Banquets & Functions Beverage Service
There are basically two types of services that could be offered to your clients, Open Bar and Cash Bar. The Open Bar is one that all drinks consumed by guests or customers are offered by the host at no charge. A Cash Bar is one in which if a guest would like a drink, it is served to them and they are required to pay the bartender.
Whether the event is an Open Bar or Cash Bar, there are many different options for serving their liquor, beer and wine. It is the responsibility of the Banquet manager to sit down with the host and understand both the needs and the type of people that will be attending as to properly suggest the make up of the bar service. The banquet manager will then be able to estimate how much liquor may be consumed by the guests based on their experience with similar size groups and demographics. Typically, liquor consumption will be higher at cocktail time and will decrease following the meal as people are full and they abide by local drinking and driving laws.
Open Bar can be best described as the guest requests a drink from the bartender and this drink is served based on the liquor, beer and wine inventory the bar is stocked with. Generally 1 bartender is required for 50 people a the time of the cocktail and 1 bartender is required for 100 people after the meal is served. How is the host charged? They may be billed for all bottles that have been “open” Another way is to charge the host only the quantity consumed. Technology today allows for fast and accurate consumption reports based on a per bottle and ounce basis.
Cash Bars may cost the host nothing. Basically, when a guest would like a drink, they order it from the bartender and pay immediately. Typically, cash bars have a tendency to bring in less revenue, thus a banquet manager will require a minimum amount of liquor sales. If this minimum is not attained, the host may be charged the cost of the bartender.
A banquet manager should suggest the host go with the Open bar as it does increase the revenues of the establishment but also add to the success of the event. Guests whom are required to pay for drinks normally takes away from the “fun” an event has to offer. Moderate drinking is always recommended and the establishments bar staff must be aware if a guest has over consumed and immediately notify management.