In The Trenches

Need a bartender?

Published on December 4, 2017 Back to blog
Little Boy Holding Tongs

Last Thursday night, my wife and I hosted a holiday party at our house for a CEO group that I’m in. On the morning of the party, we learned that the person we asked to help with serving food and cleaning up wasn’t able to make it. So, we did what anyone else would do – we asked the kids to help out.

With $20 in his sights, my 10-year old son, Josh, jumped at the opportunity. As soon as my wife and I got home from work to start preparing for the party, he was there to help – cleaning up, setting food on the tables and doing whatever else needed to get done. Then, when people arrived, we realized where we needed the most help – the bar. 

Anxious to help out, Josh assumed the barkeep position. Within moments, he was was pouring white and red wine, handing out Harpoon IPAs and, with a bit of help from the guests, learning how to make gin and vodka drinks. As the night rolled on, he became the star of the party, chatting it up with everyone who needed a drink (as great bartenders do) and even adding slices of lemons to his repertoire. 

While the legality of this may be questionable, I have to admit that Josh made me very proud that evening and represented exactly what I look for in great team members:

  1. A desire to help – While $20 was clearly a motivator, Josh was excited to do whatever it took to help out. There was no job too big or too small for him.
  2. A willingness to learn – Although not yet an expert mixologist, Josh quickly learned about different kinds of wine, how to pour wine (“Dad, you only fill the wine glass up to here.”), and an appropriate balance of ice, tonic and alcohol (this one one took a few tries, but he got there…)
  3. Initiative – When things were slow at the bar, Josh began walking around the house, asking people if they needed anything else to drink. No one asked him to do it. He just took it upon himself to do so.
  4. Confidence – Perhaps most impressive was Josh’s confidence interacting with the guests. He had never met any of them before, but was completely comfortable speaking with them, asking for their order, engaging in conversation and even sharing a few stories of his own. 
  5. Positive Attitude – The tip jar may have helped (and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t the alcohol), but Josh had a smile from ear to ear the entire evening – until about 10:30 when he all but crashed in his bed. He not only did his job, he brought smiles to everyone around him.

 When people ask me what I look for in potential Small Army team members, this is the list. Of course, skills and experience are important. But, without these five qualities, that only goes so far. I’d rather compromise on experience than compromise on these attributes. They often pay off in spades – in fact, after a guest introduced Josh to the idea of a “tip jar,” he almost doubled his pay for the evening. 

So, the next time you’re looking to fill a position, keep these attributes in mind. And, if you need a bartender for your holiday party, give me a call in about 8 years.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners