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The return of the prawn Vol-Au-Vent

I originally wanted to post this straight after a networking event I attended at some point over the course of the last month .  But was advised not to as it might be a little too clear to a number of readers (who also attended) which venue I mean!

It was a fairly typical regional networking event, attended by a variety of businesses – from lawyers and accountant to the one-man management consultants you always find at such soirees.  The speeches were over, the networking begun and the food was served… I was truly astonished.  The venue, which claimed to have recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment brought out the sort of buffet food I thought (and hoped) died back in the nineties  – or even the eighties!  The following are what I believe was served:

  1. Prawn  Vol-Au-Vents

  2. Cheese and vegetable Vol-Au-Vents

  3. Stale sandwiches with the following fillings – ham, grated cheddar cheese, beef and egg

  4. Fish fingers

  5. Chicken in breadcrumbs on a stick

Maybe I am spoiled by time spent with Sheepdrove, The Barbican, Wembley, etc.venues and the host of other venues I visit on a regular basis.  I still, a couple of weeks later, cannot get over the fact that a four star hotel/conference venue would serve such dishes.  It was my understanding that they were providing the facilities, food and drink free – as a way to impress the businesses in attendance.  Which led me to think they either have no idea that catering standards have moved on in the past ten years; or more worryingly, they had no respect for the companies in attendance.  Both options are reasons for concern.

Venues  are an integral part of the events industry – some are truly amazing but others really need to understand the damage they do to the industry as a whole when they resort to serving Prawn Vol-Au-Vents.  At a recent MPI UK event, discussing the industry’s response to the recession, John Hooker from Adding Value Consulting focused on the fact that we need to demonstrate the value of the industry and understand that events are a service not a product.  I hope (for the sake of the venue) that they consider such thinking and react accordingly!


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