Hello again! Another month, another recap. This time I’m coming to you from Busan, South Korea, so apologies for the poor audio quality. I’m on vacation eating lots of spicy food and drinking lots of light beer, but I wanted to get this recap out to you. Definitely eat everything if you go to Korea, particularly the cold noodles if it’s summer time. Oh, and you should take a vacation. You deserve it!
Anyway, we had a lot of great discussions this month about issues that we face almost daily at our bars. I talked to Simone Mims about awkward guest interactions, Maura Passanisi about the challenges women face in the wine industry, Chris Tunstall from A Bar Above about career movement, and I shared some of my own advice about handling dogs at your bar. I wanted to hit some of the main points with this recap episode, so you can have a few new tools to help you at your bar or restaurant.
Check out this episode in the player or wherever podcasts are found, and please hit subscribe in the player of your choice to stay up to date with our weekly conversations with bartenders about all kinds of different challenges. Subscribe to our mailing list too, I send a newsletter out about once a month, with even more great stuff. Cheers!
Service dogs and non-service dogs, this seems to be one of the most contentious issues in our industry. I actually don’t have a guest this week because everyone I talked to about this immediately got heated about the issue. I understand there are a lot of feelings around the issue. There are a lot of misunderstandings, fears about discrimination, fears about the health department, confusion about the laws, customer’s not knowing the rules, people lying about their dog’s status, entitlement. This all leads to bad service interactions and unhappy staff and customers.
This is one of those issues, however, that has a very simple solution. When someone comes into your bar with a dog, you have to have the right intention of good service. The dog may indeed be a service animal that is necessary for a medical condition, or the customer simply may not know or understand the laws. It’s our job to explain and clarify things in the same welcoming manner that we explain our wine list or today’s happy hour specials. Listen to this episode in the player or wherever podcasts are found to hear what I do when someone comes into my bar with a dog, and read on after the break for more information about the laws involved.
We are not allowed to have live animals in our bars and restaurants for health and safety reasons. In California, the Health and Safety Code lays out the various rules and exceptions around having animals in a food facility. Most other states and countries have their own sets of rules, but they are generally the same: Animals are not allowed in food facilities unless they are trained service dogs. The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people who have service dogs for medical reasons, and dictates what we bartenders are allowed to say and do when a customer brings a service dog into our bars.
Sometimes we may feel like we can work behind the bar forever. I mean, what an amazing job? We get to bring the party and make people happy every night. It’s great! But chances are even if you could physically work behind the bar forever, likely you won’t want to. Whether you’re burnt out mentally, your industry schedule doesn’t work well with the family you are trying to start or you’re just inspired to try something different, stepping out from behind the bar and doing something new can be incredibly challenging.
My guest today is Chris Tunstall. In 2003, like many of us, he started out as a bar back at a restaurant. Many years later, after a lot of challenging but rewarding work, Chris and his wife Julia now run a successful business of their own. They are the hosts of The Mixology Talk Podcast, they run A Bar Above, an educational resource for working bartenders, and have their own line of bar tools designed specifically to meet the rigors of the modern bar. I got to sit down with Chris and learn about all of the challenges he faced, what drove him to start a business and how he’s stayed connected to the industry we all love so much .
As in many different careers, women face a unique set of challenges on all sides of the wine industry. Whether it’s harassment from clients and coworkers or simply the fact that there isn’t a sanitary bin in the employee bathroom because the men who designed it didn’t think about installing one. This is an incredibly challenging and nuanced issue. More recently, the industry seems to be moving towards a place of equality and understanding, but there is still a long way to go.
My guest today is Maura Passanisi, she’s a Certified Specialist of Wine and a WSET Advanced sommelier. She has worked in just about every aspect of the industry, from service to production, and she is the co-founder of the Della Donna Women Winemaker Festival, happening this Sunday, July 21st in Oakland, Calif. Click the link here for tickets and more info. Maura has had a ton of experience handling many of the toughest parts of the wine business and had some great advice about navigating those challenges day to day.
Check out our conversation in the above player or wherever podcasts are found. Visit our home page for much, much more and don’t forget to hit subscribe and share us with your friends in the industry. We have new conversations every week, I’ll see you next time.
Usually our interactions with guests at our bars are fun and positive. After all, our job is to provide people with alcohol in a jovial environment, what could be better? But sometimes things don’t go as planned. Guests can be socially awkward, weird or just downright rude and we still have to provide them with good service. That can be challenging at best.
My guest today is Simone Mims, and she’s spent the last 22 years behind the bar and had no shortage of awkward interactions with guests. Simone has worked at some incredible bars in both New York and San Francisco, including Blackbird, Nico Restaurant and Che Fico, and she had some amazing advice about not taking anything personally and providing even the weirdest and rudest guests with the best service possible.
You can follow Simone on Instagram to find out what she’s up to, and she is also a bar and beverage consultant, I’ve definitely tried some of her cocktails and they’re amazing. Check out our conversation in the player below and don’t forget to hit subscribe and share us with your friend’s and colleagues. We have new episodes every week about some of the biggest challenges in our industry. We’ll see you next time!