Hospitality industry

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Surveying Your Team?

Are You Surveying Your Team?

by David Klemt

Interesting "Information" typography

Successful recruitment is only one element of overcoming the current labor shortage—retention is another crucial element.

In fact, employee turnover can be incredibly costly. According to the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell, employee turnover costs nearly $6,000 per hourly team member.

Now, consider what it costs to hire a single employee. On average, it costs $3,500 to hire that worker in the first place. So, the math is simple: Losing an employee costs an operator more than hiring one.

Unsurprisingly, turnover cost more than doubles—nearly $14,000—for a restaurant manager. In short, employee retention is arguably more important than recruitment and hiring.

Labor Shortage

Per Datassential, 33 percent of 801 survey respondents say the labor shortage is their greatest challenge in 2022. More than 70 percent of those respondents are independent operators.

However, independent, chain, and franchise operators appear to agree on one particular element of the challenge. Across segments, hiring hourly back-of-house employees is the most difficult.

In fact, Datassential’s latest FoodBytes report states that restaurants are coming up short in the kitchen. Two-thirds of restaurants are struggling to fill open hourly cook positions.

So, what’s the solution? Higher starting wages? Bonuses for remaining in role for 90 days? Benefits like health insurance and a 401K?

Each of those does work—for recruitment and hiring. What keeps a new hire from leaving after 90 days with their bonus cash, heading down the road to the next restaurant or bar?

It’s commonly agreed that the first 90 days of a new hire’s employment are the most crucial. Wages and benefits keep them in role for roughly three months. During that time, they’re deciding if their role and the employer’s culture are for them.

Employee Engagement

If you’re an owner, operator, or member of the leadership team, you know the importance of data. In fact, you should be obsessed with data collection and analysis.

Truly, the best way to make decisions that will impact the business is with information. Guesswork just doesn’t cut it. Yes, you should pay close attention to your “gut.” However, you should avoid acting on gut instincts before analysing the relevant data.

Wisely, many operators encourage their guests to complete satisfaction surveys. After all, their feedback is crucial to the success of any business. But what about employee surveys? Your team is equally as important as your guests.

Unhappy team members, unhappy guests. Unhappy guests, reduction in traffic. Team members fleeing your business? Your guests pick up on turnover. Eventually, you won’t have a business.

Now, you can assume your team is happy. You can feel like your leadership team is ensuring employee satisfaction and engagement. Or, you can know.

How do you know? You ask.

Satisfaction Surveys

Call it a satisfaction survey, call it a happiness survey… Either way, you’re asking your team members how happy they are with you and their role.

Operators will likely want to keep these surveys anonymous. Several sources that address employee surveys claim most employees prefer anonymity. Unfortunately, this is due to a fear of retribution from ownership or the leadership team.

Even with a healthy workplace culture, anonymity is probably the best for these surveys. Of course, if you’re implementing a 90-day happiness survey for new hires, anonymity doesn’t make much sense.

As far as company-wide survey frequency, there are several options. Once per year is obviously the bare minimum. Therefore, it’s not very effective. Every six months is better but is checking in on your team’s happiness twice per year enough?

The sweet spot appears to be quarterly surveys. More than that—monthly or bi-monthly—will likely get annoying.

Survey Questions

Below are a few questions to consider for your surveys. You’ll have to decide if you want to use multiple-choice, yes or no, matrix, or open-ended questions, or a mix of each type.

Another consideration is how your team will access the survey. The process needs to be as painless as possible. So, consider pushing a link via your scheduling platform, text, or QR code.

  • How happy are you working here?
  • How happy are you in your current role?
  • Would you recommend us to friends and family as a good place to work?
  • Does the leadership team make you feel valuable?
  • Do you see yourself working here a year from now?
  • Are we helping you succeed in your role?
  • Are we giving you what you need to progress in your career?

Image: Roman Kraft on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential’s State of the Operator 2022

Datassential’s State of the Operator 2022

by David Klemt

Guests sitting at the bar inside a restaurant

The latest addition to the Datassential FoodBytes research series shares insights into the top three challenges most—if not all—operators are facing.

Now, some of what the report reveals paints a bleak picture. Inflation, the labor shortage, and supply chain issues persist even past the midway point of 2022.

However, operators are a tenacious and innovative group of business owners. Of course, that tenacity seems to manifest in people thinking this industry can weather any storm. That perception can come at operators’ detriment. Exhibit A: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 not including replenishing of the RRF. But, I digress.

“The State of the Operator & the Road Ahead,” which you can download here, is helpful and informative. As you may be aware, we’re fans of Datassential and their FoodBytes reports. In fact, you can find our synopses of FoodBytes reports here and here.

Below are some key points that operators should be aware for consideration. I strongly urge you to download this free report today.

