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Banquet Beverage Service

Banquet Beverage Service



Bar Types

A hosted bar is one where the drinks are charged on a consumption basis by the drink (in the case of liquor) or by the bottle (in the case of beer or wine). In general, wine in banquet on a hosted bar must be sold by the bottle, not by the glass.

A cash bar is where each guest pays on their own at the time the drink is served. Bartenders may self-cashier if, and only if, they use an electronic cash register that runs a tape and an audit function. Otherwise, a separate cashier must be assigned to sell tickets that are then turned in to bartenders for drinks.

An open or package bar is where beverage service is unlimited and charged per guest for a specified time period. Throughout the time contracted for on the BEO, the guests may order as many drinks as they like (within the limits of responsible alcoholic beverage service) and the meeting planner pays a set fee per guest.

• A self-service bar is not permitted at any Marriott Hotel banquet event. The lack of an attendant increases exposure to claims and litigation as a result of over-consumption. It is a firm, standard operating procedure that a Marriott associate attendant be required on all bar-related events, even if the customer does not pay for the service-related fees.

Note: It is standard to charge for a bartender, and cashier if needed. It is not standard to apply “consumption waivers” for a minimum amount of consumption; (e.g., it is against policy to state “We will waive the bartender fee of $175 if bar revenue exceeds $750,” or “A bartender fee of $175 will be added if bar revenue does not exceed $750”).





Bar Service Standards

Staffing ratios must be met to provide excellent service and maximize revenues. At a minimum, one bartender per 100 guests for cash bars is required. One bartender per 75 guests is required for host bars. One bar attendant per 175 guests (host or cash bars) is required to restock for products, service pieces and ice for bartenders.

In order to ensure a smooth-running banquet bar function, it is essential that the bar initially be adequately and completely stocked to last through the entire function. Bartenders must not access storeroom inventory directly. They must be issued all products through a supervisor, captain or manager.

When inventorying bar supplies and stocks at the conclusion of the event, the bartender must not be responsible for counting return inventory. This function must be performed by a supervisor, captain or manager.

Bar set-ups must include appropriate glassware, ice, hotel-supplied jigger, bar mat, salt rimmer, condiment tray, bar napkins, stir sticks or sip straws, stainless steel shaker, strainer, bar spoon, bar cloth, pourers, corkscrew, ice scoops, complimentary dry snacks, nuts, and votive candles (where permitted by law). See complete bar set-up checklist following this section.

A bar mixer (blender) must be provided on all bars for frozen and blended drinks.

Set-ups generally include: Bottled waters (still and sparkling), soft drinks (Pepsi, Sierra Mist, ginger ale, club soda, tonic water and diet), mineral waters, sour mix, simple syrup, Bloody Mary mix, orange, tomato, grapefruit, and cranberry juices, lime juice, jumbo pitted olives, stemmed cherries, lime wheels and wedges, lemon twists, salt and pepper shakers, Tabasco Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Angostura bitters, coarse salt for Margaritas and Margarita mix. See complete bar set-up checklist following this section.

Bar products must be from the Marriott Gold Standard product listing.

At a minimum, the bar must provide the following:


Bourbon, scotch, vodka, gin, Canadian whisky, rum, brandy and tequila


Imported, domestic and non-alcoholic


Red, white, blush and sparkling

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Bar Service Standards (continued)

All drinks must be prepared in accordance to Marriott Gold Standard Beverage Recipes.

Bartenders must use hotel-supplied jiggers. No “free-pouring,” “speed pouring” or “shot pouring” will be per mitted.

Standard bar jigger size is 1 ounce over 2 ounces. Gold Standard:

Pouring standards are consistent with

  • - Liquor pour is 1 ounce

  • - Rocks, cordial, and Cognac pour is 2 ounces

  • - Martini, Manhattan, and Sherry pour is 3 ounces

  • - Wine pour is 6 ounces

Bartenders are to pour the spirits and wines with the label facing the guest, not “hiding”

labels while pouring. Brands are never to be substituted.

Drinks are to be served in correct glasses. Bar must be stocked with all-purpose glasses,

martini, white and red wine glasses. No plastic glasses are permitted, unless used for outside or pool-side service. All glassware must be handled only by the base or stem.

All drinks are served with a beverage/cocktail napkin.

Bottled beer is always served with a glass and beverage/cocktail napkin.

The bartender must never leave a bar unattended.

No drinking, smoking or eating is permitted behind the bar.

No tip glasses, jars, or other containers are to be kept in view at the front bar.

Ice scoops are to always be used. Hands or glass must never be used to scoop ice.

