What is a BEO you ask? It’s a critical document central to the event planning process. Many venues and event planners don’t put enough into their BEO, which can significantly impact the event's overall success.
Quite simply, a solid BEO ensures the event runs without a hitch and covers all important event details. This makes planning easier, saves time, and results in happier clients.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about BEOs, what they should include, and how to create one.
What is a BEO?
A Banquet Event Order (BEO) is a detailed document containing all the mission-critical information for an upcoming event. Among other relevant details listed in it, you can expect to see:
- the planner’s contact information
- the event information
- the event timeline
- a list of items to be served
- specific banquet notes
- floor plans
- financial summary
BEOs are typically used by hotels, restaurants, and event venues during the event planning process. They act as a source of truth to ensure all bases for executing the event are covered. Importantly, they ensure expectations are met leading up to and on the event day.
Every detail the event planners and venue agree upon should be included in the document. Kitchen and catering staff, servers, bartenders, set up teams, and other relevant personnel will access it to get an outline of how the event should pan out.
A BEO is created for every individual event. So, a full day or multi-day function with several events lined up will have multiple BEOs. Usually, the person or team heading up catering or the event manager is in charge of creating the BEO packet and distributing it to the relevant stakeholders.
The packet goes out a few days before the scheduled event and is updated where necessary with any relevant changes.
Different Versions of BEOs
A lot goes into space and banquet services. So, there may be different versions of BEOs rolled out to various stakeholders.
Main Banquet Event Order
First, there is the main banquet event order. This is the master document that includes all the important details about the event. The main BEO is used by the event manager or venue manager.
This document covers everything from operations and the order of events to vendors, pricing and payments, and more. Because this is such a large document, most hotels, venues, and event planners prefer to break up the BEO packet for different roles.
Chef BEO or Kitchen Sheet
The chef BEO or kitchen sheet can include everything about the event but is mainly focused on food and beverage requirements. It won't include details related to pricing and payments.
This BEO is necessary for providing catering staff with the information they need for preparing for the event. It helps them plan the required equipment, organize vegetarian options and special requests, plan food stations, and ensure all catering facilities are ready for a flawless event.
Front of House BEO
You also get a Front of House banquet event order. This might exclude menu items and beverage details, instead focusing on high-level details and the floor plan.
This version is essential for table setup, preparing the event space, and meeting all front-of-house staff staffing requirements. It also ensures the team is up to date with the function space and order of events.
What Should a BEO Include?
While the specifics change with any given event and venue, a few standard details should go into banquet event orders:
Planner Contact Information
First, a BEO should include all necessary details about the event planner. This makes it easy for the various departments involved to contact the person in charge.
This should include the planner's name, title, phone number, and email address. If there is a separate day-of coordinator or other important person involved in the running of the event (like a catering manager), their details should also be shared.
All of the necessary information about the actual event needs to be included. This covers the expected number of guests, the event venue, the meeting space or rooms used, the type of occasion, the event name, and more.
These details will help plan special setup requirements, the room set up and layout, organizing valet parking, guest shuttles, security staff, wait staff, parking attendants, and more.
The BEO also needs to cover the overall plan of action and event order. This includes arrival times, the event start time, the food service time, the event end time, and when the last calls need to be made.
For large and important events, a rehearsal is often helpful for staff to understand the exact schedule of operations.
List of Items to be Served
An itemized list of the menu and beverages should go into the banquet event order. This includes the menu item names, descriptions of these items, the price of the items (in a standard BEO), item quantity, modifications or add-ons, and any possible food allergies in each item.
The list should be as specific as possible, covering details down to the last bottle of sparkling water. A precise outline helps menu planning and food and beverage management run much more smoothly.
Beyond the event diagram, the BEO must include all financial information. This includes taxes, fees, food & beverage minimum, payments already made (i.e., the deposit), amounts owed, and a sales category breakdown. Using the right BEO software makes managing these finances a lot easier.
Next up, there should be a section where stakeholders can include special notes, for example, about the event, meeting room, vendor information, or food and beverage requirements. This will cover internal notes (for the event planner, catering manager, and staff), as well as proposal notes (guest-facing notes).
There are often attachments that need to go into the BEO packet. Here you might find the floor plan, guest-facing menus with logos, the guest list, the signed agreement, the general contract for the event, agreements with external vendors, and any relevant supporting documents.
Tips for Creating a BEO
When getting started with event management, your first stop will likely be to use spreadsheets and PDFs to organize event details. In this case, you can download a free BEO template that will give you the necessary framework to go on.
This approach can work if you’re just doing a couple of events each month, and the events are not overly demanding. But, as you grow, the process gets more complex, and you’ll find spreadsheets and free BEO templates don’t cut it.
At this point, your best bet at success is to use dedicated venue management software, like Perfect Venue. The software is designed specifically to help you cover all of the required details involved in events and manage them seamlessly. This enables you to stay on top of the ever-changing BEO details and ensures you cover every critical requirement.
A BEO for events provides the essential schedule, operations, and room setup details needed for pulling off everything successfully. While it’s not necessarily a binding contract, it’s a vital plan of action to help everyone operate efficiently.
Without a solid BEO, the team will be lost when running your event. A dedicated solution like Perfect Venue will make managing this much easier. Try Perfect Venue for free to see how you can optimize event management for your venue.