24 Mar

The Importance of Catering Numbers

When planning an event there are certain numbers that help a prospective client understand their potential costs. Typically it is tied between food and beverage minimum, and guest count. These two numbers are the foundation of many aspects of planning. However, guest count is used in a few different ways which we have created this quick and easy glossary to help you understand. If you are in the phase of researching and shopping for a caterer or venue space, keep in mind these definitions to help you understand how totals are created.


Food and Beverage Minimum

This is the minimum amount of food and beverage that must be met for an event in a given space. Each of our venues, like many venues in Indianapolis, have a food and beverage minimum for each rentable venue space. To determine if someone will meet this minimum,  take the estimated guest count and multiply it by the cost per person for food and beverage. Most often there are packages, much like our Special Occasion or Meeting Packages, that act at the multiplier.


© Nyk + Cali, Wedding Photographers

© Nyk + Cali, Wedding Photographers

Estimated Guest Count

This is the number used to help you project your potential costs before moving to contract. To get a solid idea about what your event might cost, estimated count is used to determine what your total food and beverage costs might be – as well as which venue space is appropriate for your event. There is no real obligation with estimated count other than using it for estimates.


© Nathaniel Edmunds Photography

Guaranteed Minimum

Once you decide to move to contract, guaranteed minimum is the number reflective on your contract as to the minimum number of guests you will be charged for for your event. Even if your actual guest count drops, you will be required to pay for the guaranteed minimum you provided. This is the number all arrangements for your event will be based off of from food and beverage to tables, chairs and linens up until you provide your final number.


Final Count

This is the final number of guests that will attend your event. Final count can go both up and down, but what you pay for is reflective of your guaranteed minimum and all the preparations based around the guaranteed minimum number. Your event will be set and executed for the number in your final count, provided 5 working days prior to  your event taking place. This 5 day threshold allows the culinary team to make additional food purchases and preparations should your event numbers increase beyond the guaranteed minimum, as well as allows your event specialist to secure additional rentals if needed.



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