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The Caterer Had The Wrong Date

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

Being a butler means always thinking outside the box, and never letting an obstacle keep one from success! A butler is a living, breathing machine that only accepts a yes, and never accepts a no.


Mr. Poppins was in charge of a cocktail party. One hundred guests were to arrive in less than two hours for a fundraising party at the penthouse. The caterer was booked, and scheduled to provide all the refreshments and supplies, including beautifully-crafted hors d’oeuvres, champagne, glassware, plates, and napkins.


Mr. Poppins was looking at his watch and thought the caterer should be arriving by this hour. He waited about fifteen minutes longer and decided to call the caterer to inquire as to their arrival. The account executive at caterer said they were not scheduled to be there until the following day! It seems the caterer had put down the wrong date for the party!


Mr. Poppins was now facing a potential catastrophe. No food, no champagne, no glassware, no plates, and no napkins were on their way and one hundred guests were arriving in exactly one hour.

Mr. Poppins immediately went into action. He called a luxury hotel two blocks from the apartment and asked to speak with the events manager. Luckily, he was able to get her on the phone right away. He explained the circumstances and asked if he could rent 120 champagne flutes from her. She graciously said yes. One problem was now solved! Mr. Poppins sent one of the hired waiters to the hotel to pick up the champagne flutes and moved on to solving the problem of the refreshments.

Mr. Poppins grabbed petty cash and gave $400 to each of the other three hired waiters and asked them to run over to the closest market. One was to concentrate on cold cuts, one on fresh fruit, and one on cheap champagne and crackers. It took them 30 minutes to purchase all of it and return to the penthouse.

Meanwhile, Mr. Poppins pulled 120 cloth napkins from his inventory and artfully laid them out on the banquet table. The waiters returned, and in hyper-speed, prepared platters of cold cuts and crackers. Mr. Poppins lined up the champagne flutes, and the prepared bowls of fresh fruit were placed on the table. The candles were lit, the music was on, and the team was calm and ready to serve guests just in time.

The doorman rang through to Mr. Poppins announcing the first group of guests were coming up the elevator. Mr. Poppins met them at the door and welcomed them warmly. The fundraiser began and everyone was thrilled with the cocktail party. The fundraiser that evening raised $500,000 for Mr. Poppins’ employer's favorite charity. Mr. Poppins and his team saved the day with some very quick, creative thinking.


Potter Poppins Academy is a butler training school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The Academy, led by esteemed head butler Ken Horne, offers courses such as Elite Butler Training, Hotel Butler Training, classes for principals new to managing household staff, courses in etiquette and protocol for business professionals, manners courses for children and young adults, and bespoke service consulting.

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