Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mexican Fiesta: Success! (FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT)

This second installment of my supplier ratings is about food and entertainment. Since we had the party at Jollibee, of course, we had no choice but to get both of these from them. Hehe.

❤ out of 5

I rated them 5 out of 5 simply because we love Jollibee food! :-) Their chicken's juicy and tasty, their spaghetti is meaty and filling, and their chocolate sundae is just the perfect complement to any value meal!

We opted to get Package 4 of their food packages which consist of: regular french fries, spaghetti, fried chicken with rice, chocolate sundae, and regular softdrinks. The minimum order is 30 pcs, but since at that time we were projecting to have around 50 guests-75 guests, we put in 50 orders.

At the time we made reservations for the party, the package was just priced at 195.00 PHP, but when we made the final payment for the 50 persons about 2 months later, it already shoot up to 205.00 PHP! :-( Thing is, we had to pay the amount based on current prices, which is of course very much understandable. Prices of food and other commodities are constantly on the rise, and it's not surprising that fastfoods caught on.

TIP #1: When you do your budgeting prior to the party, make sure to put in some buffer money in case of food price increase. Nothing beats being ready for anything. :-) 

We chose this package because it had basically all of our favorite foods from Jollibee, and was in really filling servings. Now about 2 weeks before the party proper, while I was finalizing the guest list, it turned out that we were to expect 80 guests. Surprise suprise!

Good thing though, I segregated the list to families, and then to adults, and kids. And based on the list, we will be having about 20 kids in the party. To save on food costs, we decided to make our package 4 good for 60 persons (adults), and will order 20 Yumburger value meals for the kids.

TIP #2:  I'm not sure if this rule goes for all Jollibee branches, but the minimum order per package is 30, and you cannot mix them up, like 30 of package 4 and then 20 of package 1. What you can do though, if you want to have a simpler set meal for your kids, or a more affordable option for your 'buffer meals' (in case some uninvited guests show up.hehe), make reservations only for the number of people you are sure to expect. If you find you'll have more guests than expected a few days before the party, you can actually opt for the more affordable value meals rather than order more of the party food packages. 

Jollibee's kiddie party food packages. Please inquire from the branch about current prices. 

For example, package 1 here costs 125 per head. If I go with the minimum order, it would be 3750 for 30 persons. If you have already ordered any of the food packages, especially package 4, it would be best and more cost-efficient to choose a value meal, say Value Meal B1 (regular yum meal) which only costs more or less 70 pesos. For 30 persons that's only 2100.00. :-)

This is ideal especially if you have already ordered a set of any of the party food packages for adults. Kids don't really eat much, so ordering a food set for them from the party packages can be potentially wasteful. The adults can share their food with them anyway, so you can just opt for simple value meals for the kiddos.

REMINDER: If you are to make additional food orders aside from what you have initially reserved, make sure to inform the branch around 3 days before the party date. This is of course to avoid any hassle on availability on the day of your event.

In our case, our number of guests jumped from 50 to 80, so we had to inform the branch 3 days before. If it's going to be equal to or less than 20% of your original number (for 50, it's 10 additional), it can be accommodated on the date of the event itself.

❤.5 out of 5

Before the party proper, we went to Jollibee Bluewave to discuss and clarify some of the party details. I met a mom through the Smart Parenting forum who had her party there about a couple of weeks before my daughter's and she had some not-so-pleasant feedback about them as well as their party hosting. During her party, there were about three people doing the party hosting, when in fact, it was supposed to be done by only one person (with the help of I think one or two party assistants. Party assistants are not supposed to do the hosting).

I made sure to discuss this with the party representative that I met with a few days before my girl's party. I asked them if their party team undergo appropriate trainings for party hosting, and she of course, said yes. I believe this to be true, but I wanted to point out to them that I expect only one professional party host to handle the program, hindi yung 3 tao ang nagpapalit-palit sa mic.

I met the party team an hour before my daughter's celebration. They were quite helpful with the set-up (we did DIY decors), and were attentive to the instructions I was giving. The one who did the hosting was a lively petite girl who reminds me of Love Anover from GMA-7. :-) She knew how to work a crowd and make them participate in the program. Maybe it also helped that Jollibee was there throughout most of the party, and even helped with facilitating the games.

The party assistants weren't as 'sharp' as I wanted them too when it comes to giving of prizes. I made the effort to color code my prizes for boys and girls, and had placed them on the table with labels as to which prizes are for adults, and which are for the kids. When it was time for the games, they almost gave the wrong prizes to the adults, and there was even an incidence wherein the party assistant handed the game winner one of my daughter's gifts instead of the adult prize! :-) That was funny, but nakakainis to a certain level.

Tip # 3: Make sure to discuss pertinent details and give specific instructions to the party team before the program starts. It's also ok to give them reminders or pointers of how you prefer the party to be handled (e.g. no 'green' jokes, make sure to have no 'dead air', etc.). Instruct them as well as to the distribution of prizes. 

The party team. It's the short girl (second from the left) who did the hosting. (Photo by Warren Camitan)

I unfortunately misplaced my copy of the program flow, but let me jot it down based on memory:


Since it was just a two-hour program, it went pretty fast. I no longer opted to add other party activities since the two hours was pretty much filled with them already. :-) They had the traditional games like the longest game, but they put a twist to it to make it more interesting. Meals were served an hour or less after the party started, which I think would have to be the best time to eat since guests would already be a bit tired from the games, so this would be their rest time, and it was the closest to brunch time (11am). 

