Yesterday, my Atlantic Canadian city hosted a CFL game.
This was truly sports history: the Canadian Football League has held "exhibition" games in Atlantic Canada in the past, but this was an honest to goodness game: IT COUNTED. Like, what happened yesterday actually will ultimately affect who ends up in the Grey Cup. Big, big, BIG freaking deal if you are in to Canadian football.
In addition to being the host hotel of the CFL and Argos, we did all of the Stadium catering, we fed and watered 22,000 people.
Please understand that when we do large scale entertainment catering, it means us essentially picking up our hotel and plopping it in to the middle of a field. We do not have full scale cooking equipment, and we can only cook and serve whatever we brought with us. It is literally impossible to simply pop back to the hotel to get more food. So let me give you a brief rundown on the hugely successful entertainment catering we have done in the last few years:
Rolling Stones concert, 2005, VIP sections only, 6000 people (NOT number of ticket holders, number we were responsible to feed)
Brooks and Dunn, 2006, VIP and corporate tents, 3000 people (same caveat as above)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, 2007, 3000 people (as above)
Eagles concert, 2008, 50,000 people, we fed them ALL.
Bon Jovi, 2009, 15,000 people, we fed them all.
AC/DC, 2009, 80,000 people, we fed them all.
World Track and Field Championships, 2010, 10,000 per day for six days, we fed them all.
We are USED to large cater-outs, we are experts at it. But at the same time, a Stones concert isn't the same thing as a country concert isn't the same thing as a track and field event, isn't the same as....
Canadian Football League, Argos vs Eskimos, 2010, 22,000 people. We got FUCKED.
Yes, we know a lot about large scale catering, but we had never worked on a FOOTBALL game before. We used the info we have from all those past events and decided on our plan for this event....where we would operate to maximize sales, how many people it would take, how much beer and food to prepare.
And you know what? We got everything right. Except the food.
We ran out of food, ALL food, BEFORE half time. You know, that 20 minute period when we expected to be busiest. (And hey, we were right about that, too, ha ha!)
Before the game even broke for half time, we had no burgers, hot dogs, chili, popcorn, sandwiches. NO FOOD, not one single thing.
Bad, bad, bad, BAD day. When I think about all the money we could have made that we missed out on it makes me shiver. But at the same time, we sincerely DID believe we were set to feed the masses and it tore at all of us to turn to the crowd and tell all those hungry people that we had nothing for them. Yeah, we were the exclusive caterers. NICE.
There is talk of bringing the CFL back to our city next year. And next year? We will probably be the offcial caterers again. But I swear to you, football-loving-public, we will NOT run out of food again.
Who knew you people were so frigging hungry???