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What Does Maintaining History Have To Do With Cutting F&B Costs?

Posted on July 20, 2006

By Arlene Sheff, CMP

It really has a lot to do with saving costs. Here is some historical data you might want to start tracking, if you don’t already. You decide which ones are the most useful for your group – some pertain more to plated meals than buffets or receptions. Then, the next time you have a similar function, you’ll have historical data to guide you through location selection, menu selection, ordering method selection, service style selection and amount to guarantee.

  1. Demographics of group
  2. Day of week, date and time of event
  3. Location/room set-up/staging of event
  4. Size of ballroom (the more crowded the reception, the less food/drink consumed – or the more crowded, the larger the number who won’t stay and eat).
  5. Theme/entertainment/décor/linens
  6. Type of food served (some may not stay due to menu selection)
  7. Number of guests invited
  8. Number of RSVPs – whether YES or NO
  9. Number who actually showed up
  10. Number of on-site registrants (those who didn’t RSVP)
  11. Number of ‘no shows’ –I’ve noticed more ‘no shows’ on the west coast, than the east coast - perhaps weather is a factor in this.
  12. Number of guests guaranteed
  13. Number of places set
  14. Number of guests served - if the group is less than 400, it’s easy to count empty chairs– identified by unused napkins.
  15. Type of beverage service
  16. Number of drinks consumed per person (split by type of beverage)
  17. Reception prior to dinner and/or wine with dinner
  18. Was there enough food at the function – or was buffet or chafing dishes empty?
  19. Any complaints you may have heard or read in evaluations about the food.
  20. Final budget

Do you have any examples to share about how historical data related to the amount of money you saved on food and beverage?


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