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jenni
06-12-2004, 08:48 PM
First I have to say how grateful I am to the Mercure. I was determined that the schools would not suffer as a result of the decision to nab it for the Mt Buller events. Everything I asked the Mercure to do they did and went even further than I had requested. The BBQ on the Saturday was superb. Ian and Cathy Rogers and Tony, Charles and I were among the people who were a bit late getting to the BBQ and so didn't get the full benefit of the beautiful food, but we certainly got more than enough food to eat - just missed out on all the extras. Perhaps if the Mercure didn't want people to have seconds, they needed to have some sort of voucher system so that people could only eat once.

There were a few problems with sandwiches, but you can't do everything perfectly and everything else was just wonderful. All the staff at the Mercure are extremely helpful and always ready to correct any problems.

A few comments on George's post.


When everybody was there on friday night people all wanted to be fed for not much money and all between 6 - 7 pm. Therefore they needed to feed about 150 plus folks cheaply and in a hurry.

I am not sure that there had been any request to feed people quickly? Perhaps this came from some of the schools, but it was certainly not a request from me. I had been asked if I wanted them to do anything for Friday night and I had said no - that it should be a free night with people able to eat at other restaurants. I actually appreciated the cheap meals, as I was feeding a number of people. The quality wasn't wonderful, but what do you expect for $7.50. The adults had the most problems, but I don't think you can expect great food for $7.50.


On the last evening 75 folks decided they would eat elsewhere in another location on the mountain - what the 75 people did not realise is that the food consumed at this other place is sourced from the same place as that of Mercure and the Chef used was in fact the Mercure Grand Chalet Chef.
So these 75 folks gained nothing other than upsetting the principal sponsors.


A very nice lady from Summer Hill took it upon herself to organise a dinner at the Arlberg Hotel. I am not sure why she chose the Arlberg, perhaps just tired of eating at the same place. I have to admit I joined the party, because Marge Lip is a good friend of mine and I wanted to have dinner with her. The food was fine - not great quality either, but pleasant enough for the price. I am not sure that the food did come from the Mercure, as the chef who cooked it (and was there all evening) actually sat down and talked to the lady who did the organising and she didn't indicate she was from the Mercure and if she was, then the Mercure was without a chef that night, which seems strange?

I think one of the critical things here is that there is no way on earth that people are going to eat at the same place night after night. I know at the world youth that people actually go and leave the tournament hotels and find restaurants and pay to eat a meal (even though they have already paid for their meals at the hotel). It is not because the meals are bad, just that they want a change of scenery and meals.


That is the end of my gripe but please remember the Mercure Grand Chalet wants everything to be fantastic for us but you have to work with them and inform them if any issues dealing with the Mercure Grand Chalet need to be addressed.

The Mercure was fantastic - obviously a few people were unhappy with the food. There always are a few dissatisfied people in this imperfect world. I got attacked by a lady over the sandwiches being dry and there was a problem with mayonnaise on the bread (no person in their right mind would put mayonnaise on kids sandwiches!). However that was fixed the next day. Every tiny problem was fixed by the Mercure as soon as I asked them. School after school told me how much they had enjoyed the tournament and the teacher from Midland Christian in WA rated it as 10.4 out of 10 and they are really looking forward to next year.

So while I can understand that the Mercure wasn't happy about some people deciding to eat somewhere else on the Sunday night, I do not believe it was because of dissatisfaction with the dinner on Friday night. Perhaps the lady who organised it was dissatisfied, or maybe just wanted a change of scenery and everyone else just went with the flow (as you tend to do when someone comes up and asks if you would like to join a group dinner out).

george
07-12-2004, 08:30 AM
Hi All,

No problems with folks eating elsewhere but if 75 people spending $20 plus each wanted a carvery Mercure Grand Chalet could have put it on - same food same chef.

They just want an opportunity to put before their clients what they can offer and were somewhat miffed that before booking folks did not ask them to supply the same service. They understand people dont always want to eat in the same environment but the food would have been the same if not better in all ways as Peter Richardson of Mercure is totally committed to making these events as successful as possible for ALL PARTIES.

Regards
George Howard

PHAT
07-12-2004, 08:52 AM
What ever they put on, it must have an all-you-can-eat trough.

Libby
07-12-2004, 09:36 AM
I'd like to extend my thanks, particularly to Jenni who works so hard to make great things happen for junior players, but also to the rest of the Mt Buller team and to the Mercure who were obviously keen to help in any way possible to make the event successful.

However, I have to say George, we seem to be back on to the same hoary old chestnut - the need to stay/eat/play at the Mercure. I think Jenni did a fantastic job promoting the Mercure as the place to stay for the Schools event and I understood it was full to capacity - got to be happy with that? And probably expect a bit of a demand on their catering facilities as a result?

