Co-event lunch arrangements

Discussion and announcements relating to unofficial Countdown competitions, held online or in real life. Observation, discussion, reflection, and other stuff ending in -ion.
Post Reply
Stewart Gordon
Enthusiast
Posts: 318
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Stewart Gordon »

Over the years, these have varied from event to event. Different arrangements I can remember are:
  1. something served to us from an on-site kitchen (mainly at Ben's early events)
  2. an on-site buffet lunch
  3. making use of restaurant facilities at the venue
  4. going together somewhere down the road to get something to eat and maybe sit at a table and eat together
  5. just being left to our own devices to go and grab something down the road or bring something from home
It seems that, over the last few years, they've all been 5 or occasionally 4. Unless some of the others have been used at events I haven't attended. I recall that 1 stopped happening as the uptake wasn't high enough to be worth it? Of course 3 and to an extent 2 rely on having the event at a venue that makes it possible.

I particularly seem to miss the buffet lunches, but I see now that one's planned for Co:Liv II. Still I wonder, what's happened to on-site catering provisions generally? Furthermore, maybe it would be good to get input from people who attend Co-events generally. What are your preferences as to what to do for lunch at Co-events?
Last edited by Stewart Gordon on Wed Dec 06, 2023 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Graeme Cole
Series 65 Champion
Posts: 2054
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Graeme Cole »

I prefer option 5 - just buy or take your own. It's really rare for an event not to be within easy walking distance of a supermarket or similar sandwich-vending emporium.

The problem with options 3 and 4 is that in the past people have gone to a cafe or pub for lunch and got stuck there waiting ages for their food, which causes knock-on delays to the event. It only works if only a few people do it - not many venue catering facilities are equipped to handle 30-40 people all turning up wanting a cooked meal within the same hour unless orders are taken in advance. And when orders *are* taken in advance, the choice is usually very limited and it's yet another thing the organiser has to remember to do.

The "on-site buffet lunch" option, while convenient for the attendees, has its own problems. People have different dietary requirements that must be catered for, which increases organisational complexity, and the venue will want to know the headcount well in advance, which further complicates things especially when there's the traditional glut of extra entries in the week leading up to the event.

For all of these reasons, you can see why organisers prefer to bin off all the above in favour of saying "the Co-op is over the road, and there's a fish and chip shop yonder". IMO this is better for attendees as well. Rather than inflate the entry fee for everyone for a buffet lunch, give them the choice of the Co-op over the road, fish and chips, a pub lunch, food you brought yourself, etc. Another advantage of the Co-op over the on-site buffet is that the former is less likely to spring a last-minute surprise on organisers and attendees like "Vegetarian? Yep, that's the salmon sandwiches".
Adam S Latchford
Acolyte
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:47 am

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Adam S Latchford »

For rugby main event this year - there will be some form of food buffet at lunch time also. This is only because we're pushing the lunch break back to have 4 games before lunch and 4 after, so having something on hand will be helpful. I do think the easiest thing possible is that lunch isn't catered for but if the demand was huge i'd make it a thing of most co events I'd be somewhat organising
Fiona T
Kiloposter
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Fiona T »

We've had two events recently with lunches organised - Edinburgh where the bridge club had lovely sandwiches, soup and cakes, and Newcastle where there was a cafe where we pre-ordered. Both were great (for someone with no special dietary requirements!) but if we restrict the choice of venues to those with such facilities we're going to lose a lot of events! I don't think the majority of event organisers would want to or be able to prepare, transport and provide a buffet themselves. I guess if people feel strongly it might be possible to arrange a pre-order pickup from a local sandwich shop or similar, but again it's a lot of organisation when people can just go down and choose/pay themselves!
User avatar
Callum Todd
Series 69 Champion
Posts: 1149
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:38 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Callum Todd »

Yeah I think anyone who's ever organised a co event will realise it's impossible to determine beforehand that a provided lunch is a requirement. Most venues don't offer it and if they do then it's normally:
- a ballache to organise
- difficult to cater for allergies/dietary requirements
- poor value for money

