Hey guys! It’s been a busy month as per usual. Lots of amazing guests and a ton of great information. We spoke with Tanya Clark, founder of Jigger and Dash Wellness about how to lead a healthier life in the industry, Suzu about how to stay fresh and creative in your career, Todd Carnam, beverage director at The Interval about empathy in customer service, and Simi Grewal, co-founder of DECANT SF, about how she started her own business. I wanted to do another quick recap episode for you all, it’s hard to remember everything and repetition is your best friend when you’re trying to learn.
I’d love to hear from you all about what you think of the show or what you would like to hear more of. You can leave a comment below or shoot me a message on the contact page. You can listen to this episode in the player below or wherever podcasts are found. Be sure to hit subscribe and share us with your friends in the industry.
We’ve got some exciting stuff coming up, including: A conversation about how to have a career as a bartender when you have a family, what to do when guys hit on you while you’re working, all the challenges of working at a brand new bar, and more! We’ll see you next time!
Many of us, myself included, have dreams of opening up our own bar someday, but the idea can seem daunting, even impossible. Where do you begin? How do you fund a project like that? How will your life change when you run your own place? Is it even right for you? Starting your own business is one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
My guest today is Simi Grewal. She has worked in just about every capacity in this industry, everything from line cook to sommelier at award winning restaurants, and that experience helped her open her own bar. Earlier this month, Simi and her business partner Cara Patricia, an equally accomplished industry veteran, opened the doors to DECANT, a beautiful new wine bar and retail shop in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco.
Check out my conversation with Simi about the joys and struggles she faced along her journey to opening her own business in the player below or wherever podcasts are found, and don’t forget to hit subscribe and share us with your friends and colleagues in the industry.
Customers are people too, just like you and I, though often it’s hard to remember that fact. Our job, by necessity, separates us from the people we serve. This separation tends to invoke an ‘us versus them’ attitude, which is especially reinforced when we are super busy. It is extremely difficult to see customers as unique individuals with different needs and emotions when 30 of them all show up at the same time and expect service, but we still have to make it happen.
My guest today is Todd Carnam. Todd is the beverage director at The Interval in San Francisco, where we recorded this interview. Him and I used to work together before he was in that role. Todd and I had a great conversation about empathy in the context of service, and how to use those ideas when you find yourself in challenging situations with guests.
Check out our conversation in the player below 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. Read on after the break for more.
If you find yourself with a challenging customer, take a second to think about where they’re coming from, why they are there and why you’re there. It may seem weird, but when we start thinking about the happiness of others instead of only focusing on our own happiness, it actually just makes everyone happy.
It’s easy to get burnt out in this industry. So much of what we do is mere drudgery. It’s repetitive and it can wear us down after a long time. It is difficult to stay inspired and creative when you work behind the bar. One way to stay inspired however, although maybe not the easiest, is variety and movement. My guest today, Suzu, is an expert at career movement.
Suzu has worked in the industry since he was a child, helping out around his grandparent’s family restaurant in Tokyo. Here in San Francisco, he’s worked at more bars than I can count including some legendary cocktail bars like 15 Romolo, Tradition(now Zombie Village), Wildhawk, Bellota, Benjamin Cooper and, more recently, Bon Voyage. Suzu has also dabbled in brand work, competitive bartending with USBG World Class and Bacardi Legacy and more. “I have to stay active, I need to be doing a million different things,” Suzu said, “Even as a kid, I was interested in the arts, but I was also playing competitive soccer, I was in the Boy Scouts, I was doing this and that all the time, and I still feel that way, I guess.”
By constantly moving around and staying fresh, Suzu stays inspired and creative in his career. He not only finds variety from bar to bar, but at bars like Benjamin Cooper, where we recorded this interview, the menu changes constantly and the inspiration is flowing as freely as the booze. Suzu was originally pursuing an education in visual art, but today he uses that same artistic creativity behind the bar, which also helps him stay inspired.
Check out my interview with Suzu in the player above or wherever podcasts are found, and hear what he had to say about his career and how he stays fresh. Be sure to hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player, we have new conversations every week. And please share us with your friends and colleagues in the industry. This is such great information for everyone.
Let’s face it, our industry is unhealthy. We’re physically exhausted, we don’t sleep well, we keep weird hours, we live on salty junk food and we drink all the time. We have to bring the party, it’s our job, but we often get lost in the party. We become the party and we don’t know when the party ends. We all feel like we will live forever and we can keep going and never stop, but sooner or later it’s going to catch up with us. Our unhealthy lifestyle is not sustainable.
But our industry doesn’t have to be so unhealthy and although it seems impossible to get better, we can make huge progress just by making some simple changes. It doesn’t mean the party has to end, we just need a little more balance. My guest, Tanya Clark, had many great suggestions for small things you can change that will make your life as a bartender much better, healthier and more balanced.
Tanya has been in the industry for 14 years and she knows how unhealthy and unsustainable this job can be and how little support there is for bartenders and hospitality workers. She’s seen close friends and colleagues suffer serious medical issues as a result. A few years ago she felt she needed to do something about it and on a whim attended a yoga class. She knew right away that she found what she was looking for. Recently, Tanya became an operating owner and partner at MOXIE Yoga & Fitness in San Francisco, where we recorded this episode.
Tanya is also the founder of Jigger and Dash Wellness, a health and wellness program aimed at serving the hospitality industry. Tanya leads yoga and fitness classes, as well as talks about mental health and financial planning that fit the schedule and needs of working bartenders. “Self care should be more of a priority than a luxury,” Tanya said, “Because if you don’t take care of yourself, how do you expect to take care of anyone else?”