All liquor brands must be merchandised and displayed on the back bar. This includes wines and beers being served.

The selling strategy in bars must be to offer all brands of spirits and as many wines as possible from two adjoining tiers of the Gold Standard program.

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Bar Service Standards (continued)

For potential calculation purposes, a liter of spirits yields 33 drinks (1 ounce portions). Drinks Per Bottle of Spirits (for 1 ounce drinks 1 liter bottle):

  • 1 tenth


3.3 drinks

  • 2 tenths


6.6 drinks

  • 3 tenths


9.9 drinks

  • 4 tenths


13.2 drinks

  • 5 tenths


16.5 drinks

  • 6 tenths


19.8 drinks

  • 7 tenths


23.1 drinks

  • 8 tenths


26.4 drinks

  • 9 tenths


29.7 drinks

  • 1 bottle


33 drinks*

* There are actually 33.81 fluid ounces in a liter bottle. We round down to the nearest ounce.

Note: When calculating the potential, round the number of drinks down to the whole number. Example: .4 or 4 tenths equals 13 drinks not 13.2.

Wine = 4 glasses per bottle, 6 ounces each there are actually 25.4 ounces of wine in a standard 750 ml. bottle of wine. We round down to the nearest ounce.





Key Banquet Beverage Controls

• In all cases, control is key to a successful banquet bar operation. Some of these controls are:

  • - Potential liquor cost must be calculated for all events, for each bar.

  • - Blind cash drops for all cash handling positions must be made — See Accounting SOP.

  • - All cash drops must be witnessed by an associate in a department outside of banquets.

  • - Surprise audits of cash banks, ticket rolls and perpetual period stickers should take place per SOP.

  • - Observe bartender actions at bars for counting methods or short-pouring.

  • - Enforce jigger use on all spirits-based drinks.

  • - Strict coaching and counseling when overs/shorts occur.

  • - Use perpetual inventory methodology and practices.

  • - Change storeroom locks and keys at least quarterly.

  • - If possible, integrate all storage into one central storeroom.

  • - No marrying of bottles is permitted.

  • - Partial bottles are only used on cash bars or packaged bars.

  • - Requisitions are used for all additions and deletions to inventory.

- Access


the central

storeroom is limited and

Prevention Department.

accessed only through the Loss

Cash Wine Sales Standards

• Whenever wine is not requested on the BEO, the planner must be asked if it is acceptable for the hotel to place cash wine lists on each table. The list must have at least two offerings in each varietal category with different price points. The hotel must be ready to accept cash, credit cards, and room charges. Bottles must be presented to the host that ordered the wine and opened as if it were a restaurant setting. Controls for cash, POS terminals or other methods of charging to a room, product and credit card machines must be in place. Incentive contests such as buck-a-bottle for servers are acceptable.





Check Bar Set-up, QTY List Tools & Equipment bar cloths bar mat bar spoon beverage/cocktail napkins
Bar Set-up,
Tools & Equipment
bar cloths
bar mat
bar spoon
beverage/cocktail napkins
blender (with two pitchers)
bottle/can opener
cocktail trays
complimentary dry snacks, nuts
condiment tray
garnish picks or toothpicks
glassware: all purpose glasses,
Martini, white and red wine glasses,
Champagne flutes
gloves (Only used for preparing food/
garnishes. Not to be used during service)
Hawthorn strainer (spring)
ice scoops
jigger, hotel-supplied
juice containers (Store-N-Pour)
julep strainer (concave)
paring knife & cutting board
(Note: If the garnishes are precut, these
two items may be removed)
salt rimmer
sparkling wine closure
(clamshell stopper)
stainless steel shaker and glass
(Boston shaker)
stir sticks or sip straws
Check Mixers & QTY List Non-alcoholic bar mixer for frozen and blended drinks Bloody Mary mix
Mixers &
bar mixer for frozen and
blended drinks
Bloody Mary mix
bottled water — sparkling
bottled water — still
cream and/or half and half
juice — cranberry
juice — grapefruit
juice — orange
juice — pineapple
juice — tomato
lime juice, bottled
lime juice, fresh
Margarita mix
mineral waters
simple syrup
soft drinks — club soda
soft drinks — diet
soft drinks — ginger ale
soft drinks — Pepsi
soft drinks — Sierra Mist
soft drinks — tonic water
sweet & sour mix

(checklist continues on next page)






