Banquets

0

Planning a Banquet

We learn much from the people who organize meetings for a living. Reunion organizers are close cousins to these professionals who have to go through all the same steps to make a memorable event happen. These are some questions professional meeting planners keep in mind when planning a banquet: not an everyday affair for most reunion organizers.

The Event

-Determine a purpose for your banquet. Is it also an awards ceremony or social event?
-Develop a seating chart that encourages mingling at each table.
-Will the banquet have a theme? Decide whether to incorporate the theme into invitations, promotion materials, giveaways or decorations.
-What is expected attendance? Inform caterer of numbers.

The Budget

-Is there a room rental fee?
-Are there federal, state and local taxes?
-Are there gratuity service charges? Many properties routinely have an 18% mandatory gratuity surcharge for food functions.
-What is the overtime rate for staff?
-Before agreeing to published prices, negotiate a discount based on the overall dollar value of your reunion – particularly if you are also reserving sleeping and meeting rooms.
-If contracting more than six months ahead, get, in writing, the percentage above current food and beverage prices you will be charged.
-Are decorating and floral arrangements included in the room rental fee?
-Will musicians, entertainment or a keynote speaker be required?

banquetThe Menu

-What are your group’s tastes? Are they willing to try ethnic cuisines? Or are they a traditional meat and potatoes crowd?
-Discuss your budget with the caterer.
-Share menus from past reunions and point out what went well and what did not.
-If you plan to incorporate a theme, discuss it in detail. Some foods, chocolates, for example, can be custom-designed.
-Ask for suggestions of local dishes that represent the banquet’s location.
-If at all possible, meet with the executive chef and ask for suggestions.
-To avoid offending guests with special dietary or religious restrictions, ask for alternative entree selections.
-Typically a choice of a vegetarian or seafood dish should be offered.
-Incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables in your menu selection.
-Once you have agreed to a menu, stick to it. Changes will result in higher costs, even surcharges.
-Sign off on food and beverage details at least ten days prior to your reunion and give the caterer a final headcount at least 48 hours in advance.

The Drinks

-Are alcohol and other beverages included or is it cash-bar service?
-Confirm beverage pricing with the caterer. Consider paying on consumption rather than per-person price.
-Ask the caterer for consumption guidelines. Basic beverage guidelines are one drink per person, per hour; six to seven glasses of wine per liter bottle; 20 cocktails per liter of liquor.
-Ask the caterer to suggest champagne and dinner wines that compliment the menu and stay within your budget.

Click here for ways to make your banquet an entertaining event!

print

SHARE

Leave A Reply