What Would You Have Said?

Audience participation time! Read on.

“Hello. Is this the private events office?”

Yes, it is.

“I want to book a private room for 30 people in April.”

Great! What date in April?


Hmm. How flexible are you with your time? I have an early brunch and a later dinner already booked.

“Any time is fine.”


“We’d like to bring our own food.”


“So, if we bring our own food, how much will it cost?”


What would you have said? What do you think I said?






23 responses to “What Would You Have Said?”

  1. m Avatar

    As a disclaimer, I should say that I’ve never worked in a restaurant. I work in a specialized hospital that provides services at no charge to patients. We get calls ALL THE TIME asking for services that we don’t provide. Maybe our approach to those kinds of calls would work in your business too. We gently tell the caller that we are not able to provide that particular service, and offer tham referrals them to professionals in their area that might be a better resource. Although for your caller’s situation, I have no clue where you might suggest – are there places that just rent out their space, but have kitchens, etc., for people to provide their own food?

    In retail, it seems really odd that the caller would expect a restaurant would be willing to rent the room – unless you figure out what your profit would have been in that situation, and charge them accordingly, it just seems wierd.

    Can’t wait to hear your solution!

  2. m Avatar

    make that weird, not wierd. Duh.

  3. Gamestore Girl Avatar

    If I was quick-witted enough I would have said it cost (whatever amount) with or without food.

    Now, what you would say – I don’t even have a guess!

  4. Chris Avatar

    I would probably say something like, “We will charge a minimum of $???? per (plate) per person whether you bring your own food or not.” and make sure it is a high enough price to cover your expenses. (of course in my kindest sweetest voice possible)

  5. anonymous Avatar

    Let’s see…..
    Could you repeat that? I thought I heard you say you actually *think* this restuarant will rent a room to you on a very busy holiday when normally people eat. I heard you wrong, right?
    Either that or you just had a looong pause over the phone as you comtemplated what you had just heard asked of you. Pure entertainment!

  6. Aaron DeLay Avatar

    In the Miss Piggy voice of course.

  7. janelle Avatar

    Yes, a minimum per plate PLUS the ‘standard’ 35% gratuity as staff will still provide the excellent service they are known for. The customer would expect no less on such a special occasion, correct? 🙂

  8. Karen in Australia Avatar
    Karen in Australia

    Boy, are there some idiots around! You’re a restaurant, not a function centre!

    I would have taken your least expensive fixed-priced catering option ($ per person, I expect) and said that you would throw in the food for free! And of course, you would have to mention that, due to food handling regulations, they could have the room without the food, but they couldn’t bring any food into the restaurant. And you’d have to say it all with a straight face (voice?).

    Like m above, I’m not in the food industry, so maybe I’m naive. Boy, are there some idiots around!

  9. Former Aussie Waiter Avatar
    Former Aussie Waiter

    I believe the best comment here is

    “Oh sorry, you must have me mistaken for a community hall. Why don’t you piss off and be a cheapskate somewhere else?

  10. Kris Avatar

    LOL! A-maz-ing!

    I would have asked them to repeat that last part, “because I thought I heard you say you want to bring your own food?” When they clarified that point, it would have been straight to “health department regulations require that food served here be prepared here. I’d be happy to set you up with a catered meal if you’d like.” When they started fussing, the next step would have been “I’m so sorry, I really can’t help you with this.”

    I really liked the Judo Chop comment, though. heh

  11. Dani Avatar

    LOL, we get calls in our salon all the time asking how much haircuts are without the shampoo, etc. Of course in the salon it’s different, the shampoo is complementary, you’re paying for the haircut. Some people always want to bargain with you, no matter what the goods or service you provide.

  12. Sarah Avatar

    “I’m sorry sir, we aren’t an empty studio space. Perhaps you should look into renting an artist’s gallery space and setting up tables for your event.. By the way…*CLICK*” who WAS that guy?? sheesh.

  13. cj Avatar

    Definitely agree with Kris: blame it on legal requirements beyond your control. You have no control over the preparation methods if they bring in their own food. Hard to believe, but not everyone knows about holding foods at a “safe” temperature. Say someone brought in some kind of mayonnaise-based salad and it sat out a little too long. People get sick and who would they blame? Who would get all the bad publicity? I can just hear it:

    “I got salmonella at R. Gal’s place on Easter!”

    Which, by the way, would look great on a t-shirt. 🙂

  14. katie Avatar

    I would have said “Due to health department regulations we can not allow that, because if one of your guests got sick from gramma’s undercooked ham it would reflect poorly on our fine establishment” (seriously, I would be like “uhh, well… sir we serve food here, we are not a rental hall”

  15. Artful Dodger Avatar

    OMG. I can’t believe someone would call a restaurant and ask to bring their own food. Well I don’t have any restaurant experience, but when we have clients that call and ask for legal services we don’t provide, I tactfully but firmly tell them we don’t provide that service. But I agree with what other replies have said and offer suggestions on places that would accomodate them like a banquet hall or something. Crazy people.

  16. rabrab Avatar

    Wow. Some people.

    Not being particularly fast on my feet, I would have said something like “What? You want to what? Dream on.”

    I suspect that you said something much smoother and more acceptable, probably along the lines of “I’m sorry, but we don’t provide spaces for parties that we are not providing the food for,” and then suggested a rental hall.

  17. Lisa Avatar

    Are you serious?? The nerve of some people. I’m pretty sure my response would have been, “You’re not serious, are you?”

    So how’d you handle it? Much better than me I’m sure.

  18. Julie Avatar

    I’m with Kris.

    It’s been years since I worked in a restaurant, and it wasn’t a place that you’d go to on Easter.

    However, I know that there are regulations regarding food and waivers to complete whenever outside food was brought to company banquets at various hotels (for those people with very specific dietary needs that the hotel wasn’t able to handle). Typically, they wouldn’t charge anything additional because we had another 500+ eating their food.

    I would have suggested that they call a reception hall if they really wanted to serve their own food. I’m sure they’d charge for renting linens, tables, chairs, and use of the space. After everything, it probably be simpler to just have your restaurant prepare everything.

  19. jali Avatar

    I think Kris’ answer is the best – I guess I’m just not smarter than a ________th grader after all since I had to copy.

    BTW – I nominated you for a “Thinking Blogger” Award. Yay you!!!!

  20. Katie Avatar

    I like the judo chop response. In all seriousness, I probably would have brought out the health department mandates…..speech.

  21. Aaron DeLay Avatar

    Miss Piggy and her methods have never steered me wrong.

  22. Kim Ayres Avatar

    I would have laughed and assumed it was a friend trying to wind me up. I think you would have been the conusmate professional and been very polite.