Check List Garnishes & Cocktail Ingredients QTY Angostura bitters bar sugar and/or sugar packets celery stalks
Garnishes &
Cocktail Ingredients
Angostura bitters
bar sugar and/or sugar packets
celery stalks for Bloody Marys
cherries, stemmed
cocktail onions
Kosher salt for Margaritas
lemon twists
lemon wedges
lime wedges
olives, pitted jumbo
orange flags
orange slices
salt and pepper shakers
Tabasco sauce
whipped cream & whipped cream
Worcestershire sauce
Check Bar Brand QTY List Products Names Spirits: Bourbon Brandy Canadian whisky Dry Vermouth Gin Rum
Canadian whisky
Dry Vermouth
Sweet Vermouth
Triple Sec
Domestic — light
Domestic — regular
Imported — light
Imported — regular
Check List Additional Items for Specialty Bars or Guest Request (pineapple, flavored vodka, etc.) QTY 8
Additional Items for Specialty Bars or Guest Request
(pineapple, flavored vodka, etc.)




Options/Upsell Opportunities

Clearly, a full bar, open throughout the event, would be the ideal scenario for every wedding held in a Marriott hotel. However, if budget reduces the viability of that prospect, the following list outlines alternatives to a full bar that could still meet everyone’s needs.

Revised bar availability

Suggest opening the bar for a limited reception time prior to dinner, closing it during dinner service (as long as wine is served along with dinner), then re-opening the bar after dinner.

Reception events

• Target a selection of beers, wines and mixed drinks, and serve each at reception stations, as appropriate. For instance, pair two or three wines with the pasta station, create a signature Margarita for the event and serve it at the main buffet line, and choose two or three high quality beers that can be paired with items at a carving station.

Beer and/or wine bars

A nice selection of either premium or back bar quality beers and wines provides a compelling alternative to a full bar, and can speak volumes about the quality taste of the wedding couple.

Champagne bars

• Either in addition to any of the other options, or as a stand-alone option, Champagne bars serving both straight Champagne and a limited selection of Champagne cocktails could be a great way of helping the attendees to celebrate the event.

Passed drinks

Although not terribly efficient, one way to add a level of service while perhaps decreasing cost is to pass selected drinks during a reception.

Morning/afternoon events

• While a full bar may be frowned upon for events held earlier in the day, a Champagne bar serving Mimosas, wine bar, or Bloody Mary bar could be very desirable alternatives. Additionally, don’t forget about the punch bowl. Wine, Champagne or spirit-based punches offer a very celebratory way to include good cheer in a daytime celebration.





Options/Upsell Opportunities (continued)

Desserts and cordials

• An alternative to a full bar being offered after dinner is to provide an upgraded cordial bar with dessert service. This works particularly well with a Viennese table or dessert buffet service.

The Champagne toast

• If Champagne is used for the toast, it is not uncommon for the head table to be served a “tête de cuvée” (super-premium Champagne), and the rest of the tables to be poured a high quality, but less costly alternative.

Non-alcoholic alternatives

• When planning beverages, it is important to remember that there will be event attendees who do not consume alcohol. For their benefit, as well as for the enjoyment of anyone else who may prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, it is important to offer high quality, unique non- alcoholic options. Some examples may include:

“Italian” sodas — This alternative approach to carbonated beverages blends high quality fruit flavored syrups (Monin, Da Vinci, etc.) with soda water. The results are fresh tasting, unique fruit flavored sodas (raspberry, apple, cherry, etc.) that are sure to please. These same syrups can be added to iced tea to create fruit flavored iced tea.

Fresh fruit juices and ‘ades — Fresh lemon or lime-ade is a treat year round, as are freshly squeezed fruit juices.

Bottled water — No longer just for white tablecloth restaurants or questionable foreign cities, bottled water is the default in many restaurants today, and should be for banquet events as well.

Non-alcoholic beers — There is still a certain badge quality associated with holding a bottle of beer, even if you don’t drink. To appeal to those non-drinkers who wish to fit in, offer non-alcoholic beers at all bars. Imported non-alcoholic beers are also growing in popularity and have improved significantly in flavor profile.

Finally, garnish and presentation are just as important with non-alcoholic beverages as they are with their alcoholic counterparts. Make sure that all drinks are attractively garnished with unique, fresh fruit or other food items, and that they are served in high quality glassware that shows that the bride and groom thought about them carefully.





Kosher – Alcoholic Beverages

The following liquors do not contain anything made from grapes and, therefore, are considered Kosher:

Straight Bourbon Whiskey Straight Scotch Whisky Straight Rye Whiskey Single Malt Scotch Whisky Rum Gin Unflavored Grain Vodka Tequila Blended Scotch Whisky Soft Drinks*

* Soft drinks can usually be assumed to be Kosher, except for grape flavors.