Tip # 4: If you want to add your personal touch to the activities, plan it beforehand, and make sure to inform the party team around 30 minutes before the party starts. Make sure to also inform the party team beforehand (like a few days before the party) if you want to add anything to their program, to make sure it's not included in one of their many restrictions. Jollibee branches are mostly franchises, and tend to have different rules, so make sure to ask questions about these before you go full force with party planning. 

Also, make sure to assign a person to do the opening prayer before the party begins. If you can do this way before, then that's better, so that person can prepare. 

Tip # 5: If it is at all possible, ask your guests to be participative during the party proper. You can either mention it in your invites or just pass the message along via SMS. :-) A party host can only do so much as encourage, but your guests would have to have the willingness to participate for the party to be fun fun fun! :-) Also, invite as many kids as you can, especially those around the ages of 3-7, as they are easier to convince to join party games. 

I personally advise NOT having other activities like face painting, photobooth etc. for a fastfood party like Jollibee's. A two-hour party is very time-restricted, and you wouldn't want your guests to be distracted with other stuff, and not join the games. If you plan to have more activities and a longer, more comprehensive program, I'm guessing you can opt to get two time slots from Jollibee. However I'm not sure how the program will go or what the particulars are for this kind of arrangement. It is best to check with your branch of choice. 

Hope this portion of my supplier ratings help! :-) Happy party planning everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mexican Fiesta: Success! (VENUE)

After 2.5 months of planning, my darling daughter's 2nd birthday party is over and done with! :-)

Here are my ratings for the first batch of party suppliers. For this post, I'm going to discuss mostly about the venue, as it requires...well, quite a considerable amount of discussion. :-)

Party Venue: Jollibee Bluewave - Macapagal Ave. 
❤.5 out of 5

Hmmm, I heard that this branch of Jollibee is host to a number of parties for families in the south. It's not surprising, as this is so far the nearest Manila branch to Cavite, Pasay, and Las Pinas. It's also easily accessible via taxi cab, bus, and the orange van from Buendia, if your guests are coming from Makati, Mandaluyong, Ortigas, and even QC.


We chose this branch as we live in Bacoor and would want our friends and family in Manila to be part of our celebration, without having to worry about transportation.  As it is right along Macapagal Ave., and is situated in the front area of Bluewave Metropark, it was easy to spot.

Parking areas also surround the venue, so those who came with their own cars didn't have a problem with that. The first five hours of parking is also free, so guests didn't have to park at an extra cost.

Hetty Room @ Jollibee Bluewave Macapagal Ave.

We used the Jollibee Room, which is very much like the Hetty Room pictured above. I was first told it can accommodate up to 100 persons, but errr, turns out it can only take in 90. Oh well (more on those inconsistencies later. :-)). We had about 80+ guests during the party, and it already looked rather crowded. I'm approximating about 70 to 75 persons would be a good count of persons it can comfortably take in.

As far as airconditioning is concerned, I couldn't give a 'fair' judgement. One of the AC's in the room had a problem during my party, and was only fixed a few minutes before the party started. So for the first 30 minutes, it was rather hot. I'm guessing though, if the AC was functioning normally, and there were less guests, than probably it would have been a bit cooler.

We took the first slot for the room (10 am to 12pm), so when we got there, the place was really clean. We opted for that time because most of our guests are coming from night shifts, and waking up in the afternoon for a party is quite difficult for them. So most of them went straight from their shift.

Also, the first time slot means we were first to use the room. Instead of just the usual 30 minutes alloted for set-up, we were allowed a full hour since nobody's using it before us, and we also didn't have to worry about 'left-over debris' from the previous party. :-)


The room set-up was vertical and pretty simple. There were about 14 sets of tables and chairs that can seat 6 persons for each set, and they were placed on the right and left side of the room. I personally prefer a rectangular set-up (tables and chairs set-up on three sides of the room, and 'stage' in front), as this allows the guests to have a better view of the program.

My biggest issue with this particular branch was inconsistency.

I went to the Jollibee Bluewave Macapagal Ave. as early as the last week of February to check it out, and had went back second week of March to have my preferred date and time reserved. When I paid for the reservation, I had immediately clarified with the party team representative if there were any restrictions that I should be aware of. I was informed about the 'no magicians/party host/mascot other then Jollibee's' rule. I even specifically asked about characters, decors, etc. They said other than the no outside magicians/entertainment rule, wala na daw. But being the OC person that I am, I researched on it and found out from a parenting forum (www.smartparenting.com) that there are indeed restrictions when it comes to characters, decor, cakes, and even lootbags for some branches! So I called the Bluewave Macapagal branch right away, and talked to the party rep available at that time, and just like I expected, meron nga.

The unfortunate thing about this is, NONE of the restrictions stated were written in the signed contract/agreement. So if I didn't care to snoop around and ask, I would have had a really bad morning on the day of the party. Tsk tsk. Here are some of the restrictions:

  • No character cakes, lootbags, party favors, game prizes, balloons etc.
  • No photobooth and food cart
  • No entertainment coming from outside (magicians, clowns, puppet shows, etc.)
  • No additional tarpaulin with other characters

So word of advice to mommies planning a party in any fastfood, make sure to ask about these restrictions, upon reservation pa lang. List down your questions, and be very specific as to what you want to know, to avoid any hassle with your preps and on the day of the party. If possible, prepare a document that the party representative can sign as his affirmation of his statements during your conversation.

More supplier reviews about my darling daughter's 2nd birthday party in a wee bit.

Happy planning everyone!