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Tips and Guidelines for Event Planners and Attendees

Tips and Guidelines for Event Planners and Attendees
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  • Tips and Guidelines for Event Planners and Attendees

    Post #1 - October 24th, 2007, 7:03 pm
    Post #1 - October 24th, 2007, 7:03 pm Post #1 - October 24th, 2007, 7:03 pm
    Talk to anyone who has even attended just one LTH Forum event, big or small, and they'll tell you about the great time they had thanks to an affable group of people and terrific food (most of the time ). Here are some tips and guidelines for event planners and event guests.

    For Planners:

      1. Choose a definite date and time. Saying "Sometime next week" will limit interest and result in a ton of people saying "maybe" and very few people committing to your event.

      2. Choose an RSVP cut-off date and time. If you need to provide a final number of attendees to the restaurant at a certain date (which is often the case), provide a cut-off date for RSVPs to limit any last-minute headache.

      3. To avoid all appearances of impropriety, please do not use the name "LTH" or "LTH Forum" when making reservations at an establishment. We do not want operators to feel they are being pressured, strong-armed or influenced to provide comps or special treatment. It is absolutely unacceptable to use the LTH name in such a manner, so please refrain from doing so.

      4. Check the calendar. If you're looking for high turnout, check the calendar to look for conflicts. For example, you might not want to schedule a lunch on the same day as the annual picnic, whereas conflicting with a small-turnout weeknight dinner clear across town might not be a big deal.

      5. Put an attendance cap on the event, even if you don't really need one. You could very easily get flooded with interest that makes planning unwieldy. You can always raise the cap if you need to. That said, there's nothing wrong with keeping it to a certain smaller number, if that's the number that works best in that restaurant to create a pleasant and interesting experience with a variety of foods and service that's not overtaxed.

      6. Give some guidelines about how ordering will take place. At my x-mas eve Chinese events, large tables are formed ad-hoc and each table is responsible for their own ordering. Other events have the menu set and planned ahead of time. It's a good idea to explain to people how your event will work, offering a few suggested dishes if needed.

      7. Try and provide a range of cost possibility if you don't know the per-person cost ahead of time. Something like, "Generally, a meal at this restaurant costs $20-$25 per person, but it could go higher than that." is very helpful to people. For your own protection, it never hurts to add a few extra dollars to that estimate, just to cover the likelihood of a few additions.

      8. Post all relevant info. Location, parking, BYO policy, accepted methods of payment, special features of the meal (buffet, child-friendly, etc.), links to threads about the restaurant.

    For Attendees

      1. Don't respond "maybe". It's difficult to plan when you have 10 people and another 10 who aren't sure. Err on the side of not replying if you can't commit. I've planned meals where I wasn't sure if I was going to be the only one there or if there were going to be 10 of us on the same day of the dinner.

      2. Try not to back out last minute. It's rude to the planner and the restaurant. You may be just one person, but imagine if 10 people think "I'm just one person." Suddenly, a plan for 15 people turns out to be a table for 5. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, but please make every effort to attend an event that someone worked to put together.

      3. Arrive on time. It's a bad feeling to have planned an event and be sitting at an empty table for ten a half-hour after the reservation time started. Trust me, I've been there.

      4. Unless another payment method has been specified in advance, please bring cash.. Bring ones and fives. Don't kvetch about the final bill or nickel and dime it-- let's face it, most of these things are so cheap compared to comparable commercial events, it's silly to be a pain about the total or who had two Diet Cokes. If you get the sense that the host is stuck making up a little shortfall at the end, pitch in some extra so they won't end the evening regretting that they ever volunteered.

    This thread is open for further discussion about pitfalls and tips for event planning, and we'll certainly edit this list as needed.

    We hope you find this helpful.
  • Post #2 - October 25th, 2007, 10:45 am
    Post #2 - October 25th, 2007, 10:45 am Post #2 - October 25th, 2007, 10:45 am
    Please Note

    These are not rules and they are not meant to create a rigid structure for event planning.

    These are tips, and they are not "one-size-fits-all"

    Not all of these apply to every kind of event. A happy hour is much different than a dinner at Vie which is much different than the picnic.

    Use your judgment and use these tips as a guide for ways to mitigate pain, annoyance, or a fizzled attempt at event planning.
  • Post #3 - October 25th, 2007, 10:54 am
    Post #3 - October 25th, 2007, 10:54 am Post #3 - October 25th, 2007, 10:54 am
    I appreciate that note. In setting up Evanston Lunch Group™ events, there's often a little negotiation re: dates and places, and it helps to try and fit as many peoples' schedules as possible - at least among "the usual suspects" for such events. I think that's a little different from a "sometime next week" type of post.
  • Post #4 - October 25th, 2007, 11:26 am
    Post #4 - October 25th, 2007, 11:26 am Post #4 - October 25th, 2007, 11:26 am
    Yeah, what we're really talking about there is that you just can't functionally ask hundreds of people what's a good day for them, on the Internet. The way to do that is to throw out a day and see if it works for a reasonable group, or if the feedback indicates something else would work better.
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  • Post #5 - October 28th, 2007, 11:51 am
    Post #5 - October 28th, 2007, 11:51 am Post #5 - October 28th, 2007, 11:51 am
    FWIW, here's a nice little internet based polling program I like. Potential participants can log in and indicate their preferences.