The following liquors do contain grape derivatives or questionable ingredients, or may have been prepared under questionable methods:

Champagne Sherry Cognac Vermouth Brandy Grappa Sangria Cream Liqueurs Certain Cordials*

* Certain liqueurs and cordials may or may not be approved (Amaretto, Kahlua, Campari, etc.). Check with the Mashgiach overseeing the event.





Kosher – Alcoholic Beverages (continued)

Kosher Wines

Wines must be produced under special handling procedures. Here are some commonly asked questions on Kosher wines:

How are Kosher wines made?

They are produced exactly the same way as non-Kosher wines except that all handling and production, from receipt of the grapes through bottling, are carried out by personnel who are supervised by a Rabbi. All elements of additives used in the production must either be Kosher-approved or from a Kosher source.

What is the significance of the P notation next to the ®?

The “P” indicates that the wine is guaranteed not to have been produced with any grape

products, and is thus Kosher for Passover.

What does “Mevushal” mean?

This indicates the wine has been flash-pasteurized to a temperature of 175° F, and may

therefore be served by a non-observant person to an observant person. “Mevushal” renders the wine universally Kosher.

Is flash-pasteurization harmful to the wine?

It is not harmful to the wine, but neither is it beneficial. Its effect on white wines is usually

not perceptible; the effect on red wines softens the structure and reduces the prominence of the tannins.

Why are Kosher wines more expensive than commercially-produced wines?

In order to produce wine under the rules of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations,

the process becomes labor-intensive, meticulously pure and time-consuming. Hand-crafted products are inevitably more costly to produce.

How do traditional Kosher wines differ from those made by more comtemporary producers?

Kosher wines were traditionally made in a sweet style, first from fruits and raisins and later,

when first produced in the US, from the vitis labrusca vines indigenous to the New World. Contemporary producers of Kosher wines are producing them for a sophisticated market from high-quality vitis vinifera grapes (the European-styled varietals commonly known today such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay) in a fully dry style that is far more compatible with foods than the traditionally-styled wines.






Whether in an attempt to reduce costs, or to offer specially selected beverages that are not part of the hotel’s offerings, bridal couples are increasingly asking about the prospect of bringing their own alcoholic beverages to their weddings. In many jurisdictions, this is simply illegal. Check with the local liquor licensing authority to determine applicability. If corkage charges are permitted by law, it would be wise to be prepared for the question by establishing a hotel policy in advance. Any policy should take into account the following cost factors:


Ensure that the labor of the server/bartender is partially covered by the corkage fee, as is the labor of the staff who will wash the glasses, etc.


Accompaniments to the drinks also have costs that should be covered by a corkage fee — garnish, ice, mixers, etc. should be factored into any corkage charged for spirits.


Alcoholic beverages are a great source of profit during a wedding event. If guests bring their own, a portion of the profit contribution should be recovered through the corkage charged. One approach to corkage is to add a per person charge to the cost of the wedding, rather than a per bottle fee. This approach does not depend on volume to recoup costs, and is often easier to justify to the wedding organizers.





Suggested Wine List Set-Up

Where — The first rule of banquet wine lists is that they should be prominent. Too often, banquet lists are hidden deep within the presentation package — an afterthought for the venue and the guest.

What — Just as choices are offered in the food menu, you should offer varied choices in wine at an affordable price, so the guest is in the driver’s seat. Although we specify Tier 1 wines, the reality is that we can offer similar pricing for many of our other Marriott Gold Standard offerings.

How — List your selections in the progressive list order, so banquet sales pros can explain which wines are lighter-styled, and which are fuller in body.

Pricing Strategy

First, check the competition. Your wine pricing should be in line with your competitive set, period. That said, creative pricing alternatives can give you a competitive edge. For example:

Consumption-pricing versus inclusive pricing

Wine always seems an expensive add-on when the guest has no control over the number of bottles opened, and the wine is priced per-bottle, on consumption. Consider offering price- inclusive options, especially for corporate functions (conventions, meetings, etc.) and social events (weddings and parties). Here’s how:

Offer a price-per-guest, including wine — The dinner price includes white and red wine throughout the meal. You can offer your Tier 1, plus the comparable-cost Tier 2 selections you carry. Increase your per-person dinner price by a little, perhaps the price of 2 glasses in your lounge or room service, or half a bottle of your Tier 1 wine.

