The Other Attrition Clause: Food & Beverage Minimums

Groups need to be careful when signing contracts with a Food & Beverage Minimum, without understanding if reaching the minimum is realistic or not.  Be conservative when guessing at expected numbers for meal functions, as F&B Minimums (the dollar amount your group must spend) are based on these numbers.  Never calculate cash bar sales into the Minimum – only the meals.  Also, the F&B Minimum is based on the meal’s base cost, before service charge and tax are added.  Often, the Minimum is unrealistically high and easy to fall shy of.  It can be a very arbitrary number that sets the Group up for failure – if the group doesn’t hit the minimum it will pay the difference.  Put a lower than expected number in the Function Agenda – as long as the space a hotel reserves is adequate to handle your hoped-for numbers, and make sure the F&B Minimum is no more than 65-75% of the pre-tax and service charge meal price times the expected number of people.

Also, make sure you study the hotel’s Capacity Chart to check whether the ballroom space assigned for your banquet is sufficient in size.  When you plan for a head table and color guard aisle, guesstimate how many people a meeting room can handle by multiplying the total square footage by .06.  Also, always get meeting room names listed in the contract’s Function Agenda, to ensure you have the space to meet your needs.  Don’t assume that the function space a hotel assigns is adequate to meet your needs.  Sales Managers may book meeting rooms according to a hotel’s Capacity Chart estimates – which never take into account head tables, aisles, AV equipment, stages, or dance floors.  And do not let the hotel change assigned function space if your final, guaranteed number is at least 75% of the contracted number.  My best advice is to get a professional on your side to make sure your needs are met and your reunion is a success.  Contact Us today!