21 Sep

Keep In Mind: It’s Not Just About Food

If you ever plan an event, you will likely have to sign a BEO (banquet event order). This document outlines every single detail of your event so it can (and should) be detailed and thorough. Your signature indicates that you approve of what is listed for your event and if changes occur, your signature indicates you acceptance of changes. However, if you aren’t use to reading them, they can be overwhelming.

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Building Blocks
Most BEOs are set-up in a block format with information vital to your event success. This includes your contact information, timeline, culinary notes and menu, set-up notes and diagram, and event manager notes. Always be sure you read every single line on every page. If information is not correct in the BEO it likely won’t be correct at your event.

Contact Information
This sounds obvious, but be sure it is correct. Typically this information is that of whoever contracted the event, but if that person is different than who will be onsite at the event – update it. Be sure the phone number provided is one that your event manager can contact your onsite contact with on the day of your event. It might be you, it might be someone else.
Make sure the name of the event is correct and makes sense. This is usually used to create signs for readerboards outside of the venue space. Guests may use readerboards as a type of wayfinding sign within your venue.

Robyn + Mel 5.20.16 - Stacy Able Photography

Room Set-up
This will outline every aspect of the space. If you’re using a straightforward set-up such as theatre seating for 100 it will be easier to read in a BEO than a reception set-up for 300. Always be sure you go over the diagram with your event specialist. It is the visual representation of what is written on the BEO. Always be sure to include all elements of your event that will take up event real estate such as registration tables, gift tables, and entertainment. Each piece of equipment (table/chairs/buffets) will be noted on your BEO including any space for a dance floor, risers, podium, or backdrop. This section will also cover linens and skirting – the goes where in terms of linen décor.

Audio Visual & Outside Vendors
Audio visual arrangements always need to be made in advance. If your venue cannot provide you with the proper equipment to meet your AV needs, you’ll need to use an outside vendor. Since many venues contract their AV out to a third-party, you’ll have to manage your AV contract separately with them. If you are using outside vendors, such as a florist or photographer, their information and contact person will be on the BEO. It is important for the day of your event in case someone doesn’t arrive or is running behind.

The Signature Line
The BEO isn’t exactly a contract, but your signature is still required. Your signature is your approval of all that is listed on the BEO. So, in a way it is like a contract that expresses you approve of everything for your event. There will not be any explicit terms and conditions listed, those are in your regular event contract, but in the even you have something on consumption or cash bar based, the specific terms for those items will be listed.

The BEO is distributed internally at least a week before your event. If your BEO’s are not final a week before your event it could be detrimental to your event. Every detail in the BEO is important, times, dates, room set-up, audio-visual needs, quantities and even special dietary needs of your guests. From an efficiency standpoint it’s also important to know which items are needed such as tables, chairs, linens, china, glass, and silver. This is essentially a road map for the operations side of your event. Each person it is distributed to needs to know what you will or will not need for your event. It assists the culinary team in scheduling staff and making preparations for your meal service. It assists the set-up team in determining what equipment is needed and how the event is to be set. It assists the scheduling manager to ensure you will have the appropriate amount of staff for your event.There you have it. Essentially a ‘cheat sheet’ for reading through a BEO. Again, the most important part is to be as thorough as possible when reading them and if something is incorrect, making sure it is changed before the BEO is finalized.

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