Hotel Operations

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cien Años Después: Michelin Hits Mexico

Cien Años Después: Michelin Guide Hits Mexico

by David Klemt

In news that may come as a shock to many, the Michelin Guide is covering Mexico for the first time in its 124-year history.

If, like me, you’re surprised, I think that’s justifiable. I raised an eyebrow when I learned that the Michelin Guide didn’t cover the US with an American edition until 2005.

Should you be curious about what cities were featured in that first American guide…it was only New York. From what I’ve gathered, 500 restaurants throughout the city’s boroughs received coverage. Of the 50 hotels included in that guide, all were in Manhattan.

And when it comes to Canada, Toronto and Vancouver guides didn’t exist until 2022. So, to learn that the Michelin Guide has just now arrived in Mexico was mind blowing.

However, the country is certainly attempting to make up for lost time (a total of 124 years of lost time). Coming out swinging for their first guide, more than 150 restaurants throughout Mexico earned recognition.

In 2024, 97 restaurants earned Michelin recommendations. A total of 42 Bib Gourmands were awarded. Six restaurants in Mexico earned Michelin Green Stars. Five restaurants received Michelin Special Awards, such as the Exceptional Cocktail Award, and the Mentor Chef Award.

Now, on to the “big” awards: Michelin Stars. Sixteen restaurants in Mexico now have one Michelin Star. Just two, both in Mexico City, earned two Michelin Stars: Quintonil, and Pujol.

Interestingly, both restaurants also earned placement on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 rankings. Pujol grabbed 33 on the list, while Quintonil is number seven.

Unfortunately, not a single restaurant in Mexico has been awarded three Mexican Stars. But, I think it’s only a matter of time.

But wait…

Finding out that the Michelin Guide hadn’t come to Mexico until 2024 piqued my interest. So, I did some digging and found myself sliding down a rabbit hole.

It may be difficult to believe at first glance, but the entirety of France was home to less than 3,000 cars in the year 1900. That’s not great if you happen to be in a few businesses: automobile manufacturing, tire manufacturing, and hospitality.

The demand for privately owned automobiles would need to increase if manufacturers were to succeed. This includes tire manufacturers. New vehicles coming off assembly lines would mean more tire sales. More drivingmore miles driven, specifically—would mean more tire repairs and replacements. And with more people driving across an entire country, tourism would increase. That, of course, is great for hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and taverns.

So, to increase the demand for automobiles, and therefore tires and tourism (but mostly the tires), two brothers hatched a plan.

Édouard and André Michelin published the first Michelin Guide. Or, more accurately, the first Guide Michelin. Around 35,000 copies of the guide were distributed throughout France. 1900’s Guide Michelinwhich was free—contained maps; locations of hotels; locations of gas stations and repair shops; and instructions for repairing and replacing tires.

I haven’t read it, but I feel like the main instruction is, “Buy another Michelin tire. In fact, buy four more. No, five more—get yourself a spare. Or, hey, get eight so you have four spares, as long as they’re Michelin.”

…there’s more…

The iconic (or infamous) Star system was first introduced in 1926, with only one Star awarded. Five years later, the full Star system was developed (none, one, two, three). Yet another five years later, the meaning of each Star rating was revealed to the public.

As far as other countries not receiving Michelin Guide coverage, Italy first got a guide in 1956…and zero stars. Great Britain has received coverage off and on, but the Michelin Guide as we know itnarrowing its focus strictly to restaurants and hotelscame out in 1974. This edition also featured Ireland.

Okay, now it’s time for what’s truly astonishing: countries, cities, and city-states, apparently via their tourism boards, pay for Michelin Guide coverage.

I’ve heard “accusations” of corrupt lists, and payment in exchange for coverage of a certain city or country. However, I didn’t pay much heed to these claims.

But, apparently it’s confirmed that countries and cities do see the Michelin Guide as a worthwhile investment in their tourism industries.

While I’m not certain that I’d go so far as to label this exchange corruption, I do agree that it’s eyebrow-raising.

…and more.

