With the Arundel Festival of Cricket fast approaching, it’s time to put months of preparation into action, make sure the festival runs smoothly and our guests enjoy a couple of days of first class cricket and catering.
Believe it or not, preparation begins in November when the fixtures are announced. Once we know the dates we can start reserving marquees, tables and chairs, all based on the previous year’s numbers, and when March comes around it’s time to start planning the event in more detail. Over the next couple of months we book transport, undertake a key equipment stocktake on the previous year to ensure we have adequate stock for the coming season, put together the menu for Arundel, and once April arrives we ramp up staff recruitment for the season’s key games – Arundel being a big one for us. We’ve taken a lot of business here at Hove for the Arundel week, so extra pressure is on this year!
In May we iron out all the finer details; we review guest numbers, double-check stock levels, work on marquee plans, including tables and chairs, finalist transport and contact clients to confirm any dietary needs or special requirements they have. We check table linen and staff numbers, order cash for the float, coordinate menu requirements, confirm beer and wine orders, organise flowers for the tables and get in touch with our equipment suppliers Commercial Catering to confirm our last minute purchases. Making sure we’ve got enough staff is vital – whilst Arundel is one of our biggest events, only half our staff will work it while life goes on as normal back in Hove, with three meetings and a wedding happening at the same time.
June comes around fast enough, and on the 10th we assemble all of our equipment ready to be loaded at 9am the next day. I’ll head over to Arundel beforehand to mark out an area for the marquees by 8am, before returning to Hove to help load everything into the trailer. Ovens, hot cupboards, fridges – everything that you would expect in a normal catering kitchen gets taken with us to Arundel. The next day we’ll continue to build the kitchen and install of the equipment ready for the staff to arrive. It takes us around three return trips to get everything in place – and we can’t stay late on the Thursday as Staff Sharks have a cricket game on oh and the World Cup is also starting!
On Friday we’ll get the executive area and beer tent set up and carry out fridge temperature checks and a full health and safety audit and clean. Saturday is a day of prep for the chefs, and Sunday starts with loading up the equipment that was used on Friday, before picking up the ice and cash needed for the day. Staff leave at around 10.30am for Arundel, getting there before the gates open for hospitality at noon. We might even get to watch a bit of cricket at some point!
We never know what time we’ll be finishing back at Hove, as we have to unload all of the equipment and bank the cash. After a tiring day we get some rest before heading back to the Ground at 7am to do it all over again.