What is Banquet? Types, Markets, Customers

  • Post last modified:21 February 2023
  • Reading time:15 mins read
  • Post category:Hotel Management

What is Banquet?

A banquet is meant to serve a group of people who have gathered for a special and formal occasion. The menu and the number of guests are predetermined and the tables are accordingly arranged. Depending on the predetermined menu, the cutlery, glassware, etc., are placed on the tables. This is a special type of meal and the service starts from the head table and simultaneously moves on to the other tables. The type of meal is usually formal, and may or may not comprise drinks.

Considering the number of guests, and the elaborateness of the menu, the most important aspect of a banquet is its organization. Preparation for large banquets must start well in advance and a complete set of instructions are to be issued to the staff to ensure that the arrangements work smoothly. Excessive crowding in banquets is a cause of complaints.

Set average space for service, the ideal size of a banquet cover is 18 x 27 feet. To find the area required for seating, it is observed that the total area available be divided by 15 to find the number of persons who can be accommodated giving provision for gangways, side boards, etc. The distance between the sprigs should be 6 feet and one steward, depending on the menu, should serve 8 to 10 persons.

Banquets are served with a great degree of accuracy with regard to time and service. The stewards work under the supervision of a banquet manager or headwaiter, who keeps an eye on the progress of the meal and signals the steward serving top tables when to start the next course. Stewards serving other tables take their cues from the steward serving the top table. .

Suitable menus are compiled to suit the occasion. Staffing should be accurate, less staff would delay service and too many would crowd the place. While organizing banquets, it is advisable to call a meeting of the banquet manager, chef and wine butler. All of them should go to the banquet hall and check the .details of positioning of pillars, doors and lights and accordingly decide the placement of tables.

The manager should keep himself entirely free to deal with any unexpected or unforeseen circumstances. At such important functions, it always helps to have a spare person who can be assigned to a specific task if and when needed, without having to take one of the serving members of staff off his duty. All staff should be briefed well in advance and all equipment and sideboards should be inspected for cleanliness and equipment.

Rather than relying on memory, all details should be listed out, planned and put to work. For the menu, it is best to go items that are in season, and avoid fried or grilled items, especially for larger gatherings.

Types of Banquets

The word banquet literally means a sumptuous feast. It is usually formal, but can be informal or semi-formal as well. The following are brief descriptions of each type:

Informal banquet

No set plan of seating is followed, there is no top table and service is indiscriminate of gender, age or status.

Semi-formal banquet

These banquets take place at company board meetings. Atop table is allotted at which senior-most guests are seated as per their ranks. Formality of seating is maintained only at the top table. The rests of the guests are seated at individual tables or sprigs without discrimination.

Formal banquet

Elaborate arrangements are required in this case. These are the kind of banquets given by heads of state in honour of visiting dignitaries. The number of people, their status and space required, staff requirement and menu are planned in advance. The system of service is elaborate, when to start the service is controlled by the banquet manager either by giving signals or by using red and green lights so that all the stewards march into the dinning room in single file and branch off to respective sprigs. They stand at the back of the guests at specific points. After the service of the dish they return to the pantry in the same manner as guided by the lights.

The staff requirement depends on the number to be catered to and how elaborate the menu is. The staff comprises a banquet manager, an assistant manager, secretary, toastmaster, captains, stewards and casuals. A steward normally serves six to eight guests and a wine steward serves 20 guests. For formal banquets, the suggested area per person is 5 sq. feet.

It is important to know how many are to be seated on the top table because this will determine the number of sprigs to be used. Generally, odd number of guests is seated on the top table so that the guest of honour can be seated in the centre. All tables with the exception of top table are numbered to facilitate identification. The table numbers are placed on the stands so that the guests, when entering the room, can spot the table where they have to sit.

The number stands are sometimes removed after the guests are seated and before the start of the service. While seating the guests on sprigs, it should be kept in mind that no guests’ back is towards the top table. The queue of the stewards at the hot plate should be so arranged so that the steward serving the top table is first to collect the food and enter the room.

Stewards with stations farthest from the service entrance should be ahead of the queue compared to those who are closer to service entrance. No steward starts service on his station until those on the top table have started their service.

