Monday, June 4, 2012

My first SCA meal: a review

This is another of (most likely) several more blog posts in result of TMT and everything that occurred there.

Let's start with a brief overview of what happened and how it went down -

Lunches sold:

The theme of the lunches for the weekend was cool and refreshing. On Saturday for 3 dollars you got a boxed lunch which contained half a banana, a dill pickle spear and a chicken caesar salad wrap (inside the wrap was chicken, salt, pepper, caesar dressing, spring mix greens, freshly shredded cheese and sprouts). The food could all be eaten chilled or cold, which was a plus for serving it in the hot Trimaris heat.

On Sunday the lunch was half a banana, a dill pickle spear or hard boiled egg (we were outselling far faster than we thought and had to use eggs to supplement the lack of pickles) and a BBQ pulled pork wrap (BBQ sauce, bacon, pulled rump pork, pork loin, fresh spinach leaves and freshly grated cheese).

Budget details:

Baroness Bebhin and I were given a budget of 75 per day for the fund-raising lunches, with a total of 150 to spend for the entire weekend. The chicken from Saturdays lunch was donated by Their Excellencies Darkwater as they had no need of it, and Baroness Bebhin herself donated the cost of the boxes for the lunch. These two donations really kept the price down, I would have been roughly 46 dollars over my budget had I had to pay the cost for both those items. The entirety of the over-budget would have been the box cost, something that I feel really drove the sale of the lunches.

On Saturday, of the 75 dollars set aside for me I only spent 70. On Sunday, of the 75 dollars set aside for me I only spent 52. In total I came in 28 dollars under budget. Since we used Kingdom funds to provide the starter for the lunch, the Kingdom asked us to pay back the cost for the lunch (which was totally fair). After paying back the 122 dollars spent, we generated a profit of 310 dollars in our fundraising lunch.

So with the start of the meal, we had done really good. The food cost was down, we were able to repay the Kingdom and we made a wonderful profit :)

Things that went well:

1) Providing the lunch in multiple locations really helped. By having the lunch down where the fighting was, I was able to sell meals to those who where at either side of the camp. This was a fantastic idea that was really only available to me because I had packed the lunches in box form. As well, having it down next to water point allowed me to not have to invest in specific drinks because they were provided a mere 6 feet away. I later moved the lunch to the next area of fighting on Sunday, I did a bit worse than Saturday but that was due to weather and not interest.

2) The boxes were the gang-buster hit of the lunch, and I cannot state that enough. The portability and lack of needed feast gear made this lunch a big hit, people could eat it on the go and were not nailed down to one specific spot just to eat. All the trash fit nicely into the boxes, and the boxes were cardboard so there was no guilt about just throwing them in the trash. It was also great advertzing, I would see people eating the lunch from the box while standing in merchants row/artisans row and people asked where to get it.

3) Working with the Feast crew to build the lunches was a great idea. Using the chicken Baron Herman wasn't planning on using saved cost, as well as the pork and spinach on Sunday with Sasha. This was a great save of money, and a great use of food product from both the feast teams. Baron Herman had a bulk of extra chicken, pork and spinach leaves and being able to use them instead of having them go to waste is just good news for everyone.

4) The price was cheaper than anything else on site, at 3 dollars I was able to attract my buyers simply because I was more affordable to those on a tight budget. The cheapest food item beyond that was 2 hot dogs at My Island Food Cart at 4 dollars, and for three dollars I was the budget price point for an entire meal.

5) The food choices seemed well aimed at the audience, cool foods to help settle the stomach against the heat of the day was a big win/win. No complaints against the noms, with the random exception of those with food allergies.

6) Wrapping each item individually was also a big win/win. People with allergy concerns were happy when I informed them that certain food items were wrapped to prevent any food-born allergy issues. The few food allergy concerns I had were mostly brushed away once I had told them about the individual wrap.

Things that went poorly:

1) I did not calculate those who would need lunch for "free" in my planning. I gave lunches to Their Majesty's both days and Their Highness's on Sunday, but reservations and gate also came and took lunches as well. I'd say I lost 15 lunches to freebies, which put me under the 75 lunches a day I had planned to sell. To improve next time, I need to count in the number of lunches I'll need to give away as a part of my lunch planning.

2) I did not doublecheck with the Autocrat on lunch times for Saturday. I was thankfully way ahead of the game that day, but because of Crown Lyst issues the lunches were requested to be sold an hour earlier. I was able to get the lunches sold at the time requested, but had I checked in earlier with him I could have been less frazzled in those last moments on Saturday. To improve next time, I sould keep a better check in with both the site Herald and the Autocrat.

3) I did not follow-up with a few people who volunteered to help as much as I should have. I ended up having to do a number of things myself before the event that others had promised to figure out, if I had checked in with them more regularly I could have noticed the problem earlier and been far less rushed the day of. To improve next time, I need to make sure to follow-up with people who have volunteered to help and assist. If they are unable/forget to to something to help I need to be ready to handle it myself if needed.

4) I need to relax a bit, yeesh! I had drawn maps and diagrams of the kitchen, organized my entire lunch set-up on 15 minute increments. Doing such (and being forced to do a large amout by msyelf in advance that i wasn't expecting to) made me a bit clingy, and I micro-managed a bit too much. Thankfully I had both Baroness Jehannette and Baroness Bebhin as well as Lady Squeaky to remind me of things I had forgotten/not thought of in my intense focus of the moment. To improve for next time, I need to relax more and let things go with the flow and trust my allies and volunteer helpers. I have a feeling that will get easier with time, as I become more comfortable with cooking.

All in all, this was an amazing experience! Something that really juiced up my desires to work on cooking in the SCA, and ramped up my interest in it all over again :)