To commemorate their top performers’ outstanding achievements, Manulife Singapore had plans to host a gala awards dinner event in a ballroom in July 2020. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Manulife Singapore Awards Gala Night could not proceed as originally planned. It was paramount for the company to celebrate and recognise their people’s successes in spite of the challenges it faced. As such, the company decided to take the event online and host it virtually instead. Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore orchestrated a four-course culinary experience from their kitchen to be enjoyed within the homes of every guest, with Se7enFriday, the appointed events agency, coordinating the deliveries to more than 380 homes.
It was crucial that all deliveries arrived at guests’ homes by 6.50 pm. The teams at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, Se7enFriday and Manulife Singapore had to work out a logistical schedule for food preparation, packing of meal boxes, movement of delivery items (including trophies, A3 canvas portraits, customised wine bottles and personalised jackets) and coordination of over 30 vehicles within the limited time frame.
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore’s culinary team had to take extra care in ensuring the meals are prepared with the highest hygiene standards. Without the usual glitz and glamour of a ballroom set-up, the challenge to recreate a multi-sensory dining experience at the comfort of homes was set.
The event date was determined a month prior, so Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore had to quickly move into menu tastings, meal box fittings and logistical collaboration with Manulife Singapore and Se7enFriday. Manulife Singapore focused on the finest details – from customising meal boxes for the four-course dinner with the company logo to branding wine bottles with the specially designed event theme. All nominees were presented with an A3 canvas of their individual photos, to replicate the gallery of portraits that would usually have been displayed all around the ballroom.
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore went through two rounds of tasting with Manulife Singapore’s organisers to ensure menu items are refined and set to impress and delight guests. In consideration of the guests’ wellbeing and food safety, the banquet and culinary teams had to work within the strict maximum allowance of four hours from the time food was prepared to when it was consumed.
The hotel team came together to prepare 335 meals – 1,340 dishes – that were sent to Manulife Singapore’s top performing agents and associates. The meals were packed into individual kraft bags, labelled with stickers indicating each guest’s choice of main course and dietary requirements, and transported to the pick-up area – atypical of how each course would otherwise have been plated and served from the kitchen.
The pick-up area and surrounding roads had over 30 delivery vehicles shuttling in and out on both afternoons as drivers picked up the awardee items and dinners. Manulife Singapore and Se7enFriday created listings for each driver with personalised items and selected meals that were sent to each home. Se7enFriday and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore’s security team collaborated to ensure smooth movement of vehicles in and out of the driveways while ensuring the safety of the staff and guests. In a span of fewer than two hours, the meals were delivered in time for guests to log in and join their virtual awards event.
The evening was unique and memorable for the organisers and their guests, and provided an uplifting occasion amidst the Covid-19 situation. “This is a new experience for us and the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore team has made it smoother than we expected it to be with the professionalism and support that they have shown,” said Gladys Tai, Head of Events for Manulife Singapore Pte Ltd. “My team and I are also very appreciative that many of their other staff were also helping out on both days,” she added.
The hotel impressed the Manulife Singapore organisers and guests, demonstrating how in today’s rapidly changing environment, being nimble is key to gaining a competitive edge. Colleagues from Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore came across different functions to prepare and pack the meals, a testament to how it can overcome industry challenges with team spirit.