Is it normal for a venue and the food service for the venue to charge two separate 29% service fees?

This just doesn't sound right to me. We booked with this venue that told us they were completely DIY and they have one preferred caterer. Once we booked with them and gave them a deposit, I started to contact all of my favorite vendors for tastings. 

I had picked one out and let the venue know. The owner threw a huge fit and said that they do not accept any other caterers except for the one on their preferred list. He said that they are technically the venue's only food service and we are not allowed to contract anyone else. As we are going through our contract it doesn't say any details about that. 

To keep the peace, we scheduled a tasting with their caterer. We just received the quote from them and they said that on top of the 29% service fee that the venue charges (and on top of the price to rent the venue), that they too charge a separate 21% service fee. But the thing that confuses me is that this service fee goes to cleanup, but they aren't breaking anything down, I'm doing it. And the venue is the one that provides the linens, tables, chairs, etc.. It just seems like both are double dipping to get more money.

Is any of this normal? have any of you experienced this?

Re: Is it normal for a venue and the food service for the venue to charge two separate 29% service fees?

  • edited October 2015
    Wow, well, no, this doesn't sound right.  If the list is "preferred" and not "exclusive" then I think you've been misled!
    Also, 29%-- does that include service and tax? I was charged 20% service and 10% tax (in Chicago) by my venue, which was a restaurant so included space and food and cleanup. If it's service only for the venue, that's ridiculously high. The venue is providing the linens, tables, chairs, etc but you are the one breaking down? That's dumb, honestly, and doesn't warrant such a high service fee to me. Now, 21% for the caterer, on the bright side I was told my service fee included gratuity. You wouldn't tip a venue though separately... like, hey good job setting up those chairs, thanks. 

    No, sorry, this all sounds rather weird, or at the very least, too high. I'd try to get out of this, citing being misled by "preferred" (the owner needs a damn dictionary), and shop elsewhere!

    ETA: When I got "preferred" lists from potential venues, I was just told they were preferred because the venue could vouch they were good and the vendors knew how to work in the space. There were no additional fees to use anyone else, it was just a suggestion list. 

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