I run a small bed and breakfast that has banquet facilities that can host up to 300 at a time. We do approximately 200 weddings a year and I have never had a problem with one until 2 weekends ago. Client has a wedding reception with a guarantee for 60 adults and 5 kids. Payment for the guarantee is due 3 days prior to the event. Anyway, the event went on without a hitch, except there were closer to 80-90 people at the event than the guarantee of 65. Banquet manager counted and so did the chef, but we have no other proof than that other than recording the number of plates as 77 as we were setting up the buffet. We had set out 9 tables of 8 plus there were 3 patio tables outside that were full and set for 4 people. Anyway, we had to put out more food. The bar estimate was also higher than expected, which says to me they had some heavy drinkers or there were more people than expected. No complaints till earlier this week when accounting charged the client's credit card as is the policy stated in the contract. She claims we are lying about her final count and is now suing us for the amount that we charged her credit card. The difference in price is about $700. I'm not too concerned about the lawsuit, but how do we go about protecting ourselves in the future from such disputes without being too intrusive? I'd hate to have someone at the door with a clicker. Should we think about installing some sort of closed circuit camera or have someone go around taking pictures on their cell phone at the height of the party? It just seems like right now it's a he said she said thing.
Or should we just factor extras into the fee and raise them accordingly to avoid any ugly confrontations? Usually we do not even do a count, but in this case, the actual number was 30% higher than the guarantee, which is a significant amount and quite apparent from just scanning the room.