Operator Profile – Gary Beadle

Interview by Edward Washington

Gary Beadle is another Western Australian who is doing some fantastic things within the Perth bar scene. Having started hospitality work in London pulling pints for English veterans he now runs a company dedicated to ‘the business of hospitality’. Beadle works hard to promote staff education through traineeships, in-house mentoring and recognises the importance of employee autonomy.

What’s the attraction of the bar business for you?


“Making people smile for a living and seeing the youngsters that I work with, like Andrew McIntyre, coming on and learning about the business. Planning new businesses with old friends like Haigh Nicholson and Ben Powell, and feeding back into the industry is also very satisfying.”

How did you first get involved in the bar industry?

“I started working for Young’s Brewery in London at their pubs learning about customer service and serving guys that had fought two world. I am that ‘olden day’ bartender that when the youngsters talk about doing things old school they’re talking about the way I’ve always done things.”

Tell me a little about your businesses?

“Blinding is a hospitality company specialising in concepts, design, vision, business development, mentoring, training & business management. We also operate the two venues that I am a part owner of 399 Bar & Five Bar. Both these venues embody an all are welcome philosophy, so you can use them for all occasions.  Have a cup of coffee and use the free Wi-Fi, have some great food prepared in visual kitchens, have a great bottle of wine, have a beer or even have an amazing cocktail. It is not just about the cocktails as I feel a true bartender should be able to provide a complete experience for all customers.”

How have you evolved as a business operator over the years?

“I’ve been learning to balance life a little more now we have son, rather than just working flat out 14 hours a day nonstop. This empowers the guys I work with to take the lead a lot more and we’re all more productive for it.”

What are your Top 5 tips for running a successful bar business?

  • Think of it from the customers’ point of view.
  • Have back of house and percentages worked out in.
  • Have a solid vision and stick to it.
  • Employ staff that enjoy what they’re doing, and smile.
  • Have fun doing it otherwise the hours will kill you.

How do you continually develop your creative ideas?

“I expose myself to many fields of influence, whether through travel or reading, to many different cultures and disciplines not necessarily all hospitality related. I’m constantly sketching ideas and putting them to one side so I have an endless supply of colours, shapes and ideas of how a piece of a room could look.”

Where do you draw your inspiration from for food, drink and venue style?

“Well I have lived, worked and travelled many places in the world, I love to cook and eat and have definitely drunk more than my fair share of booze on the planet, I guess this all adds up to being a diverse human full of ideas.”

What excites you about the Perth bar industry?

“The growth of the inner city, everywhere you look there is a new apartment block, office block or a new government project underway.”

What advice would you give young bartenders who want to open their own bar one day?

“Get busy with learning about spreadsheets, business plans, forecasting and all the stuff you just don’t know yet – it ain’t about knowing the history of Plymouth gin.”

Do you have any concerns about the future of the Perth bar industry?

“We have six of our young staff across the two venues in traineeships and also have a strong in-house training program that aims at constantly developing staff skills.

If more [Perth] venues don’t get onboard with this the growth of the Perth bar industry will outgrow the pool of quality staff available to work within it.”

“It is also a shame that the licensing for the ‘small bar category’ wasn’t legislated for 3am so that the small bars would’ve filled the gap more between the ‘tavern’ category and the ‘nightclub’ category. It would’ve helped to make the city more vibrant.”

What are ‘small bars’ doing for Perth’s nightlife culture?

“Bringing out people that felt there was nowhere for them before. We get so many customers who say they haven’t been out in years as there was nowhere they felt comfortable at.”

Are there any local or international bar operators that you admire? If so why?

“Geoff Hayward has basically shown everyone in our city the way forward and continues to set a hospitality standard that we all aspire to. Steve Scaffidi continues to run restaurant bars equal to anyone, anywhere in the world. There are also a lot of young up-and-comers who I love for their passion: Dave Gilman of Helvetica and TJ of Ezra Pound come to mind. Both are great lads running awesome shops.

How much input do your staff have in the direction of your bar business?

“The venue’s direction is a set thing from the conception that never changes, have your vision and stick to it. That said, staff have a great deal of autonomy in how the vision is realised. They’re encouraged to run with their ideas – with a little coaching of course.”

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