Post # 1
First time writing, but could someone help me with a reception question? I’m trying to hire a cater for my outdoor reception and most work with a bartender of their choice. I’m hearing from the bartending side that they will not allow me to purchase liquor seperate of them (which is how I thought I’d save money) then to make matters worse, they are telling me that when they purchase the liquor, they take back all unopened bottles with no refund to me. AND, I don’t even get to keep the unopened bottles. It’s a no-win situation. Does anyone have any idea on how I can fight this? Appreciate the help!
Post # 3
Find a different caterer? Our caterer didn’t care who brought the alcohol, so we bought everything we wanted (and kept it after) and hired a separate bartended to serve for us.
Post # 4
Have you look around enough to conclude that most cateres insist on working with their own bartender(s)?
I think the only way to fight this is to look around and figure out what is the norm. Once you have another caterer that gives u a different bartending option, then you feel more legitimate bargaining with one that is inflexible.
You can always contract out a bartender on your own (go to your favorite bar/bartender, craigslist, or word of mouth) and buy the liquor yourself and pay for the contracted bartender for his/her service.
Post # 5
Um yeah…if your venue allows you to bring in your own caterers and your own alcohol DEFINITELY go with another caterer. That’s very strange. It shouldn’t matter who you use as a bartender, as long as they are licensed and meet the requirements of your venue. There are probably bartender staffing services in your area that just provide bartenders and/or servers for private parties. You then can supply what alcohol you want and keep the unopened bottles, which is a great way to save money! I wish I could do this, but I chose a venue where I have to use their in-house services…oh well! Good luck!!
Post # 6
Keep looking or, as some have suggested, hire your own bartender. We had a caterer and our venue provided the bartender. They provided all the alcohol but the package didn’t include tequila, which we really wanted. We bought some tequila bottles which they served at no additional charge and we kept the unopened ones. They are being ridiculous.
Post # 7
Thank you so much for all the great advice. Will try to fight with some caterers, but many are telling me they won’t do the food if we don’t use their bartender. I have to believe that turning down a paycheck just for this bartender is something they will reconsider.
Post # 8
My caterer has their own bartenders but they offered an option where we can pay by consumption – we get to keep the opened bottles and give back the rest and are only charged for what gets used. Look for a caterer with that option. I know a lot of venues require a liquor liability license or policy or some such thing, which if you go with the bartenders through the caterer, the caterer supplies that to them. I couldn’t find any place that would let us bring in our own liquor and bartenders but the by-consumption option was a decent alternative.
Post # 9
I think it’s a good way for them to make extra money but if you’re firm in your decision you can find what you are looking for. There’s no reason you should have to buy your liquor from them. I can understand more from the caterer side that they’d come as a package with the bartender, but even there I’d think they should be flexible. I’d keep looking until I find what I wanted, cause you’re not being unreasonable.
Post # 10
Where is your outdoor reception location? Is it private property or is it like a state park or outside at a country club or something like that? There are legal issues about bringing your own alcohol into certain places that you may have to consider.
Post # 11
Careful with bringing your own alcohol. Make sure they don’t charge corkage on very bottle opened.