I’ve trained some Forums that would only go to Michelin star restaurants and drink top shelf alcohol. They would easily drop $200+ per person per meal. I’ve trained other groups that only wanted to eat at diners and wouldn’t spend more than $40 per person per meal.
Most Forums end up somewhere in the range of $60-$125 per person per meal.
Wrapped up in the question of how much to spend on dinner is the question around what type of dinner each person expects to have after a Forum meeting.
I like to use the Yelp system of dollar signs. Let each member pick $, $$, $$$, or $$$$ dollar signs to denote the type of dinner they’d like.
$ = $40ish
$$ = $60ish
$$$ = $100ish
$$$$ = $150ish
Then use the average of the group as the basis for dinner budgets.
As you settle on a budget, just remember that some groups will include alcohol in the total and others don’t. It’s just a matter of choice.
Also, if someone misses a Forum dinner, typically there isn’t a special calculation to reduce how much they owe next time everyone pays into the overall budget. It’s just assumed that eventually everyone will miss a dinner at some point so it’s not worth it to keep track for each meal.