Menu prices – are just that, menu prices. Always negotiate down from the publicized menu price. Start your negotiations below the price your budget can handle and work your way up. Most chefs can design a meal to fit your price range. Firm prices should be established no later than six months out.
Guarantees – most guarantees should be given 48 – 72 hours prior to the function. Specify how weekends affect this deadline.
For Food & Beverage (F&B) guarantees, consider the following variables: location, pre-registration, local attendance, program changes, scheduling, arrival/departure patterns, number of cancellations, number of no-shows, etc.
Ask the hotel to provide for each event the number guaranteed and the number served. Use these percentages for future guarantees.
Taxes and Gratuities – know what the rates are and state whether the service charge is taxable or not.
Specify the banquet staff ratios and state there will be no extra service or labor charges for these service ratios.
F&B Performance Clause – even if there is no performance clause included in the contract, it may not mean that you are free from liability. Consider adding a clause stating that the group will not be liable for any performance charges other than those specified in the contract.
Menus - never sign an F&B contract that specifies the menu of a particular event. Instead, include in the contract how much money you are going to spend. If attendance dips, the same budget could turn a banquet entrée from chicken to filet mignon.
Confirm with the hotel that all charges posted to the master account must have backup, including copies of invoices, signed checks and banquet event orders (BEO).
Review Banquet Event Orders (BEOs) carefully - watch out for phrases like "additional labor charge for groups of less than 20 people."