event staffing and why it's the key to the perfect side hustle

By Toronto Bar School, 08/11/2023

By most definitions a side hustle is flexible work you do in your spare time. You’re not tied down to a strict schedule and you can pick and choose when you work.

That’s what the gig economy is all about. Making some money on the side and being able to work around a full time job. 

It also happens to be a great fit with event staffing.

Event staff work at special occasions and private parties in various capacities such as bartenders, servers, hosts and security. These are usually one day functions or can sometimes stretch over a weekend. It’s definitely not a regular job and that’s make it perfect for a side hustle.

With rising prices and market instability you  need all the extra cash you can get your hands on. That’s where event staffing can be key.

In a big city like Toronto, there are countless events both big and small and they all need to be staffed.

Getting the event staffing mix right isn’t easy for organizers, so if you can prove you have the right stuff then you’re bound to be in demand and that’s means extra cash in your pocket from the perfect side hustle. 

At Toronto Bar School we can help you tap into this lucrative sector by learning bartending and mixology skills that are always in demand at these events. 

Our hands-on training course is the key that opens the door to event staffing for you. It’s the perfect side hustle and we not only train you, we book the events as well.

We believe that expertise is far more important than experience when it comes to staffing a successful event and that’s what we teach.

Our grads are experts that learn their craft in the field and they make major cash because they learn what it’s like to work a busy event right from the start.

While others are learning about the history of cocktails in the classroom, you’re making real ones for real customers that leave the real tips. 

So what does it take to stand out to organizers looking to improve their event staffing track record?

Read on!

what is the most important quality in an event staff worker?

If we had to settle on one thing as the most important quality we look for in event staff it would be versatility – hands down.

Have you ever worked with someone that continually tells you “that’s not my job”? For these people versatility just isn’t in their vocabulary.

If you want to kill it working, it should be in yours.

Every event is different and every customer has their own unique demands and expectations. 

That’s why you need to be versatile as a bartender working private events. There’s no one approach that works at every event.

You have to be able to easily adapt for every new job. What worked last weekend may not work this weekend. Logistical needs can change, the setup will be different and most importantly, the crowd will be different. Knowing how to read the room and adjust is critical.

what are the skills required of an event professional

While versatility is key as an event professional because of the unpredictability of this type of work, there are a number of key skills you’ll need as a bartender at every event you’re hired for.

Don’t worry. While it is a long list, it’s all stuff we’ll teach you when you join our team.

Here’s a breakdown of the skills we look for in a bartender when we’re working on event staffing:

  • Overall beverage knowledge and the ability to keep up on industry trends
  • Great Bartending and mixology skills
  • Cocktail knowledge and the ability to adapt and improvise ingredients.
  • Customer service and how well you keep your composure in a busy environment
  • Communication skills with customers, guests and coworkers
  • Time management and speed – can you remember and deliver multiple drinks orders quickly?
  • Flexibility and adaptability – how well do you react to a changing room as the event moves along?
  • Problem solving – What happens when you run out of ingredients or the ice machine breaks?
  • Handling difficult customers and knowing when and how to cut someone off 
  • Ability to handle cash transections quickly on the fly
  • Being a team player – willingness to work with others to make the event run smoothly

How important is event planning?

So, is it really necessary to do a lot of planning ahead for an event? The simple answer is yes – it’s critical. Event staffing is just one small part of it.

Have you ever attended an event and the bar seemed to be out of every popular drink on the planet?

This is a sign of poor planning.

There are tons of different aspects to planning a successful event and they all have to come together if the evening’s going to be successful and an enjoyable one for everyone attending.

Let me give you some examples…

Organizing An Event

You can’t just wing it and expect to have  successful event. Even private parties like we focus on at Toronto Bar School can take days or even weeks to organize. Bigger events need even more time to plan things right. Event staffing is just one part of that.

It’s also important to know that the venue’s been secured ahead of time, supplies have been arranged and that there are no potential date conflicts.

“Winging it” just doesn’t work in the event world.

Keeping The Event On Budget

Every event has a budget on matter how big or how small. It can be a challenge keeping on track and that’s another reason advanced event planning is so important.

For example, as the one’s in charge of staffing and stocking the bar we may have to work within budget limitations and pick and choose which spirits to stock based on customer feedback.

We’ve got you covered here too. You’ll Learn how to keep customers happy with drinks they want and stay on budget.

It would be great to have an unlimited pot to work with so that the bar can be stocked with every drink imaginable, but that’s never the reality we have to deal with.

Maintaining The Events Timeline

As a bartender, you’ll generally need to arrive at an event well ahead of time and to make sure that supplies will arrive on time.

If you’re still waiting for the beer delivery truck to arrive 15 minutes before the events scheduled to start it’s probably not going to be a good evening.

Event Safety

Safety is something all event staff should keep at the front of their mind – even the bartenders.

When a bar gets busy, the last thing you need is a key blocking your path or a broken freezer door.

Have you ever banged into a misplaced keg? I can tell you, it’s not a fun experience!

Making sure everything in your area is organized, working properly and there are no obstructions in your way are all important things to go over during event prep for a bartender.

Overall Guest Experience

The whole purpose of an event is to celebrate something and for guests to enjoy themselves won’t leave a big tip. That’s if they leave any at all!

If you’re ever attended a large event that seemed to run like clockwork, chances are it was one of the best you ever attended. I can assure you a lot of planning went into making that evening so memorable.

Event Promotion
You can spend all the time you want on event organization and planning, but it won’t mean a thing if you forget one important step. Promotion.

Even private events in people’s homes have to be promoted and invites sent out if the events are going to be a success.

If this step is missed because there wasn’t a great deal of advance event planning, attendance is bound to be poor.

Event staffing can be the key to your side hustle success

It should be pretty clear by now how important event staffing is to the success of every great function. 

A great bartender that can work the crowd effortlessly, making every attendees evening more enjoyable is a big part of that. That’s why it can easily be a successful side hustle for you if you’re motivated, reliable and willing to put in the work.

If you are then Toronto Bar School is the ideal place to do it.

We train expert mixologists in a hands-on setting at real events, not in a stuffy classroom with colored water.

You’ll be mixing real cocktails for real people and you’ll learn how to do it effortlessly at busy events.

We don’t just teach you how to make cocktails or what glass to serve a type of beer in either.

By the time you’re finished the course you’ll know how to communicate effectively when the orders are flying in and you’ll have the skills to handle event attendees that have had one too many without causing a scene or running the evening. These are all essential skills as a bartender.

Classroom training won’t teach you any of these things. We teach you all of them and when you succeed we succeed because every graduate is hand picked to work with us at exclusively private events.

If you’re ready to start your successful side hustle with Toronto Bar School, register here and unlock your earning potential!