Tactical Meal planning

Once again I posed another Question of the day [QOTD] on Twitter [@BPI_Security] on whether specialists thought it was appropriate to eat in an establishment with the protectee.  There are no real hard, fast and set rules on this and answers will vary from shop to shop and specialist to specialist, but I will give you my view on this as it relates to our [BPI] experience.

First, I would like to say that there are some guys out there that believe it is absolutely inappropriate to eat in the restaurant with a client.  The reasons vary but the main ones are: they never want the client to see them appear relaxed, you technically can not be alert and ramming food in your mouth.  Minister is one of these guys.  He feels that by eating in and around the client allows the client to see behind the vail of secrecy and appear weak.  I’m sure that statement will arouse a lengthy comment from him on this particular blog.

I personally have eaten in the same restaurant with the client but there are hard and fast rules that I go by: 1-never eat in eye sight of the client but position myself in a place where I can see him and able to respond effectively, 2-I only eat small, meaning something quick and lght.

The majority of the time I will only drink a beverage which allows me to blend in with the restaurant patrons and not appear as an eyesore to the restaurant as well as the protectee.  If I choose the latter option, I will ALWAYS tip the waitress/waiter 20% of the average meal on the menu.  Here is the reason.  When you occupy a table it takes away money from the waiter/waitress from fully paying patrons.  By giving them a nice tip even after consuming a beverage, they still make money.  If you have to frequent that restaurant, this gesture will go a long way on future visits.  You will be surprised at what kind of service you get by accommodating them in this fashion.

The other thing I don’t do is put my entire team at the table.  Depending on the threat I will position people for an emergency egress with pushes.  This also the time that I will quickly feed my men.  [Warning here, you arent going to get an exquisite meal].  The order of the day will normally be a burger or club sandwich.

The tactics come in on the timing of the orders.  I will, in most cases, liase with the waiter at the protectees table to advise me when his/her main course order is placed.  I will have already told my waiter what I need for me and the team.  Once the protectee’s order is placed I will have mine placed and rushed.  Timing is very key here. No food or beverage is brought to my table until after the protectee gets theirs.  NEVER and I mean NEVER eat before your protectee.  Food for my team is taken to a discreet location to consume.  The food is taken to the drivers, who never leave the vehicles.  Everyone eats and back in the NOW mindset.  While I’m on this subject, let me say this;  the easiest way to lose the morale of your team is not making adjustments for them to eat.  Cravings of any kind can inhibit and prohibit an effective operator/Specialist.  Moreover, if you have eaten and they know that you’ve only thought of yourself, you’ll lose them mentally.

When the first beverage or sandwich hits the table I pay the bill immediately and cut my ties with that establishment.  This will alleviate any unforseen circumstance that may force you to leave with an unpaid bill.  This also, alleviates you having to come back and settle a bill.  Also, never assume that the protectee is paying for your meals.  In fact, plan that they aren’t.  In my opinion it is disrespectful to think otherwise.  Pay on your own and bill it back on your expenses.  That is, if youve included it in your contract.  Smart business people include meals on their contracts under the bilable expenses section. In fact, make sure you advise the restaurant to NOT include your meals on the clients bill.  If you don’t they will.

Eating is a necessity but this is not a time to order, cheesecake, ice cream and cookies or any dessert.  That is a sign of comfort and should not be done.  To alleviate running into this at all, you can do what I also do is keep Odwalla bars in my pocket and periodically eat one to hold me until I can enjoy something when I am off.

Herein lies another topic that slips under the radar screen in most schools and training modules.  I plan to go into this more indepth in the Ebook I am finishing.


  1. Minister

    Oookay, allow me to defend myself a little here, ha ha. While I do prefer not to eat in front of a client and my playful shtick explaining it is used to lighten the mood on a detail, all should know that there is some science behind it. If I may I would like to explain that science as well as share with you who what when where and how I came up with the “happy server” technique.

    Pineapple is correct, there are no hard fast rules on this particular subject. In saying that, executive protection should be approached like A symmetrical warfare. There are clearly rules in our craft, as in the military or law enforcement, where sometimes the logic behind said rules can only be understood by the initiated. One of the many attributes that make up Pineapple is his discipline to a determined philosophy. This is a critical aspect of maintaining a standard thus gaining the confidence of a client hence being successful in this thing of ours. It is in those rules you see him blog about each day that you will find what we call the cream. The appreciation of A symmetry, or perfect mindset as I call it, makes up ones process toward wisdom within the craft. It is one-dimensional yet acceptable to know a rule; it is wisdom to understand how that rule is to be interpreted thus pushing the objective, within executive protection.

    Yes, it is preferred that I don’t eat in front of a client but what that applies to are situations or immediate environments that do not obviously suggest eating. What I mean by that is if I am working a special event and have a break, I will remove myself from easy eye and consume my fuel like a hunched over lab rat in a corner in a black and white movie. It makes absolutely no sense to me for an executive protection specialist to not take a reasonable level of food and beverage in a restaurant. Why? Because what is more obvious, two guys eating or two guys looking at each other with nothing in front of them? Oh, and those same two of the latter are probably wearing their sunglasses inside, you know just in case some glass shards come flying at them in an attack….

