CLAUSE: In the event the Group's numbers for any food functions fall below the guaranteed numbers for which the Hotel purchased food, Hotel agrees to donate excess food to _____(name local charitable entity that will accept food donations) rather than allow excess food to stay in inventory or go to waste. This clause applies for decreases in food and beverage guarantees that are realized after Hotel has already had to purchase food for anticipated number of food functions. Group recognizes that it will have to pay for excess food at the contractually agreed upon prices.

EFFECT If a group knows that the numbers for its F&B functions will be lower than originally anticipated several months or weeks prior to the event, the group can notify the hotel before the hotel purchases the food. This is the circumstance under which it is appropriate for the group to pay F&B attrition damages, usually based on lost profits, rather than lost revenue.

However, if the group only finds out that it has diminished attendance or, for example, cancels a food and beverage function just days before the function, chances are that the hotel has already purchased the food and would reasonably expect to be paid the full lost revenue. Under this circumstance, a group may decide that if they are paying full price for the unused food and beverage, the unneeded food should be donated to a charitable organization rather than be wasted (or left in the hotel's inventory for the hotel to sell again).

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, a federal law, protects hotels or other entities who donate “apparently wholesome food” or “an apparently fit grocery product” to a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food bank, or similar charitable entity (42 U.S.C. ß 1791). This limitation of liability is not absolute, but liability is limited to a circumstance in which death or injury results because of gross negligence or intentional misconduct by the hotel. For the full text of this law (share it with your hotel representatives), go to: www.harvesters.org/bill_emerson.html.


Tyra W. Hilliard, CMP (tyra.hilliard@gmail.com) is an associate professor of event and meeting management at The University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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