What you need to know about Banquet Event Orders

document representing a banquet event order

Banquet Event Orders are critical to the success of any event at a venue. If you’ve ever managed a hotel or convention centre event, you’re probably familiar with Banquet Event Orders. However, if this is new to you, here’s a review. And for those of you who haven’t worked with a venue in a while, here’s a refresher for your next event.

The Banquet Event Order

What is a Banquet Event Order (BEO)? The BEO is the document which outlines all the details of your event. This includes the room set-up, audio-visual requirements, event times, menus for meals and breaks, bar information, and any special notes about your event. It should also include pricing for your food and beverages, the room rental (if applicable), and audio-visual rental prices.

This is the communication document for the various venue departments tasked with executing your event. The banquets department uses this to set up your meeting room, to schedule staff to serve at the event, and to direct them with what to do during the event (e.g., is your dinner a buffet or plate service? Staff service will look quite different depending on your type of meal). The kitchen uses the the BEO for their food orders, staff scheduling, food preparation, and service timing. The audio-visual department uses this to set up and manage your AV for the event.

Be clear

It’s important for you to be as clear as possible when communicating your event needs to your venue contact. If they don’t understand what you want, they won’t be able to communicate it to the departments involved in managing your event. It’s helpful to organize your event details into categories like set-up, audio-visual requirements, menus, and special notes. Audio-visual is distinct from set-up as most venues partner with AV companies to fulfill these requirements, and so a separate department needs to see these details.

Be sure to include the time frames for your breaks and meals. For example, is your break 15 minutes long or a half hour? Is your lunch 45 minutes or 1 hour? Don’t assume the venue knows your schedule. It’s also helpful to provide the venue with a copy of your event program. This provides additional information about your event and acts as a cross-reference for service times, etc.

Review, don’t assume

All the different departments must work together to ensure the event runs smoothly and if something isn’t clear on the BEO, it can lead to confusion and headaches during the event. This is why it’s important to carefully review the BEOs that your venue sends to you. Don’t assume they have fully understood your event requirements. Double-check times, set-up, menus, AV… all the details to ensure your event runs smoothly. Ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. If there are errors, notify the venue as soon as possible. You don’t want to leave this to the day before your event, as the venue needs time to communicate your changes to various departments. Make sure the venue sends you a revised copy of the BEOs as well. And double-check again.

Although there are general details common to most events (such as a podium and microphone on a stage at the front, or half round tables for meetings and conferences), much of BEO creation is a manual process and there is always the risk of human error. The BEO is your key venue communication tool. Don’t skimp on getting this right.