Operator Outlook

First, let’s take a look at traffic. As Datassential points out, some hospitality business segments are performing better than others currently.

In large part, this is due to two factors: People working from home, and people returning to travel. So, operators who rely heavily on commuters and in-person workers are struggling. On the other hand, operators inside or around hotels are, per Datassential, performing the strongest at the moment.

Interestingly, though, nearly half of operators (47 percent) are seeing an increase in traffic in comparison to pre-Covid levels. Fourteen percent of operators are reporting no change in traffic. Unfortunately, traffic is lower for 39 percent of operators.

Next, sales. In comparison to pre-Covid times, more than half (51 percent) of operators report an increase. Again, 14 percent of operators are experiencing no change. But 35 percent of operators are experiencing a decrease in sales.

Finally, profit margins. Half of operators may be seeing increases in traffic in sales, but profit margins are taking a hit. On average, the industry’s profit margin is now hovering at 13 percent. That’s an eight-percent drop in comparison to pre-Covid levels.

Segment Performance

The findings regarding profit margins are likely to be the most alarming to operators. Historically, our industry has operated on razor-thin margins for decades. Dropping from an average of 21 percent to 13 is concerning.

However, context is important. The segments seeing the lowest profit margins in 2022 are: Business & Industry (B&I), Healthcare, and Colleges & Universities (C&U). Again, remote work (and learning) are largely responsible for those particular segments watching their profit margins tumble.

The strongest performers are: Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) at 17 percent; Fast Casual at 15 percent); and Midscale, Casual Dining, and Fine Dining, each at 13 percent. Lodging is just below the current average at 12 percent.

Operator Adaptation

Inflation, rising food costs, supply chain issues, labor shortages… Operators are finding ways to cope, and in some situation, thrive.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of operators are increasing menu prices. In the past 12 months, 77 percent of operators have raised menu prices at least once.

These increases range from one percent a staggering 30 percent. However, the majority have kept these increases to one to ten percent. Most (31 percent) have implemented increases of no more than five percent. Just one percent of operators boosted prices between 25 to 30 percent.

Of course, raising prices isn’t the only strategy operators have at their disposal. Forty percent of operators are streamlining their menu, reducing the sizes of their menus. However, it’s wise for operators to review their menus at least every three months to eliminate poor performers.

Other strategies include focusing on value for guests (27 percent); utilizing LTOs and launching new menu items (26 percent); eliminating a specific daypart or portion of the menu (25 percent); and making portion sizes small, or “shrinkflation” (18 percent).

There’s much more revealed in Datassential’s latest FoodBytes report. Download your copy today.

Image: Luca Bravo on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 1-50

2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 1-50

by David Klemt

Gourmet dish on white background

Finally, the World’s 50 Best announces the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, an impressive list of the finest places to dine across the globe.

Of course, this highly anticipated news comes on the heels of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, 51 to 100. Last night, host Stanley Tucci and special guest co-hosts announced the winners in London.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, only three American restaurants are among this year’s top fifty. Of those three, one is in Healdsburg, California, which is the wine-producing region of Sonoma County. The other two American restaurants are in New York City, which isn’t exactly a surprise. And of those two restaurants, one, number 33 on this year’s list, is the winner of the Gin Mre Art of Hospitality Award.

Unfortunately, there are no Canadian restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 list. That applies to the back half of the list, numbers 51 to 100, as well.

Interestingly, the restaurant taking home the title of World’s Best Restaurant 2022 took the number two spot in 2021. Another hint: This year’s number one, by clinching the top slot, is also the Best Restaurant in Europe 2022.

So, do you think you know what restaurant is the best in the world? Scroll down to see if you’re right.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022: 50 to 1

  1. Single Thread (Healdsburg, California, USA)
  2. Ikoyi (London, England)
  3. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)
  4. Oteque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  5. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)
  6. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
  7. Le Bernardin (New York, New York, USA)
  8. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
  9. Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Spain)
  10. La Cime (Osaka, Japan)
  11. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
  12. Sorn (Bangkok, Thailand)
  13. Jordnær (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  14. Fyn (Cape Town, South Africa)
  15. Odette (Singapore)
  16. The Clove Club (London, England)
  17. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
  18. Atomix (New York, New York, USA)(Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2022)
  19. Mayta (Lima, Peru)
  20. Arpège (Paris, France)
  21. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan)
  22. St. Hubertus (San Cassiano, Italy)
  23. Le Clarence (Paris, France)
  24. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)
  25. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
  26. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)
  27. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
  28. The Jane (Antwerp, Belgium)
  29. Septime (Paris, France)
  30. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
  31. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
  32. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
  33. The Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  34. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)(Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2022)
  35. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)
  36. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Italy)
  37. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  38. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
  39. Uliassi (Senigallia, Italy)(Highest New Entry Award 2022)
  40. Maido (Lima, Peru)
  41. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
  42. Quintonil (Ciudad de México, México)(Estrella Damm Chef’s Choice Award: Chef Jorge Vallejo)
  43. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)
  44.  A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)
  45. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)
  46. Pujol (Ciudad de México, México)
  47. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)
  48. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
  49. Central (Lima, Peru)
  50. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Image: Delightin Dee on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Is Your Business in a Top Time Out City?

