Welcome to the very first article in the Buzztime Business series: Straight Up Advice! You’ll read candid, firsthand advice and insights shared by those working in the bar and restaurant industry…from owners of independent restaurants to seasoned bartenders and servers.
After all, Buzztime entertainment and trivia is found in over 2,600 venues nationwide. So, we hear the latest buzz from the bar and restaurant industry – every day.
Have an idea for a topic? Want to share your advice? Contact us, here!
Now, onto the first topic in the Straight Up Advice series…
Question 1: What Inspired You to Get Into the Bar and Restaurant Industry?
It Was a Matter of Practicality…at First
Only 3 out of the 30 people we heard from said they were inspired to get into the bar and restaurant industry because of a family member.
For almost everyone else, motivating factors to get into the biz were based on practicality:
“What drew me to the bar and restaurant industry? At first, as a teenager in high school without an established skillset, it was the appeal of a flexible schedule, good money, and working with my peers,” said Lisa P. who now works in events for a restaurant group with multiple locations.
After getting established in the biz, many stay inspired by benefits you can’t get in any other profession. At least that is the case for Rebekah Sweeney, Co-owner and Marketing Director of Eazy Does It Bar & Grille, Taneytown, Maryland.
“I stay inspired by focusing on the great aspects of my job: Flexibility or working for myself…the feeling of delivering a great guest experience…inspiring staff to be better than the shift before…and the challenge of building something great!”
Chris Rohr, owner and founder of Flood Valley Brewing Craft Taphouse in Chehalis, Washington saw the foodservice biz as a perfect match for his personality and interests.
Chris said, “I never really knew what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up.’ But I was always creative and liked science, food, and working with the public.”
For people like Kimberly Nichols-Bluemlein, the path to the bar and restaurant industry came later in life. In high school, Kimberly had goals of becoming a female body builder, but instead started a bait and tackle business – right out of high school!
After running that business for nearly 18 years, Kimberly decided to go to college and needed a flexible, part-time job so she started working in the bar and restaurant industry as a server in West Branch, Michigan.
From Just Starting Out…to Opening a Bar or Restaurant: What Does it Take?
It’s one thing to work in the bar and restaurant industry…it’s another thing to go all in and start a business. Yet, that’s exactly what Kimberly decided to do.
After starting a server, Kimberly quickly caught the attention of the owners thanks to her people skills and strong work ethic. Soon, she was promoted her to manager. Over the next 6 years, Kimberly managed two bars and restaurants. Finally, in November 2018, she made the move to open her own place…aptly named Kimmie’s Pub n Grub.
Kimberly new opening and running Kimmie’s Pub n Grub would be a lot of work. She embraced the challenge and dedicated almost all of her waking hours to making her dream a reality.
“My advice to anyone wanting to open a business in the bar and restaurant industry is this: you better prepare yourself for long hours of working! You’re not just the front of the business. You’ll also be busy behind the scenes with marketing, bills, licenses, inventory etc. It would be easier if I had a significant other to help with the load, but I am doing it on my own and would not have it another way,” explained Kimberly.
Across the country in Chehalis, Washington, Chris also worked non-stop to open his own business…the Flood Valley Taphouse.
“I worked 20+ hours a day (with some very good friends!) to renovate the space for Flood Valley Taphouse. Don’t think this is a hobby or a part-time job. The bar and restaurant industry takes dedication and hard work. You will want to quit some days and it will take a toll on personal relationships. But if you’re willing to push through to achieve your dream, you can do it,” said Chris.
It’s All About Commitment to an End Goal
Tenacity. Hustle. Absolute dedication to an end goal. That’s what it takes to not just survive – but thrive in the bar and restaurant industry.
That’s how Chris got to where he is today as the successful owner of the Flood Valley Taphouse.
Chris has always been interested in homebrewing. Nearly a decade ago, Chris purchased a local homebrewing supply. He learned to perfect his beer recipes and learn more about how the bar and restaurant industry worked.
However, 3 years ago, Chris lost his day job as a home appliance repairman. With no money, and no savings, Chris had to think fast. So, he moved his brewing supplies into a location and built a bar with reclaimed lumber pallets – and opened a bar with just 8 taps.
Fast forward to today, and business is booming at the 21-tap Flood Valley Taphouse in its new location. But Chris has not finished realizing his dream…yet. His plan is to open a brewery next – it’s his ultimate goal. And working in the bar and restaurant industry for over a decade has helped prepare him to make the leap.
“I have learned that I am a much stronger person than I ever believed. This is the hardest thing in my life and the most stressful but I wouldn’t do anything else. I haven’t yet made it to brewery but I will and when I do it…it will be great,” declared Chris.
It All Comes Full Circle…The Best People in the Business Inspire Others
People like Chris and Kimberly – who put their all into opening their own business – continue to inspire others to follow their lead…and find a place in the bar and restaurant industry:
“I hear from many women that they look up to me because I am such a strong and independent person. I have not always been this way. But if you want things out of life you have to go after them,” concluded Kimberly.