Paying Venue Fee

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by bfcllc, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. bfcllc

    bfcllc

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    I want to clarify this by saying that I own a small catering company that was started by my husband, who had professional training and experience. We booked many events and he passed away unexpectedly. I am continuing the business as a part time venture with the help of his established staff. I have an event scheduled for next month at an art gallery and they are requiring us to pay a catering fee to the venue to cater there. Is this common? He is charging 12-20% of our bill to the customer. The customer was aware and didn't bring it to my attention at the time of booking. I have told the customer that I will not absorb the cost seeing how they were aware and neglected to inform me of the fee. I have 2 questions, is a venue fee common? And, how exactly would you proceed in the situation? The event is in 4 weeks. Thank you!
     
  2. ginamiriam

    ginamiriam

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    We work with a number of venues who charge fees - most are called a kitchen fee. We add it as a line item in the contract.

    One venue charges 15% on food and beverage. Depending on the job, we either add it as a line item or increase our per guest pricing to include it.

    Since you are only becoming aware of this now, and since the client knows about the fee, I would include it as a line item.

    Gina
     
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  3. panini

    panini

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    I'm curious. Are you doing this as off site or they have kitchen facilities for you to actually prepare the food?Most of our venues here especially Art Gallery, Museums,etc. may only have some heating equipment available. The venues usually charge the client a room rental fee. Sometimes a corkage fee.

    If a caterer is bringing every and doing dish cleaning, etc. elsewhere, they won't charge both the caterer and the room rental. Usually one or the other. Normal kitchen fees around here are usually 7-12% ++corkage, rental, etc. No room rental fee. HTH's

    If your client does not have a room rental fee I would definitely line it ++. on top of kitchen fee.
     
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  4. bfcllc

    bfcllc

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    This is off site and there are no facilities to use other than staging. The staging area is off the loading dock and there are simply tables in a warehouse space off the main floor of the museum.
     
  5. panini

    panini

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    @bfcllc, First I wanted to say that I apologize for not mentioning in my first post that I am sorry for your loss.

    I don't understand the charge. I called around to some caterers we work with.They could understand a kitchen charge or a deposit for possible damages. One caterer I talked with said she couldn't understand the reason for the charge if the venue were not providing anything. She expressed that a caterer supplies an upgrade to the venue. She jokingly said she would ask for an itemized bill to see exactly what your paying for. I'm now thinking if it was me I just might do that.

    This type of charge maybe also be normal business for your area. I wouldn't hesitate to call a local caterer to investigate. If you're not comfortable with calling, have someone do it for you representing a potential client. I don't think there is any harm to that caterer and would not be considered unethical. 
     
  6. bfcllc

    bfcllc

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    Thank you for the suggestion. I will do that. This is the first venue where this has come up. The curator clarified by stating they charge preferred vendors 12% and non-preferred 20% and the fee is essentially a kick back in my opinion. He said it is to protect their interests as the guests will assume the museum is at fault if the food is bad or there is an issue.
    We have resolved the issue with the customer absorbing the majority of the cost.
    I have decided to pay the fee as I've been approached to cater another event there next year.
     
  7. panini

    panini

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    Yea, there is no reason to lose business over it. It certainly appears to be graft. I could almost buy that explanation if the venue hired the caterer. But if the customer books the food

    there shouldn't any question who would be responsible for mishaps with the food. Most gallery venues don't have staff to do consultations and consider or recommend food options.

    I personally don't see the difference between the charge and a deposit. It's kick back. A museum is one thing, but galleries don't pay for art and sometimes charge the artist.

    Well try to have fun doing it. Glad you resolved it with the client.