We hear it time and again from clients: "We've slashed the budget, how can you help?"
It seems that budgets are continually dropping, and creative solutions are ever-needed to do more with less.
In one instance we came up with an innovative way to help with the client's food budget. Now, we aren't typically involved in things like food and lodging and such, but in this case we integrated our solution into the event design; making it part of an ongoing competition.
Wilson's Leather had been meeting for two days when they came to their evening event: a ranch cookout. Catering was expensive, dining out before the event was a logistical nightmare, and there just didn't seem to be any good, original options for the next-to-last night.
The attendees had spent the general sessions and breakouts divided into teams; competing against each other in a series of challenges, activities, and awarded participation interspersed throughout the days.
We saw a great opportunity to both be mindful of the food budget and contribute to the ongoing competition.
Thus we staged:
Wilsons' Iron Chef.
We purchased a broad range of food supplies, rented grills, and had the teams cook their own dinners...for points.
We hired supervisory culinary students to both give teams a short course on food safety AND to supervise and intervene (in case of a safety violation or imminent inedibility).
Teams were given a set amount of time to divide up responsibilities, which included:
The VP of Sales was designated judge--complete with Iron Chef hat and persona.
As the teams completed cooking, they brought a judge's dish up for tasting. They presented it in a creative way and received a score. After all dishes were scored, dinner proceeded as a potluck (each of the teams were responsible for producing both a tasting dish and a certain amount of all components of their meal).
The scores for Iron Chef were then added to their teams' running totals.
The teams left well-fed and with the pride of accomplishment. It was both fun AND tasty.