Is Your Business in a Top Time Out City?

by David Klemt

The Bean aka Cloud Gate in Chicago

Hot off the presses, Time Out is now revealing the results of their Time Out Index 2022, an annual list identifying the world’s top cities.

The global publication, founded in the late 1960s, surveyed 20,000 “city dwellers.” Time Out focuses on cities’ restaurant, bar, nightlife, entertainment, and art scenes.

For 2020 and 2021, Time Out put emphasis on the pandemic and how cities maintained resiliency and kept communities together. In 2022, priority is given to flourishing nightlife, dining, and drinking, along with culture.

Additionally, Time Out gives weight to a city’s sustainability, safety, walkability, and affordability. To learn more about how Time Out analyzes data, click here.

Compelling Rankings

Below, you’ll find Time Out’s ranking of the best 53 cities in the world for 2022. I’ve broken the list into sections: 53 to 11, and ten to number one.

Interestingly, the 20,000 survey respondents note the dining, drinking, and nightlife of the top five cities. In fact, the nightlife scene of number three is “the world’s best.”

And city number two? Survey takers think it’s the most fun—”funnest,” according to Time Out—in the world.

Now, I know our audience is largely American and Canadian, so I’ll get to how both rank. Six cities—the usual suspects, basically—in the US are on the list. Only one American city is in the top ten, and it’s likely not the one you think. As for Canada, one city claims the 27 spot, another is number nine.

You’ll find the Canadian and American cities in bold below. Champing at the bit to see the results? Scroll down!

Time Out Cities 53 to 11

  1. Doha, Qatar
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Bangkok, Thailand
  4. Istanbul, Turkey
  5. Johannesburg, South Africa
  6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  7. Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  10. Singapore
  11. Accra, Ghana
  12. Los Angeles, California, USA
  13. Rome, Italy
  14. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  15. Barcelona, Spain
  16. Miami, Florida, USA
  17. São Paulo, Brazil
  18. Dublin, Ireland
  19. Athens, Greece
  20. Manila, Philippines
  21. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  22. Paris, France
  23. Tel Aviv, Israel
  24. Mexico City, Mexico
  25. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  26. Lisbon, Portugal
  27. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  28. Delhi, India
  29. San Francisco, California, USA
  30. Tokyo, Japan
  31. Stockholm, Sweden
  32. Birmingham, England
  33. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  34. New York, New York, USA
  35. Lyon, France
  36. Porto, Portugal
  37. London, England
  38. Taipei, Taiwan
  39. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  40. Mumbai, India
  41. Manchester, England
  42. Madrid, Spain
  43. Cape Town, South Africa

The Top Ten Time Out Cities

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Montréal, Québec, Canada
  3. Berlin, Germany
  4. Marrakech, Morocco
  5. Prague, Czech Republic
  6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  7. Glasgow, Scotland
  8. Medellín, Colombia
  9. Chicago, Illinois, USA
  10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Congratulations to the top 53 cities in the world! We expect big things from their dining, drinking, and nightlife moving forward.

Image: Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

’22 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

by David Klemt

High-end plate of food

Just a week away from their big 2022 reveal, numbers 51 through 100 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is now available.

As one expects, these restaurants represent the pinnacle of dining. The 2022 list also represents a number of changes in comparison to 2021.

For example, a number of restaurants in the Middle East are among this year’s 51 to 100 rankings. Notably, these restaurants were not included on last year’s list. In fact, nearly half of the restaurants are new entries on the 51 to 100 list.

Additionally, the 2022 list represents six continents. This year, four “new” countries and a sovereign island city-state make the 51 to 100 rankings:

  • Argentina
  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • UAE

The regional breakdown is as follows:

  • Asia: 14 restaurants
  • Europe: 13 venues
  • North America: 11 concepts
  • Middle East: 2 restaurants
  • Africa: 2 concepts
  • Oceania: 1 venue
  • South America: 7 restaurants

Just six American restaurants are on the list. Three are in New York, two in San Francisco, and one is in Chicago. Disappointingly, zero Canadian restaurants are among the 51 to 100 rankings.

