Comparing venue costs is an essential part of any event planning job, and even a small miscalculation can disrupt a tight budget. The best planners know that cost estimates are only as good as the questions they ask. The broader you are with your event specifications, the more likely it is you will encounter hidden fees down the road.
The most commonly overlooked costs include taxes and service fees. Forgetting to add a 7% sales tax and 18% service fee to your food estimate will leave you 25% short from your original cost projection. That is a fairly large percentage, especially when you are dealing with a food order in the thousands of dollars.
Another thing to keep in mind with sales tax is that it can vary depending on your city and state. If you are comparing venues in different states then you'll want to review this article on hotel and travel taxes.