I received this e-mail from a client:
“I am trying to get the count ok from my boss. He has been out of the office so all correspondence has been through email. I am frustrated.....I hate being in this position. I apologize for your short notice as well. “
One of the most important and overlooked facets of planning an event is getting an accurate final count. An accurate final count affects the ultimate success of any event. As off-premise caterers we are literally picking up an entire restaurant and moving it to the venue you have chosen for your event. Therefore, we need to know exactly how many staff members to schedule, how much food to order, how many tables and chairs to set up, how many linens to order, etc. As event planners, our goal is the seamless execution of your event.
Imagine if you were hosting a dinner party at your home and you invited 20 people and asked them to RSVP to you one week prior. Let's say 10 people said yes, they will attend, and two people said no. That leaves eight people who have not responded. What do you do? Do you plan for these eight people to show up (purchase and cook the food, purchase the beverages, set the table for them, etc.) and simply have lots of extra if they don’t show up? That’s an expensive option of you’re serving filet or lobster! Or do you assume they are not coming? If you go the latter route, what do you do if you have not planned for these guests and they show up the night of your party?
The dinner party analogy illustrates the very same principle we grapple with when planning much larger events. Certainly we can be creative, but in the interest of budgets and time, just like you, it’s imperative we estimate as close to actual as possible. Here are a few tips:
- If possible, set your RSVP date well enough before your event so you have time to follow up if needed.
- Make sure you have complete contact information for your guests, if possible. Phone, address and e-mail ensure you can follow-up easily.
- Allow yourself extra time before your head count is due (two weeks before the event) to contact any guests who haven’t RSVPed. Whether you call or e-mail, reaching out to guests is usually the best way to find out definitely who’s in.
- If you can’t reach certain guests and suspect they may show up, count them in.
We always recommend you pad your guest count by just a few to so you’re prepared for any guests who forgot to RSVP, or brought a date or children you weren’t expecting. The extra cost is nominal and it will help ensure all your guests are happy.
These tips will help you obtain an accurate count and will allow us to be best prepared to serve your guests!!