Quick Tip: Plus/Plus

While looking at venue and catering menus, you will quite often see a dollar figure with two plus signs after it – i.e. $50.00++ – but do you know what that means to you and your budget?  If not, read on:

Plus/plus refers to the service charge (usually between 18 and 25%) and tax rate that many caterers and reception sites add onto their per person rate.  That means that if you are looking at 3 different meals or packages on the menu listed for $40++, $50++ and $60++ at a location in Franklin County with a 20% service charge, your final cost for each would actually be $51.24, $64.05 and $76.86 per person.

If you are like me and don’t do well with doing math in your head on the spur of the moment, a little homework before you start looking at venues and caterers will save some confusion and possibly heartbreak in the long run! A good place to start is take about 45% of your budget and divide by the total number of people you are inviting – NOT the number you think will attend.  (Yes, everyone you plan to invite – better to be safe than sorry and not be faced with a huge overage in your budget at the last minute because lots of people want to celebrate with you!) That number would be the plus/plus number. Divide that by the service charge and then by the tax rate to get your base per person.

As an example:
Total Budget: $40,000
Number of Guests: 200
Reception Budget: $18,000 (45% of the total budget)
Plus/Plus Number Per Person: $90
Base Per Person: $70.26 (This assumes a 20% service charge and 6.75% Franklin County Tax Rate)
In this example, you would want to concentrate on menus that are less than $70 per person to stay within budget.

There are some companies that do not charge an extra service fee but charge for staffing – this should all be clearly stated in your quote.  If it isn’t, make sure you ask!

One Response to “Quick Tip: Plus/Plus”

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