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Are Your Guarantees Wasting Money?

Posted on July 19, 2006

By Arlene Sheff,CMP

Do you waste $$$ when you give your food guarantee?
Are you embarassed by too many empty seats?
Are you paying for ‘no shows’ at meal functions?

If you answered YES to any of the above, read on. And, even if you answered NO, don’t quit now. Read on, then send me a note with your suggestions.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine correct guarantees…

1. If ‘night before’ was a late night, breakfast attendance might go down.
2. Breakfast counts go down each day of the meeting, unless there is a prominent breakfast speaker (i.e. the company president).
3. If the kitchen is far from your ballroom (or suite), consider giving a higher guarantee, as it would take too long for last minute reorders.
4. Consider what distractions are close by and whether your attendees might pass up a meal function to do something else…i.e. close by shopping.
5. Ask re food function attendance on registration form
6. Verify attendance at food functions with local attendees. Many may not arrive in time for breakfast or stay for the evening reception or dinner.
7. Verify speakers’ participation in food functions. Some may use the time to rehearse or set-up equipment.

Please reply with additional guidelines for giving accurate guarantees or questions.


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Vicky Betzig, CMP


As usual, you are "right on" when it comes to guarantee management - probably the single best way to control f&b expenditures. Checking with VIPs/Board members (who are infamously bad at responding/RSVPing), finding out how many attendees have checked out each day (which means they won't be there for dinner that day - breakfast and lunch are trickier as they may be leaving in the afternoon/evening) are a couple of additional ways to manage guarantees. Given our recent discussions on MI Forum, this is the best info yet!


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