Must-Have Event Formulas
Planning an event? Here are some MUST-HAVE event formulas from functional room set-ups to food and beverage formulas that will help you plan the perfect event!
I. Function Room Setups
Reception
- 9-10 sq. ft. per person (standard bar/hors d’oeuvres)
- Rule of Thumb: 10 feet
Theatre
- Less than 60 people = 12-13 sq. ft. per person
- 60-300 people = 11-12 sq. ft. per person
- 300+ people = 10-11 sq. ft. per person
- Rule of Thumb: 10 feet
Theatre Notes:
- Allow at least 24 inches of space between rows
- If room is rectangular, set presenter to the long side
- First row no closer than 2x screen height (2×8 rule)
- Center section of seating no more than 14 chairs
- 2 side aisles should be at least 4 feet wide
Schoolroom
- General = 17-22 sq. ft. per person (18″ tables – add 1 sq. ft. per person for 30″)
- Less than 60 people = 22-23 sq. ft. per person
- 60-300 people = 20-21 sq. ft. per person
- 300+ people = 17-18 sq. ft. per person
- Allow 3.5′ between rows
- Rule of Thumb: 20 feet
Conference
- 2-3 feet of table length per person
Banquet
- 60 inch = 8-9 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
- 66 inch = 9-10 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
- 72 inch = 10-11 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
- Rule of Thumb: 13 feet
Platforms (a.k.a. Risers)
- Can be 6, 12, 16, 24 or 32 inches high
- Usually 4×8 or 6×8 dimensions
General Function Room Set-Up Notes
- All schoolroom and banquet tables are 30″ high
- Rectangular tables that are 6 or 8 feet long by 30″ wide are used for U-Shape, Conference, etc.
- Rectangular tables that are 6 or 8 feet long by 18″ wide are used for schoolroom set-ups
II. Contracts and Registration
- Standard Comp. Room formula = 1 per 50
- One (1) registration personnel per 100 attendees
III. Exhibits
Square Footage
- Apply 2x rule to determine total sq. ft. needed (two times total square feet of exhibit space)
- 10×10 = 100 sq. ft. per booth
- 8×10 = 80 sq. ft. per booth
- Net square feet (needed for booths) x 2 (for aisles) = total sq. ft. needed for booth and aisles + square footage for ancillary services = total square footage needed
Standard (In-Line) Booth
- 10′ deep by 10′ long or 8′ deep by 10′ long
- Faces one aisle
- 8′ 3″ maximum back wall height
Perimeter (Wall) Booth
- 10′ deep by 10′ long or 8′ deep by 10′ long
- Faces one aisle
- 12′ maximum back wall height
Peninsula Booth
- Minimum of two standard booths, usually 4 or more
- Faces three aisles
- Usually 16′ maximum wall height but depends on show rules
Island Booth
- Bordered on all four sides by aisles
- Faces four aisles
- Usually 16′ maximum wall height but depends on show rules
- Rule of Thumb: 20’x20′ (40 sq. ft.)
Exhibit Lighting
- 70-110 foot candles to light an exhibit hall
Floor Load
- 300 pounds per sq. ft. on ground floors
- 50 pounds per sq. ft. on upper floors
IV. Budgeting
BEU = Break Even Units = Number of Attendees
BEP = Break Even Price = Cost Per Attendee
VC = Variable Costs
TFC = Total Fixed Costs
CF = Contribution Margin (Registration Fee-VC)