In the unlikely event that an event venue has no nearby convenient amenities for food then that should be taken into account but most venues have several options nearby so I really don't think this is a problem. Bring a packed lunch if you want!
Mark Deeks wrote:Callum Todd looks like a young Ted Bundy.
Stewart Gordon
Enthusiast
Posts: 318
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Stewart Gordon »

Fiona T wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 8:48 amWe've had two events recently with lunches organised - Edinburgh where the bridge club had lovely sandwiches, soup and cakes, and Newcastle where there was a cafe where we pre-ordered.
That's good to know - shame I didn't manage to make it to those two events.
Fiona T wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 8:48 amBoth were great (for someone with no special dietary requirements!) but if we restrict the choice of venues to those with such facilities we're going to lose a lot of events!
I wasn't saying we should always have on-site lunch provisions.

Hopefully I'll make it to Liverpool and Rugby next year ... 🤞
Last edited by Stewart Gordon on Thu Dec 07, 2023 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4561
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Ben Wilson »

The on-site cooked lunches at COLIN actually ended because of too much demand rather than anything else- it was my mum in charge of doing it all pretty much solo as I had to be chained to my desk to deal with conundrums/scores etc, and cooking lunch for 15+ people in one go is kinda tricky regardless of the kitchen facilities (which at the time were the memorial hall, and therefore 'not great').

Fwiw I've been to a lot of Scrabble tournaments held at hotels or conference facilities where (breakfast aside) the selection of cooked meals provided were so crap I found it easier on my stomach to just buy lunch elsewhere anyway.
Marc Meakin
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 6492
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Marc Meakin »

If lunch is provided the downside is the catering cost will up the entry fee or any prize fund
GR MSL GNDT MSS NGVWL SRND NNLYC NNCT
Stewart Gordon
Enthusiast
Posts: 318
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Stewart Gordon »

Marc Meakin wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 9:24 pm If lunch is provided the downside is the catering cost will up the entry fee or any prize fund
Huh? How do you mean it will up any prize fund?
Marc Meakin
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 6492
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Marc Meakin »

Stewart Gordon wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:10 pm
Marc Meakin wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 9:24 pm If lunch is provided the downside is the catering cost will up the entry fee or any prize fund
Huh? How do you mean it will up any prize fund?
If lunch is provided then the cost of providing the lunch will affect any prize pot surely
GR MSL GNDT MSS NGVWL SRND NNLYC NNCT
User avatar
Adam Beach
Rookie
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2022 12:46 am
Location: Durham, UK
Contact:

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Adam Beach »

Marc Meakin wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:51 pm
Stewart Gordon wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:10 pm
Marc Meakin wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 9:24 pm If lunch is provided the downside is the catering cost will up the entry fee or any prize fund
Huh? How do you mean it will up any prize fund?
If lunch is provided then the cost of providing the lunch will affect any prize pot surely
Unlike Scrabble tournaments, we don't have prize pots at co-events.
Stewart Gordon
Enthusiast
Posts: 318
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Stewart Gordon »

Marc Meakin wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:51 pm
Stewart Gordon wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:10 pm
Marc Meakin wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 9:24 pmIf lunch is provided the downside is the catering cost will up the entry fee or any prize fund
Huh? How do you mean it will up any prize fund?
If lunch is provided then the cost of providing the lunch will affect any prize pot surely
Affect, yes, but up? How?
Marc Meakin
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 6492
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Marc Meakin »

Adam Beach wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:59 pm
Marc Meakin wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:51 pm
Stewart Gordon wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:10 pm Huh? How do you mean it will up any prize fund?
If lunch is provided then the cost of providing the lunch will affect any prize pot surely
Unlike Scrabble tournaments, we don't have prize pots at co-events.
Do you think if there were prize pots it would be more popular?
I would guess the prize pot is a big factor in why at a scrabble tournament there is an exam like atmosphere compared to how I imagine a co event is
GR MSL GNDT MSS NGVWL SRND NNLYC NNCT
Fiona T
Kiloposter
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Fiona T »

Marc Meakin wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 6:53 am Do you think if there were prize pots it would be more popular?
No No no. And No.
Matt Rutherford
Acolyte
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:41 pm
Location: Birmingham's Eastern Fleapit

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Matt Rutherford »

Marc Meakin wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:51 pm
Do you think if there were prize pots it would be more popular?
Absolutely not. No, no, no, no

Cash prizes mean that Scrabble events cost way more than FOCAL events to enter, and aren't as much fun in comparison. Cash prizes for FOCAL would make things worse, near infinitely. Reducing cash prizes (or better yet eliminating them) would make Scrabble tournaments better, near infinitely.

Re the main thread, plonking the event itself near to a place you can source food has been the easiest in my view. Not averse to catering if people want to provide, but it does up the faff somewhat
The Vicar of Dudley*

*(Not ordained, nor do I live Dudley. Godspeed!)
User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4561
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Ben Wilson »

Fwiw, some of the very early COLINs had cash prizes, and the general consensus was that people preferred the prizes that were more tangible, even if they were (objectively) a bit shit.
Marc Meakin
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 6492
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Marc Meakin »

The only thing Scrabble events have over Co Events is probably the ratings system which some people are obsessed with
I always like to play up in the top division as I neither care about ratings or cash prizes the only thing I'm slightly obsessed with is finishing the event on time as I'm invariably dashing home as I'm working next day.

I'm determined to enter a Co event in 2024 btw
But i think it might be in London or Essex as I don't think there is likely to be any in Kent
GR MSL GNDT MSS NGVWL SRND NNLYC NNCT
User avatar
Adam Beach
Rookie
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2022 12:46 am
Location: Durham, UK
Contact:

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Adam Beach »

Marc Meakin wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 6:53 am
Adam Beach wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:59 pm
Marc Meakin wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2023 5:51 pm

If lunch is provided then the cost of providing the lunch will affect any prize pot surely
Unlike Scrabble tournaments, we don't have prize pots at co-events.
Do you think if there were prize pots it would be more popular?
I would guess the prize pot is a big factor in why at a scrabble tournament there is an exam like atmosphere compared to how I imagine a co event is
On the contrary, I think they'd be less popular. The average co-event weekend already costs an arm and a leg if you factor in accommodation, transport, meals and pub crawls for both the Friday and Saturday nights — if these appeal to you. If there was a prize fund for events, I couldn't see it being very big. It would probably just about cancel out the expenses paid for a start. Plus, the entry fee would naturally go through the roof, in turn putting people off. In relation to the atmosphere in the room, that would indeed change; it would be pretty shit getting hurled abuse at because you're disturbing a competitive match. It wouldn't be worth it. Saying all of this, I guess it depends on the spin the host would want to put on it.
Fiona T
Kiloposter
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Fiona T »

Ben Wilson wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 2:42 pm Fwiw, some of the very early COLINs had cash prizes, and the general consensus was that people preferred the prizes that were more tangible, even if they were (objectively) a bit shit.
I guess it depends. I mean a fiver or tenner instead of the usual bottle of wine is a different prospect to the large prizes at many scrabble tournaments (the recent tournament I attended in Malta had over 2000 euros of prizes - that's a substantial premium on the entry fee, which was more than the air fare!). But a fiver or tenner isn't going to be incentive to enter a tournament if you wouldn't otherwise. Kinda feels like getting a fiver in your card at Christmas cos someone couldn't be arsed to find you a present, even if it's one you "re-gift" :D Definitely prefer a shit trophy and nodding solar powered queen or similar!
Marc Meakin
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 6492
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Marc Meakin »

There's a big Scrabble Event next year the MGI at Leonardo in Milton Keynes and amongst the huge prize money there is a raffle and the winner gets accommodation for the following years event which is a nice touch
GR MSL GNDT MSS NGVWL SRND NNLYC NNCT
Fiona T
Kiloposter
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Co-event lunch arrangements

Post by Fiona T »

Marc Meakin wrote: Mon Dec 25, 2023 10:46 am There's a big Scrabble Event next year the MGI at Leonardo in Milton Keynes and amongst the huge prize money there is a raffle and the winner gets accommodation for the following years event which is a nice touch
Yeah but the point is that the winner's accommodation is being paid for by other attendees, some of who may be scrimping and saving to afford their own.
Post Reply