SMERF Social Military Educational Religious Fraternal
Market Segments Mid-level Market Most Associations Many Corporations Mid-level events are usually planned well in advance.
Market Segments Deep Market Fancy, upscale functions Price takes a backseat to quality and service. This segment will plan and purchase the extravagant events discussed in Chapter 8.
Budget Considerations Budgets are tighter It is estimated that the average meeting planner’s budget per person has dropped by about 25% in the past few years, and that the typical caterer’s total costs have escalated by about 25%. But expectations are the same as they were in the latter part of the twentieth century. All market segments still want the same level of freshness, quality, service, and creativity, consistent with what they are able and/or willing to pay.
Themes Creative, low-budget themes to the rescue. Themes can divert attendees’ attention from the modest menu offerings they can afford.
Ricky Eisen, a special events producer, said in an article in Event Solutions magazine: “Where we used to use 12/16 jumbo shrimp, we now offer 26/30 'blackened shrimp' for New Orleans night or 'coconut breaded shrimp' for Tropical Nights.” Smaller shrimp = lower food cost (12/16 refers to the number of shrimp per pound. The smaller the number, the larger the shrimp).
Themes With Low Food Cost: Old Mexico Taco bars, chili bar with toppings, interactive fajita bar, chips and guacamole. Think of how many shrimp guests could eat in the time it takes them to construct and eat a taco.
Themes with low food cost: Ethnic cuisines Ethnic cuisines have a low end and a high end. When trying to save money, go for the low end. Serve inexpensive cultural foods, such as beans, rice, pasta, tacos, and wraps. Forget sweet and sour shrimp; serve lo mein and stir fry. Serve spaghetti instead of veal scaloppini. Pasta is an excellent, inexpensive alternative for a hot lunch. Asian foods generally use less meat. Asian foods generally use less meat.
Budget Cutting Options Use American service. Strategize with the caterer and/or chef. Gang menus. Use dualing menus. Reduce the number of courses. Secure a sponsor. Reduce product quality. Reduce portion sizes. Use substitute products
More Budget Cutting Options Use small-plate receptions. Purchase prepackaged products on a consumption basis. Avoid using mass-consumption bowls to display bulk products. Use products in season. Put your money into a spectacular dessert. Use the same room setups for all functions. Serve only finger foods. Reduce floor space at receptions. Spread out food stations. Serve lighter foods.
More Budget Cutting Options Avoid fancy napery and skirting. Cheese trays are wasteful; don’t order too much. Use only butler service for receptions. Serve preset meals. Serve only small portions of pricey items. Dress up inexpensive foods. Use trade-outs. Do some of the work yourself. Ask for discounts. Carry in your own audiovisual equipment. Schedule your event on Tuesday