    Doodle
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 7:37 pm
    Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 7:37 pm Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 7:37 pm
    eatchicago wrote:Be on time. It's a bad feeling to have planned an event and be sitting at an empty table for ten a half-hour after the reservation time started. Trust me, I've been there.

    Planners of events drawing folks from all across the city and suburbs might want to consider allowing somewhat for the unpredictable vagaries of Chicagoland traffic. Many other groups plan a half hour or so of pre-dinner meet-and-greet for this reason.
  • Post #7 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 pm
    Post #7 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 pm Post #7 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 pm
    LAZ wrote
    Planners of events drawing folks from all across the city and suburbs might want to consider allowing somewhat for the unpredictable vagaries of Chicagoland traffic.


    A good source on traffic is http://www.gcmtravel.com/gcm/home.jsp which has real-time maps of traffic congestion as well as construction info.

    For those planning an "athon" moving from place to place, careful route planning helps. Call ahead to be sure of the hours that places are open.

    As an example, for the beefathons we found that about 45 minutes between IB stands worked well as the food was prepared (and consumed) quickly after ordering. We also learned that the practical upper limit was 5-6 places per beefathon. After that tummy limits/taste bud fatigue set in. Also, most people weren't able to devote more than a few hours to the event.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #8 - May 21st, 2008, 8:53 pm
    Post #8 - May 21st, 2008, 8:53 pm Post #8 - May 21st, 2008, 8:53 pm
    A site that I've used successfully for event planning is Doodle. If you want to schedule an event, you pick a number of dates, add e-mail addresses for anyone who might be interested, and the group can vote for which date works best. Then you can post on the events board.
  • Post #9 - January 9th, 2009, 1:09 pm
    Post #9 - January 9th, 2009, 1:09 pm Post #9 - January 9th, 2009, 1:09 pm
    do people plan events for Lthforum people? do you organize events and everyone shows up OR is this a forum for tips on throwing events??
    Anything you could ever want to know about me can be found here: http://www.leylaruinseverything.com
  • Post #10 - January 9th, 2009, 1:29 pm
    Post #10 - January 9th, 2009, 1:29 pm Post #10 - January 9th, 2009, 1:29 pm
    I can see where the title of this thread might be confusing if you're in the events planning business. LTHForum has been described as an "impromptou dining society." One of the things that differentiates this board from other culinary chat sites is that, if a member chooses to do so, they can organize a group meal open to people on the board by creating a thread on this page of the site. Eatchicago began this thread of LTH events best practices to make it easier to jump in and participate if you're so inclined.

    We don't generally use events planners to set these things up, we're kind of a more DIY group. Sometimes restaurants or PR firms will post events on the board, which is fine as long as they disclose who they are - but the forum recently decided to offer a special designation (the diamond LTH symbol) to events initiated by a posting member who wants to dine with other members, as opposed to events set up for marketing purposes. If you see an event you'd like to go to, read over the suggestions at the top of the thread, then respond in the thread of the particular event.
  • Post #11 - September 30th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Post #11 - September 30th, 2009, 2:50 pm Post #11 - September 30th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Remember also, that if you're an LTHForum.com member planning an event for other LTHers, you can click on the LTH Diamond logo at the top of the post page, above the subject line, so that the logo appears in the margin to the left of the thread you start, in the forum index.

    =R=
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  • Post #12 - December 17th, 2009, 12:56 pm
    Post #12 - December 17th, 2009, 12:56 pm Post #12 - December 17th, 2009, 12:56 pm
    Do events have to be held in Chicagoland or could I post an event outside the area?
  • Post #13 - December 17th, 2009, 3:18 pm
    Post #13 - December 17th, 2009, 3:18 pm Post #13 - December 17th, 2009, 3:18 pm
    Hi,

    Events are often listed outside of the Chicago area. If it is food-centric, then it applies to us. If it is another event where food is incidental, then we are not the best place to post.

    If you are still uncertain, send a moderator information on what you plan to post.

    Regards,
    Cathy2 for the moderators
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #14 - December 19th, 2009, 5:15 pm
    Post #14 - December 19th, 2009, 5:15 pm Post #14 - December 19th, 2009, 5:15 pm
    Tom in NC wrote:or could I post an event outside the area?

    Yes you could.
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  • Post #15 - December 8th, 2010, 11:14 am
    Post #15 - December 8th, 2010, 11:14 am Post #15 - December 8th, 2010, 11:14 am
    Hi,

    Parking in Chicago is such a pain, I have come to appreciate events that begin at 7 or 7:30 pm. Most meters shutdown at 9 pm and won't allow more than two hours parking purchased, it saves many from racing back to the meter for a refill.

    An event beginning any earlier than will obligate people to remember to run back to feed the meter.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - February 7th, 2011, 11:08 am
    Post #16 - February 7th, 2011, 11:08 am Post #16 - February 7th, 2011, 11:08 am
    What is that new symbol we have at the top of new posts - there is the old white diamond one, and now one outlined in aqua.
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  • Post #17 - February 7th, 2011, 11:12 am
    Post #17 - February 7th, 2011, 11:12 am Post #17 - February 7th, 2011, 11:12 am
    The new icon is being used for threads where a nomination for Great Neighborhood Restaurant is being discussed.

    -for the GNRs

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