. 

LifeOnPluto

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #89 on: February 19, 2013, 09:29:26 PM »
OP here. Just wanted to clarify a couple of things.

Firstly, the $100 ticket price covered the venue hire (it was at a fancy hotel), a Guest Speaker, a 3-course-meal, and unlimited drinks. So it wasn't as if the men were simply paying $100 for the quiche alone.

Secondly, the quiche apparently included several gourmet ingredients (such as the goat's cheese) so the price difference between the quiche and BBQ platter probably wasn't "that" great. It was more the contrast in the taste/texture/attractiveness of the two meals that caused the bad feelings.

I'm not sure on whether any of the men are actually going ahead and asking for refunds. I'd need to check this with my dad.



Honestly, I''ve been to about a million (give or take) weddings that use the alternate drop and it works fine. l think this thread is giving people the wrong idea because this instance is an extremely bad example of the alternate drop. It is important to understand that as a general rule meals at an alternate drop are equivalent meals in the sense that were you to order them in a restaurant, they would cost about the same amount. It's extremely rare to have one meal favoured over the other like this. Add in that most alternate drop weddings also tend to have "and guest" invitations and you can usually sort things out to everyone's satisfaction with little drama.



Bringing a partner doesn't always guarantee they'll swap! In the wedding scenario (where the males got one dish, and the females got the other), DF got my preferred meal for each course. Each time, I asked if he'd mind swapping with me, and each time, his response was a huge grin and a "No way! This looks way better. I'm eating it!"