Catering Policies

Exclusive Boston University Caterer

Catering on the Charles is the exclusive Caterer at Boston University. No outside food or beverage is allowed into a University event without the expressed written consent of the Director of Catering. Please contact the Catering office for information on catering-free zones, outside exemption policies, and cultural events.

Food Removal

For the safety and well-being of our clients and guests, food and beverages are not permitted to leave the premise of a catered event.

Internal Service Requests

Once you have reserved your space at a Boston University venue, we request that your catering arrangements be made as early as possible. For Boston University departments, Catering on the Charles should receive the ISR and menu at least two weeks prior to the event. You will receive a follow-up call within two business days of receipt of the ISR. Catering on the Charles accepts only ISRs for payment. Other payment arrangements can be made with the sponsorship of a University Department.


A final guarantee is needed three full business days prior to your function. The final bill will be based on that number or the actual guest count should it exceed your guarantee. In the event of a cancellation, you will be responsible for any costs incurred up to the time of cancellation. 50% of the estimated charges will be assessed if the cancellation occurs less than 72 but more than 24 hours in advance. 100% of the estimated charges will be assessed if the cancellation occurs less than 24 hours prior to the event.

Room Set-Up and Facilities

All facility arrangements, including set-up and breakdown of event space should be handled with your Facilities representative. Additional charges may apply for these services. If you would like assistance with the number and types of tables you will require, a Catering Sales Manager will be pleased to assist you.

Service Periods

All meals, receptions, and bar service are planned for a two-hour service period. To ensure that your event goes smoothly, the Catering department will arrange all staffing for your event. Prices on all Served Meals and Hot Luncheon or Dinner Buffets are inclusive of service staff for a two-hour service period. Extended set-up and/or breakdown efforts are billed at $30.00 per hour, per wait staff. Wait staff and bartenders for non-inclusive events will be charged at $30.00 per hour per wait staff. Bartenders and wait staff are billed for a minimum of 4 hours. If applicable, additional chef attendant charges will be billed at $135.00 per 2-hour minimum. Events requiring unique staffing will be billed applicable charges at the above rates. Please discuss your specific needs with your Catering Representative.

Please note that overtime charges may be incurred for events scheduled on Sundays and Holidays during nonacademic periods.

Our general guidelines for staffing are as follows:

  • Full Open Bar: 1 Bartender per 75 guests
  • Served Meals: 1 Waitstaff per 20 guests
  • Receptions: 1 Waitstaff per 25–35 guests

Additional Information

China service for events not in the Castle or the GSU will require an additional $4.00 per person charge. Silver service for coffee service will be an additional $250.00 per coffee station. For non-china events, we provide disposable (compostable and recyclable) packaging, dinnerware, and cutlery at no additional charge. Specialty dinnerware is also available at an additional charge. Please speak with your Catering Sales manager.

Linen and skirting

White or ivory house linen is included in the price of all hot buffets and plated meals. House skirting for your buffet tables and bars are also included. For additional tables, white or ivory linen will be charged at a rate of $3.75 per cloth and house skirting will be charged at $30.00 per table. For non-staffed events, an ivory tablecloth that covers the top of an 8-foot table will be included with your order to dress the buffet. Specialty linen and other color choices are also available at an additional charge.


Catering on the Charles offers an extensive alcoholic beverage menu. A wide selection of wine, beer, and liquor is available to complement your event. All alcohol must be supplied by Catering on the Charles. A one-day liquor license at a cost of $100.00 for beer and wine service and $150.00 for full alcohol service is required for serving alcoholic beverages. A request for a liquor license needs to be made one month in advance. Please see our wine list and alcoholic beverage menu.

Throughout our menus, prices quoted are for the stated number of guests or more. Pricing for smaller groups may vary. If the guest count for your event is less than the minimum number that the menu is intended to serve, your cost per person will be greater. Groups in excess of 100 guests may require staff to properly serve the event.

Delivery and Set-Up for Non-Staffed Events

Food and beverages are delivered at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your event and all items will be unpacked and set up to create a visually appealing display. For Catering on the Charles events under $150.00, a $10.00 delivery fee will be assessed. For Charlie to Go events under $50.00, a $10.00 delivery fee will be assessed. Events held on the Medical Campus will be subject to a $10.00 delivery fee regardless of catering total.



*Any amount charged by Catering on the Charles (such as administrative, service, delivery, labor, or other charge or fee), unless expressly designated as a tip or gratuity, is not for the benefit of any employee(s) and is not a tip or gratuity.  Charges or fees other than those designated as tips or gratuities are not distributed to employees except where expressly stated otherwise in writing.