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Dinner for large group ?

EDM
posts: 69
reviews: 1
Dinner for large group ?

Looking to book a dinner party for a group of about 15 to 20,any suggestions are welcomed.

LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
1. Re: Dinner for large group ?

When?

Where are you staying?

How would this group be transported?

EDM
posts: 69
reviews: 1
2. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Looking at Tuesday Feb. 11/2014 around 5PM. Staying N. Kohala..spread out around Waikoloa and Muana Lani. Car pooling in rentals,with Designated Drivers.

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,210
reviews: 4
3. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Many restaurants would prefer to do a dinner like that in one of their private rooms and give you a set menu or a limited range of options. Are you up for that? It will go smoother that way, everyone getting food at more or less the same time, as opposed to off the menu.

I would say start by contacting the hotels and asking about how they handle such dinners.

Generally, if you want the best go to the Four Seasons, and after that try Fairmont, Mauna Lani, Mauna Kea (not Hilton or Marriott, donʻt know how the Prince is now with new chef).

Price range is going to determine a lot. There are less expensive options, less money, lower quality. If you could define what you are looking for some more it would help.

Or, like I said, get some ball park quotes and info from the majors, and see if the prices make your heart flutter or if that works for you.

Edited: 4:07 pm, November 15, 2013
EDM
posts: 69
reviews: 1
4. Re: Dinner for large group ?

KK thanks for the feedback,not sure which route to take. Not crazy about the set menu,but will make inquires at the majors you mentioned. Its for a 50th anniversary so its a pretty big deal,want to make it a special occasion. Any and all suggestions will be considered.

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,210
reviews: 4
5. Re: Dinner for large group ?

My son who was a chef reminded me earlier this year, when I was booking a lunch for a group, that kitchens hate large groups ordering off the menu. So one thing to consider is that by not irritating the chef you might get a better meal. It is hard on servers too, unless they are really good.

I had a lunch that went from 12-14 people to 22, off the menu. Granted, not at a major venue. While it went pretty well, we waited for ages to have our orders taken, and some people were done eating theirs before some others had any food. We didnʻt get drinks promptly, and so forth. Luckily it was a casual lunch and not trying to make memories like yours.

You can avoid those problems by getting your guests to help lessen the chaos. Most kitchens canʻt put that many different entrees on at once, so they will stagger them. Kitchens depend on orders from smaller tables coming in staggered to keep the flow going, and large groups are difficult. Then if they favor your group, smaller tables will get slighted.

If you are in a side room all to yourself, you will get some wait staff dedicated to just your party, or should, instead of being juggled.

Iʻm going to another big group lunch tomorrow in Volcano, and we have been asked to preorder -- off the menu but the kitchen will have all our orders ahead of time.

I would say just talk to the restaurants and see what they suggest and offer. It is not a good idea to rock the boat too far from what they want, as they end up resenting you, and that translates into a lesser experience. I worked in restaurants for a decade, and also served banquets, and restaurant people are very temperamental and have set ideas on how the kitchen and the floor should flow. Both my husbands were cooks/chefs, and both my sons cooked for fine dining as well as casual. So I have had lots of exposure to how cooks and chefs view customers when they speak frankly, most of which you would not want to hear.

If you make them happy, they will make you happy.

The manager may not care about making them happy, depends on the manager.

Edited: 6:38 pm, November 15, 2013
Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
posts: 15,279
reviews: 69
6. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Merriman's, Beach Tree, 'Ulu, three best restaurants on the island and all are used to and will accommodate large groups ordering off the menu.

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,210
reviews: 4
7. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Thatʻs why they get the big bucks. :)

EDM
posts: 69
reviews: 1
8. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Checked with the Fairmont they want Big $ for what they called a site fee. Moving on from there for sure,will look into your top 3 picks SheaG. Thanks for the insiders perspective KK, sure makes a lot of sense. My wife is suggesting having it catered and supporting smaller local business instead of giving all our $$ to the big resorts. Not sure where to begin with that,as would also require a venue.

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,210
reviews: 4
9. Re: Dinner for large group ?

Thanks for reporting on your finds, and would much appreciate if you post how it goes, as it will help others who are doing similar large dinners.

I had thought of suggesting catering, but didnʻt because of exactly what you said. If you had rented one large house, it might have seating, but with you split up in smaller lodgings, where would you host it? Not my area of knowledge.

What kind of food and drink are you looking for? Foodie level? 5 star? I know you want it to be special, but how expensive?

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,210
reviews: 4
10. Re: Dinner for large group ?

PS. I wouldnʻt worry too much about giving $$ to the resorts. Those resorts keep the community working, you know? Your money will probably support more average people using a resort or other restaurant than it will supporting one caterer -- but by all means use a caterer if that will work.