I have eaten shockingly subpar meals at some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, including Valentino, Spago and Michaels. The common factor? In each case I was attending a pharmaceutical-sponsored dinner featuring a guest speaker, with an audience of about 20 guests. There was no ordering off the menu - dinner was a set menu with perhaps two options for entrees.
My question is: why such poor quality at such prominent establishments? Do the restaurants pre-cook all these dishes in advance? Do they unload excess ingredients en masse to these unsuspecting groups? Do restaurants always have multiple tiers of food which they serve depending on the client in question, i.e. dinner vs. catering vs. special events vs. holiday dinners?
I'm very naive about the restaurant business and would be fascinated to know the answers.