Restaurants one through 50 will be revealed on Monday, July 18. Numbers 51 to 100 of the World’s 50 Best Bars will be revealed Tuesday, September 27.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022: 51 to 100

  1. Alcalde (Guadalajara, Jalisco, México)
  2. Sud 777 (Ciudad de México, México)
  3. D.O.M. (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  4. Lyle’s (London, England)
  5. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Biscay, Spain)
  6. La Colombe (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
  7. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE)
  8. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
  9. Sazenka (Tokyo, Japan)
  10. Rosetta (Ciudad de México, México)
  11. La Grenouillère (La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
  12. Ernst (Berlin, Germany)
  13. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (New York, NY, USA)
  14. Fu He Hui (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China)
  15. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand)
  16. Sühring (Bangkok, Thailand)
  17. Evvai (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  18. Kjolle (Barranco, Lima, Perú)
  19. Cosme (New York, NY, USA)
  20. Zén (Singapore)
  21. Mingles (Seoul, South Korea)
  22. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, CA, USA)
  23. Kol (London, England)
  24. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, Mount Pleasant, NY, USA)
  25. Samrub Samrub (Bangkok, Thailand)
  26. Neighborhood (Hong Kong)
  27. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France)
  28. Lasai (Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil)
  29. Estela (New York, NY, USA)
  30. AM par Alexandre Mazzia (Marseille, France)
  31. Brat (London, England)
  32. Sézanne (Tokyo, Japan)
  33. El Chato (Bogotá, DC, Colombia)
  34. Gimlet at Cavendish House (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  35. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok, Thailand)
  36. Mikla (Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey)
  37. Orfali Bros Bistro (Dubai, UAE)
  38. Mishiguene (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  39. Máximo Bistrot (Ciudad de México, México)
  40. Wolfgat (Paternoster, Western Cape, South Africa)
  41. Oriole (Chicago, IL, USA)
  42. Indian Accent (New Delhi, Delhi, India)
  43. Hertog Jan at Botanic Sanctuary (Antwerp, Belgium)
  44. Burnt Ends (Singapore)
  45. Meta (Singapore)
  46. Maní (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  47. Benu, San Francisco, CA, USA)
  48. Tantris (München, Germany)
  49. Flocons de Sel (Megève, France)
  50. Wing (Hong Kong)

*Bold denotes new entry

Image: Delightin Dee on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What Politicians Get Wrong about Us

What Politicians Get Wrong about Our Industry

by David Klemt

Restaurant and bar with exterior windows open

It still stings that the 43 senators chose to vote against replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The fact that four senators didn’t vote at all on S.4008 is nearly as insulting and painful.

Now, while all the “nay” votes came from Republican senators, I’m not here to bash one party in particular. Four Republicans voted “yea,” as did two Independents.

Unfortunately, given how hostile Democrats and Republicans in Congress seem to be, it’s difficult to be objective. Right now, it appears that the RRF was left to die a slow death because many—not all, of course—Republicans in power don’t want their Democrat peers to “win” at anything.

To be used as political pawns and be left out in the cold… It’s a bitter pill to swallow.


Too many politicians, it seems, view restaurants and bars as they would other types of businesses. Perhaps the perceived success of national and global brands paint the picture that independent venues and small chains don’t need any help.

More disappointingly, maybe politicians, from local lawmakers to state representatives, take our business’ role for granted.

Look at the history of restaurants and bars, of hospitality. Think about the rich history of hospitality in America alone, let alone globally.

Yes, independent restaurants and bars are small businesses. But like so many small businesses in so many towns across the country, they’re so much more.

Restaurants and bars are pillars, cornerstones of the communities they serve. These are businesses that welcome people in, treat them like family. They’re there for them as they move through their lives.

People who were seemingly at odds with another routinely found common ground over a bite and a sip. More often than not, that’s still the case.

Operators and their teams give back to their communities through food drives, quietly feeding those in need, and finding other ways to give back.

And they look out for their communities.


Last week, the team at a cafe in the Bronx called the Chipper Truck helped rescue a woman from an alleged hostage situation.

Permitted by her assailant to place a food order via Grubub, the victim thought quickly and sent a life-saving note with her order:

“Please call the police… don’t make it obvious.”

A staff member read the note in the “additional instructions” section of the order and called one of the owners. Nobody at the Chipper Truck knew if the situation was real but they chose to err on the side of caution.

When the alleged assailant—who was arrested and charged with a list of serious offenses—opened the door for the Grubhub order, he was met with police officers.

A Facebook post from the cafe addressing the situation read, in part, “I’ve often heard of this happening but never thought it would happen to us. Thankfully we were open and able to help her.”

It’s terrifying that this happens enough that the cafe owners hear about it “often.” But it’s telling of the role restaurants and bars play in their communities that they’ve saved multiple lives.

This is to say nothing of the restaurants and bars that have put coded safety systems in place to help patrons who find themselves in danger.

No Such Thing as “Just” a Restaurant or Bar

There isn’t a restaurant or bar out there that’s “only” a restaurant or “only” a bar.

Every one is a source for food, for socializing, for an escape from the stresses of life. Restaurants and bars are committed to service and sacrifice.