The result — The dinner tastes better and the guest enjoy it more, with wine; the host is worry-free, and proud of the fine event; the evening is more beautiful, with wine; the bottom line is vastly improved. This last point can’t be over-emphasized. For most events, the wine consumption will be modest in comparison to the extra revenue and bottom-line profit booked. For weddings or other wine-centric functions, increase your price a bit if warranted to reflect the extra depletions.

Finally — Control what you open! With this strategy, the incentive is to give great service, not open bottles willy-nilly (as it should be).





Specialty Banquet Bars & Upselling Ideas

Specialty Banquet Bars

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine tastings and/or wine receptions are increasingly popular as social and corporate events. Wine-and-food-pairing buffet “stations” make for a fun and unique reception or dinner. For each station, create attractive signs featuring the theme, and listing the food and wine pairing for that station. A take-home menu of all the stations’ wines and foods makes it fun and memorable for guests to mingle and try all the different pairings. See the ideas below, or develop your own based on your property’s signature dishes, or foods that are specialties of the local area.

Suggested wine and food pairing buffet stations:

Antipasti and Italian Chianti or Prosecco Sushi and sparkling wine or Riesling Hand-crafted cheese and wine Tex-Mex and white Zinfandel East meets west: dim sum or stirfry with California wines Port and chocolate or petits fours Raw bar with Riesling Bigreds and barbecue California Chardonnay and clambake fare Ceviche and Sauvignon Blanc Beaujolais and bistro fare — charcuterie, patés and terrines Bubbly and eggs Benedict Chianti and a pasta station Oysters and Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)





Specialty Banquet Bars & Upselling Ideas (continued)

Spirits, Beer and Specialty Themes

Presenting cocktails and specialty beverages in creative ways can add enormous cachet, class and “buzz” to an event. They can be themed to the occasion, the season or the group. Specialty drink “bars” can be paired to food buffet stations for a dramatic, and delicious, presentation. For example:

Beverages themed to the group — For an inter national business meeting, honor the attendees with beers or wines from their home “port of call.” For a wedding, choose beverages with names or origins that pay tribute to the couple’s family heritage.

Local specialties — Offer signature Margarita bars in the southwest, a wine bar featuring local wines (California, or whatever), a tropical drink bar, your best local micro-brews, country “lemonade” for grownups, or whatever’s fresh in your marketplace.

Beer and spirits pairings — Most guests love to sample new pairings and new tastes. Here are some to try:

Barbecue and brew Stout and oysters Vodka and caviar or gravlax Margaritas and Mexican food Mojitos and Cuban sandwiches English ales and roast beef, prime rib or Beef Wellington Cordials and desserts Classic cocktails-and-canapé bar featuring Martinis and Manhattans Mai Tais and luau fare such as roast pork and pupus (Hawaiian appetizers) Australian beer with “shrimp on the barbie” “Mocktail” bars for childrens’ events Beer and barbecue Microbrews and meat (rotisserie, carving, or churrascaría presentation) Sake and sushi/sashimi Sake and a dim sum, stirfry, or noodle station





Specialty Banquet Bars & Upselling Ideas (continued)

Upselling Banquet Wine: Keep it Simple, Make it Special

Which wine?

For sit-down or buffet dinners, recommend a white and a red, and suggest that both be offered throughout the meal. “Rules” about color and food-matching are old hat — everyone will enjoy the occasion best when they can drink what they like.

“What was that wine we had?”

A printed menu, including the wine names, is an easy guest amenity that helps attendees remember the wine and food, and the occasion.

Wedding wines

Bubbly options for the reception and toast have never been broader or more affordable. When the group size makes French Champagne too costly, consider cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy or sparkling wines from the United States. You get great flavor for a great price.

Consider wine-inclusive pricing. During the festivities, the couple and their families shouldn’t have to be pre-occupied with worrying that every cork pulled is another line-item on the bill. A savvy venue can offer a quality menu that includes delicious wine and food, within budget, priced per guest in a way that guests can understand — that is, all-in-one.

You are making memories — consider wines that reflect the origins of the families being joined, or from places where you’ve traveled or worked. A wine from Argentina, the land of the tango, symbolizes that “it takes two.” A local wine will linger in memory — Texas Chenin Blanc, Rhode Island Vidal, Arizona Caber net, for example — by adding a home- grown, truly distinctive touch.

Wine isn’t just for the ceremony. As bridal-party gifts or in-room amenities, a bottle, with a family recipe, is wonderful and personal.

• For dinner selections, you can branch out from Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot. For whites, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are both crowd-pleasing and food-versatile. For reds, consider Australian Shiraz or American red Zinfandel.