This may not be the most popular discussion, but it is one of the most important.
I cannot tell you how many times I have read or heard the comments, " I literally just need someone to pour beer and wine, why is it so expensive?" OR " Wait, so you don't supply the alcohol? What am I paying for then?". I will start with this, these comments can sound very insulting and belittling to a bartender or a bartendig service if you are not careful how you say them.
Honestly, it is so disheartening to hear this as often as I do. I have spent over half my life in the industry and I have earned the place I am in today. Just like all professions, the longer you do something and the more experience you have, the more you deserve and expect to get paid!
A bartender is not just a person who pours beer, just as a builder is not just someone who nails wood to build your home. There is knowledge, education, money, skill and time that goes into perfecting their profession.
You can 100% pay someone a minimal amount to pour beer at your event, just as you could hire your next door neighbor fresh out of high school to build your home. Do you think you will get the best outcome that way? Do you think all the bases will be covered? Sure, it may seem like the best option at the time but what if something happens? What if a guest is overserved and drives home drunk, killing someone on the way? Do you know that the venue and YOU are liable for that if that bartender is not insured? Even if they are insured, you may still be held liable through that investigation.
A good bartender is trained to spot possible liabilites and to professionaly handle the guest, keeping them and others safe. Training, experience, knowledge and skill are ALL needed in order to handle these situations and someone with no experience will NOT know how to handle this appropriately. We hold insurance of over $1,000,000 in both general and liquor liabilty coverage in the event something horrible like this happens.
On top of professional bartenders taking on liabilty, they also know how to make a cocktail taste like a delicious cocktail and not like you just drank straight rubbing alcohol. Measuring, mixing, shaking, proper garnishes, IT ALL MATTERS. It takes years for bartenders to know and perfect cocktails that taste amazing and leave people satified. The goal is have someone enjoy the cocktail responsibly, not to get someone wasted on a pourly made cocktail. These exampales are just to tip of the iceberg, I won't go into the details like line management, pace, cleanliness, organization of the bar and all the other aspects that are required to make your bar run efficiently throughout the night.... there are a million things most people do not think of when it comes to the right person for the job.
Let's talk "what are we paying for" in terms of us NOT bringing the alcohol. I love this topic.
To start, you do not have to buy your alcohol from us. We will not upcharge your alcohol so that you are paying $8.00 per beer or $12.00 per cocktail. You can buy your alcohol at costco or total wine, spend how much you want to spend in this department. If you do not use it all, keep your receipt and take it back! We do not care where you get your alcohol from, we care that you have the required alcohol and amounts we suggested you grab during our menu planning process. I do not think people understand how much money you can save on alcohol by going with us over a catering company who requires you to buy through them.
If that was not enough, how about the entire BAR itself. We literally bring the actual BAR.
We use our vehicles to haul the bar, the gas to haul them and we can place them anywhere you would like. You are not stuck with the bar needing to be in one spot, we can sit in the middle of a field if you would like. The bar is equipped with taps, fridges, ice bins, coolers and anything else a normal bar would hold, it just looks cooler!
Here comes the big one.. the biggest overlooked list of items that are included in our services that people do not consider when looking at bartending services.
Who sets up the bar? We do.
Who cuts the limes, lemons, etc.? We do.
Who brings all the bar equipment to shake, stir, strain, ice your drinks? We do.
Who brings the CO2, the taps, the jockey boxes for kegs? We do.
Ice- Whether its a 6lb bag or a 20 lb bag, your costs will vary. You will need an average of 356 LBS of ice for a 4 hour event with 150 guests. This is a lot of ice..... we bring it.
(let's not forget who is going to move all this ice, we do)
Coolers- where did you plan to put 356 LBS of ice? Coolers, you will need several coolers for this amount of ice- We bring this.
(lets not forget who is going to carry these coolers full of ice, we do)
Cups- you will need close to 800 cups of all different sizes for a 4 hour event with 150 guest. More hours, more guests, could be 1000's of cups needed. We bring this.
Garnishes- Limes, Lemons, Cherries, Oranges, MINT, Rosemary, etc. Who brings them? We do.
Mixers- OH MY GOSH THE MIXERS... 44 cans of coke, 44 cans of diet coke, 66 soda bottles, 42 tonics, 87 cranberry cans, I mean the list go on and on. Think you get the picture though, it's a lot and guess who brings it... WE DO.
Straws, napkins, bar rags, cutting boards, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, beverage containers, etc.- We bring it all.
Non Alcohol options- Not all guests drink... water bottles, sodas, ice tea, lemonade... all things we can bring.
DECOR- All of our bars are decorated BY US. We own the decor and we bring it to match your vision, all of it.
Clean up- Who do you think takes the bar garbage cans out throughout the night? We do. We take everything out that we bring in, cleaning up after ourselves is part of the experience.
I think you all get the point.
When someone asks what they are paying for, this. You are paying us to do all of this for you so that you do not have to yourselves. We are making the bar experience for you and your guests easy and amazing. We are taking these items off of your list of "To "do"s". We are doing the planning, the heavy lifting, the running around and organizing of your bar so that it runs smooth throughout your event and so that you can all relax and enjoy your evening.
WE ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN SOMEONE WHO JUST POURS BEER.....