How many bartenders do I need for 100 guests, 200 guests, ...?
Imagine this, your beautiful wedding ceremony has just ended and now 100+ people are flooding to the bar. The reception is about to start and there is a huge line because there just aren't enough bartenders to handle such a crowd. Every couple's nightmare!
But how can you avoid this at your wedding (or next party)? Here are some tips about how many bartenders you should hire for your wedding or event and how you can avoid lines forming:
How Many Bartenders You Will Need
Having enough bartenders and an efficiently set up bar is the key to getting your drinks out quickly while maintaining excellent customer service, thus making everyone happy!
Beer & Wine vs. Signature Drinks vs. Full Bar
This is a key factor in deciding how many bartenders you will need. While beer and wine can be poured quickly, with a full bar it will take much more time to serve each guest. We usually recommend going with a limited bar and signature drinks so that guests can choose quickly and aren't overwhelmed with the choices.
For a beer and wine bar, we'd recommend 1 bartender per 90 guests as beers are opened quickly and wines are poured fast. This may result in a small line at the very beginning of the cocktail hour/reception but smooth sailing from then on.
If you are opting for a limited bar with signature drinks, one bartender per 75 guests is sufficient to make everything run smoothly, although depending on the difficulty of the signature drinks (and the time it takes to make them), it might be good to add a barback!
If you are working with a full bar, we would recommend one bartender per 35 guests to accommodate everyone's individual requests. Yes, there may be some who order just beer or wine, but others will take a few minutes to decide.
Light Drinkers vs. Heavy Drinkers
In the end, it all comes down to how many drinks a bartender can make per hour. The rule of thumb is that your guests will visit the bar on average once per hour (probably more often in the beginning and less so later in the night).
However, if you know that your guests are heavy drinkers and they will be spending most of the night at the bar, you want to make sure that you have the right number of bartenders to make those drinks. For example, if you have 100 guests and they are heavy drinkers, the bartenders will be making about 750 drinks (or more) as opposed to the standard 500 drinks during a 5-hour window.
More Tips On How To Avoid Lines At Your Bar
Have multiple bars set up in different areas
Having just one bar for a large number of people creates a bottleneck effect and guarantees long lines at the bar. Splitting up bar areas in your venue will allow people to spread out and cut lines (at least) in half.
Choose a batch cocktail
A batch signature cocktail can help to deal with that initial rush of people so you could have a batch cocktail to be served during cocktail hour to ensure everyone is served promptly.
Make a Sign
Having a bar menu with the beers, wines, and cocktails available displayed helps your guests choose faster what they'd like and will keep the line moving. Things will take quite long if every guest has to ask which whites are available and what's in the signature drinks.
Leave a bucket with soda & water out
Although serving water or a soda might go fast, most people in need of water need it rather sooner than later. While a bucket might not be the most elegant solution, your guests will be thankful to be able to grab a bottle of water or soda!