What do you do to get your mind distracted from extreme anxiety? I like to play games.
Lets roll play. Say you are going to serve 315 people, and you have done this bunches of times, and the math always works out, but there is always, and I mean always, this nagging question in the back of your mind that says "what if we run out?". What if the guys in the cowboy hats just decide to eat more than they have in the past tonight? What if a platter of food is dropped? What if, what if, what if?
In the mad rush to get everything there, and on time, and fresh, and perfect; some wiggle room is always built in if dissaster strikes. Which means almost always we have fifteen to twenty minutes to kill while waiting to serve our guests.
So I like play games. One of my favorites is the over/under game. Ask any question regarding the event that is quantifiable, and then have everyone guess over or under the number. Something like "how many bridesmaids/groomsmen will there be in the ceremony?" Or, "How much salad/prime rib/chicken breasts/spanikopita will be left over?". But my favorite game is "guess the closest". Every employee guesses how many or much of something is at the event. I always put up the money, ten or twenty bucks seems to do the trick. The servers and cooks guess a number and the closest wins. It causes a lot of anxiety and wrinkled brows, and a healthy distraction from the pressure packed environment.
Our last big question was "guess how many cowboy hats are in the room?" for the Cattlemen's Association Dinner hosted at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds. Ten dollars went to the winner.