They’re pillars of their communities, the cornerstones that play important roles in our everyday lives and the special moments as well.

Perhaps our politicians, local and otherwise, need to a reminder. Restaurants and bars play crucial roles in the lives of the people politicians are supposed to represent.

Too many politicians claim to support small businesses while their actions and votes prove otherwise. Talk, as we all know, is cheap.

Restaurants are not “just” restaurants. Bars are not “just” bars. We deserve better.

Image: Scott Webb on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 10 2022 Spirited Award Finalists

Top 10 2022 Spirited Award Finalists

by David Klemt

Bartender presenting cocktail

With just six weeks to go until the 20th anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail, the foundation announces their Spirited Award finalists.

Unsurprisingly, a number of the nominees can also be found on the North America’s 50 Best Bars list.

However, the Spirited Awards honor more than bars. The awards span four categories: US, International, Global, and Writing & Media.

Along with bar nominees, you’ll find mentors, bar teams, brand ambassadors, spirits, cocktail ingredients, books, articles, podcasts, videos, and publications in the list below.

Congratulations to the Spirited Awards’ top ten nominees! We’ll see you in New Orleans.


US Categories

US Bartender of the Year presented by Del Maguey

  • Josh Davis (16th Street Bar, Chicago, IL)
  • Chris Elford (Trade Winds Tavern, Navy Strength, Rob Roy, Here Today Brewing, Seattle, WA)
  • Chris Hannah (Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA)
  • Caer Maiko Ferguson (DrinkWell, Austin, TX)
  • Chris McMillian (Revel Bar & Cafe, New Orleans, LA)
  • Shauna O’Neil (Sweet Liberty, Miami, FL)
  • Kapri Robinson (Allegory, Washington, DC)
  • Christian Suzuki-Orellana (Wildhawk, San Francisco, CA)
  • Masahiro “Masa” Urushido (Katana Kitten, New York, NY)
  • Christine Wiseman (BarLab Hospitality Group, Miami, FL)

Best US Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts

  • Colin Asare-Appiah
  • Julio Cabrera
  • Kevin Diedrich
  • Meaghan Dorman
  • Alba Huerta
  • Alex Jump
  • Sean Kenyon
  • ms franky marshall
  • Nectaly Mendoza
  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Best US Brand Ambassador presented by Libbey Glass

  • Kiowa Bryan (Spiribam)
  • Chris Cabrera (Bacardí USA)
  • Tad Carducci (Gruppo Montenegro)
  • Cameron George (Ardbeg)
  • Vance Henderson (Hendrick’s Gin)
  • Lynn House (Heaven Hill)
  • Jenna Murray (The Glenlivet)
  • Natasha Sofia Velez (Davos Brands)
  • Ryan Wainwright (Bombay Sapphire)
  • Daniel Warrilow (Campari America)

Best US Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Attaboy (New York, NY)
  • Cleaver: Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Half Step (Austin, TX)
  • Jaguar Sun (Miami, FL)
  • Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)
  • Katana Kitten (New York, NY)
  • The Long Island Bar (Brooklyn, NY)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, TX)
  • The Snug (Sacramento, CA)
  • Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, CA)

Best US Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka

  • Bar Goto (New York, NY)
  • Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 (New Orleans, LA)
  • Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Phoenix, AZ)
  • DrinkWell (Austin, TX)
  • Julep (Houston, TX)
  • Katana Kitten (New York, NY)
  • Occidental (Denver, CO)
  • Pearl Diver (Nashville, TN)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, TX)
  • Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, CA)

Best US Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Bar Marilou at Maison de la Luz (New Orleans, LA)
  • Champagne Bar at The Surf Club Miami (Miami, FL)
  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel (New York, NY)
  • Hey Love at The Jupiter (Portland, OR)
  • King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York (New York, NY)
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Midnight Rambler at the Joule (Dallas, TX)
  • Mountaineering Club at the Graduate Seattle Hotel (Seattle, WA)
  • Silver Lyan at the Riggs Washington DC (Washington, DC)

Best US Restaurant Bar presented by Maison Ferrand

  • Café La Trova (Miami, FL
  • Cleaver: Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Crown Shy (New York, NY)
  • Gramercy Tavern (New York, NY)
  • Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)
  • Kimball House (Decatur, GA)
  • Kumiko (Chicago, IL)
  • L’Oursin (Seattle, WA)
  • Republique (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis, MN)

Best New US Cocktail Bar presented by Aviation Gin

  • Double Chicken Please (New York, NY)
  • Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Kona’s Street Market (San Francisco, CA)
  • Law Bird (Columbus, OH)
  • Overstory (New York, NY)
  • Palmetto (Oakland, CA)
  • Temple Bar (New York, NY)
  • Tiki Tatsu-Ya (Austin, TX)
  • Trade Winds Tavern (Seattle, WA)
  • Yacht Club (Denver, CO)

International Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Patrón

  • Moe Aljaff (Two Schmucks, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Lorenzo Antinori (ARGO / Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, Hong Kong, China)
  • Giorgio Bargiani (The Connaught Bar, London, UK)
  • Kate Boushel (Atwater Cocktail Club / Milky Way Cocktail Bar, Montréal, Québec, Canada)
  • James Grant (Little HK, Edmonton, Canada)
  • Keith Motsi (Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, South Korea)
  • Rémy Savage (🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London, UK)
  • Daniel Schofield (SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester, UK)
  • Ezra Star (Mostly Harmless, Hong Kong, China)
  • Luke Whearty (BYRDI, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Matt Whiley (RE, Sydney, Australia)

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Monica Berg
  • Arijit Bose
  • Simone Caporale
  • Renato “Tato” Giovannoni
  • Tim Etherington Judge
  • Trevor Kallies
  • Dre Masso
  • Lauren Mote
  • Danil Nevsky
  • Agostino Perrone
  • Christina Veira
  • Camille Vidal

*Includes 12 nominees due to a tie

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Jenna Ba (Diageo)
  • Claudia Cabrera (Fratelli Branca)
  • Irene Díaz (Ron Diplomático)
  • Martin Hudák (Mr. Black Spirits)
  • Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura)
  • Ally Martin (Hendrick’s Gin)
  • Dave Mitton (Lot No. 40 / JP Wiser’s)
  • Ricardo Nava (Bacardí Latin America)
  • Tim Phillips-Johansson (Johnnie Walker)
  • Nicola Riske (The Macallan)

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura

  • ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • Atwater Cocktail Club (Montréal, Québec, Canada)
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel (Singapore)
  • La Factoría (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)
  • Salmon Guru (Madrid, Spain)
  • Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)
  • The Clumsies (Athens, Greece)
  • Tres Monos (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Two Schmucks (Barcelona, Spain)

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza

  • ALQUIMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • Atwater Cocktail Club (Montréal, Québec, Canada)
  • Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen & Cape Brandy Bar (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • COA (Hong Kong, China)
  • Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)
  • Paradiso (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Salmon Guru (Madrid, Spain)
  • Satan’s Whiskers (London, UK)
  • Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)
  • Three Sheets (London, UK)
  • Two Schmucks (Barcelona, Spain)

*Includes 12 nominees due to a tie

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier

  • Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Hotel (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
  • Bulgari Bar at The Bvlgari Resort (Dubai, UAE)
  • Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel (Singapore)
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)
  • MO BAR at the Mandarin Oriental (Singapore)
  • Origin Bar at The Shangri-La Hotel (Singapore)
  • The American Bar at The Stafford London (London, UK)
  • The Donovan Bar at the Brown’s Hotel (London, UK)

*Includes 11 nominees due to a tie

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Bar Kismet (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
  • Caffe Fernet (Singapore)
  • Danico (Paris, France)
  • Le Mary Celeste (Paris, France)
  • Locale Firenze (Florence, Italy)
  • LPM Restaurant & Bar (Dubai, UAE)
  • Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Sexy Fish (London, UK)
  • The Continental Deli (Newtown, Australia)
  • Tjoget (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Zuma Dubai — Dubai, UAE)

*Includes 11 nominees due to a tie

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Stranger & Sons

  • 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London, UK)
  • Amaro Bar (London, UK)
  • ARGO (Hong Kong, China)
  • Dead End Paradise (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • DEAN & NANCY (Sydney, Australia)
  • RE (Sydney, Australia)
  • Schofield’s Bar (Manchester, UK)
  • Side Hustle at the NoMad (London, UK)
  • SIPS (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Wax On (Berlin, Germany)

Global Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky
  • ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters
  • Citadelle Gin Jardin d’été
  • Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Vida de Muertos
  • Equiano Light Rum
  • Fever-Tree Sparkling Lime & Yuzu
  • Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit
  • Hendrick’s Lunar Gin
  • Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic – Italian Orange
  • Nixta Licor de Elote
  • Lost Irish
  • Ojo de Tigre Mezcal Artesanal
  • SAVOIA Americano

*Includes 13 nominees due to a tie

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena de Indias, Colombia)
  • Dante NYC (New York, NY)
  • Himkok (Oslo, Norway)
  • Little Red Door (Paris, France)
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)
  • Mace Bar (New York, NY)
  • Paradiso (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London (London, UK)
  • Swift Soho (London, UK)
  • Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory

  • ATLA (New York, NY)
  • Brandy Library (New York, NY)
  • In-Situ Mezcaleria (Oaxaca City, Mexico)
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Washington, DC)
  • Origin Bar at The Shangri-La Hotel (Singapore)
  • Rumba (Seattle, WA)
  • Sexy Fish (London, UK)
  • Swift Soho (London, UK)
  • The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash (Chicago, IL)
  • The Doctor’s Office (Seattle, WA)

