Conference planning

Food and beverage

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Event Guide > Conference Planning > Food and beverage

Food and beverage

When choosing a menu, make sure the food and beverage minimums outlined in the contract are met. When budgeting for food, it is important to understand that the food and beverage minimum may be much lower than the menu selected. Know the actual cost before selecting a venue including tax and gratuity.

Keep in mind dietary needs of the attendees. The best way to gather information about dietary needs is during the registration. Most common dietary requests are for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items. Ensure the food presented can accommodate these needs.

When selecting a caterer for an on-campus event, make sure to use a caterer from the list of ASU’s approved caterers.

When paying with funds from an ASU account, keep in mind the cost of food for a function cannot exceed $40/person, including tax and gratuity, without the Financial Manager or Dean’s prior approval.

Check with the caterer on the setup equipment they will provide, for example banquet tables for the food, linens for the tables, decorations for the banquet table, plates, glasses, napkins (paper or linen), plastic utensils or silverware. It is also important to know how the food will be served.


If alcohol is served at any point within the conference, there are two typical ways to serve. The first way is a cash bar where attendees are responsible for paying for their own drinks with cash. The only cost toward the conference budget is bartending fees. The second way is a host bar where the attendees can get their drinks for free, and the conference budget is responsible for all costs incurred, plus bartending costs. It is recommended to limit the drinks to two per person by providing drink tickets. If budget is a concern or you are trying to keep expenses low, having a cash bar is a great way to control consumption and therefore cost. When attendees must pay for their own alcoholic beverages, they tend to drink less than when it is free.

The only way to pay for alcohol if a conference is paid for by ASU funds is to go through the Foundation. An ASU PCard can never be used to pay for alcohol, bartending services or anything with the name bar or wine such as wine glasses. Check with the school’s business manager for assistance if you are unsure of how to pay for alcohol.

If alcohol is being served on any ASU campus, your need to apply for and be approved for a permit to serve alcoholic beverages on campus. Before you apply for a permit, read the following insurance requirements to be familiar with your liability. If the alcohol at your ASU event is donated or if you are charging a fee for it (by having a cash bar or charging admission), or your event is outside, you need additional specialized permits from the city and state. This is very time-consuming and cannot be done last minute. If you are not sure if your event requires additional permits, contact the ASU Police Department at 480-965-6589 or [email protected].

The following locations on campus already have a liquor license

For updated list contact Insurance Services