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4 Easy Questions to Get Special Events Bar Staffing Right

Bartender at Luke, New Orleans.

Bartender (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special events staffing can be tricky business.  You have to balance budgetary constraints and not overpay by bringing in too much staff but you need to make sure you have enough staff to offer premium service. Figuring out who is going to handle the bar is crucially important. Here’s 4 questions to ask yourself that will show you how to easily figure out the right bartender for your next event.

What’s on the Menu?

What’s on the menu?   Is it a beer and wine event?  Or is it a full bar?  Do you need a basic bartender or someone with experience?  Look at the event sheet before you decide on how to handle the special events staffing.  More experienced bartenders will cost more, but knows all the drinks and can handle a busy full service bar.  A newer bartender with less experience will cost less and  can handle a beer and wine station.

If you’re in doubt about whether or not a bartender can handle the event, you’re better off playing it safe. If you’re going to cut costs in a specific area for your special events, staffing probably isn’t the right place. Having the right people around can make up for any unexpected issues that arise.

What Type of Event Is It?

Is this a wedding or special event?  Or is this a cocktail party?  Or is a corporate event?  This will tell you several things.  First what type of bartender you need.  If it’s a night-time cocktail party for corporate guests, you’ll need an experienced bartender, possible even one that knows a few bar tricks like spinning tins to entertain the guests.

If it’s a wedding, you won’t need bar tricks.  Also depending on the event, there may be a huge rush at the beginning where you will need someone to help the bartender.  This could even be a server who jumps in to help out.

In general, when managing special events staffing, look for people with a few different applicable skills to give yourself flexibility. For example, having a server that can double as a bar back lets them jump in and pour wine and beer while the bartender handles the cocktails.

Where are you?

Get Special Events Staffing Right!

Hire a bar back to hep your main bartender if you’re using a portable bar or mobile bar station

Another thing to consider is where your event is located.  If it is in a location where there is a full bar available, this will make things easier for set up, clean up, and service.

However if you are using a portable bar, things will be a bit different.  This is where you may want to consider adding a bar back to help the bartender even with things like getting ice and restocking equipment as necessary.  They can easily double as a bus boy if things are slow.

How Many People Are You Serving?

A general rule of thumb for special events staffing is that for every 50 guests, you need one bartender and enough serving space for him or her to operate from. This may mean having separate bars or it may means having one bar that’s large enough for multiple bartenders to operate from.

But, this again depends on the type of event.  If the event is mainly showcasing a bar and some passed appetizers, you might want to add an extra person to make sure service is speedy.

If the bar is more of a courtesy and you don’t expect guests to drink very much, you can scale back safely.

Got the Special Events Staffing Right? What about the Equipment?

While, admittedly, special events staffing is more important than equipment, it’s hard to expect your staff to perform without the right equipment. Our line of space-saving portable bars is designed to improve service, draw attention and drive sales. Watch our product videos to see how each of our products work or download our product catalog to see our full line.

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