Larger CDO Events
I consider many of the larger events to be one that have more than 30 people in attendance. Typically, more than one Meetup group gets invited to these events. Examples are:
Pegasus Rooftop Dinner (up to 80 attendees)
Mardi Gras Dinner (up to 90 attendees)
Oktoberfest Dinner (up to 70 attendees)
and the Meetup Holiday Party (up to 500 attendees)
Why Have Large Dinners?
CDO has over 1700 members. This is an opportunity to reach out to more members and give you a chance to meet more people in the group.
CDO, of course, has smaller dinners, lunches and brunches which are typically limited to 12 people. This limit is put in; so, that we can keep control over the bill and not overwhelm the kitchen with a large variety of separate orders. Some establishments can handle a big group better than others of course. However, the bill gets a bit daunting to handle with a large amount of people and it tends to come out short. To accommodate 1700 members, we would have to have a TON of these dinners.
As you may have observed, the dinners for 12 sell out pretty quickly which leaves a lot of members with no event options in this group. A larger dinner doesn't sell out at least for a few days (unless it's Pegasus, then you be better be ready to hit the button!)
Knowing that the big crowds aren't always your "cup of tea", we still offer the smaller events. They tend to be easier to organize than a larger event.
How Are Larger Dinners / Major Events Run?
1) They tend to be family style, buffet or Price Fix meals. Why? Because the restaurant can serve larger amounts of people if there are fewer choices. In many cases, this food can be made in advance.
2) Space / Menu etc. is worked out with the restaurant in advance.
3) These events are "Pay In Advance" type of events. Why? Because we have to give the restaurant "guarantee" numbers, put down deposits etc. etc. This keeps the organizers from losing money. We are here on a volunteer basis organizing dinners for fun. This is not a business. We shouldn't have to lose money because you decide you don't want to show up.
4) We use "Event Brite" ticketing system to take the RSVP's - Not Meetup. Why? I find that the Meetup tools are inadequate to the task of managing large gatherings of people who are typically from different groups. (See : Why We Use Event Brite for the Major Events)
Why We Use Event Brite for the Major Events
Why Do The Major Events Cost More (Sometimes)?
Very rarely are there "group discounts" for a large group of diners. If you want to dine on a budget (certainly understandable), you're typically better off ordering off the menu. There are many things that factor into the restaurants decision to charge you more for a large group such as:
1) Advanced Food Orders: With a larger group of diners they might have to order a quantity of food in advance to make sure there is enough for the 50 or 60 people coming... or more.
2) Table Turnover Disadvantage: You are coming at a set time like 7pm to 9pm and seating in a large area. Normally, someone coming in at 6:30pm could be seated in this area right away, BUT since you're expected at 7pm, they either have to seat these people somewhere else in the restaurant (if there's room) or turn them away. Similar scenario for the people arriving at 6:45pm or even 8:45pm. On a typical busy night, a restaurant could actually do better if they could "turn the tables" during this time period.
Note: for "Outdoor Seating", they actually have to reserve TWICE as much space in case it rains. This is basically the "Holy Grail" of group dining (from my perspective). Many places with Outdoor Seating will not accommodate a large group because of uncertainty over the weather.
3) Risk: Again, you are occupying a large space in the restaurant for which they can't use for other people. What IF the entire group doesn't show up? This is another reason why some of them ask for deposits and guarantees, but not all of them do this. Hey CDO is reliable. We do deliver, but the restaurants don't know us as well as we know us.
4) Waitstaff / Other Staff Needs: For the big party, the establishment will sometimes need to bring in more waitstaff, bartenders even more cooks depending. This is an expense for the restaurant. The waitstaff would typically be dedicated to the party.
5) Other Fees: Some places like to charge for their party rooms or if they have to open another bar. I usually try to get these things waived, but some places don't negotiate on these.
6) Profit: Many establishments see the group dinners as a chance to make some money too. A lot of places have standard "banquet" menus with advantageous prices for them. Don't forget that they are a business.
7) Tax And Tip Is Usually Included: To make the money transaction smoother, we add %30 for tax and tip onto the base price of the meal.
8) Ticketing and Paypal Fees: On the Pay In Advance events, there are PayPal and Event Brite fees that get added on top of the base price after tax and tip. Depending on what it is, this can be anywhere from $2 to $5 per head.
Given this: It is your choice whether you believe the event is in your personal budget or not. We respect your right to choose. Believe that we are trying our best to make these events at a reasonable cost, and we are definitely not here to make a profit, but we do want to cover our costs.
The good news is that more and more places are contacting us with invitations to try them. I don't even consider it unless they are really good and I was going to there anyway or if they can give us a deal.
I welcome your comments, questions and ideas in response to this.
|Page title||Most recent update||Last edited by|
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