Friday, August 22, 2014

Partying Down, Restaurant Style by Chris Becicka



Bo Ling's - Plaza
You’re planning a party. For you, your office, extended family, a club or group.  Whomever, it’s probably a festive occasion of some type.  You only know two things:  you want it to be in a restaurant and you are not a party planning professional.  Of course you can pick up the phone or go to the Internet and blindly start hunting.  Or you can use our handy tips, below.  

First, two basic questions must be answered: number of people and possible date(s).  You’d think anyone who’s calling a restaurant would know to have these in mind.  Not necessarily.  And I say possible dates because you may already know the restaurant you want and it may not be available on that perfect date.  What are your alternative locations and dates?

If you have a specific budget, that creates another important criteria in your choice selection.  Unlike most hotels, restaurants frequently do not charge for the room, only for the food, drink, and service.  But, especially for evening events, there is typically a minimum expenditure required, usually achieved readily, especially if alcohol is served.
Piropos in Briarcliff

One easy way to get a HUGE head-start is to go to our on-line reference at kcrestaurantguide.com and use the private room search features to narrow your list.  Then check “See details” to check out more information, and then call or email the restaurant.  This process should make life pretty simple.
Here are six questions you must get answered after you determine the date and restaurant:
1.  How many people does the suggested room hold and will your group actually fit it?  This usually isn’t as much a question for large groups as for small – your smaller group can look, and feel, lost in a too-large room.
2.  How will the tables be decorated?  If you want something else, can you provide it or will they?  Additional cost?  If you’re doing the decorating, when can you get into the space?
3.  What are the hours for your event?  Do you have access before that time if you need it? Is another group using the room directly before or after you?
4.  Cost per person and what that covers?  Don’t forget the cost of alcohol and whether it’s an open bar or closed.  Or are you only pouring wine?  Is there a separate bar and bartender? Is there a parking cost? Clean-up cost?
5.  What is the automatic gratuity that will be added to the bill?  Depending on the percentage and what kind of service you’ve received, you may want to go beyond.
6.  Who will be your contact person during the event and will that person be on premises all that time?  Their cell (phone) number?  Who will be a back-up person just in case?
Jack Stack Freight House

Don’t forget potential extra costs:  want live music of some kind?  You will likely have to book it yourself and you’ll need to make sure the room can accommodate a 15-person band. Or a harpist.  Need a large video tape TV or CD player?  Microphone?  Screen?  Usually all additional costs – but with flexibility. What is the required deposit?  What are cancellation terms?

Ginger Walters, sales manager at Buca di Beppo, points out, “There are so many things to think about for an event of any size.  Be sure you’ve included children’s prices if applicable; whether it’s to be one bill or individuals are paying; and the correct number of guests.”

She adds that most restaurants are very accommodating and they definitely want you to have fun at your party since you’ve hired them to do all the work!  

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