Your bar sucks: The importance of mentors when you get knocked down

Story by Kurtis Bosley from Coretto in Dee Why @cocktailsbykurtis

Our role within a hospitality space is predicated on the ability to emotionally connect with our guests, giving them an outlet to vent and offload their emotional baggage. If our role is to connect in this way, how do we separate ourselves emotionally from the negativity that can also be associated with these guests?

It’s hard for anyone who devotes so much to any one of our bars or restaurants to receive negative feedback, whether in the form of a review, backlash from a guest having to leave the premises or just the local ‘Karen’ having a dig at one of our staff for no particular reason.

In recent times, the conversation around mental health within our industry has been heavily focused on a reduction in drinking at work, being mindful of one’s own stresses and a focus on a more healthy general lifestyle, that those who are most affected by these sorts of responses are often overlooked.

As an owner, a boss and a mentor, you don’t always get the chance to say that you require more help in this area, as you’re too busy dealing with the problems of others. Staff know they can turn to their boss for support, but do bosses know where to get it for themselves?

For me, I look to the workers whose opinion I respect, the mentors and senior community members, who are more accessible than ever, thanks to the connected nature of our world. They are unheralded heroes to people like me. Lee Potter Cavanagh (Rosembaum & Fuller), Chau & Bryce (Burrow bar), Nat Ng (Door Knock), Greg Sanderson (Speakeasy Group) and Huw Griffiths (Union Electric) have all been people within our industry who reach out and try to support the younger generations coming through.

As our industry continues to traverse through these uncertain times, that have been brought about by COVID-19, the shining lights within our industry continue to grow, acting as beacons to rally investment. That support has never been more apparent and our industry as a whole has never been stronger. The ability to reach out for assistance is only a couple of keystrokes away.

So, for anyone struggling through these times, whether you’re a bar owner or bartender, know there is support for you. Feel free to hit up anyone I mentioned above or myself. It’s always okay to ask for help, you just have to be willing to do it.

Hospitality is stronger than ever.