For years, I have held dinners for readers of this newsletter shortly after the end of most major conferences. I hope to do so again this year, but I probably won't be able to confirm the dinner until some time tomorrow (Tuesday). I will announce it here online as soon as I receive confirmation. As usual, anyone who wishes to attend will need to sign up in advance to make a reservation. Keep an eye on www.eogn.com all day for the announcement.
If you would like to know the reasons why the announcement has been delayed, read on.
For years, I would show up in the conference city a day or two in advance of the conference and go looking for a place we all could meet and eat. As the crowds got larger and larger, this became more and more difficult. Starting last year, I decided to plan further in advance and to find a hotel banquet room to accommodate us. The downside was that it was more expensive than meeting in a restaurant but it did guarantee we would have a place waiting for us.
Several months ago, I went looking for such a place in Cincinnati. Keep in mind the Cincinnati Reds have a home game Saturday evening only a block or two away and most of the restaurants expect to be packed. "You want a table for 75 on Saturday evening? Well..."
Actually, I found several hotel banquet rooms that are available. The problem is prices. The cheapest hotel banquet room I could find charges more than I have ever paid before. Some of them wanted $75 per person or more. Much more. That's for the price of the meal plus 20% gratuity plus 6% Ohio meals tax plus additional charges for the room itself in some hotels. "Oh, you want a podium and microphone? That will be an extra $150 please."
I admit to being chea..., uh "thrifty" and I refuse to pay such prices. I do understand this is a downtown location in an older city in the east where hotel and meal prices are expected to be high, but these prices were outrageous. I reverted back to my old method: I waited until I arrived in the city (today) and went out and walked up and down the streets, looking for a restaurant that was suitable. Of course, the Reds' home game on Saturday didn't help!
I think I have found a suitable restaurant. It still isn't cheap, but it has somewhat more reasonable prices than the hotels. It is a well-known and highly respected chain restaurant. I am guessing the price will be around $55 per person, plus or minus a bit. It will be buffet style and the menu includes fish, prime rib, and chicken dishes plus all sorts of side dishes and desserts. Details will be forthcoming, probably tomorrow (Tuesday), after I sign the agreement.
Advance reservations will be required. I have to guarantee the number of people I ask for so that the restaurant can prepare the appropriate number of meals. We cannot handle last-minute additions unless someone already registered cancels.
Stan tuned. I'll announce the dinner here on www.eogn.com as soon as the agreement is signed.