NO BANQUET-CONTRACT, GUESS WHO LOSES OUT?

Some of the author’s very own bad 
experiences, when important items are 
not put in writing…

***

The booking of any kind of banquet should be written up and confirmed…

BANQUET CONTRACTS

Functions Summary (Banquets, Weddings, Birthdays, Dinner Parties etc.)
DATE OF FUNCTION:
GUEST COUNT:
OCCASION:

SPECIAL SET-UP INSTRUCTIONS AND COST
FLOWERS:
CANDLES:
SPECIAL LINENS:
MUSIC:
OTHER:

ARRIVAL TIME:
COCKTAIL HOUR FROM: TO: hosted/non hosted

DINNER SERVED AT (time):
SEATING ARRANGEMENTS:
before dinner HORS D’OEUVRES:

At dinner table served:

APPETIZERS:
SOUP:

SALAD: ENTREES:

DESSERTS:

Buffet set up:

Cold line:

Hot Line:

WINES:

corkage for any wine brought onto the premises:
BAR DRINK PRICES: WELL______PRICE:_____
BACKBAR___________PRICE:_____
COCKTAILS_________ PRICE:_____

AFTER DINNER DRINKS:

ESTIMATED TOTALs (before sales tax 7.25% and service charge 17%.)
FOOD APPROX. _____________________________ $______
COCKTAILS APPROX..______________________________
WINES APPROX.___________________________________
AFTER DINNER DRINKS APPROX._____________________
MISCELL. _________________________________________
SUBTOTAL: $______
Tax______
Tip______
TOTAL:______
./. DEPOSITS________________________________ $______

BALANCE DUE AT END OF FUNCTION: $________________

Guest information:
Name:
Address:
Phone Number:
Credit Card #: Exp.date: Signature:

…something like the above works pretty good…

…but watch out if there is no such written event-order!!!

If there is NO BANQUET CONTRACT
. . .guess who loses out?

The booking of any kind of banquet should be written up and confirmed. Whenever I take the reservation for a banquet, I spell the details out and preferably use a contract like the one on the previous pages. If not, one of the following can easily happen:

In 1990 I got to wait on a group of twenty. It was a reservation called in on short notice. The bill was to go to a local entrepreneur. He, the host, was the owner of a couple of restaurants and half a dozen hotels. He lived in a ten million-dollar mansion with a fleet of Rolls Royces and Italian sport scars and he wanted us to make sure that his guest would be treated first class, no expenses spared. He asked for the best of everything especially as he, himself, was unable to attend the party.

When I was told that these twenty guests would have to be treated to anything they want, without limitations, I was thrilled. They could and should have the best the house had to provide. These type of customer was just what I needed. Business had been slow for weeks. These big-spenders promised to be a welcome injection into my dying cash flow.
I worked hard but I got their bill up to two hundred and fifty dollars a person. They got the royal treatment, from Champagne at the start, to Louis the thirteenth Cognac to finish off with. I was proud of my achievements, the tip of seventeen percent was included in the bill.

However, when the host, who had not been present that night, got the bill, a strong case of buyer’s remorse and frugal thinking plagued him. He used his powers to cut the sales tax and tip into half. He also argued about the prices of Cognac, Champagne and wines. There was no written banquet contract. Guess who was losing out?

Another equally typical-problem-party, without banquet-contract, was a wedding where the guest thought the house would provide the flowers and the wedding cake. On the side of the restaurant, whoever had taken the reservation had been under the impression that the parents of the bride were going to bring the flowers and cake. The confusion got bigger when the parents of the groom brought cases of wine and champagne and asked for the same to be chilled and served. I mentioned corkage and the host blew up at me, he thought we had an obligation to provide glassware and service for free. I said “No!”

This party was an uphill battle all the way. They did not have a wedding cake. We did not serve their wines and at the end they refused to pay a service charge or any tip.

by helmut schonwalder