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Organizing a dr.com Event


DonRocks
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This is an excerpt from the Events FAQ (pinned at the top of this forum). Please take note of item #1. This is not a bureaucratic exercise; it's trying to stay organized so nobody steps on each others toes.

This whole FAQ was written before there was an Events and Gatherings forum, so perhaps it can be rethought, i.e., we can slack off a bit in terms of the rigidity of things, but for now, try to use these as a guideline.

Thank you for listening, stay warm, eat lots of fiber, and have a nice day. :lol:

Rocks.

Organizing A New Event

We encourage registered users to organize events open to other registered users. Many informal events are organized by members under such threads as “On a whim” and “$20 Tuesdays.” From time-to-time, we like to organize more formal events at restaurants with the cooperation of the restaurant’s chef and staff. These usually involve a special menu created for the event and/or taking up all or most of the restaurant. For the benefit of our tireless volunteers, but also for others who might want to organize an event, I thought I’d post some informal guidelines for members to follow when planning an event, to make the process smoother, and to enhance the chances that your event will be successful for both the organizer and the restaurant who is hosting it. These are just guidelines and not rules: and they do not apply to anything organized under the “on a whim” and “$20 Tuesdays” and similar threads.

1. If you are thinking of organizing an event at a local restaurant, send a PM to hillvalley to let her know and to ask her what would be good timing vis-à-vis what already is in the pipeline. This simple notice will help avoid overlapping or competing events.

2. Once you have established the date, time, capacity, pricing, method of payment and menu, start a new thread announcing the event.

3. Please run it by me before you bill it as a “donrockwell.com” event.

4. For larger, and/or more formal events we strongly encourage the use of mandatory prepayment to secure a reservation, to simplify the process and to protect the restaurant from no-shows. We have found that Paypal provides one easy and convenient prepayment mechanism, but you are free to make your own arrangements with the restaurant.

5. If your event sells out, we also encourage the use of a waitlist. Sometimes unexpected things come up and people need to cancel. Having members ready to fill a vacancy is just a good policy. We have found from experience that the random number generated lottery system for oversubscribed events has been the most fair and least troublesome way to do handle popular events. However, how you establish and clear people from the waitlist is up to you, but we trust that you will use a fair system.

With these simple guidelines in mind, go forth and organize events.

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Hi folks! Just to piggy back on what Don posted, although I don't have time to organize anything right now I would appreciate it if you let me know ahead of time if you are planning something directly with a restaurant such as the cassoulet at Corduroy or the HH at Dino. There are other people planning events as well and I want to make sure that everyone's event get to happen in a timely manner.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

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I do have one suggestion for future events of this nature: I think it would be best to return to the previous method of paying ahead, using PayPal, for example, and either paying the restaurant the total amount ahead of time or having a person designated to pay the tab at the dinner. Several of us were struggling to DO MATH AFTER DINNER (and wine), to try to figure out if we had the right amount of cash when everyone handed theirs to our Fearless Leader. It all worked out in the end, but would be better done before dinner.

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I'm glad it was such a success -- and truly sad that there wasn't room at the inn for us! Next time :lol:

About paying in advance, I'm happy to talk with Don about options! I do know that PayPal, for example, tacks on an extra fee for usage -- would people be willing to pay extra for the convenience?

In the past, I know that HillValley calculated the PayPal fee into the total that we sent in for events like the Maestro dinner. I didn't mind at all--why should anyone else have to absorb that cost? I think of it more as a necessity than a convenience. So make that two yes votes from wwmeade and me.

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Though I didn't attend tonight's dinner, as long as we're going to have this discussion, I vote against advanced payment unless the restaurant requires it. As long as the amount, including tax/tip, is publicized ahead of time, each person can just bring their payment of choice, and there shouldn't be a problem. No-shows owe the amount, unless they can get someone to take their place. We're all adults, and I think we can be fair about this.

I for one hate PayPal, as they have routinely fouled up my account with regards to my checking account. I've even made payments using PayPal and my credit card, that they then went and debited my checking account for anyway.

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Though I didn't attend tonight's dinner, as long as we're going to have this discussion, I vote against advanced payment unless the restaurant requires it. As long as the amount, including tax/tip, is publicized ahead of time, each person can just bring their payment of choice, and there shouldn't be a problem. No-shows owe the amount, unless they can get someone to take their place. We're all adults, and I think we can be fair about this.

I for one hate PayPal, as they have routinely fouled up my account with regards to my checking account. I've even made payments using PayPal and my credit card, that they then went and debited my checking account for anyway.

I have had no problems with PayPal (knock on wood) and think that it makes these type of events much easier. Kind of hard to get $$ from folks that don't show and this is an easy way to get the cash upfront. Another option is to have folks call the restaurant and give a CC #.

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Another option is to have folks call the restaurant and give a CC #.

I like this option - it puts the burden on the restaurant, rather than a dr.com volunteer, when something more forceful than a name on a list is needed. I would further qualify that there's no need to actually run the cards until the night of the event, but that's a minor quibble.

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I think this discussion should be moved to a different thread, but I want to say that in some cases, the restaurant is happy to do handle the money. In others, they're not. Vidalia was one that wasn't -- they wanted one payment made to them, and the only way to do that was to have everyone bring cash. In addition, different restaurants have different policies about charging for no-shows -- and DR.com has its own policy:

"There have been several short-term cancellations for organized events lately, and it is entirely my fault for not having come up with a policy.

So here it is, effective 11 PM, July 27th, 2005:

1) For any organized event, you must cancel at least 72 hours (three days) prior to the event. Otherwise you need to pay 100% of the cost unless there's a waiting list and your seat(s) can be filled.

2) Anyone not doing 1) can't come to any more events.

I know that sounds a bit harsh, but Hillvalley has been putting a great deal of time into organizing these events, and that time needs to be respected, as does the revenue that restaurants count on when reserving tables for us.

From this point forward, everyone is starting with a clean slate, and no harm has been done. I take the blame for any infractions up until now."

It sounds like most people are cool with paying with PayPal, and I know that we've done it for events before, so this may be the way of the future.

For now, when organizing events, I'll continue to abide by the restaurants' wishes in terms of when and how to pay unless we come up with a one-size-fits-all type of policy (and I'll PM with Don about options).

I'm glad that you all are as excited as I am about these sorts of events! More are coming, so stay tuned!!!

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