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Hosting a Guest Bartender Event at Your Venue

It's pretty simple.  Follow these simple steps and you will have a successful event. 

EVENT NIGHT: EXPECT TO BE BUSY: For the last four weeks there have been 18 guest bartenders and their friends, family, and co-workers who been promoting this event at your establishment through word of mouth, email blasts and a huge push on social media.  Events run from 6:00-9:00 pm.

Typical Turnout:  Over the course of the event expect 150-200 patrons in addition to your regular head count.  Approximately half will have dinner, half will just have drinks.  Expect a lot of bar food and a busy bar scene.

Staffing:  Make sure you add the requisite number of cooks, expo, host, bus, and service staff to handle the increase.  This is a night when there will be a lot of first time customers and an opportunity to make a great first impression. Generally speaking, three of your regular strong bartenders should be able to handle it.  They will be busy helping the guest bartenders as well.

Guest Bartenders: The guest bartenders are regular people from your local community- doctors, nurses, teachers, bankers, firemen, cops, stay at home moms and everything in between.  They are volunteering their time to help raise money for the designated charitable cause.

They are scheduled to work in pairs in 20 minute shifts beginning at 6:00 to 6:20, 6:20-6:40. 6:40-7:00, and so on until the event ends at 9:00 pm.

The guest bartenders have been instructed not to touch anything behind the bar until they have been shown.  They know not to take any food orders, touch any cash or credit cards or make any drinks.  They may pour draft beers and wine once you show them the proper pour, and they may serve bottled beer, but only to customers who have paid first or whose drinks have been first added to a tab.

Event Manager:  Designate one employee as the point person to interact with the charitable organization's event organizer.  Your Event Manager will be the person who takes two minutes with each pair of bartenders to explain what and what not to do when they are taken behind the bar.

While the first shift is behind the bar, collect the next pair of bartenders and give them the same explanation as you did to the first pair.  When the first shift is over, collect them from behind the bar and then bring the next pair back behind the bar.  This way you don't have a log jam of too many people behind the bar at once.

Cash Tips, Credit Card Tips, and Bartender Compensation:    At 6:00 pm have your regular employee bartenders start new tabs for all patrons in the bar area. All tips from 6:00-9:00 that are earned in the bar area will be placed into the charitable organization's tip jars. This includes tips intended for the guest bartenders as well as tips intended for the regularly employed bartenders.

Convert all credit card tips during the event into cash and add it into the tip jars continuously throughout the evening.  

Tips are only counted once, at the end of the night, in your manager's office, and they will be counted jointly at the same time by your manager and a representative of the charity organization.

The restaurant manager will then hold back the first $396.00 of the tips as compensation to the regular employed bartenders and their support staff.  This money is their tip money that was placed into the tip jars that you are now returning to them as a sort of hourly compensation.  It is money that they earned for their labor.  It is done this way because it is too confusing having regular bartender and separate guest bartender tip jars behind the bar at the same time. 

At the end of the night your event organizer will leave with all cash tips, checks, and all cash from any silent auction, raffle or game that you and they have collected.  All credit card tips will have already been converted to cash as described above.

Cash Tips Acceptance Form:  Print out the form and make sure a representative of the charity signs this before they leave at the end of the event. 

QUESTIONS?  Please email [email protected] with your interest.