1 Sep

Food and Beverage Minimum 411

Many venues and caterers throw around the term ‘Food & Beverage Minimum’, but what does this really mean? Simply put, a food and beverage minimum is a specific dollar amount in food and beverage that you, the client, must meet in their selected space… But that’s not all you need to know.


Recently we received quite a few emails from prospective clients confused and questioning this cost. Any one preparing to plan an event, large or small, will often encounter the term ‘food and beverage minimum’ regardless of the space they are considering.

What do you get for a $10,000 food and beverage minimum? What’s included?
Technically… Nothing.  Although this is only a partial truth. Remember, the minimum is the required minimum amount you must spend in food and beverage for the space you’ve selected. What you get for that cost is ultimately dependent on what you select for your menu and beverage. So while it’s technically nothing, you also technically get whatever menu items you select along with great service to match.

How do I meet the food and beverage minimum?
Any selections you make for food and beverage go directly towards the food and beverage minimum. It’s entirely up to you in terms of what you choose to select. To make it easier on many clients, caterers will offer packages. These packages are usually based on a per person price. Per person price multiplied by your total number of guests equals your expected costs of food and beverage prior to tax and service charge.

Does this include tax, service charge, and gratuity?
No. Tax and service charge aren’t always included! Most food and beverage minimums (F&B) do not include tax and service charge, so be sure you ask what the percentages are. Taxes are based on state sales tax, but service charge (and gratuity – if the business wants to double hit you labor costs) can fluctuate and add an additional 25-35% to your total cost. Kahn’s Catering uses a flat 24% service charge to cover the costs of labor to execute your event. Gratuity is not expected and completely at your discretion.

Why is the food and beverage minimum listed on my contact?
F&B minimums in a contract will nearly always be spelled out in terms of dollars to be spent on catering for your event. You are spending at least that amount of money, regardless of what you order or how many people actually attend. If I have an F&B minimum of $15,000, then the final food and beverage costs will be at least $15,000. It is important to note, too, that the minimum is the base price, exclusive of tax and service charges.  


We love when people ask questions because it gives us an opportunity to share information – not only about ourselves, but about event planning as a whole. To make planning easier, one of the first things most event planners will tell you is to do your research. Have a question? Ask us! Send your questions via email to info@kahnscatering.com.

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