Writing and Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • CLASS magazine
  • Difford’s Guide
  • Discard the Zine
  • DRiNK Magazine Asia
  • Drinks International
  • The Cocktail Lovers magazine
  • The Spirits Business
  • VinePair
  • Whisky Magazine

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • A Life In Whisky: The Dennis Malcolm Story (A documentary by Whisky Magazine)
  • Behind the Bar with Cara Devine
  • El Club de los Cantineros (Documentary)
  • Freepour
  • Happy Hour History
  • Hospitality Forward Podcast by Hanna Lee Communications
  • Radio Imbibe
  • Shōshin Art Club
  • The Cocktail Lovers Podcast
  • The Speakeasy Podcast

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • “Get Real: The bar world looks beyond feel-good measures on sustainability and climate change” by Max Falkowitz, for Imbibe Magazine
  • “Getting high from a new supply: a revolutionary flavour extraction method for cocktails is being pioneered in South Africa” by Leah van Deventer, for
  • “Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Destroyed American Bar Culture?” by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, for Daily Beast
  • “Making it Through: How a Bar’s Regulars Helped During a Pandemic,” by Rebecca Cate as told to Paul Clarke, Imbibe
  • “Marc Farrell Wants to Change the Way You Think About Rum” by Yolanda Evans, for Food & Wine
  • “Meet the Eco-Packaging Innovations Transforming the Drinks Industry” by Betsy Andrews, for SevenFifty Daily
  • “Mexican Terroir” by Liza Weisstuch, for Whisky Magazine
  • “The Greatest Drinking Contest in History” by David Wondrich, for Daily Beast
  • “The Hard Reset – Creating a New Hospitality Culture” by Anna Sebastian, for CLASS
  • “Turns Out Rye Whiskey Isn’t an American Creation After All” by Lew Bryson, for Daily Beast

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Claridge’s The Cocktail Book by Denis Broci and Nathan McCarley-O’Neill
  • COCKTAIL DIVE BAR: Real Drinks, Fake History, and Questionable Advice from New Orleans’s Twelve Mile Limit by T. Cole Newton
  • Death & Co: Welcome Home by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan
  • Difford’s Guide to Cocktails Sixteenth Edition by Simon Difford
  • Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails by Robert Simonson
  • The Cocktail Seminars by Brian D. Hoefling
  • The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig
  • The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes by Julia Momosé with Emma Janzen
  • Tokyo Cocktails by Nicholas Coldicott
  • Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking by Elva Ramirez

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • A Good Drink: In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits by Shanna Farrell
  • Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey by Clay Risen
  • Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland
  • Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara
  • L’Ora dell’Americano by Mauro Mahjoub & Lucio Tucci
  • Something & Tonic by Nick Kokonas
  • The Big Book of Amaro by Matteo Zed
  • The New Kindred Spirits by F. Paul Pacult
  • The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum
  • The Spirit of Rye by Carlo DeVito

Image: Jia Jia Shum on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC 2022 Agenda and Tickets Now Live

Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Conference Agenda and Tickets Now Available

by David Klemt

Greetings from NOLA artwork

The time is now to grab your Tales of the Cocktail tickets and plan your trip to New Orleans for the last week of July.

Not only are tickets available for purchase via this link right now, you can also check out the schedule here.

Of particular note is the amount of complimentary programming available to 20th anniversary TOTC attendees.

Free to Attend

Attendees will have access to several activations and workshops that are free to attend.

Beginning Sunday, complimentary programming is available throughout the week. For example, the Day of Service on Sunday, July 24 is free attend and a way to give back.

Also on Sunday, the 11th annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day of Service. This is another opportunity for those in the industry to do some good in the NOLA community.

The return of Pig & Punch was mentioned by an excited Lola Thomas on episode 72 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

On Monday, all attendees can attend the keynote address; Diversity Distilled Career Fair; the Welcome to Wellness! therapeutic stretch and self-massage session; and “#FromTheBarToTheFarm” sustainability workshop.

There are several more workshops—such as “Safe Bars: Crafting a New Culture of Safety and Respect” and the immersive “Mind Full” experience—that are free to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incredible Activations

More reasons to plan your trip around an action-packed Sunday? Speed Rack Redemption, the National Tequila Day Pool Party at the Royal Sonesta, and Ode to the Bowl.

The rest of the week is absolutely packed. From workshops to seminars, cocktail tours to tasting rooms, and all manner of activations, parties, and events in between, the 20th anniversary celebration of Tales of the Cocktail will be an experience to remember.