    Please understand though, I don’t feel that eating is an example of weakness in the specialist, it is more about the psychology of my relationship with the client and or principal. Here is the deal, at least the way I see it; the steps you take while working the principal are measured consciously and subconsciously by them, to include those around them. You should endeavor to gain two things with a principal, anonymity of space and confidence, the latter being the most critical. Anonymity of space is simply your ability to be there without being there, trust me, when you get that down a principal can pick up on it and has great value for it. Confidence is what it is but here is why its applicable and essential to what we do. Discipline is the instantaneous response to all instructions, and the only way you have a disciplined principal is to have their confidence. When the ambush building blocks are just about done stacking, when the final step to the X is taken, we have a fraction of a second to take action on our assessments and decisions. It is critical that a principal sees you as the one with all the answers at that moment and trusts to follow your every instruction. For that to happen you must practice and earn the above mentioned and many have their own respective ways of getting there. I can assure you, Pineapple can eat a bag of cashews right in front of his principal and they would still do what he says probably. Not that he would do that but that is what I mean by knowing a rule versus understanding how the discipline to our benchmarks and landmarks collectively will push the objective in the psychology of the relationship.

    Now its real easy to say when the bombs are bursting in air my principal will do as I say, shoot, your average bodyguard can make that happen; hell, your run of the mill catfish can get a scared individual to follow him somewhere. Now, when you have reached “Zen” is when you are the only voice in a non-threatening situation that says to go left and all voices around your principal say to go right, and guess what – the principal goes left with you without any need of convincing.
    What does eating in front of your principal have to do with any of that? Its just one small ingredient in a process of getting in the principal’s head without running your mouth trying to be their buddy. Pineapple and I have both benefitted from that level of focus and discipline and anyone can benefit from exposing a principal to less is more, always on, always looking for it, and always close enough to act but never close enough to be introduced. These aren’t always literally applied, there will always be moments of expansion and contraction but what this mindset does is teach the principal that you are a quiet professional that is unlike anyone else around them.

    Here is where it comes from, many years ago Vance International taught to not order before your principal in case they decide to get up and leave, and to ask for the bill immediately; or you can set up strategically elsewhere in the restaurant in a pricey establishment. I decided to take it to the next level and determined it was just as beneficial in actually taking a seat ordering a simple salad or appetizer, and immediately request the bill and If the amount of the small order was well below the average entrée and appetizer I would still adjust my gratuity as if I ate a full meal. As Pineapple pointed out you create the benefit of a happy server, which is beneficial if your principal frequents that 5 star establishment. What it also does is keep you below the radar from an admin standpoint, some clients may not care but some may if you are racking up 5 star expense vouchers. I put this to practice on a major long-term corporate detail Vance had back in the early 90s that you historians may know of. It allowed all of us to practice our craft against a corporate mindset and rules versus the typical Middle Eastern money that made up 90% of the Vance business back then. This is part of the A symmetry or mindset Pineapple applies to BPI operations and I teach at The MTMS, you should be proactive in the management of your admin and logistics just as much as your tactics. If you don’t manage the admin piece on the front end someone in the organization, if not the principal, may say find somewhere else to eat thus hampering your proximity to your principal. Now some may argue that that is the principal’s decision, my response to that is while that argument is fair and true it is also delineates the difference between an elementary school teacher and a college professor, which are you?

    The other part of the overall strategy Pineapple discussed is how you set up on the room with regard to anonymity of space. Like Pineapple in his upcoming ebook, I will share something that is in my EP course that I think he may have already shared in a previous blog. You have three data points that should measure your choreography. 1-get to my principal, 2-sheild and or move my principal, and 3-secure the area by vision or presence. True, if I can avoid being in my principal’s eye line while he or she is eating I am going to opt for that. What I do though is ID a seat or position that allows me to accomplish the above listed, if not all, at least in order of priority as listed. If I can find a seat that allows me to observe my principal as well as the avenues of approach to my principal either directly or by reflection I have accomplished anonymity of space. What we do on the next level though is find a position that also allows us to monitor likely movements of the principal in the restaurant, the restroom or a step away from the group for a private conversation on a mobile phone. This way not only can we observe the principal as he or she moves to the restroom we can also monitor who enters that space just before the principal, ad-hoc. This tactic provides a choreography that is proactive in ownership of space as wel
    l as incasing the protection element with anonymity of space by not having to follow the principal around and bringing more attention to him or her. Celebrities usually don’t care about that hence one of the fundamental differences between body protection and executive protection.
    If you have to ask why that is so important than you should first ask if you are a bodyguard (reactive) or a protection specialist (proactive). I’m not talking about navigation, I am talking about preferred real estate that allows for optimum choreography which is another way of leading your principal instead of following your principal but without actually moving. That is A symmetric warfare, that is the cream, and that is one of the little things principals will pick up on.

    Pineapple, thanks for shaking my cage and letting me come out and play.

  2. Communication Development

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for
    supplying this information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *