WEF DAVOS 2020
Working 100 hours a week, 7 days without a day off has never been my favorite thing but in F&B this happens few times a year and although it is exhausting and nerve-wracking, I have to admit it is sometimes exciting and worth it!
This was the case with the WEF Davos 2020!
I don’t need to name the VIP’s that were staying in our hotel! You can guess who will be staying in the best 5 stars hotel in the town during the gathering of the world political and business leaders!
I don’t need to explain the commotion and stress during those very intense and important meetings and banquets!
I will tell you the story from my point of view and the young people around me who were doing this for the first time in their lives!
We all knew that hard times are coming and I tried to prepare my staff for the stress, the long hours and the pain as well as possible!
-You guys, have to understand that this is once in a lifetime opportunity! You will serve presidents, billionaires, movie stars and many other famous people! You will put this in your resume and no one will ever be able to take it away from you! It will help you tremendously in your future career! And you will gain experience that will give you tremendous confidence… – I was talking in an attempt to boost their enthusiasm but all I was seeing was fear in their eyes so I tried something else – do you know that TIME magazine is the single most important and influential piece of paper ever written in the history of the humankind! Here today we have a queen, we have the owner of the magazine who is one of the richest men on the planet, we have Will I Am who is a multiple Grammy winner and the most famous actress from India… – and now I could see the eyes widening and the excitement building in their chest!
-Who is the queen?
-Who is the actress?
-Who is the owner?
Those few hours before the actual banquet are the most intense and stressful hours in the day! The kitchen is buzzing like a bee nest in preparation, the waiters are running, setting up the dining room and side stations, the organizers are running back and forth trying to control everything and everyone worrying that they might miss something important and screw up big time! Many last-minute changes are made because nothing is ever the way they imagined it!
You have to be able to keep your cool and just perform with a high efficiency or you will just explode and fail!
Kitchen – ready! Dining room – ready! Last word of encouragement for the staff and the guests are coming in! The adrenaline is running so high you can smell it in the air!
There are always people who cannot handle this kind of stress and lose their cool! This is the worst thing that could happen and it just shows those people are weak and you have to remind them we are all in this together and only together we can pull it through! No one is perfect and we all could make a mistake!
Forget the timing! All the minutes and seconds on your BEO are thrown away from the very beginning! The guests are coming but they are not sitting on the tables! Everyone is standing and talking! All of the important people who we cannot just push to their seats!
The kitchen is ready to serve the appetizers but the tables are empty! The organizer is looking at me with helpless eyes and I run inside to tell the chef we are late! He is not happy at all of course and orders the plates to be emptied and the food to be placed back in the coolers! I run outside and invite the guests to sit down! No one even listens to me! We are waiting and I can see the panic in the eyes of the organizers!
Suddenly, someone started clinging on a glass in an attempt to attract the guest’s attention:
-Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats so we can start with the discussions and serve the food! – the personal assistant to Marc Benioff saved the day! The guests slowly started moving, finding their seats and taking their place. I run into the kitchen to tell the chef we will need the appetizers in 30 seconds. The organizers run after me to make sure we get the food out immediately!
-Not possible! – The chef yells in disbelieve – 5 minutes!
The poor organizer will lose her mind but I try to calm her down!
-No worries! We will serve the wine and the water in those 5 minutes and then the food will be ready!
10 minutes later, just before the woman to have a heart attack we bring the food out!
No one has even noticed the delay and everyone is pretty happy and the discussion is started!
Forget about no service during the discussion, run, run and run! All the guests are served and the host is introducing the guests of honor!
The lady tells me we keep going with the original schedule only moving the time 30 minutes ahead! That was the delay for the seating!
I see some of my staff freaking out about some of the guests they recognize!
Everything is fine!
With such events nothing ever is fine though! There is always something that can go wrong at all times!
-I need a birthday cake! – the organizer comes to me with this outrageous request and I just looked at her in disbelieve! This is in the middle of the WEF! We have people busy all over the hotel with important events and banquets and I have to produce a birthday cake in a few seconds!
The chef takes the news much more calmly than me! He runs downstairs to organize the cake!
The discussions meanwhile are taking longer than it was scheduled but so is the main course so I am completely fine!
With the help of God, the food delay was exactly as long as the discussions delay and I don’t have to argue neither with the chef, nor with the organizers and we served the food immediately after the speakers leave the stage! The lady is looking at me like I am a real magician, I can see her appreciation!
The waiters are following directions well and everyone is doing a great job! I am sensing the success already! The hardest part of the event is behind us and everyone is much more relaxed!
Drinks and desserts will be served in a minute then it all will be over!
Well, as I said nothing is ever perfect! The host is closing the event with the last short speech and the guests are getting out of their seats! No one is waiting for dessert! Was I late with 10 seconds….no matter! Dessert or no dessert the event was a success! Everyone is leaving happy and this is all that matters!
The organizer is happy too! That makes me happy! I run in the kitchen to tell the guys they have done a great job! We make peace with the chef and our little argument from the beginning is completely forgotten!
Time to relax…well, not exactly! Time to clean and set up for the next event! The hotel is completely booked and there is not a second to lose! Most of the staff are moved to the other events to help and I start cleaning and setting the restaurant for the next banquet!
At least there is no more stress and the satisfaction of the successful event is not to be underestimated!
It feels good! The feedback comes almost immediately! The F&B director comes to tell me that the clients are extremely happy with our effort and execution! I take the news quietly:
-Of course! Did you expect something else? – hehehe just joking! It feels good to know you have done your job well! Actually, I think this is one of the greatest feelings in the world!
Working hard, learning fast and striving for perfection are the three things that will bring you success in life!
TIME 100 event is over! No time to bask in the glory 😊 it is time to move on and get busy with the next event!