Reunion Risk Management: Food & Beverage Minimum

Why should a military reunion use a professional hotel contract and event planning company? To start with, you want to avoid financial risk in hotel contracts. Outside of Room Attrition the greatest financial risk a group faces is with the Food & Beverage Minimum – the expected amount of sales from group meals and cash bars. The amount is always pre-service charge and tax, which can appear misleading in a contract. Unfortunately, individual members’ spending in the hotel’s restaurants and bars do not count towards the Group Minimum. Usually, hotels calculate the Minimum by multiplying the expected number of guests by the pre-service charge and tax menu price, and then add expected bar sales to that. For smaller groups the Minimum may be negotiated out of the contract altogether. It’s important to know that a hotel’s priority is to sell the rooms – so if you have 200 room nights, is it worth it for the hotel to haggle over a couple hundred-dollar penalty? For larger groups, hotels may insist on there being an F&B Minimum in order to block function space, which is fine if the Minimum is properly negotiated and easily met. AFR uses our own formula, that has been perfected over decades, to calculate a reasonable Minimum that we know is easily attainable for our groups.

AFR’s advice is to be conservative with expected numbers for group meal functions. Put a lower than expected number in the Function Agenda, as long as the space reserved is large enough to handle your hoped-for numbers. If you plan for a head table and color guard aisle, larger meeting space must be blocked. Surprisingly, most Hotel Sales Managers don’t know how much space is really needed for group meal functions. Also, most hotels do not assign specific meeting rooms in the Function Agenda portion of the hotel contract. A contract should ever be signed without meeting rooms being assigned so you can ensure you have exactly what you need. If not, there is no guarantee you’ll have adequate meeting space and the hotel will assign what they have available. Analyzing a hotel’s floor plan and capacity chart is essential to guaranteeing a group’s needs are met, from having a head table and color guard aisle to a stage, dance floor, and AV equipment.

Your experienced AFR representative will ensure that you have the correct amount of function space assigned to handle the group’s needs with as little financial risk as is possible. Get a professional on your side! Call or email Charley Dey at 757-625-6401 or