Manual Table of Contents

Food and Beverage Planning

Budgeting considerations:

  • All meal and beverage services are paid from the revenue.

  • Most preconferences have morning coffee and rolls, a midmorning coffee break, and afternoon coffee and soft drinks. Generally lunch is included as well, although this drives up the cost of registration. You may consider having participants lunch on their own, but food services/restaurants would have to be nearby, inexpensive, and allow people to return in ample time so the schedule isn't disrupted.

  • Although actual costs cannot be determined until the room assignments have been made, a rough (and generous) estimate of meal and beverage costs is needed to complete the preconference proposal budget. Use the previous preconference meal/beverage costs as a guide. Adjust costs for inflation and for the city in which the preconference will be held.

  • Coffee service will include tea and decaf. Because it is difficult to anticipate how much to order of each beverage, there is usually a per person rate for these beverages. Most banquet services will charge for individual bottles of soda and water, wines and beer, based on consumption. However, it is important to verify this with each hotel or conference service.

  • For other types of beverages and food, you may be paying for what you ordered, not what is actually consumed. For example, if you order five gallons of punch but only drink four, you are charged for five gallons. Again, be sure to verify how you will be charged.
    Selecting a menu:

  • Once the room assignments have been made, the menu can be selected. The preconference chair should contact ALA conference services for the name of the hotel catering contact. The hotel catering office can provide sample menus and food/beverage price lists and indicate the deadline for menu selection and finalizing the number of people to be served.

  • A vegetarian option should be part of the menu selection. If it is not listed on sample menus, ask the hotel catering service what is available. For participants who requested a vegetarian meal, include a ticket in their registration packet to give to their server at mealtime alert the catering service to this. The use of a ticket insures the vegetarian meals are given to those who ordered them.

  • After the final menu is selected, the preconference chair should notify the hotel catering office, as well as the ACRL liaison, who signs all bills for food.


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