Party Clinic: Planning Pointers - At the 11th hour. How to deal with last-minute demands

Scenario: Despite being one of the most important factors at any party, more often than not the drinks are always organised at the last minute. Behind Bars director Mark Bullerwell knows more than most what it's like to cope with an 11th-hour demand from one of his biggest clients. He explains: "Creating eye-catching and great-tasting drinks for parties is not just a great skill but more of an art form. But we as a company still have to provide the service, whether we have been given 12 months' notice or just 12 hours, which is quite often the case."

Solution: "The key is having a reliable team who are prepared to be called upon at the last minute," explains Bullerwell. He relies on a permanent team of six staff and a pool of 500 cocktail bartenders. "Often they have to get out of their regular jobs to work for me. In this industry everybody knows everyone so you can easily discover who's good and who isn't. Another important factor is to be prepared to work a 24-hour shift to meet the client's demands."

Recently, Behind Bars, which has created cocktails for a variety of clients, was given just 48 hours to prepare for the Spiderman 2 premiere. Bullerwell adds: "As all the drinks stock had been provided by the sponsors, we just had to make sure that our bartenders and all the necessary equipment were at the right place at the right time. The event ran like clockwork. But if we had been asked to organise the drinks too, we probably would have been in all sorts of trouble."


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