When we promoted Canberra as a rival bid for the Schools it was partly because it was relatively easy to get to by plane or people might choose to drive and the range of sevices and facilities close by. Mt Buller is not so easy to get to (7+ hrs drive from Canberra) so almost everybody who arrived on Friday was arriving late-ish in the day, with a whole bunch of tired, over-excited kids (and probably a few worse-for-wear adults). There is no local shop in Mt Buller, most people at the Mercure were not self-catering (no kitchen) and the other summer dining places hardly ever open in December. I'm not trying to knock the event because my two school teams had a fantastic time (no complaints over sandwiches - although not too keen on the mayo, loved the Saturday night function, ate sometimes at the Mercure and sometimes self-catered at their lodge) but what were the expectations on the Friday night? And on other nights?

When we have things like this -


A few things however need to be spoken of. When everybody was there on friday night people all wanted to be fed for not much money and all between 6 - 7 pm. Therefore they needed to feed about 150 plus folks cheaply and in a hurry. Food was prepared which is not normally prepared in the restaraunt by the chef to satisfy the demands of bulk and extreme speed. Some adults / children did not like the food quality - they could have eaten at the restaraunt after making a booking as folks do in restaraunts and they would have got food of brilliant quality.

It sounds a bit like a rap on the knuckles to everyone who was there. If we were in Canberra, Melbourne (or any other middle-sized town) most schools might have popped down to Macca's, or the local chip shop or bought things to prepare from the supermarket. People travel to this stuff (especially the schools) on a tight budget so nobody wants to spend much on food (ie book at a restaurant - which I'm sure is wonderful), the kids and parents are tired from travelling so they want something quick, easy and inexpensive. They want it by about 7.30pm because they are already tired and they want the kids in bed early for a great weekend of chess.

I don't think anything special needed to be organised (ie a function or the like) on the Friday but it was reasonable to expect, given the number of bookings and age of participants AND LACK OF ALTERNATIVES that people would roll up to the Mercure for a meal. (BTW- my teams did not on the Friday as they all brought their own stuff to prepare at the lodge). Of course, people being rude or unrealistic is not acceptable.


On the last evening 75 folks decided they would eat elsewhere in another location on the mountain - what the 75 people did not realise is that the food consumed at this other place is sourced from the same place as that of Mercure and the Chef used was in fact the Mercure Grand Chalet Chef.
So these 75 folks gained nothing other than upsetting the principal sponsors..

Can we get away from this? Will it be an issue if people choose to eat in a different restaurant? If 75 people chose to eat elsewhere, did that leave 75 people at the Mercure which sounds like a more manageable number anyway? I had been intending to produce a booklet on what to do, where to go, where to eat etc in Mt Buller which was certainly to give the Mercure prominence (and Peter has copied me some menus etc) but if I were to include the other restaurants is that a problem?

I've suggested before that people come to the Aus Junior each year and enjoy different locations and the opportunity it affords to explore and see/try things they may not have done. Kayleigh and I certainly explored Perth & Adelaide as far as public transport would take us and ate in quite a few different places. It seems really silly to view this as (another) organised attempt to undermine the events and sponsorship. If this sort of stuff is going to be an ongoing issue, why not negotiate an arrangement where everyone must stay, eat and play at the sponsored accommodation (like the World Juniors?) I wouldn't like to see that happen but it's the only way to exert that level of control. And for what it's worth - my family ate at the Mercure on the Sunday (after a lovely swim in the pool) and really enjoyed it and found the prices very reasonable. If however, they had chosen to make the steep walk further up the mountain for dinner elsewhere it would have been a choice based on who they wanted to eat with, what they wanted to eat and how much it was going to cost - just like any other meal out.

jenni
07-12-2004, 10:19 AM
If 75 people chose to eat elsewhere, did that leave 75 people at the Mercure which sounds like a more manageable number anyway?

No it didn't as about half the tournament had already left. It would have left very few at the Mercure. In retrospect I feel a bit guilty, as I am very grateful to the Mercure, but I wanted to have dinner with friends, not on my own. The lady who organised the dinner is new to chess, knows nothing about the whole Mt Buller deal and just wanted a different venue.

Garvinator
07-12-2004, 10:26 AM
No it didn't as about half the tournament had already left. It would have left very few at the Mercure. In retrospect I feel a bit guilty, as I am very grateful to the Mercure, but I wanted to have dinner with friends, not on my own. The lady who organised the dinner is new to chess, knows nothing about the whole Mt Buller deal and just wanted a different venue.
i only heard of the meal at arlberg during sunday's play, but can something be clarified for me please. Were the ppl who organised the arlberg meal from the same 'group' that recieved the poor meals at mercure on friday night?
I did ask the person who approached me did they speak to Peter or someone about their concerns from friday night and that person answered that they did not. I was left with the impression that the decision to organise a meal at the arlberg was done out of spite. Peter was rather annoyed that no one came to approach him regarding sunday night. This caused mercure to lose quite a bit of money as they had put on extra staff after friday night.

george
07-12-2004, 11:08 AM
Hi All,

The Schools Finals were terrific , absolutely fabulous lets not divert attention away from the fabulous chess played and the beautiful environment and hospitable Mercure Chalet folks.

