the worst event staffing mistakes and how to avoid them

By Rent A Bartender | Aug 05, 2023

Event staffing looks easy on its surface. Just hire enough bodies to fill the event, and the rest will fall into place, right? Ah, if only it were that simple, but it isn’t. 

Event staffing mistakes can’t happen. It’s that simple. Make sure you’re not committing these cardinal sins.

hiring whoever's available

There’s a difference between drinks and cocktails. Do you know what is is?

Probably not, but that’s okay. You don’t have to. Your bartenders and mixologists are supposed to. 

The thing about bartending is that anyone believes they can do it. It’s not easy as watching a couple of videos on YouTube, passing an exam, and making margaritas for your friends. Those people make drinks. 

You want cocktails. 

Hiring an average Joe off the street ultimately doesn’t reflect poorly on them but on you. Your event attendees will wonder why the bartenders are providing such lackluster service. Some might think they could do better, maybe they could!

You need bartenders that understand what goes into a cocktail, servers and mixologists who have studied their craft and know their stuff. That’s exactly what we provide at

We only send out professionals who pass our rigorous standards. We provide training to our bartenders and mixologists and require screening before they’re eligible to begin working events. 

You don’t want to spend the entire event stressing about your bartenders, and you shouldn’t have to, especially if you’re hiring bartenders for a wedding, birthday party, corporate event, or any other event you want to be an active part of.

Waiting until the last minute to hire

My bartenders and mixologists are busy people. They’re so well-trained that they’re highly in demand for event big and small across the Greater Toronto Area.

Not like I can speak for others, but any event-staffing company worth its salt will not have talent just lounging around waiting for a call. If their talent is really as good as they claim, they should have a jam-packed schedule.

When you wait too long to request event services, you can run into trouble. I won’t send anyone but the best, but who knows what the competition will do. They might send you any Johnny-come-lately because it’s a warm body. Either that, or they’ll send you fewer bartenders than you need.

At Rent a Bartender, when our mixologists are booked, they’re booked. We do everything from private events like birthday parties to corporate events, so availabilities go fast. 

You can’t wait until your birthday next weekend to look for quality bartenders. You’ve got to book in advance.

Not Asking for a resume

Here’s the thing about many bartender: they equate experience with expertise. However, experience doesn’t mean doing it correctly.

Have you ever done something wrong for years until someone gently corrects you? You have experience doing that thing, but it’s not the right experience.

Expertise is different. Expertise is understanding how something is done. It can come from experience or training. Expertise usually gives way to experience, as when you know how to do something, you become experienced quickly.

However, experience does not necessarily give way to expertise.

Hiring a bartender based on their promise of five years of experience without looking at a resume is a costly mistake. You now know that experience can mean anything, so what exactly are you getting for your money?

Our bartenders, mixologists, and servers at Rent a Bartender are experts. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been doing this the longest, but they’ve been correct from day one. They’re confident behind the bar. They take requests. They make custom concoctions. 

There’s such a profound difference.

Skipping the interview

One way you can experience that difference is by interviewing prospective bartenders or event staffers. If you’re so crunched for time you have to skip this step, you can’t guarantee you’ll get high-quality staff for your event.

Sit down with an expert bartender and pick their brains about hypothetical scenarios. Ask them what they would do if they ran out of an ingredient or if the original type of glassware they were supposed to use wasn’t available.

My staff knows how to handle these situations because they’re pros. They’re calm under pressure and have worked events of all kinds and sizes before. Few issues phase them.

Even if they come across  a stressful situation for the first time, you would never know it, as they never let their professionalism waver.

Failing to communicate expectations

Okay, part/event host, this one is on you. My bartender are the take-charge type, but any event staff appreciates directions or objectives.

Now, let me make one thing clear. That doesn’t mean micromanaging the staff the entire night.

Remember, our goal here at Rent a Bartender is to help you enjoy your event to the fullest by letting us take care of the drinks.

Clear expectations help everyone do a better job. And if you need help deciding what you want?

We’ve got you there too. We provide way more than just bartending.

If you don’t know what you like, we’ll walk you through our drink list and entertainment options, allowing you and your guests to choose what would make your event successful.

not asking about training

Better staff begins with better training, which is my personal motto at Rent a Bartender. What better way to find the staff you want than to create them yourself? My expert-led bartending courses are designed for novices looking to learn and veterans thirsty to improve.

My training course is intensive but includes self-study and a hands-on component that’s the key to building better bartenders. Mixology is not one of those subjects you can learn about from a book or a YouTube video. 

It takes getting out there and doing it to learn and improve, and our one-on-one training is the perfect starting point. 

Our bartenders will proudly share their training and credentials if you ask. Other bartenders might not have the training, so they’ll shy away from answering the question. They could even make up an answer on the spot. 

That’s why cross-referencing a resume is recommended, so you can discover if the bartenders you’re hosting for your next event are legit like ours!

take your event to the next level

Rent a Bartender is the leading Greater Toronto event-staffing company. Our professional servers, bartenders, and mixologists can make your birthday party, wedding, corporate event, bachelorette or bachelor party, and other events as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Our highly skilled, curated bartenders can serve up any drink under the sun. We’ll help you create your ideal drink menu, provide equipment and staff, and bring the liquor and drink- making supplies.

Sit back and relax – we’ve got this!

Contact us today via our web form or through email and request a quote.

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