In December 2017, the Westin Bund Center Shanghai took outdoor catering to new heights. No slouch in the industry, the accommodation guru has hosted countless events in Greater China in the past, but the 2,700-strong crowd for a recent event posed new obstacles in infrastructure and logistics.
Held at the Shanghai Auto Exhibition Center, the Westin Shanghai was selected as the third-party catering service for the event out of a field of five-star competitors. The hotel began preparations for the mega-event six months ahead of time, holding a dozen internal seminars for staff to get acquainted with the size and scale of what was to come.
A number of issues reared their head early in the planning stages, and the Westin Shanghai took matters into their own hands when confronting them.
At nearly 43km away from the event’s associated hotel, the Westin team made every effort to prepare and transport materials ahead of time. With a three-course dinner planned, filling no fewer than 234 tables, it’s easy to see where complications might have arisen.
While the Shanghai Auto Exhibition Center is a stunning venue in its own right, the Westin Shanghai took the initiative to further outfit the space with amenities. This labour-intensive preparation work included building two enclosed kitchens from the ground up and arranging on-site electricity. All of the hotel’s departments collaborated to meet the deadline, including culinary, banquet, housekeeping, stewarding, sales, engineering and security personnel.
The client requested tailor-made meals for the event, based on the international staff in attendance. Chinese and Western food were amalgamated into dishes to appeal to the client’s global demographics. The Westin Shanghai also personally monitored food standards and kitchen conditions, and developed a unique menu design for the event.
Over 500 hotel staff were out in full force for the event. Considering the fact that the hotel itself continued operations throughout the project, this was no easy feat for all involved. To ensure smooth operations on the day, a mini mock-up of the event was created beforehand to train staff in catering tables. By the event date, the staff was ready for action. In all, 20,000 plates were prepared, with 60 delivery trucks moving in and out of the venue.
As events grow in size and scale, catering services will need to up their game to meet client demands. Big brands take note, Westin Shanghai’s work is a prime example.