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Bureau of Labor Statistics


So according to the US bureau of labor statistics more than 1% of the population of Montana is employed as a bartender. Wow…that’s a lot of bartenders. I mean seriously, does a state really need one person for every 100 people to be a bartender. Now you might be thinking well that’s not too unreasonable but lets be clear here. Not all of those 100 people are going to be drinking. We can remove people who are not 21 which brings us to about 70 people. We can probably also take out a good number of people below the poverty line because they aren’t going to be drinking in bars much. But conservatively, we can say that half the people in poverty still drink in cheap bars. This still takes away another 7 people from our 100 bringing us down to 63 montanans. Of course 3% of the state is mormon and they don’t drink either so we lose two more there. Down to 61 folks. The bartender isn’t drinking on the job so we can take him out of the mix which makes it 60 people being served. So now we have 1 bartender for every 60 drinkers in a town. That’s a lot of bartenders. I mean lets suppose that a bar might have 6 people at any given moment in the day (sometimes more and sometimes less) but if they average less than that then they probably don’t need a bartender. Lets then say that they all really like their bartender (because not surprisingly he knows them personally) and so they decide to stay for 3 hours at a time, and are responsible and only have two drinks. Lets then say that the bar closes at 2:00 am and opens at 2:00 pm for a nice even 12 hour shift. We’ll be conservative and say the bartender works all 12 hours. Over 12 hours, 24 people will come into our fictitious bar and will have 48 drinks. Which means that in a 7 day week, we are talking about 168 people and 336 drinks. If we then remember that each bartender is only serving on average 60 people in Montana. In the span of a week, each and every eligible and wanting person is being served at least 5-6 drinks by a bartender. Of course, I’m using conservative numbers for the estimation, so in reality there are probably more people needed to keep a bar running because a bar that sells only 336 beers/drinks in a week is probably just barely keeping, the lights on, the kegs full, and a bar keep paid (even assuming minimum wage an owner would need to budget around $2500/month in salaries for his one bartender). So if we take the minimum $2500/ month salary and $1000 month rent plus utilities and $500/month in non beer supplies. The owner needs a margin suitable to cover these $4000/month in expenses.  Moving back to the minimum of 336 drinks/week, they need to make a minimum of about $3/ drink ($4000 / 1344 drinks/month) to break even or sell more than the 5-6 drinks/week/person. So maybe 7-9 drinks/person/ week is more appropriate.  In short, the people of Montana better get busy and start drinking because there must be some suffering bar owners there. I wonder how aspirin sales are in Montana? Patrick OUT!!!


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Marie said...

Oh where to begin from someone who underwrites and analyzes revenue and expense line items for commercial properties for a living...

I'll just start and end by saying your payroll is damn generous. :) For $2500/month, I might consider bartending in Montana!

Also - more than 1% of the population may be bartending, but how many of those are part-time or people who have other jobs? I would guess a significant chunk.

Patrick said...

I think that my $2500 is actually FAR from generous. That number was the minimum wage in montana ($6.90) multiplied by 12 hrs/day for 30 days in the month. So if you wanted to work 80+ hours a week, every week then you would make $2500 dollars. I'm guessing that people don't work quite so many hours but they probably make more money. People having other jobs doesn't really factor in because 1% of the population is bartending at some point. Its still a LOT of people even if they all worked part time. To put the figures for Montanna in perspective...they have a higher percentage of bartenders in the whole state than does Las Vegas as a city.

Marie said...

I'll concede to your fact-finding on the % of bartenders in Montana. :)

Not on the payroll - who works 12 hours a day, 30 days a month? And no, truth be told, people *don't* make that much money. I am always naively surprised to read the salaries for people who work at commercial properties (in hotels/restaurant service, as property assistants, in retail, etc) in other parts of the country, but then I remember that cost of living is relative.

Patrick said...

I would guess that no one works 12 hours a day 30 days a month but it is not unreasonable to assume that a bar would have someone on staff (barkeep, manager, cook, stock boy) making minimum wage during the hours the bar is open. So the idea that a bars budget would have $2500 in salaries for any number of people is not unreasonable in my estimation. In actuality, I would guess that most bartenders work only for tips and so would factor very little into the wage game. Of course, this whole post is a little ludicrous and not truly an inquiry into the strange employment patterns of the great state of montana.

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