It's Inn only for alcohol catering

by Brad Russo | 11/19/98 6:00am

Despite wording in the Student Handbook stating otherwise, acting College Treasurer Win Johnson recently told The Dartmouth that student groups under certain circumstances are allowed to use caterers other than the Hanover Inn for events held in Alumni Hall and the Top of the Hop.

The handbook states all groups serving food in those venues are required to use the College-owned Inn as the caterer, but Johnson said if student groups can find other providers at a significantly lower cost to fit the group's budget, they are permitted to use the non-College caterer.

Johnson said no outside food providers can serve alcohol in the Top of the Hop or Alumni Hall because the Inn has the exclusive liquor license for those venues for legal reasons.

Johnson said student groups must also first try to work with the Inn to arrange a price before contacting outside caterers.

"The Inn should be the first resource contacted to cater those spaces, but ... if the Inn can't meet the students' budget and there's another caterer who can do it for a lot less, they can do it," Johnson said. "There's this perception that students cannot use that space."

Hanover Inn General Manager Matthew Marshall said discounts are frequently given to student groups and the Inn attempts to work with them on pricing in order to ensure it is within their monetary capabilities.

"We want to work with student groups," Marshall said. "What we try to do is ... work with [Associate Director of Student Activities] Linda Kennedy when we have student events over there to try to work within their budgets."

Johnson said if after this process the Inn still cannot arrange to provide the requested food at a price low enough to fit the group's budget, other caterers may be solicited.

This use of non-Inn caterers is only permitted by student groups, Johnson said. Other groups must use the Inn for food in the Hop locations.

Johnson said the reason the Inn is given first preference is because it is owned by the College.

"We're obviously trying to keep the money in the College. I don't know that anything is lost if the Inn is able to do it within the students' budgets," Johnson said. "If someone can give me a reason why the Inn shouldn't get first crack at it we should talk about it."

Outside caterers need to be able to provide food for the event without using on-site kitchen facilities since the Inn's kitchen is connected to Alumni Hall and no preparation area exists for other caterers, Marshall said.

He said he believes the Hop was built connected to the Inn with the "intent" of providing the venue's catering.

"Obviously we're in the catering business and would like to do the events up there," Marshall said. "Alumni Hall is one of the largest catering facilities the College has where we can present the College professionally."

Despite the ability of student groups to use other caterers for food, the Inn's exclusive abilities to provide alcohol have caused recent problems.

The 1999 Class Council President Rex Morey '99 said his group had to shift Senior Tails from Homecoming Weekend last month to the following weekend because the Inn was overbooked and could not provide the service.

"On Homecoming, we had reserved the Top of the Hop for Senior Tails, but [the Inn] didn't have enough staff to put on our event," Morey said.

Marshall said it is rare when the Inn is not able to provide service for an event booked in the Hopkins Center venues.

"Dartmouth Night is the single biggest night the Hanover Inn has. It's not beyond my imagination to think we were unable to accommodate that group," Marshall said.