29 Oct

Catering Vocabulary 101

Kahn’s Catering understand that planning an event of any size and scope at any location can be trying, especially if it’s your first catered event to plan. As professionals that encounter industry standard terminology on a daily basis, it’s easy for us to forget that not everyone is quite as familiar. This concise ‘catering dictionary’ is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with words and phrasing you’ll encounter throughout the planning process, many of which will be helpful in your decision making and planning as a whole. If you need further clarification on any of the terms listed, or have other questions about catering contact us so we can assist you.


Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche is a French term that translates as ‘mouth amuser’ and are served prior to a meal to prepare guests for the meal ahead and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine.

Beverage Event Order or BEO

The Beverage Event Order or BEO as it is commonly referred to, is the roadmap of the entire event and includes information regarding setup, menu selection, linen selection, items brought for the event by the client with instructions for their return, timeline for the event, and all details for special meals. This BEO is prepared by an event specialist and sent to the client for approval. It is used by the setup team and event captain in preparing the event prior to guests arrival and by the culinary team for all menu preparation. It is the single most vital document for an event.

Cash Bar

Cash bars are non-hosted bars meaning each guest is responsible for paying for their own beverages. Cash bars have minimum sales that must be met. The host of the event is only financially responsible to the difference in cost if minimum sales are not fulfilled. Read more about beverage services.

Consumption Bar

Consumption bars are hosted bars with beverage costs being totaled after the conclusion of the event based on actual products consumed. Each beverage has an associated price which makes up the cost of consumption. The host will be invoiced post-event for their total beverage costs. Consumption bars have minimum sales that must be met. The host is financially responsible to the difference in cost if the minimum sales are not fulfilled. Read more about beverage services.

Escort Card

Escort Cards are personalized cards for each guest that direct them to the table they will be seated at for an event. Escort Cards are displayed as tent cards on a table or can be compiled alphabetically on a poster-type board on an easel for guests to pick up prior to entering the event space. Learn about the differences between escort cards and place cards, two easily confused terms.

Event Captain

The event captain is an on-site contact for an event should any needs with the event service arise during the course of the event. They are responsible for ensuring meal services are executed according to the timeline specified in the BEO, for special meals to be served to the correct guests, and lead the team of servers in all aspects of the catering service on the date of an event.

Event Specialist

An event specialist is the point of contact throughout the planning process and is the direct person to work with to plan an event. They will assist with all aspects of planning from touring venues if a venue manager is unavailable, offering contracts, assisting with menu planning, linen selection, designing a timeline, and creating a floor plan for an event. Read more about Event Specialists and how they can benefit your event along with their specific role in the entire planning process.

Food and Beverage Minimum

Food and Beverage Minimum or F&B minimum, is the minimum food and beverage cost commitment you are obligated to meet by the terms of your catering contract.

Hosted Bar

Hosted bars are both consumption and open bars that are paid for by the host or client for their guests.


Used throughout Europe as a way to cleanse the palate in between courses, intermezzos are usually small, light and refreshing.

Place Card

Place cards are preset at each place setting for each guest to identify their place to sit at a designated table and also communicate to the server through a color dot system the guest’s meal selection. Do you know the differences between escort cards and place cards?

Service Charge

Each event’s invoice total will feature a service charge assessed on all aspects of event costs with the exception of any individual labor costs (i.e. cost of a chef for an action station). A service charge of 24% is assessed and covers all costs associated with setting up, working, and cleaning up your event. Learn more about service charge.

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