The bartending service costs what??!

How many times have we heard that line?

If you are in the throes of planning a major special event- ‘Surprise mom! We’re engaged!” “Dad! We’re having a baby!” “Happy 50th birthday to the love of my life!” “Congratulations on your retirement, Jill!”- then I would bet my last dollar that you are in a high-stress, high-cost environment where nobody else understands your vision. And they certainly don’t understand the price tag for the whole affair.

Let alone the cost for food and beverage!

What we are about to share with you is our signature recipe for mixing the perfect ingredients for creating the high-touch guest experience that you are dreaming of. Pull up a seat at the bar….

 

You and everyone else are having a great time. Uncle Joe, who always gets a little rowdy at big celebrations like this, is enjoying himself without the slightest hint of having over indulged. The cute, professionally trained bartender over there has gotten him engaged in what appears to be a hilarious exchange of banter.

The guest of honor has a sparkle in her eye that seems to twinkle whenever the light hits her wine glass just so. She’s as light on her feet as the day dad walked her down the aisle.

All the (most important) guests have their beverage of choice and there are quite a few people enjoying the refreshing and detoxifying taste of pure bottled water as the night winds down to a close. No one is stumbling. No one has over indulged to the point of incapacitation as you had worried they would.

You look over at the bar and you see it to be as tidy and organized as it was when everyone first yelled ‘SURPRISE!!!!’ as she walked in, completely stunned. There is a flurry of activity as the bar staff competes in a relay for serving guests, wiping down the bar, refreshing drinks, passing out bottled water and packing up the empty bottles for recycling and separating the opened and unopened bottles for stocking the home bar and returning to the store for a refund.

The event was a SMASHING success! You feel so relieved, grateful and happy.

 

Ten years ago, when the very first 71 Proof signature drink was poured, bartender and owner, LaTanya White, was just finishing up her training with the American Bartending School in Tampa, Florida. Not even she would have thought that she would land a spot of the few, highly coveted Cocktail Apprentices for the 5th (and 6th consecutively) Annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans.

Down the rabbit hole she went.

The Beverage Alcohol Resource Program in New York. Navan Vanilla Liqueur Ambassador Training in Vail. Features in Essence Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Nightclub and Bar, The Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee Woman. The Tampa Bay Times and the Florida Courier.

All of this while pouring up 71 Proof guest experiences between Tallahassee and Tampa, where she served as active community ambassador and a undergraduate student enrolled in the Art Institute of Tampa newly minted bachelor degree program in Wine, Spirits and Beverage Management, respectively. This second, more specialized bachelor’s degree, coupled with the MBA she had received years prior, would make her an unstoppable force in the Tallahassee hospitality climate.

She would learn how the Ritz Carlton earned a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, proving that excellence does and should exist in hospitality and that there is an easily replicated formula that she would study and scale. It was in this same class that she would learn of this concept Revenue Per Available Square Foot, one that would come in handy for space planning and training for her corporate hospitality clients.

After being celebrated and revered in places like New Orleans, Vail and New York, after seeing up close and personal how the right energy, mixed with the perfect pour, can completely enhance a guests’ experience, LaTanya charged herself with creating those kinds of experiences for the people she loved in Tallahassee.

She had planned to open a hospitality center that would create high-touch guest and client experiences in multiple day parts through meeting center space (which, to this day, remains the most challenging aspect of special event planning in Tallahassee), coworking space to ensure that the local small and start up business climate has the infrastructure and support it needed to survive and, her most prized vision, Concept Cocktail Experience, an upscale cocktail lounge that would rival any one you might find in Manhattan, Portland or the UK.

It was to be complete with indoor cell phone booths, a members-only entrance, textured bathroom walls and a pour-it-yourself wine sampling experience.

It was only when she began working on the financial projections and she learned of the staggering price of a full, consumption-on-premises liquor license did she begin to study the Florida Beverage Statutes.

Upon getting her hands of the full legislation, she would study the different types of licenses and became intimately informed about quota licenses, lottery drawings, when and how a cash bar was appropriate- and more important, legal.

LaTanya knew then, and continues to pursue to this day that her best opportunity to create the kind of cocktail experiences that she shakes up in her dreams, requires an intimate and thorough understanding of Florida Beverage Law. She has met and studied from local law enforcement, Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) directors, attorneys and brokers. And what she doesn’t understand about the law, she knows where to send her inquiries just in time for the weekly legal team meeting that takes place at ABT in Tallahassee.

While the success of your event might not hinge upon maximizing Revenue Per Available Square Foot (that actually means a liquor license should be somewhere on the premises), the concepts of space, setup and logistics planning is hugely taken into consideration when the 71 Proof Krewe pours up your client experience.

You might not know how much vodka to get for your event with a guest list of 171 people or the brand that would allow you to maximize your budget, but you had better not plan on having a ‘cash’ bar at your wedding unless you are at a licensed venue. Or your caterer- who is properly permitted through the Division of Hotels and Restaurants- has a caterer’s liquor license.

You actually could be doing your budget a favor by demanding that you only need one bartender for the 90 guests that have RSVP’ed for your special event but that is going to be the polar opposite of gangbusters for your guests’ experience- and then you will have a problem. So to prevent that, 71 Proof’s policy is to staff 1 Krewe member for every 75 guests. Yes, that means if you have 80 guests that have RSVP’ed for your event, there will be 2 Krewe members on site.

Luckily for you, we don’t charge you any extra fee for this outstanding guest service policy. Neither do we nickel and dime you for:

  • The time needed to setup
  • Providing disposable drinkware
  • Trash cans and trash bags
  • Linen for the table
  • Tables to serve as the bar setup
  • Cocktail napkins
  • Sip straws
  • Inventory Consultations

Why should we? After 10 years in business, we’ve got a pretty good handle on the absolute cost of providing our service- a cost that we have decided we do NOT need to pass on to you.

