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On catering and other food issues

According to Andreas, we should have 20-25 thousand euros for food. We
expect to have about 80 people until the 10th, and about 200 after that.
The goal is to feed those people three times a day: breakfast, lunch,
and dinner. Snacks and night food are not included; everyone will have
to pay for those themselves.

There are so many meals that the average price per meal is not high.
Therefore, fancy food is out of the question. Simple food that takes
away the hunger, yet is nice to eat, is the goal. Only water and juice
("mehu") for drinks, for example, not a variety of soft drinks and

Some random points:

* preparing food for this many people is almost certainly the work of
professionals; it may be able to get a cheaper price (read: more food)
if we can provide helpers, e.g., for serving, carrying things, and other

* we need to gather information about allergies and diets (including
vegetarianism and veganism); any competent catering service will be able
to handle these with ease, as long as they hear about them in time, say
a month before the event

* having a professional kitchen on the premises would be excellent; 
having to transport the food is possible, but not a good option

* we need some place to actually eat the food, which should be separate
from the hacking areas and such (too much risk of hardware damage)

* plates and glasses may have to be rented; paying for paper cups and
plates and plastic utensils may be cheaper, even if it ecologially

* cleaning and washing dishes and so on will probably cost extra; we
should arrange it outselves if at all possible

* July is high season for catering services, as most marriages happen
then; arranging things early is good

I have called the following catering service, which is a small company
that I happened to meet last year in another context. They seem willing
to take the job, but other places should also be called: Pitopalvelu
Lagerblom, 041 530 27 77, Petra Lagerblom, petra.lagerblom@welho.com
(mention my name if you contact them so that they are not confused).
They, like all companies, will probably want to have a written request
for offer (request for quote?), where we tell them what we want,
exactly, and they respond with what they can provide, and for how much.

Other places to call: 

* All other catering services, obviously. Some normal restaurants also
do catering outside their premises. Calling or mailing them to check
whether they are interested at all in this kind of even is probably a
good idea. Calling several places before sending any written requests
for offers is good, makes it easier to write the requests with all the
necessary details.

* Restaurant schools in the Helsinki area, but also further away.
Schools are probably closed in July, but (according to my sister, who is
a professional cook) they often have students who have failed a course
during the semester and need to do some extra credits in order to
graduate or continue the school in the autumn.

* Possibly, though this is pretty far fetched, calling the "Otaniemi
gourmet society" that I have heard about. They're tech students, so they
might be willing to help, but I doubt they're competent to run the whole
show. I don't have contact information for them, sorry.

If there is going to be a gala dinner, it may have to be negotiated
separately, or possibly as part of the package. I don't know if the sum
mentioned at the top includes the gala dinner. Serving alcohol at the
gala dinner may be a problem, but we can probably do without.

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