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The fee behind the fees – What’s in an event production fee?

If you are new to event planning, or if you are a bride trying to figure out the budget for your special day, your eyes are probably glossing over when trying to read the figures on various catering quotes. Let’s face it, corporate events and weddings can get very expensive. And if you try to do the math yourself, it can become quite confusing.

Caterers take a variety of approaches to how they structure their costs to you. Your food costs are usually comprised of the food itself, costs to prepare the food, and sometimes some operational costs for the organization (after all, they are a business too, and they need to make money). Then, your quote will provide a variety of line items for the number of servers (event staff), basic equipment rentals, facility fees, delivery fees, event set-up fees, costs for an event captain (who makes sure your event goes according to plan), and more. This can create a very lengthy quote.


The math behind the event production fee


Other caterers, such as the approach we take at Distinctive Catering & Events, is to charge an event production fee. This charge is usually a percentage of your total costs for the event and it is an all-in-one charge for the production of your event.


Food – The event production is the difference between you coming and picking up the food from our kitchen and us coming to you and catering it. It includes our travel time, gas, propane, all the onsite service including area setup, cleanup, and all the equipment needed to successfully cater your event. For our brands, this often entails a grill, chafing units, serving ware, buffet table linens, etc. Staffing is a big part of the event production as well. We operate just like a restaurant where servers earn a base fee and work for their tip (and we expect them to work hard and deserve that tip). Plated meals have a higher fee because we require significantly more staff and more equipment such as food warmers, trays, tray stands, etc., to ensure your event runs smoothly.


Bar: We bring a separate truck out for the bar, so it covers all the transportation, travel, gas, etc. We also don’t have a bar set-up fee, so the event production fee covers all the ice, cups, lemons, limes, and everything that is required to do the set up for your bar service. Other bars will charge you a set-up fee or charge you line-itemed costs such as $10 per bag of ice. We don’t want to have you worrying about how much of everything we are bringing, which is what will happen if we itemize it out. You pay us to take care of everything, and to make sure all supplies needed are there for your event. Our event production fee also covers the cost of our two liquor licenses (on-site and CATR), which allow us to cater liquor legally anywhere in the state of Minnesota.


At Distinctive Catering and Events, we have an amazing team and want your event to go as smooth as possible. We want you to see the value in how we set up our agreements. We don’t want you to feel like you are being nickeled and dimed for every little thing we need to bring. We take the responsibility upon ourselves to know what to bring to ensure you are covered.


We value our clients, and we want a relationship with you. We have potential to be in front of hundreds or even thousands of your guests, and we want you to be spreading positive word of mouth. People don’t plan a wedding or corporate event every day, and we want you to feel good about what you spend and get more than what you pay for.



At Distinctive Catering & Events, we align impeccable service with incredible food for all of your important events. Throughout the planning process, our Food & Beverage Coordinators are here to guide you with their kindness and trusted experience. Our chefs have the capability of customizing your appetizers, food stations, meals, desserts, and late-night snacks, making them truly distinctive to your occasion. 


To learn more about our various brands and our unique and professional approach to corporate catering in Minnesota, please contact us at 612-339-0222 or via email at info@distinctivecateringandevents.com.