You have enough to worry about in tying a pretty bow on this event- the food menu, the venue deposit, the RSVPs (that never come but the guests do), the event itinerary, the décor, the other vendors, the alcohol shopping (I did say that 71 Proof is prohibited by Florida Beverage Law from providing your alcohol inventory correct?). The list is endless. The stress is insurmountable. The details infinite.

So our job is to make THIS aspect of your event, the one that you absolute, with no reservations and with no shadow of any doubt, the one that you DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT.

Literally.

All our team needs is your event location, your start time, your guest count, your date and your inventory.

We absolutely take it from there.

We’re so good at this actually, that we only need about 3 days notice for your event (paid in full under those kinds of constraints however) to pour up yet another high-touch experience for your and your guests.

What exactly is a high-touch guest experience?

It’s the kind where our krewe members recall your guests’ drink preferences. Where they confer with the lead Krewe member on staff about someone who is walking a thin line toward visible intoxication. Where we recommend an alternative beverage should their preference have been the featured cocktail of the night and we are temporarily out of the ingredients for (just until one of krewe members makes a store run to restock if practical).

As our client, this high-touch experience means that you have unlimited access to our leadership team via email and text throughout your entire planning process. It means that, to the extent possible, when you arrive at the venue for setup, we are pulling up right behind to make complete the ‘initial setup’ of the bar because we recognize that the unloading and organizing of space and inventory is really what eats into setup time. A high-touch experience means that we want to know who your VIPs for the event are and we cater to them just like you would.

THAT is a high-touch experience and THAT, I have yet to learn of any other hospitality service provider offering you during this high-stress period of planning a milestone special event.

But alas, this signature 71 Proof experience is NOT. FOR. EVERYONE.

If you have the discretionary time- and dollars- to meticulously source neutral-colored linens; if you have done enough research on BizBash and Evite.com to know that you need at least 4 cups for every guest in attendance; if you have the time to comparison shop for the best-looking 9 ounce cups from Walmart versus Sam’s versus the major grocery chain (this AFTER you did the math on the total number of cups you will need, divided by the average number of cups in the pack that sold, times the cost per pack)….

If you know with more than 71% certainty that you have enough bottles of that the brand of tequila you purchased, that you have enough mixers and non-alcoholic options for teetotalers…

If you know for sure that those two 8-foot tables won’t box the DJ in and want turn the dance floor into a lectern…

If you know where to purchase day-of event insurance and know what the ballpark figure should be before you call the FTC on them…

If you know these things, then- CONGRATULATIONS!! You certainly don’t need 71 Proof! You can literally have any old body pour up those drinks requested by your guests…who, although they might tell you they don’t drink clear liquor, requests with the utmost confidence a Long Island Iced Tea.

But, if you don’t know these things- and even worse yet, you have NO clue what venue has the best rates, the most on-site amenities and which one has the easiest people to work with then, be honest with yourself, your peace of mind is worth 10x the estimate you will receive for our services.

Whether it be the 71 Proof Classic, Celebration, Wedding Promise or Wedding Platinum service, you will get the peace of mind that comes from a 71 Proof high-touch client experience.

You will get a dry bar setup that maximizes the space you have to work within. You will get inventory recommendations that will optimize your food and beverage budget for the event. You will know the singular place that we recommend for your insurance requirements that the venue demands. You will get a well-informed staff who has the most intimate details of your event. You will get the standard bar accessories needed to serve you and your guests efficiently, with the fun, energy and excitement of Mardi Gras and New Orleans every time.

What won’t you get? What don’t we provide?

By law (as of this writing), 71 Proof is prohibited from stocking your beverage inventory. We will provide a custom inventory consultation for you- taking into account your budget, number of guests and the length of the event.

You can never have too much ice but until we are able find a way to bring an industrial-sized ice machine to each and every event, you will need to provide your own ice for the event. Remember that the industry average calls for about 1 pound of ice per person for every 2 hours. So if you expect 80 guests and you have a 4-hour event, your safest bet is to make arrangements to have somewhere around 150 pounds of ice on-site. Certainly there are other factors that can make this number too low or too high, such as an outdoor BBQ and beer event in Florida or if your guests aren’t big beer and wine drinkers.

Décor for the bar. Actually, as masters of space planning, there is rarely any unused space that will allow for decorations or props that are not directly used in servicing your guests. This ensures that your décor items are not damaged or compromised and that we have the elbow room we need to pour up those high-touch experiences we spoke about earlier.

For your peace of mind, your high touch guest experience, your investment in 71 Proof services include a retainer fee of $150 to secure your preferred date and time; this amount also serves as your deposit and is deducted from your total event estimate.

You have my personal guarantee that this part of your event planning experience will be the least stressful part this major special event that you are planning.

So, if in all the special events that you have planned or witnessed, you just can’t believe that this type of event vendor should have rates that look like ours, we want you to experience 71 Proof for yourself.

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So… me and the 71 Proof Krewe look forward to pouring up YOUR very own high-touch client experience very soon!

Cheers!!

LaTanya, 71 Proof Krewe Capitaine

P.S. Wondering what in the world a krewe is and how it relates to 71 Proof? Click here to find a list of key terms that relate to Mardi Gras and New Orleans that we incorporate into how we do business.  It’s only right that the birthplace of the American cocktail and the place that I developed my love for hospitality be with me in everything that I do as a Bartender, Hospitality Expert and Celebration Consultant right? Of course! Laissez les bon temps rouler (Let the good times roll!)!