"Reservations for 38, please." That was my favorite phrase when I traveled to St. Louis last week with my daughter's choir. Twenty-two children and 16 adults to be exact! For the third year in a row I served as the travel coordinator for the McPherson Arts Council Children's Choir spring tour. The trip planning is complex and the most difficult task is finding restaurants that can accommodate a meal for nearly 40 individuals. Yes, I planned breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days for 38 people!
Following are a few things I've learned in case you ever find yourself volunteering for a similar assignment:
1) Stay at a hotel that offers a hot breakfast...that takes care of five meals!
2) Call the restaurant at least two months in advance to inquire about accommodations.
3) Demonstrate flexibility in your group's seating arrangement and menu selection.
4) Select ONE set menu for the entire group if possible.
5) Send an email to the restaurant with all dining details discussed and agreed upon.
6) Contact the restaurant one week prior to your arrival to confirm all details.
7) Reconfirm your reservation the day before your meal.
9) Do not be late for your reservation.
10) Say "please" and "thank you."
11) Avoid separate tickets and make arrangements to pay the bill in one lump sum.
12) Tip the waitress(es) at least 20 percent!