Large party restaurant question

joaniepoanieNovember 10, 2012

Hoping a knowledgable restaurateur can answer this because this makes no sense to me....contacted a nice restaurant to inquire about having Sunday brunch for 50-60 with either a pre-set menu of 3-4 entrees or buffet style. Was told that the minimum was $10,000!!! Thought it was surely a typo, but it was confirmed. Was told they could seat parties up to 20, no minimum and anything from the menu. Their brunch entrees run about $8-12. So, if each entree averaged $10, plus another $6 for coffee and OJ...this works out to $320....a 25% gratuity would be $80 and 6% tax would be $19.20 for a total of around $420 or around $1300 for 60 people. I could even understand a minimum of $1500 or $2000, but $10,000?!!! For breakfast?!!!

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It's nuts. I had the same experience recently where the first restaurant wanted $1100 for 20 people and the second one was about $80 per person. It would have been way cheaper if it was anything but Saturday night. So I am having my party at home, which I like more anyway.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:06PM
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I think they are just saying that they do not want your business. Period. Don't take it personally, they just don't want the business.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:10PM
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When you don't want to do something, you price it prohibitively high so they don't choose you and you have no real issue to be sued.

Sometimes it backfires but at least then you're compensated for it. I've had that happen too!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Makes your decision very clear doesn't it?
I am sure they were also considering the loss of regular business and the special room setting, extra help etc etc....thought....fogeddaboudit....for $10K...yeah....but not for a couple of thou...

Try a less popular place.....they may give you a special price to be assured of 50 to 60 for brunch that day.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Geez, that's roughly $166-200 per person!

I think the others are right on....they do not want your busines. In this terrible economy I don't know why not, but it is what it is....


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. I live in the DC area which is not as affected by the economy as other places...which is why they probably don't care. What I don't understand either is....isn't it easier on the chefs and staff to serve 60 people 3 or 4 things than serving 60 individuals from the entire menu? And to be guaranteed at least 60 patrons? I wrote back and asked if I could make 3 reservations for 15-20 people each...ha! With all the restaurants in this area I thought this would be a breeze but I'm striking out...very frustrating! My house is not big enough....

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:31PM
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No, because all the people are arriving and ordering at the same time. It's nightmare except in the largest restaurant.

Like I said, it isn't you. It's the policy.

Hire a hall and a caterer.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:09PM
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"---Hire a hall and a caterer."

Another way: many Chinese restaurants are equipped to do big parties like weddings.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:22PM
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I'm not taking it personally, but why not just say "we don't host large parties" instead of quoting the ridiculous sum of $10,000. I get the point about 60 people arriving at the same time, but is it really that different than a full restaurant with a line out the door? I certainly would not expect all 60 to be served at the exact same time....

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Try a hotel that works with conventions and meetings. Or a restaurant that hosts Rotary or other civic groups.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Try a restaurant that advertises a separate party room....or look into one that also does buffet style...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I'm guessing they don't want to say "we don't/won't" because in this society that's so easily claimed as we don't serve your kind and run to a lawyer. This easily avoids that stuff. It's really sad, but businesses really have to be on the lookout for the silliest of things these days.

I'd suggest inviting LindaC over. She had an project fall through so she's probably got extra time and might need something to keep her out of trouble! :D

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Thanks all...I am looking into hotel this week. Just to let you know....he emailed back to say that they charge $10,000 to compensate for the amount they would make with individual parties...what a the 2-2 1/2 hour window I was planning for 50-60 people, they would have to serve 400-500 people at an average of $20-25 per person to make $10,000. Not bloody likely!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Let him know that you will be putting a review on Yelp and Tripadviser about your experience.
Amazing the things that have changed for me once I state this.
I also state this to good service and experiences and make sure I follow through.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:39AM
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