For example, Atlanta, Georgia, became the seventh American city to receive a Michelin Guide. And according to an interview between travel news and research site Skift and Discover Atlanta CEO and President William Pate, the city invested $1 million in the Michelin Guide for three years of coverage.

Per Pate, restaurants featured in the Atlanta Michelin Guide saw growth of 30 percent. Further, restaurants not even featured saw a bump of about ten percent.

South Korea reportedly paid about $1 million in 2016 for a Michelin Guide, and it’s said that the government was unhappy with the coverage. I suppose that’s where some of the accusations of corruption or “scandal” could stem from. It’s reported that Thailand paid well over $4 million for Bangkok to receive five years of coverage, starting in 2017.

Turning our attention to Canada, the UAE, Malaysia, and Vietnam, sources claim they paid for coverage. However, in each case, the sum is described as “an undisclosed amount.”

A Smart Investment?

I can certainly understand why a country or city may choose to invest in Michelin Guide coverage. If it’s true that restaurants in Atlanta that weren’t even featured saw increased sales and traffic, that’s a commendable ROI.

According to several sources, restaurants that receive a recommendation or up to three Stars can see increases in business of anywhere from ten to 30 percent. In some cases, their business doubles. So, again, it may be wise for tourism boards to make these investments and put their restaurants scenes on the map. Or, in the case of known scenes, give them a significant boost.

I should note that, from what I’ve found, the Michelin Guide doesn’t hide their financial relationships. They appear to be open about payments (investments, contributions…choose your favorite term) received from government agencies or tourism boards.

At this time, I can’t state with any certainty if Mexico invested in the Michelin Guide to receive coverage. Therefore, I can’t say how much they invested to have their first guide published.

What I can say is that it’s about time that Mexico’s rich, vibrant, and sophisticated dining scene received this recognition.

Image: Raul Angel on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Restaurant Business Plan. Feasibility Study. Concept. Branding. Consultant. Start-Up.

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Entrepreneurship with Purpose

Entrepreneurship with Purpose: Your Why, How & What

by David Klemt

Black-and-gray, AI-generated image of a ram's skull covered partially by a shroud, with the word "death" underneath it

Don’t freak out! This is subtext, and a nod to the Death & Co. brand and their Big Horn Sheep cocktail mug.

Not every operator can transform their vision for owning a bar into building a hotel, so when someone who does just that wants to talk, it’s wise to listen.

I can’t be sure if the Death & Co. team knew they were building an empire when they opened their first cocktail bar. After listening to David Kaplan’s keynote at the 2024 Flyover Conference, I do believe the team laid the foundation to ensure their success before ever greeting their first guests.

Further, I like to think that opening in NYC on NYE and ushering in 2007 with a brand-new concept embodies the Death & Co. ethos. Literally, the bar and its first patrons marked the passage of time from one year to the next. Figuratively, death symbolizes change, and Death & Co. as a brand is certainly a metaphor for revolution and metamorphosis.

As a bar, Death & Co. is noteworthy for the significant contributions it made to the modern Cocktail Revival. Among the craft cocktail bar’s New York scene peers were Pegu Club, Milk & Honey, and Employees Only.

According to Kaplan, six years went by before the team even considered taking on a new location. In 2018, Death & Co. Denver opened inside The Ramble Hotel. A year later came Death & Co. Los Angeles. Four years after opening in LA, in 2023, the craft cocktail brand entered the Washington, DC, market. Announced a couple of weeks ago, there will be a fifth outpost in Seattle.

And those are just the Death & Co. locations.

Why, How & What

The type of unrelenting success achieved by the Death & Co. team doesn’t happen overnight. It takes drive and clarity, and a ruthless dedication to understanding purpose, process, and outcome.

Expanding on the point of clarity, Death & Co. falls under the Gin & Luck umbrella, of which Kaplan is the CEO.

During his keynote, titled “Crafting Success: The Journey of Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurship,” he shared his personal and professional approaches to business. Along with being engaging and informative, Kaplan is also transparent.