ROI = (Gross Revenue − Gross Expenses) ÷ Gross Expenses × 100
BEU = TFC ÷ CF
BEP = (TFC ÷ # of people) + VC Per Person
TFC = # Attendees × $ Per Attendee
** To make a dollar profit, add the desired profit dollar amount to the TFC in the above equation.
*** To make a percentage profit, add $ per attendee to VC and multiply by desired percentage profit
V. Audio Visual
Formula One – First row of seats and last row of seats (2×8 rule)
- No one should be seated closer than 2x screen height
- No one should be seated farther than 8x screen height
Formula Two – Minimum Ceiling Height
- Screen height + 4 or 5 feet (minimum distance floor to screen bottom)
- Rule of Thumb: 5 feet
Formula Three – Screen Width
- Overhead = 1:1 (8×8, 10×10)
- Multi Image = 1:3 (6×18, 8×24, 10×30)
- Slide = 2:3 (6×9, 8×12, 10×15)
- Video = 3:4 (6×8, 9×12, 10.5×14)
VI. Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance
General
- Hallways and Corridors = 36″ clearance and occasional spaces for turning/passes
Hotel Rooms
- At least 2% barrier free; at least 1% of these having roll-in showers
- Doors and hallways inside rooms have 32″ clear openings
- 32″ clearance on at least one side of the bed
- Sink mounted at least 29″ above floor with toe clearance under drainpipe
- Toilets no higher than 29″
Meeting Rooms
- Doors have at least 32″ clearance
Entrances, Corridors, Stairs
- Approaches to building entrances at least 5′ wide
- Single door entrances minimum of 32″ wide.
- Double door entrances minimum of 48″ wide
Elevators
- Doors have 32″ wide clearance
- Space no greater than 1.25″ between the floor and platform
Restaurants and Lounges
- Self-service counters no more than 34″ high
- Aisle for buffets 36″ wide
Public Restrooms
- Flush controls no more than 44″ from floor
Parking
- Designated parking space within 200′ of building
- One designated space per 25 total spaces
Ramps, Curbs and Walks
- Slope of all ramps is 1″ of rise to every 12″ of run
- Ramps have 5′ wide level landing at top and bottom
ADA Budget
- 5-7 percent of overall accommodations budget
VII. Food and Beverage
Continental Breakfast
- One attendant and separate buffet table per 100 attendees
- Breakpoint for second buffet = 120 attendees
- Usually run 30 minutes to one hour
Full Breakfast Buffet
- Usually runs about one hour
Refreshment Breaks
- 30 minutes = minimum amount of time
- One attendant per 100 attendees
- Morning = 65% Hot/35% Cold
- Afternoon = 35% Hot/65% Cold
- 50-75% regular soft drinks
- 25% diet soft drinks
- Coffee = 20 cups per gallon
- Coffee = 60% regular/40% decaf
Luncheons
- Typical time = 1 hour 15 minutes to serve
- Schedule 90 minutes
Banquets
- Two hours per dinner service
- Three bottles of wine per table of 8 (2 white and 1 red)
- 1/2 bottle per person + 10% buffer
- Every 10 bottles white=two red (opposite for red meat)
- Wine Stewards = 1 for every 5 tables
- Servers = 1 per 20 people (optimal), 1 per 32 (standard), 1 per 16 for upscale or with wine service
- Rule of Thumb: 1 per 20
Receptions
- One attendant per 50 guests
- One bartender per 100 people if arriving in intervals
- One bartender per 50 people if arriving as a group
- Immediately following meeting – food consumption is less
- Less food/more drinks if reception is prior to dinner
Type of Reception | Type of Eaters | # Hors d’Oeuvres |
2 hours or less (dinner following) | Light | 3-4 pieces |
Moderate | 5-7 pieces | |
Heavy | 8+ pieces | |
2 hours or less (no dinner) | Light | 6-8 pieces |
Moderate | 10-12 pieces | |
Heavy | 12+ pieces | |
2-3 hours | Light | 8-10 pieces |
Moderate | 10-12 pieces | |
Heavy | 16+ pieces |
Beverages
- 21-25 drinks per bottle of liquor
- 32 ounces to a quart
- 50/50 soft/hard liquor consumption
- Wine consumption = 3 glasses during a 2 hour reception
- Women consume more wine than liquor
- Cash bar will consume less than host bar
- Cash Bar – before lunch – 30% will have 1 drink
- Cash Bar – after meeting – 50% will stay and have 1.5 drinks (1 hour reception)
- Hosted Bar – Cocktail Hour – 80% will stay and have 2-2.5 drinks in 1 hour
- Hosted Bar – Cocktail Hour – 80% will stay and have 3-3.5 drinks in 1 1/2 hours
Source: Pam Soules, CMP Director of Events, Mid-States Distributing