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Keeping Your Event Under Budget
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By Mindy Dutka


Food and Beverage Suggestions
The food and beverage section of your event budget is generally the highest. Below are some tips that may help reduce that line item.

24. When discussing the menu, work with the chef directly. Communicate your ideas for the event and your concerns with budget. The chef will know what is in season, what can be purchased locally for less, and what his staff is capable of producing. The chef will probably surprise you with some creative suggestions that you hadn't even thought possible.
25. When offering coffee, tee tea or decaf, purchase at a large quantity if possible rather than paying a per-cup fee. If possible, negotiate to have the coffee complimentary due to the significant business you are providing.
26. Discuss with the chef the possibility of reducing portion size as a way of reducing the menu costs. Small reductions in each serving can create substantial savings to the bottom line.
27. Review the different service options to find out which would be most cost effective but still remain in keeping with the feel of the event.
28. Research who else is using the facility and what they are serving. By choosing a similar menu or ingredients from those menus, the venue may be able to pass on the savings they receive from buying in bulk.
29. If serving items on a banquet table, place expensive items in the back so they are harder to reach.
30. Expensive items such as shrimp and oysters can be taken out of the menu to reduce costs.
31. Research the pricing structure to identify if a la carte is less expensive than per-person pricing.
32. Solicit sponsors for the event, such as wineries or microbreweries, who can supply the liquor. There may be corking and serving fees, but it would significantly reduce your liquor costs.
33. Find out if you can supply the soft drinks for the event and have your staff serve to your guests. Some venues may have a clause that states that only their staff can serve, but you can request that they waive it for this event.
34. Reduce the time for the cocktail hour by 15 minutes to a half hour.
35. At the bar, request that they use a controlled-pour system that regulates how much beverages are served to each person. If you are being charged by the bottle, you may be able to make each bottle stretch a little further.
36. If under an extremely tight budget, eliminate the liquor completely by just serving soft drinks and mineral water. If that seems too drastic, offer wine, beer, soft drinks and water but don't offer hard liquor or mixed drinks.
37. If the venue has a discontinued wine label, you can request to use it at a reduced rate.
38. If the venue has a discontinued wine label, you can request to use it at a reduced rate.

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