Saving money is important, but without quality, excitement, networking, and a memorable impact,you might not enjoy a successful food event! So what are the elements of a successful event?

Checklist

It Begins With Sensory Excitement:

  • Visual impact: focal points; effective, dramatic lighting; use of color

  • Smell and taste: created by the food and beverage and use of floral

  • Sound: music and entertainment

  • Smart logistics: lines and traffic that flows smoothly

To Get To That Point, It's Critical To Form A Partnership With The Hotel Personnel. Do That By Taking These Steps:

  • Connect with your catering manager early.

  • Develop a relationship and reach a mutual understanding.

  • To inspire creativity, tap into the memory of your most successful events.

  • Ask about themes, décor elements, recommended vendors.

  • Research the Web sites of recommended vendors.

  • Ask for custom proposals from the hotel and the vendors.

  • Ask what equipment the hotel owns.

  • Ask what linen choices the hotel offers on a complimentary basis.

  • Ask if there are complimentary centerpieces, votive candles, mirrors.

  • Ask if there is a dance floor, stage, plants.

  • Ask if the hotel can donate door prizes.

Saving Money For The Hotel Helps The Hotel And You, Too. To Do It:

  • Plan as far out as possible.

  • Release space for resale as soon as possible.

  • Share information about what you've done in the past.

  • Minimize turns and maximize space utilization.

To Get The Best F&B Pricing:

  • Book events at off-peak times.

  • Host all events at the hotel.

  • Give the hotel an overall understanding of program and budget.

  • Give accurate guarantees — don't low-ball.

  • Negotiate discounts into the sales agreement.

  • Have realistic expectations for F&B pricing — you get what you pay for.

  • Remember that contract minimums for F&B are not maximums.

To Minimize Costs And Maximize Effect:

  • Negotiate comp rooms, upgrades, and amenities.

  • Look at labor charges. Station attendant fees might be waived for high-dollar events; server charges for passing food can be waived.

  • Negotiate AV discounts.

  • Bring your MP3 player and use your own music — most AV companies can hook up for the cost of a microphone and mixer

  • Ask about LED lighting to enhance room sets.

  • Use fresh fruit as décor.

  • Ask about green alternatives — some may cost less.

  • Order a la carte.

  • Order beverages on consumption.

  • Ask about “all-day” packaging for breaks.

  • Serve dessert from lunch at the afternoon break or in the exhibit hall.

  • Ask that plated meals with a few enhancements be served as buffets for lunch.

  • Pass hors d'oeuvres so that smaller quantities will last longer.

About Hotel Food Expenses — did You Know?

  • Hotel F&B profit is about 25 percent.

  • Banquet revenue is used to offset lower-profit restaurants.

  • Buffets are not less expensive for you or the hotel.

  • Labor is the most costly item.

  • Hotel schedules are done on Wednesday and Thursday of the previous week.

  • Late planning may result in: inadequate staffing, timing delays, equipment shortages, general dissatisfaction.

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Keyword: food and beverage

SOURCE: Adapted from a past RCMA tutorial led by Kirk Howard.