Creating an Event Sheet to Gather Details
Once you have a signed contract (see Chapter 11 for more on con-tracts), you have officially secured a client. An event sheet is a way to conveniently organize your events on a single sheet of paper. An event sheet for a restaurant may be different from that of a banquet facility. An event sheet is also referred to as a BEO (banquet event order), resume, or function sheet. In some cases, these documents will substitute for a contract with the client signing the event sheet.
Using the Event Sheet to Communicate
Aside from organizing the details of the event, the event sheet is a line of communication between you and your staff. The event sheet will have the following information to aid the chef, the staff, and vendors in the setup of the event.
Reservation name. The name of the company or last name of the individual hosting the event. Used to guide guests to the proper function in the likelihood the facility has more than one private space.
Contact name. This line on the event sheet is for the person planning the event, possibly different than the person hosting the event. Include your contact's phone number, fax number, and e-mail address as well.
On-site contact. This line is intended for the person who is hosting the event. This person will be present at the event while the contact person may not be present.
Menu choices. This space is used to communicate to the chef and staff. The menu choices will involve courses, special requests, and allergies. The function's menu may be a limited menu with a choice of appetizers, choice of entrées, and desserts. Limited menus are also referred to as prix fixe menus and usually entail a per-person charge. A function can also have the option of passed hors d'oeuvres in the case of a cocktail party, or a stationary (food stations) menu for a banquet-style event. Another menu option is family-style dining, in which large platters of appetizers, salads, and entrées are placed on the table for guests to help themselves. This is also referred to as communal dining.
Beverage choices. You can have a line item for specific beverage types (nonalcoholic beverages, wine, beer, or cocktails). Beverage billing can be based upon consumption using a cash-and-carry bar in which all guests pay for each individual drink consumed, or the client can pay a set amount for all the drinks in an all-inclusive open bar or host bar.
Room setup. All events need different table setups depending on the size of the function. An event planner may denote the size of the table with the number of chairs or simply attach a floor plan to the event sheet.
Notes for FOH. The notes for the front of the house relay any communication to the servers, staff, managers, and bartenders.
Notes for BOH. The notes for the back of the house relay communication to the chef, pastry chefs, and sous chefs.
Initials. Initials on an event sheet will let the planner know that everyone has seen the information to order and staff the event appropriately.
Credit card number. Depending on your company's policy, you may need to secure the deposit with a credit card number. Some companies may accept a deposit in the form of a check and in addition still secure a credit card number. Having a credit card number on file will secure any funds, in addition to the deposit, forfeited as a result of a cancellation or damage. For example, it is the policy of some companies to charge 25 percent of the proposal plus the deposit if the event is cancelled with less than a week's notice. The forfeited funds may go toward paying the losses of the vendors and purveyors, if any, plus any scheduled staff.
Form of payment. Notes how the guest intends to pay for the event. This line should also have the notes regarding the deposit.
Room charge. Many companies, hotels, banquet halls, and restaurants levy a room charge for events. In addition some establishments may impose a room charge for private and semiprivate areas. The cost of the room charge varies from business to business.
Service charge. A service charge usually reflects a server fee, although occasionally this fee can refer to a management or administrative fee. A service charge can translate as an hourly rate for servers or be charged in addition to a gratuity. For example, if a board meeting requires a server for six hours, the gratuity may be low because the sales are based upon beverages only. You will want to charge the client a service charge to pay your server additionally. In major cities, clients are charged $25 per hour for each server. Bartenders command higher rates. Be sure the client understands any service fees up front.
Valet charge. The client may want to host the valet. In other words, the client would like to pay for all of her guests' valet charges. Inquire as to whether the valet company imposes an automatic gratuity to the clients' valet charges. A standard tip for a valet is $2 per car.
Gratuity. Denotes a percentage of the bill to which a gratuity will be applied. As a national average, 15 percent is the standard gratuity, although in major cities the percentage is higher at 18 to 20 percent. In some cases, your commission will be deducted from this percentage, and the server will consider you a tipped employee much like a busser, bartender, or food runner. Your tipped income needs to be reported to the IRS.
The gratuity is based upon the food and beverage total. There has been much debate on the controversy of tipping servers on the wine and alcohol portion of the bill. The IRS applies an 8 to 10 percent tax on the food and beverage sales of a server. Essentially the government is recognizing patrons tipping on a wine and beverage total. For more information on gratuities visit
Tax-exemption. Some businesses are exempt from being taxed by the government. When planning events, the contact must provide a copy of the tax-exempt letter to be considered exempt. Hospitals, universities, and government offices usually hold tax-exempt status.
Charge for confirmed guests. The final number of guests is considered the confirmed guest count. This number is based upon the number of RSVPs received by the client. Depending on your company, the confirmed guest count is due two to five days prior to the event. This is the minimum number of guests the client will be charged for, and the ordering and staffing for the event will be based upon this number.
Billing information. Businesses have individual billing preferences. Event-planning companies are no exception. Your company may prefer to invoice a client after an event rather than charge a credit card. Nowadays many companies will choose a check over a credit card to avoid credit card fees. Credit card companies charge 1 to 3 percent of the transaction amount. In other words, for a $20,0000 event, you will save $200 by accepting a check rather than charging the client's credit card.
Additional requests. Requests can range from linens to candles to music and everything in between. List the client's special requests on this line.