The Caterers Corner
# guarantee Caterers Corner: # guarantee
By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Saturday, April 13, 2002 - 05:33 pm: Edit

I have a probem that hasn't come up for me before concerning guarantees. We are catering a small wedding in a couple of weeks. The client has guaranteed 100 guests. According to the facility coordinator they requested 200 chairs for wedding guests (wedding and reception are at the same facility-all guests are invited to both). I phoned the bride to confirm my head count. She said they were only expecting 100 guests and that she had requested 200 chairs because she didn't want her guest to be crowded. I explained to her that if she had 200 guest and food for only 100 - half her guest would be without food and drink. I don't think I had much of an impact on her.

I am meeting with the MOB this week for final payment, etc. and would like any input as to how you guys handle a situation of this type. Or how I can prevent it from happening in the future. We cater about 50 weddings a year and I have never had this happen before. If anything, people tend to over book.

Question #2: When you guys cater an event, do you have a specified period of time before you breakdown? A couple of local caterers were helping me with an event recently and were surprised that we didn't breakdown until everyone leaves. They said that they breakdown after 2 hours.
What is your policy on this???

Thank you,

By Sam (Sam) on Saturday, April 13, 2002 - 05:51 pm: Edit

First for the guaranteed number, is the ceremony & reception in seperate areas of this facility, could that be why there is 2X chairs??? for breakdown, we play by ear, but always ask the client when it is appropriate....there comes a time in every celebratory reception that the "food" is no longer the focal point & we, as unobstrusivley as we can, break down the buffet, everything but the cloths...then we can move our equipment to the vehicles & leave a crew to finish the break down & bar/bev services, and send the back/house staff on back to clean up & get off the clock....hope this helps....sam sears, cec

By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 11:59 pm: Edit

Just a quick note to let you know the wedding worked out fine. When the FOB came in to pay the balance he corrected the count given me by the bride.

By Thebaker (Thebaker) on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 02:37 pm: Edit

Glad it worked out
I have seen quite a few people ( when i worked at a caterer)
give a low count but invite more people just to try and save money.
It makes the caterer look bad, the people dont know that 50 extra people came they just see the food looking empty

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Sunday, May 05, 2002 - 11:04 am: Edit

What do you mean the father of the bride "corrected" the count? Did he pay you for 200? How many guests were there?

To answer you question as to what to do in that situation:

I have devised a GREAT system to help the bride determine her number.. It works with or without RSVP's... With that said, sometimes, they still try to low ball you.

Here is what I tell them (after I have their deposit and 2 weeks before the wedding)
"Mrs. Brown, you have a lovely daughter... wait, that's not it, I say Mrs. Brown, you are guaranteeing us 200 guests. If you have 300 guests, you will have to pay full price for 300 guests, even if I have to feed them cheese and crackers. If you would like to have enough beef tenderloin for everyone, then let's make sure your numbers are accurate.

Reminder, in the south, it is always hors d'oeuvres.... I had one to tell me to prepare enough for 200 and if there were 300, then we will just run out... I told her, no, if there are 300, you will be responsible to pay for 300. She argued... I told her OK, picture this: we put out 200 plates, when the plates are gone, we tell the 100 guests "sorry, your host does not wish to feed any more guests."

She raised her count to 300, there were 308 guests. We only charged for 300.

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