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OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD


“Social media is something you have to be aware of. Guests were putting it on twitter, so people found out straight away. Our PR person found out through twitter rather than from me”


a lot, so he must have enjoyed the food. They were at the restaurant for about two-and-a- half hours.


WHAT PREPARATIONS DID YOU MAKE? I didn’t have to make any. The security detail was thorough and easy to work with. They came to me very prepared. They had detailed fl oor plans of the space. I don’t know where they got this from or how long in advance they’d prepared for the Obamas to dine with us that night.


Their staff chose the table they were to sit at, but no changes were made and we didn’t add any special touches. They had exactly the same experience as everyone else. I didn’t even change the waiter or back server allocated to their table.


WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IF THE RESTAURANT HAD BEEN BOOKED?


Thank goodness it was a Monday and not Valentine’s Day! They only took up one table and didn’t ask for tables around them to be kept clear. Even if we’d been busy, we could've fi tted in one table.


Executive chef Scott Drewno, who cooked for the Obamas


WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES?


Social media is something you have to be aware of. Guests were putting it on twitter, so people found out straight away. Our PR person found out about it through twitter rather than from me. It’s crazy to me that things like that can happen so quickly. By the very next morning, people were phoning and asking to book the president’s table and have the same menu. On a practical note, I no- ticed it was getting icy during the evening and that there was a press van parked outside. So one priority was fi nding salt for the sidewalk, so they didn’t slip over in front of the press.


WHAT OTHER VIP GUESTS HAVE YOU HAD?


Michelle Obama had already been to the restaurant a few times and had told us on previous visits that she had enjoyed our food. We regularly have high-profi le guests, from national security advisers, to the speaker of the house, to the former vice president. There are a lot of business deals going on or private conversations, so people often ask for quieter areas. We deal with that almost on a nightly basis.


44 Attractions Handbook 2011-2012


WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER OTHER HOSTS OF VIP GUESTS? Find out what they want and offer that while also playing up your strengths. For example, the Obamas wanted a normal


The Obamas enjoyed a variety of courses including dim sum


experience, so we provided that while high- lighting our food and quality service. Another piece of advice is don’t get


stressed out – the venue will run as it usually does, so relax and enjoy it. It’s exciting for the staff and the guests and it’s great publicity for the venue.


WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE? We have a great many celebrities and high- profi le guests so it was like that, just multiplied a few times. I was the person who greeted them, took


Michelle’s coat and brought them up to the table. A lot of people wanted to know what she was wearing. It’s a great story. I called my parents to tell them!


www.attractionshandbook.com


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