events

  Interview with Meni Saado, Manager of La Belle Hall, Jerusalem  

The Belle of the Hall

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How long have you been part of the city’s Simcha scene?
We’ve been in the events business for twenty years and this hall was previously run as an event venue under the name HaYahalom ShebaKeter. Seven years ago, we rebranded and repositioned the hall as a leading contender in the contemporary, upmarket category of event halls. In addition, we also offer delivery of catering to venues off site.

How is this hall different to all other halls?
Space, technology and flexibility. The venue itself is spacious and adaptable to the size and nature of the event. We can seat up to 900 guests in total, or split the halls into two separate rooms to seat respectively 750 and 280 guests.

Our state-of-the-art technology offers endless possibilities. Built-in sound infrastructure enables quick set-up for your band, and replaceable panels in the ceiling can be changed to compliment the lighting and set the tone of the room. Curtains and other elements can also be matched to a color theme. This enables clients to personalize their event without extra cost.

When planning a wedding, clients often book both halls, using the smaller hall for the reception and chuppah and the larger banquet hall for dinner and dancing. We also have an outdoor chuppah space for clients who prefer an open-sky ceremony.

Sounds like a great package. What’s on the inside?
What truly sets us apart is our dedication to superb service standards and our attention to the small details that objectively might not mean anything to us but mean everything to a client, a choson and kallah or their guests.

Our service philosophy begins with the way we treat our staff, focuses on the quality of our catering and ability to customize events to suit each client, and above all, rests on our ability to enable our clients to sit back, relax and enjoy their event.

What’s makes your staff superb?
Most of our staff have been with us since the venue’s inception and are one of our most valuable resources. We continually emphasize that their role as waiter, chef or logistics is integral to the success of an event. We believe that if our staff feels belonging and appreciation, they’ll always be motivated and willing to work hard and give their all to the job.

Is every event really unique?
We view each client as different and individual. So we custom-tailor every aspect of their event to their specific requests and requirements, in terms of the number of guests, nature of the event, clients’ preferences and other small details. We like to know the exact number of guests and the general demographics so that we can configure the hall accordingly. A younger crowd will spend more time on the dance floor while an older crowd will spend more time seated. A kallah doesn’t want to feel that no one showed up at her wedding nor does she want people constantly treading on her gown, so for a smaller wedding we move things around as needed in order to create the effect of a smaller dance floor and for a bigger wedding we ensure ample space on and around the dance floor.

Conversely, is there one thing that all events share?
While each event is unique there are two common threads that run through each event and determine that final thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I think all events are measured by two main yardsticks – the simcha scale and food score. Most guests can be divided into dancers or diners and their corresponding feedback usually centers around either how fun the dancing was and if there was enough room on the dance floor, or if the food was above average and how it was served. Age and other demographics do affect these but at the end of the day (or event) these are what determine word-of-mouth the morning after.

Why is word-of-mouth so important?
The best (and lowest cost) advertising is a happy guest and a happy client. Happy clients are our beginning, middle and end. When someone enjoys an event, they’ll talk about it and that’s how we get most of our clients. And clients bring more clients. Over the twenty years we’ve been in the industry, we’ve hosted multiple events for the same clients. We even have one client whose son’s bris, bar mitzvah and wedding were celebrated through us.

How do you take the stress out of planning and execution of an event?
We appoint two event managers at the event itself – one who manages the staff during the event and the other who handles all communication with the client. During a preliminary meeting three weeks prior to an event, we request from clients confirmation of all event details including the selection of a client representative who will serve as liaison with the event manager during the event. This way, the manager does not have to bother clients with technical questions during the event, and instead directs questions to the client representative who can either make a decision themselves or speak to the client when necessary.

Who is your main clientele?
Most of our clientele are from the religious or ultra-Orthodox sector and most of our events are weddings. In fact, we have weddings booked for almost every relevant day of the calendar.

Is it important to book an event way in advance?
It might seem important to book in advance to properly plan for your event. But we only meet with clients around three weeks prior to the event, and this apparently late planning has no ill-effect on the quality, food or décor of the event. In fact, it’s generally cheaper with all vendors to book closer to the date of the event, but you would be taking a risk and the vendor might already be booked.

What kashrut certification do you offer?
All our products are certified under the Yerushalayim Mehadrin Rabbanut and we offer clients the option for meat products under the supervision of Rav Machpud, Rav Rubin or Atara.

 

HaUman St 9, Jerusalem

02-679-2973

053-942-4582

www.labelle.co.il

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