What is a Banquet Event Order (BEO)? [+Bonus Templates]
From canapes to chiavari chairs, banquets and event planning requires an incredible amount of detail and the best event planners are perfectionists. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a conference, or a meeting, you’ll likely use a Banquet Event Order to keep track of the intricacies of the event. If you’ve never used a BEO before or you’re looking to brush up on your knowledge, this article will explain how to create and use a BEO and what information it includes. We’ll even give you a free BEO template to get started. With a good handle on BEOs, you can exceed your clients’ expectations and produce extraordinary events that are memorable for all the right reasons.
What is a Banquet Event Order (BEO)?
BEO stands for Banquet Event Order, which is the contract that holds all of the details for an event as agreed upon by the client and the sales or catering team. The team at the hotel or event space, including the kitchen staff, catering managers, production crews, front desk agents, and security guards, rely on the BEO as the source of truth for all information that pertains to the event.
Each event or function has its own BEO, and some events can have multiple BEOs. For example, a wedding might include a rehearsal dinner, a ceremony, a reception, and a day-after brunch, all of which would require separate BEOs. Similarly, a conference might include a keynote presentation and 8 different breakout sessions, all of which would need their own BEOs. Generally speaking, one BEO per event per function space is required. The catering staff compile a BEO packet that contains all of the BEOs for a given event or date, then they distribute it to various departments a few days in advance.
What Information Does a BEO contain?
We’ve established that a BEO contains all the important details about an event, but what exactly are those details? What specific information can you find on a BEO?
Basic event management details. On the top of the BEO, you can find the most important information about the event: event name, event venue, the date, the setup time/event date, the start time, the end time, the location (usually the name of the function space or meeting room), the expected number of guests, and the name and contact info for the catering manager responsible for coordinating the event.
Food and beverage requirements. If the event offers any refreshment, from an urn of coffee to a gourmet buffet or 5-course menu items, it will be listed on the BEO - in detail. The F&B section of the BEO will describe exactly which dishes and beverages the client has chosen, as well as the method of service (buffet, passed hors d’oeuvres, etc.).
Room setup. Another important section on the BEO is the room setup, which outlines the furniture and equipment needed for the event and how it must be configured. For example, a wedding might require several round tables with 8 seats each, a head table with 6 seats, a dance floor, buffet tables, a table for the DJ, a speaker system, microphones, and more. A seminar, on the other hand, might simply require a few tables set up classroom style. Technology needs are also noted here, including all audio and visual requirements. It’s crucial that the BEO contains a lot of detail in this section, including the exact number of chairs, types of linens, or positioning of equipment, so the event staff can configure the room to the client’s specifications.
Parking requirements. If attendees drive to the event, where will they park? The BEO will note whether the event includes self-parking or valet and whether parking is free or at a fee. The BEO should also specify an estimated number of vehicles so the valet and security departments can plan accordingly.
Staffing needs and headcounts. The event isn’t going to run itself! The BEO outlines how many staff members are needed from various departments. Event staff can include cocktail or dining servers, bartenders, parking attendants, security staff, and public area attendants.
Contact information for vendors. If the client has hired any external vendors, such as a florist and centerpieces, a band, or even an outside caterer, the BEO should include contact information for the vendors in case event staff need to coordinate with them.
The event schedule and order of events. With so many moving parts, it’s essential that an event run according to schedule, and the BEO usually details the event agenda down to the minute. The schedule will help the event run smoothly and ensure each step, like starting the music or cutting the wedding cake, happens on time and in the right order.
Pricing and billing information. A BEO is a contract, after all, and contracts contain the relevant pricing and billing details that both parties agree to. Prices on the BEO might be displayed as per-person fees, for a buffet, for example, or flat fees for A/V or function space rental. The BEO will also mention how payment will be handled - did the client pay upfront or will payment be collected at the end of the event?
Any relevant attachments and planning process. When it comes to specific information about an event, more is more! The client or catering manager may provide additional documents like floorplans, printed menus, agendas, gratuity expectations, special requests, outside vendors, binding contract details and photos of VIPs.
Who Creates a BEO? When and How is it Created?
In most cases, the catering or sales manager in charge of the event creates the BEO. Together with the client, the catering manager organizes the specifics of the event and prepares a quote. At this point, the event is considered tentative. The catering manager might start a draft of the BEO at this point to store information about the event in one central place.
After the client agrees and signs off on the quote, the event is considered confirmed. Some events are confirmed many months (or even years!) in advance, while others can be last-minute. In either case, the catering manager usually finalizes the BEO just a few days before the event. When the BEO is complete, the catering manager will send it to the client for a final approval, then he or she will distribute it to the relevant departments in the hotel.
It’s important to note that the catering manager is usually not handwriting these BEOs; instead, sales offices often use technology to make the BEO process more efficient and error-free. Sales and catering software makes it easy to enter event-specific information into banquet event order templates that already contain static details that don’t vary between events. These systems can also store menus, pricing, and room setup information, making it easy to plug in preset menus and room configurations to receive an updated quote automatically. Beyond just creating BEOs, sales and catering software also enable sales staff to easily manage a client database, update pricing, and share information with other hotel departments and clients themselves.
Want to try making a BEO yourself? Check out these free BEO templates!