On the subject of cocktail tours, there are eight such experiences available during this year’s Tales. For example, attendees can register and secure tickets for Hunting Down the Sazerac, Downriver: Bars Beyond the French Quarter, the Big Gay Bar Tour, and Bourbon Street and How it Got that Way.

Learn More

To be honest, there’s simply too much going on at this year’s TOTC to list here. The sheer number of workshops, seminars, and activations must be checked out online.

And that’s to say nothing of the industry icons that will be presenting seminars and workshops, and hosting activations and special events.

Simply put, there’s programming for everyone. Health and wellness? Yes. Furthering your career? Absolutely. Perfecting technique and tasting new products? Of course. Business, culture, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, equity… Check, check, check, check, check, check!

We hope to see you at Tales of the Cocktail 2022! Be sure to check out the agenda and grab your tickets today.

Image: mana5280 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC Launches New Philanthropic Committee

TOTC Launches New Philanthropic Committee

by David Klemt

New Orleans, Louisiana, architecture in the French Quarter

Continuing their growth and commitment to supporting the spirits and hospitality industries, Tales of the Cocktail announces a new committee.

Formerly known as the Grants Committee, this committee will act as an advisory board to TOTC Foundation. In this capacity, the new Philanthropy & Development Committee will guide decisions regarding the TOTCF’s portfolio of philanthropic endeavors.

In launching the Philanthropy & Development Committee, the TOTCF is responding directly to the needs of the spirits community.

Commitment to Philanthropy

Supporting the industry is a TOTCF cornerstone. This commitment was supercharged when the Solomon Group and Neal Bodenheimer, Jr. took over in 2018.

Upon purchasing the rights, the Solomon family and Bodenheimer, Jr. transformed TOTC into a non-profit. Since then, the organization has developed ways to benefit New Orleans and the spirits and hospitality industries.

One major avenue of support came by way of the TOTCF Grants Committee. Their mission was straightforward and lofty: “to support nascent or existing programs, non-profit organizations, and individuals developing a specific project that will impact the global hospitality community present day and beyond.”

In selecting recipients, the Grants Committee reviewed submissions. Recipients needed to support the TOTCF’s core pillars with a focus on diversity, representation, and inclusivity: Advancement, education, and support.

One such recipient that exemplifies the Grant Committee’s work is Turning Tables. From their website:

“Turning Tables advocates for equity in the hospitality industry by providing mentorship, educational tools, and platforms for exposure in a system of support for the black and brown communities of New Orleans.”

New Name, Bigger Mission

To be clear, the Philanthropy & Development Committee is still offering grants. However, the past two years saw the expansion of the Grants Committee’s mission.

In addition to grants, the committee:

  • provided direct relief to industry professionals;
  • entered into more non-profit partnerships;
  • boosted the number of Beyond the Bar activations;
  • engaged in advocacy and policy efforts;
  • and expanded mental health and wellness capabilities.

Given the evolution of the committee’s work, transforming to the Philanthropy & Development Committee better communicates the mission.

“I’m really excited about this new era of the committee,” says Philanthropy & Development Committee co-chair Kellie Thorn. “While grant-giving will still be a focus, we will now have the opportunity to diversify the way that we serve the drinks community as well as continue to provide thoughtful insight to the Foundation about our industry.”

Continental Drift and Drift Kitchen owner Eric Bennett co-chairs the committee alongside consultant and educator Thorn. The eleven current committee members are:

  • Tiffanie Barriere
  • Chris Cabrera
  • Claudia Cabrera
  • Samuel Jimenez
  • Nandini Khaund
  • Yisell Muxo
  • Lisa Nguyen
  • Chris Patino
  • Vivian Pei
  • Kelsey Ramage
  • Morgan Schick

To learn more about the Philanthropy & Development Committee, click here.

Image: Aya Salman on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2021 Spirited Awards Winners

Congratulations to the 2021 Spirited Awards Winners

by David Klemt

15th annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards winners 2021

The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and Forbes, this year’s Spirited Awards official media partner, have announced the 2021 winners.

Due to the incredible difficulty of the past 18 months, Tales felt it was necessary to acknowledge the hospitality industry’s innovation, determination, and drive to survive.

To that end, this year’s Spirited Awards are different than years’ prior, honoring select categories the foundation felt could be judged fairly.

“We always knew we were a truly determined, tenacious community, but the way in which we’ve seen our peers navigate this year with such grace and grit has been nothing short of incredible,” says Eileen Wayner, CEO of the  Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is proud to recognize the winners of the 15th Annual Spirited Awards, and we thank them for their outstanding contributions that are advancing the beverage industry.”

2021 Spirited Awards®  Winners

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons

Pioneer Award presented by The Blend

Timeless International Award presented by Perrier

Timeless U.S. Award presented by Q Mixers

2021 Writing and Media Spirited Awards® Winners

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Image: Tales of the Cocktail Foundation