Monday, May 25, 2015

Fabulous French Bistro: What goes into a theme meal?

My partner and I decided to create a Fabulous French Bistro themed meal for the residents of Riderwood.  In the weeks prior to the event, we researched delicious recipes.  However, we quickly learned how much more goes into a large event. 

Customer Service:

During our foodservice rotation, dietetic interns learn how important customer service is.  The Riderwood halls are filled with friendly and outstanding residents and staff.  We spent many days talking with individuals to gain insight before our theme meal.  We also did “table touches” during lunch to verbally invite everyone to our event.  No matter the situation, it’s important to keep your mindset customer focused.  They will pick up on this and appreciate the efforts you’re making. 


While creating our marketing tools for our theme meal, we were able to implement many ideas we learned through our internship technology days.  My partner and I worked with a website called Piktochart.  We were able to make posters, table tents, and handouts for residents.  One marketing technique we used was consistent themes throughout.  For example, we wore the same outfits in our commercial, as we did on the theme meal.  We received compliments on this because it allowed for mental triggers and reminders. 


Preparation for our event started from day one when we gathered all of our recipes.  After this, we sat with our chef and discussed the ordering process of the ingredients.  We worked hard to create taste tests for all of our recipes prior to ordering.  The restaurant staff used their skills to help us better our cooking techniques.  We couldn’t have done it without them!  In order to stay organized, we created handouts for the layout of the theme meal and the schedule of production. 

The night before our event we spent the evening decorating the restaurant.  We wanted our customers to really feel the part of a French Bistro from the minute they walked in the door.  We were able to stay within budget but still produce a great setup. 

Event Day:

The day was finally here!  My partner and I showed up early in the morning to begin cooking.  We quickly got to work; chopping, prepping, marinating, etc.  However, we ran into a small setback; the gas was shut off and the ovens were not working properly.  We helped each other stay calm and contacted our preceptor.  Within an hour, we received maintenance help and the ovens were up and running.  We were able to understand the challenges faced on a daily basis in a food service operation.  With the help of our team we were able to promptly finish cooking.  The residents had a great time!  We had raffle prizes for a few lucky winners.  The favorite dish was definitely our Sea Bass! 

Additional Projects:

Throughout our rotation at Riderwood, we learned so many aspects of foodservice.  We produced two SWOT analyses.  A SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a specific situation.  This is a great tool for improvements later on.  In addition, we had two financial projects.  We gathered the costs of all of our recipes to better understand if we made a profit.  We also provided the costs of new menu items at the restaurant.  I’m so thankful for the opportunities I had.  I know I will take all I’ve learned with me on my journey as a Registered Dietitian. 


A huge part of my success at Riderwood was teamwork.  My partner and I worked well together.  This included supporting each other during stressful situations, taking the lead when needed, and taking risks together.  We also worked as a team with the entire kitchen staff.  They were always willing to share their expertise with us.  Producing a theme meal for 100+ individuals can seem like a daunting task.  However, establishing relationships with your team can take it from just a vision to a successful reality.   Thank you Riderwood staff!

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