For the second year in a row now I have been the caterer of choice at The Blockhouse Disc Golf and Country Club AKA The Grange
for their Too Many Days in May Tournament.
I serve lunch on Saturday and Sunday in between rounds and also dinner on Saturday night for campers, locals and whoever comes out for Glow Golf. That's where they play in the dark with fluorescent discs or with lights taped to them and the course has lights strung all around. Pretty fun time!
This last weekend I fed close to 200 people, mostly by myself although I did have helpers during service. This upcoming weekend I am expecting to do about the same or maybe a little more. It's a lot of work but since it is something I like to do and something that I am very good at doing it doesn't even seem like work most of the time.
As per usual with this type of business the only predictable thing is that something will not go according to plan. Knowing this ahead of time makes it easier to deal with the problem when it eventually happens. And it always happens!
Last Saturday the biggest problem I encountered was with the Cheesesteaks. I had bought 3 packs with 21 servings each thinking that 63 would be enough for one day. Well, as soon as I saw the portion size I realized that I would have to use two for each sandwich. Now instead of 60+ I only have about 30. Get this - first 30 people coming through the line all ordered the cheesesteak. I had BBQ chicken subs and Italian Sausage subs as well but didn't start getting orders for them until I was out of the steak sandos. The next day I went back to the store and got twice as many this time. Didn't even come close to running out on Sunday.
Also on Saturday I made a 2# batch of mac 'n cheese which ran out halfway through. So on Sunday I made 4 pounds so guess what? Didn't use half of it.
That's the thing about this type of venture. I have a general idea of how many people are going to be there but I have no idea how many will actually come through to eat, how much they are going to eat and what exactly they will eat. The weather also has something to do with it. Last year it rained one day and I did about half of what I expected. I hate to run out of something but I also don't want a ton of leftover food that I can't do anything with and have to toss it.
I did have an better overall experience this year than last year so far. My profits are better, waste is lower and I have gotten a lot of positive reviews for my food, professionalism and organization. I could easily use this as a springboard for more opportunities and have already booked at least two more gigs later this year for the Virginia Women's Disc Golf Series.
I felt really bad for running out of 2 out of three entrees on Saturday but something positive did happen out of that. One of the last guys through the line wanted the cheesesteak. Sorry, none left. Then he wanted the chicken. Dang, that's gone too. He didn't want the Italian sausage and was about to leave hungry. But then I remembered that there was some leftover chicken in the fridge that didn't get used. I got it heated up real fast and got him a sandwich.
He potentially had two stories that he could tell. One is that he was turned away empty handed and the other would be that we made sure he got something. I'm happy that I was able to do the latter.
Another cool reaction I got was on Saturday night. It was Meatloaf Dinner and I was serving huge slabs of beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. One dude came through was a vegetarian and asked for a veggie plate. I found some lunch leftovers and gave him a Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, sauteed mixed veg, green bean casserole and baked beans. When I handed him the plate he was just amazed at how awesome it was.
Cooking is one of those things that I am really good at. Not trying to brag, just stating the truth. Being able to make money doing something you enjoy is a fantastic feeling!
Dinner this week is going to be outstanding! Last weekend was the amateur bracket and this weekend will be the professionals. The pros have more money than the ams so I am stepping it up a couple of notches.
Here is a preliminary menu: