Post # 1
So one of the venues that my Fiance and I were interested in turns out to have a minimum guest requirement of 80. Since we want a very intimate, mainly family wedding of around 50, 80 is pretty much impossible.
I can understand why they would have this requirement. They would have to shut down their restaurant for the entire night and that would cost them. So my natural response was to ask how much I would have to pay to make up the difference. They came back to me and said that the 80 people minimum is non-negotiable.
Does this make any sense to anybody? To me, there has to be a payment at which they would make more money by closing and letting me pay them lots of money than by opening the restaurant.
For example, if I have 30 guests fewer than the requirement and we estimate $100 a person (way more than it would likely actually be) then paying an additional $3000 should make it even. The only thing that would change would be less work for the cook and less food cost.
I’m not saying that I’m necessarily willing to pay such a high fee, but I’d like to at least have the option. And since I’m an economist, seeing a business behave in a way that seems so stupid really irritates me.
Am I wrong here? Am I missing some other reason for the minimum? If I’m not wrong, what should I do? I’m very tempted to point out my little calculation and tell them they’re being stupid (hopefully in a more tactful way), but I have a history of speaking without thinking, so I’d like some other perspectives.
Post # 3
You’re right, they are dumb.
I would tell them “too bad, I was willing to spend $1 million to rent our your restaurant for just Fiance and I, but since you have a minimum of 80, I guess we’ll go elsewhere!” 🙂
Post # 4
I agree. They’re just dumb. I can’t think of a good reason why they wouldn’t let you just pay extra.
Post # 5
Ha! It’s extra funny because people in my home town tend to think my family is pretty wealthy (and paying for the wedding) so they just might believe it!
Post # 6
A minimum spending amount makes sense. A minimum guest count doesn’t.
Post # 7
That seems ridiculous to me. The venue we decided to have our wedding at had minimums but if you were going to have less and willing to pay the difference it doesn’t matter as long as you pay the minimum amount. Are you sure they understood what you were asking??
Post # 8
Yeah – if you are willing to spend the cost of having a headcount of 80, I don’t see why they wouldn’t let you. That seems odd.
Post # 9
Not only is their response dumb, it is also unusual. EVERY venue I looked at had a minimum requirement BUT they all allowed me to pay the difference and they would make it up in extra food or enhancements. For instance, one placd had a 135 person minimum. If you had 120 people you would still pay for an extra 15 people, but that money would go toward providing more food for the 120 people you did host. Are you sure that the restaurant understood your request? Did you talk to a higher up in managment or did you talk to a lower level sales person who maybe didn’t understand what you were saying. Really, their response makes no sense.
Post # 10
Here is what I wrote. Maybe it’s not clear enough?
“Unfortunately, 80 people is not an option for us. Is there a fee we could pay to forgo this requirement?”
Post # 11
I agree with previous posters, their response makes no sense. We came in under the minimum at our venue, and just paid the difference. I feel like that is standard practice.
Post # 12
@Lemma: My last post didn’t post but I am still thinking the same thing after reading your note. Methinks that the restaurant assumes that you will not pay for 80 guests total. If they knew you would be willing to actually pay for 80 but still have 50, their story would likely be different. Not that you would want to pay that but just sayin.
Post # 13
It does seem dumb, maybe they assumed no one would want to pay $3,000 extra for less people? But it would make sense to at least give you the option, if they’re losing your business either way
Post # 14
If the person was having a fuzzy brain moment, they may have thought you were trying to negotiate a lower price. Maybe counter back with “Do I need to physically have 80 people or just *pay* for 80 people?”
Post # 15
Yeah, if they are unwilling to have you pay for 80 people, they are ridic. I negotiated a minimum guaranteed revenue instead of a per person cost for my venue. Its a win-win: They know they are getting at least X amount, and we have some flexibility for menus and guest count.
Post # 16
Maybe they didn’t understand what you were saying. There is no financial difference for the venue if you pay for 80 people and 30 of them don’t show up. It would actually be a financial gain for them if you told them ahead of time you were paying for 80 but only 50 were coming. Maybe you should talk to a different representative of that venue.