Costmenu Blog Post

Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 2 of 5 - Audit Your Event

Audit your event prior to making bar decisions

This is part 2 of 5 of the original article titled: Setting up the perfect bar for an event. This article helps with the suggested drink list, toppers, mixers, and offerings to help the party thrive and the bar line moving. As we noted prior - the bar really dictates the tempo and enjoyment of the event. With that in mind it is critical to have the drink orders simple, consistent, and moving fast. Below are some key tips when setting up your bar for maximum success.

Audit your event in advance to help determine your customers and what kind of bar you will need

Please note that this article is a basic starting point as a reference and obviously every event is different and thus the demands and wants of each event vary and so will the demands on the bar. With that noted there are a few key questions that should be asked and considered when planning for the bar. They are as follows:

What type of event is it? - Weddings and parties are different than corporate events and thus simple questions should be considered. Is this a 'real party' or a professional event? If there is music and dancing there will be more drinking. Is this a themed party where certain boozes don't work with others? If you offer a down graded or simple bar, then it keeps the party simple. Consider these questions when making your drinking decisions.

Do the people know each other or not? - This can be a two way question to consider. If a majority of the people know each other then the bar can really come into play because people are relaxed and want to have a good time with each other.  If people do not know each other, then having a strong bar can help because the bar becomes a default fall back position for people to retreat to until they get to know each other. So if you want other people to get to know each other the bar can help, but it also is the quick default of 'having a quick drink and then leaving'. Take that into consideration.

Is food served or not? - There is no secret that food and booze go hand in hand, but how much food and how the food is served needs to be considered when auditing your bar. If the event is a sit down food service, then that takes time away from the bar.  A buffet or grab and go type food then there will be more bar demands. If there is no food, or just passed appetizers then the bar will come into play more.

What time of day is the event? - Day time events typically have less cocktails drank than at night, but often beer is drank more during the day. Also what day is it being held? Fridays will have more drinking than a Monday event.

How long is the event? - This question can be tacked on to 'what time of day is the event'. There tends to be more wine drinkers earlier in an event and then they switch to cocktails later. If it is short afternoon event, then there will be more wine and beer.  If it is a long event, then cocktails usually come into play more.

What are the demographics of the event? - Knowing bulk age brackets, average ages, and genders can really help with the alcohol break down. The spread sheet we provide below some of the breakdown, but it is safe to say that men drink more hard alcohol than women, women drink more wine, men drink more bourbon, younger people drink more alcohol, elderly people drink less but prefer certain drinks such as gin and so on. So consider the demographics when making your decisions.

How many drinks do you really think there are? - Stop and consider some random guests at the party and do not reflect on just yourself or close friends as an estimate. Obviously there are all types of people in this world where some drink a lot and some very little, and do not use yourself as the barometer of that assessment. Instead think of it by age and gender groups as noted in the demographic question noted above as compared to all the other questions. For example a wedding at night primarily 50 men with an average age of 25 years old is going to be a different bar than a 50-year wedding anniversary. There are circumstances where additional questions can arise but take the time to ask the questions and write down some of the answers and tally them. If you think 100-person guest list with 50 men, most in their 30's then that would indicate a strong bourbon demand as an example.

What Quantities of Items should I plan for?

The following articles will help with your decisions. To make is simple we offer a free download of a spreadsheet via Google Sheets that can help you determine roughly what you should purchase. The information on the spreadsheet is based on our experience from hosting events and the above information. It offers and easy way to calculate the amounts of each alcohol to purchase. It's up to you what labels to get. You can download the spreadsheet here at this link, and feel free to use it as you like. Remember that Costmenu does offer more information on their system to help with the decisions and track your success rate in the case you are an event planner. Please try out the application on a 14-day free trial basis by clicking here.

Additional Information and References for an Event or Catered Bar

Remember to also check out all of the articles related to this blog:

About Costmenu:

Costmenu is a food/menu/recipe costing software that offer many advantages over excel spreadsheets and other inventory management programs. Costmenu integrates a powerful dashboard, food, prepared, and menu item costing features, menu building features, custom qr code label makers, document storage, event/catering management features, data security, performance measurement, data analysis and comparisons, CRM, and generation of various reports. For more information on Costmenu, visit, email, or phone (949) 274-4814.