(Closed) Open Bar and Vendor Accountability

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
7276 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Have you asked the restaurant? I find it strange that they wouldn’t be tracking the drinks at all. We are just paying a per person which well most likely cost less in the long run. We asked how they do it if we were to pay per drink and they told us they would ring it up like normal and just give us the tab at the end of the night.

Post # 4
Member
2532 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I think an open bar is usually run as a per-person cost… but it is strange that they don’t have a system.

Get in contact with your venue (with someone who knows!) and ask how they do it. If that doesn’t work, post up a seperate question somewhere about your specific venue and the experience others have had with an open bar.
but really, your venue should be able to clearly explain to you how you’ll be charged. In writing.

Post # 5
Member
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Why would you need to track drinks with open bar? Open bar is one flat rate for however many drinks your guests order. No need to count anything or worry about over paying because you won’t get any money back if you pay $5000 for your open bar and your guests only drink $3500 worth.

Consumption service is more like what you’re describing, where guests can order whatever they want, and the bartenders ring it in on a tab that gets cashed out and paid by someone at the end of the night.

Post # 6
Member
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@vorpalette:  +1

 

I work as a meeting/event coordinator for a University and when my department has an open bar we do something called a “tally bar” where the bartenders keep a list of what they have served. This would be tough to do with a large wedding (we usually cap at 60 ppl) but I would definitely ask for the drinks to be charged through toa tab if you are not doing a set price either as an overall format (as in $5000 set price for whatever amount of beverages are served) or a per person price.

I’m sure your venue must know how to do this if they have an event space and hold weddings regularly. Just ask them their plan ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 7
Member
2555 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@vorpalette:  I think she means open bar as in “guests can get whatever they want and don’t have to pay for it”, but because it’s a restaurant they won’t offer a flat rate, simply at the end of the night they’ll pay for every drink ordered.

 

 

Post # 10
Member
1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MrsRight:  How long is the reception? a 3-drink average seems low to me, but my friends are drunks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 11
Member
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I think any bartender working at a relatively busy bar would be capable of making sure drinks are being rung up properly. After all, there’s no difference from the bartender’s perspective if the tab is all for one big group, or if it’s many small tabs for individual groups of strangers.  I would ask the restaurant what percentage of the bartenders will be their regular employees and what percentage would be temps/now-and-then bartenders. If you’ve got a seasoned crew that usually works at that bar, you can pretty much assume that they’ll use whatever system they already have in place and that the system is accurate (otherwise they would have customers complaining about messed-up bills or owners complaining about missing alcohol, all the time).

Post # 12
Member
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@MrsRight:  Okay, you’re doing consumption service, not open bar. Open bar = flat rate per guest that you pay up front. Consumption service is where they tally each drink. But @fishbone is right that any bartender worth his or her job will be just fine. They’ll take the order, and either make the drink or ring it in/write it down (whichever comes first for them). Seasoned bartenders are great at keeping track.

Post # 13
Member
360 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I’m sure every place is different, but it really seems odd to me that your venue would count drinks when you’re paying for an open bar. The reason open bars are so expensive is it’s a flat fee for a certain number of hours…regardless of how much is consumed. I would check with your vendor/read your contract to clarify what their policies are and what you paid for before you get worried with finding a solution to drink counting. 

Perhaps you’re thinking of a bar that has open options to guests, but you pay for the guests usage (many call it price based on consumption). So if you end up with pay based on consumption, I’m not totally sure there is a great way to accurately keep track without making it obvious to your guests. 

Post # 15
Member
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Every wedding I’ve ever been to with an open bar (in our area the only kind is consumption based – liquor laws reasons), the bartender keeps a tally and does ring it in somewhere. You should be able to get a breakdown sheet at the end of the night: 24 of beer a, 22 of beer b, 18 rum and coke, 33 wine a, etc. You get the idea.

 

Post # 16
Member
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@MrsRight:  We don’t know for sure that they have done everything correctly but that is a risk you take when you do an open bar without the set price or a tab, unfortunately. 

Since it seems like you have a wedding coordinator, if she’ll still be around during the reception and you/venue uses the tally system, have her occasionally check the tally sheets to see if anything jumps out to her as off. It won’t be perfect but better than just guessing.

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