Banquet Markets

The hospitality industry has kept pace with all around growth by other sectors of economy globally. Hotels are one of the top earners of foreign exchange as well as domestic earnings. Apart from hotel rooms, food and beverage contribute the maximum to hotel sales, banquets being one of the major contributors.

Banquets derive their business from various Segments, which can broadly be classified into the following groups:

  • Conventions: These may include hundreds or even thousands of delegates and feature meetings, exhibitions, a wide range of lunches and dinners, midsession tea/coffee service, besides rooms.

  • Business meetings: These include meetings or product launches for a few to hundreds of people. They also require service of food and beverage. They generate maximum revenue for a hotel’s banquet department.

  • Social gatherings: These are usually private parties organized by individuals for family events, weddings anniversaries. Parties range from few to thousands. Political events award giving functions fund raising events also require banquet service.

Types of Customers

A customer is a person who buys, especially on a regular basis. He is also a person with whom one must deal. At the end of the day customers are the sole provider of every business—the revenue stream that pays for everything else. An organization may have the best product and management but it would still lead to nothing if there is no revenue stream, which is the direct contribution of sales. The different types of customers are listed out as follows:

External customer

These are the people or organizations that have a need for a product or service. They have a budget and spend some of it in exchange for requirements that meet their expectations. These external customers have the financial autonomy to decide where and how they will spend their money. They decide which provider to buy a product or a service from on the basis of which provider has earned their trust and confidence. Customers vote with their money and complain with their feet.


These are the users of a product or service, but not the ultimate decision maker. They may or may not have much money, but they play a vital role in an organization’s success. They do not make the final decision but they may have tremendous impact on the outcome. They are often closely connected to the source of money and positioning them as an ally could be critical for an organization’s success.

They can be very supportive if an organization earns their trust and confidence. They also have veto power, i.e. the authority to say no. However, allies can be a tremendous wealth of information, which can be used to leam how an organization can differentiate itself from the competition.

Customers buy differences, not similarities. It can, however, sometimes be difficult to ascertain external customers and allies. It is better to ask questions early in the process to determine the players within an account. A good question to ask is who else may be involved with the decisions.

Internal customer

These are fellow employees and managers within an organization, whose support is essential for its success. Poor internal relationships can have fatal consequences for external customers. Customer concerns need immediate attention, and responsibilities for poor services should not be abdicated. Customers do not care whose fault a problem is or how it happened. Customers are not interested in fixing the blame. They want to fix the problem.

Repeat customer

These are the most important customers for an organization. If their trust and confidence can be attained, then they come back and spend even more. It is a fact that it costs up to five times as much to replace a customer as it does to keep one.

Born-again customer

These are previous customers who for some reason or the other they do not use the organization’s products or services any longer. With tact, they can be converted into loyal customers again. It is always better to open their records, give them a call, and settle any outstanding grievance.

Bag of wind

These individuals have little or no impact on the decision but they can be an easy point of entry into an account. They may also provide clarity as to who the allies are and who the bag of money is.

Types of Events

In order to be successful in the field of event management, no matter what department of specialization one needs certain qualities, which are as follows:

  • Negotiating skills
  • Creative skills
  • Convincing skills
  • Coordinating skills
  • Planning skills
  • Executing and implementing skills

An individual with the aptitude for the above and interest in the field would make a successful event manager. It does not matter what would be the type of event management, one needs to be adept in the above skills. This is because this is a people’s industry, where everything is based on effective communication skills at all levels.

And professional event management service entails optimum communication skills, as well as ability to look into the minutest details of things in order to ensure optimum level of execution.

The following is a list of the varied events that are organized by the cross section of event companies:

  • Business events
  • Corporate events
  • Cause-related events
  • Coordinating skills
  • Fundraising events
  • Exhibitions
  • Trade fairs
  • Entertainment events
  • Concerts/live performances
  • Festive events
  • Government events
  • Meetings
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Conventions
  • Social and cultural events
  • Sporting events
  • Marketing events
  • Promotional events
  • Brand and product launches

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