Merriment & Mischief

Understanding Food and Beverage Minimums

When a facility has a food and beverage minimum then this is the minimum amount required that you would need to spend on their in-house food and beverage.  Most of the time the minimum does not include tax and gratuity, so make sure you determine exactly what  is included in this amount.  Rental fees, if they charge any, are usually a separate cost.  Minimums range from about $6000-30,000 in the Columbus Ohio area.   


In order to determine what your overall cost will be, choose an average meal price from their menu.  Let’s just say Chicken for our example.  Make sure you do your comparing the same with every location you are considering.  You don’t have to ultimately choose this chicken.  This is just for comparing costs.   So let’s say the chicken meal is $32 per person.  You also want a 4 hour host bar which will run you about $30 per person.  Your total is $62 per person and you have 250 guests which is $15,500.  So, if the facilities food and beverage minimum is $15, 000 or less, then you have met your minimum. This is not your final total as you would need to add in the gratuity and tax.  Lets say the gratuity is 21% and our Ohio state tax is 6.75% (gratuity gets taxed).  Then your final bill would be $20,020.96.  So keep in mind when you hear the minimum you most likely will be spending more.


If the facilities food and beverage minimum is higher then $15,000, then you will need to either choose additional food or beverage or a higher priced items in order to prevent a rental fee.  If you are going to have appetizers or hors d’oeuvres before dinner, then this will help bring you right up to where you need to be.


Keep in mind when budgeting, that not all your guests are going to attend.  Perhaps about 80% invited will attend so consider that when figuring out your costs.  It’s always best to budget for worst case scenario.   

If you think you will not be able to reach the food and beverage minimum then ask the facility if they offer discounts on Fridays, Saturday afternoons, or Sundays.  Most of the time the minimums will be cut by half!




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