The Schools Finals were a bit of a learning curve re catering for all parties so I am sure the Lidums and Junior will in regards catering run like clockwork.

Regards to ALL
George

jenni
07-12-2004, 11:43 AM
i only heard of the meal at arlberg during sunday's play, but can something be clarified for me please. Were the ppl who organised the arlberg meal from the same 'group' that recieved the poor meals at mercure on friday night?
I did ask the person who approached me did they speak to Peter or someone about their concerns from friday night and that person answered that they did not. I was left with the impression that the decision to organise a meal at the arlberg was done out of spite. Peter was rather annoyed that no one came to approach him regarding sunday night. This caused mercure to lose quite a bit of money as they had put on extra staff after friday night.

I don't even know who received "poor" meals. In fact you could argue everyone received poor meals, as we all received the same. I do not believe they were poor - they were $7.50 for goodness sake. For $7.50 Tamzin got pasta with some sort of sauce, which she loved and was too much for her to eat. I can't remember what David and Kishore ate but they didn't complain. Ian and Cathy Rogers , Tony and I and Gareth all had a lamb burger and it was OK, more than I could eat and good value for $7.50, although definitely not wonderful. However the meal cost us about $60, which is about what you would expect for a meal at macdonalds and the quality was about the same or better. (my bread roll was definitely nicer than those repulsive macca ones!).

A few people did complain to me - I know Rowena Morris was unhappy and a few people said they hadn't liked the meals, but I just don't think it was a big issue and not why the dinner ended up at the Arlberg. I think the Mayo on the sandwiches were a bigger issue. I suffered from that as Tamzin wouldn't eat her sandwich, so I had to run down to the Mercure, buy a sausage roll and run back up that damn hill, before the next round started (and you know how much I like the hill!). However after I spoke to Peter and wrote no mayo on the orders, it was fine for Sunday.

I do not believe the lady who organised it was motivated by any spite at all. She seemed very bubbly and pleasant. I am not quite sure why she picked the Arlberg. She came to me on the Saturday afternoon - just after the Wilderness lady had attacked me over the sandwiches and Tony had almost killed her and I was feeling a bit shaky, so I didnt actually question her at all. She just asked me if I wanted to join a dinner she was organising on the Sunday night. Marge Lip was passing by and I asked her if she was going, Marge said yes, so I said I would go too, because I wanted to have dinner with Marge.

Because I was very busy the next day I didn't actually give it another thought until late when George and Garvin said they weren't going, as they thought it was a bit politically difficult.

I sat with the lady who organised the dinner, as she was from NSW and so was sitting with Marge. As I said previously she knows nothing about chess, nothing about the Mt Buller deal. She is a doctor, her husband is a surgeon. I don't think money or anything else was an issue. I think she wanted somewhere different to go - people get bored with same place. The dinner wasn't that cheap. $16 for an adult and the quality was about the same as on the Friday night (but it was 2 courses).


I guess all 4 organisers knew it was happening and should have warned the Mercure, so they could have not put on extra staff, but I guess none of us did. Just lack of experience by us on staffing procedures of hotels.

Garvinator
07-12-2004, 11:54 AM
when George and Garvin said they weren't going, as they thought it was a bit politically difficult.
also i went and ate at the mercure cause i knew with a lot of ppl at the arlberg that meant no one in the pool, spa and sauna at the mercure ;) :lol:

jenni
07-12-2004, 02:20 PM
also i went and ate at the mercure cause i knew with a lot of ppl at the arlberg that meant no one in the pool, spa and sauna at the mercure ;) :lol:
Aha - so it wasn't all purity of intention. :uhoh:

george
07-12-2004, 02:29 PM
Hi ALL,

The various points have been made , fantastic but right now we move onward forever onward to a fantastic Lidums and Junior.

I am not trying to gag debate merely saying I think we should move on to other things.

Kindest Regards to ALL
George

Garvinator
07-12-2004, 03:02 PM
Aha - so it wasn't all purity of intention. :uhoh:
just maximising the benefits ;) might as well take advantage of all that is on offer when you can :D

Mischa
07-12-2004, 09:47 PM
Just wanted to say we were only unhappy with one meal on the Friday night which was horrid. The other meals were O.K. just would have liked some salad or something green. Overall I could not fault the service and attitude of the staff. The Mecure did everything in their power to be obliging and friendly and interested. They even bothered to ask how each child in our team was doing and how we were doing in the tourny. We are looking forward to our stay in January...unless I can convince the junior to give up chess.