For example, he shared his personal core values and those of the Death & Co. brand. Kaplan’s are the pursuit of excellence, meaningful work, relationships, challenges, and creativity. As a brand, Death & Co. core values are curiosity, pursuit of excellence, Always Be Knowing (ABK), contagious joy, and connection.

But, I get ahead of myself. To start his keynote, Kaplan explained a few key terms and how they relate to one another. A person’s why, personal or professional, is their purpose for doing something. On a grander scale, their why can be the purpose that drives their entire life.

How is process, the systems and procedures that will move one forward. What, in this context, is outcome, or the result that a person is working to achieve.

As Kaplan explained, when one comes to understand their purpose, that leads them down the path of understanding and developing their process. Ultimately, understanding the why and how leads to an understanding of their what.

Do the Work

Among the excellent points made by Kaplan was this: None of us are born with an understanding of entrepreneurship (including those who make being an entrepreneur look so easy).

Rather, in Kaplan’s opinion, we’re all faking it until we make it. This goes for business partners and investors, as well. Basically, people who are faking it until they make it are walking into rooms with people who are doing the same, or have done so to get into a particular room themselves.

That doesn’t mean that every new business owner is being disingenuous. Nor does it mean that every partner is being deceitful about what they bring to the table.

In my interpretation of what Kaplan shared during his keynote, every entrepreneuruntil they’ve achieved their desired outcomeis an unknown quantity. They need to develop the confidence to share their vision clearly to their future leadership team, front- and back-of-house teams, partners, investors, and guests.

So, how does an entrepreneur develop an optimistic view of the challenges they’re about to face? And how do they gain the confidence to inspire others to buy into their ideas?

There are a number of exercises that will help a person understand their identity, path, and another “why.” Another way to state this is that one can find their true calling, take psychological ownership of their journey, and develop the entrepreneurial passion to make their dream a reality.

However, to gain this understanding, people need to put in the work.

Effective Exercises

If one works hard now, they can develop the psychological capital necessary to take on difficult challenges in the future.

In the context of Kaplan’s keynote, this means if a person works toward self-awareness today, they’ll put themselves in a better position to be a successful operator before they open their doors for the first time.

There are all manner of self-defining activities and questions that can help a person understand who they are. As importantly, they can give a person an idea of their true aspirations. A few examples are completing the University of Pennsylvania’s Values in Action Strength Test, practicing mindfulness (being present in the moment), journaling, and meditation.

As far as self-defining questions, here are a few examples:

  • What are my dreams and goals?
  • What’s my biggest strength?
  • What’s my biggest weakness?
  • Am I the type of person who makes decisions based on intuition or logic?

Again, that’s barely a handful of the questions one can ask themselves to gain self-awareness.

Another important exercise is to identify personal and professional core values. Kaplan recommends people do this in a setting outside of their normal routine. So, not at home, their current workplace, a cafe one frequents regularly, etc.

Core Values

When a client signs on with KRG Hospitality, part of the process includes identifying core values, as well as creating a mission statement. This important exercise is known as Napkinomics.

Questions and prompts include:

  • How important is growth to you, professionally and personally?
  • Where do you want to see the brand within the next five years?
  • Describe a similar brand, and why you’re drawn to it.

Helpfully, Kaplan shared his approach to identifying core values during his Flyover keynote.

First, he considers peak experiences. Then, crucially, he flips that on its head and recalls negative experiences. Another key step is considering important aspects to experiencing fulfillment. Ask yourself what feels essential, adding context to each answer. At the end of this exercise, one should have a list of personal core values. (As a reminder, Kaplan’s and Death & Co.’s core values are shared at the top of this article.)

There is, however, another step that Kaplan shared during his presentation: Revisiting core values.

As he said, a person canand I’ll add absolutely shouldrevisit their personal core values. They’ll likely change throughout the years. So, a person should update them from time to time.

Also, Kaplan advises people to give themselves grace; one should realize that they may not live their core values every day of the week. That’s perfectly acceptable. However, if someone finds that they’re routinely not living their core values, it’s time to revisit and update them.

The Mission

During his keynote Kaplan explained that a mission statement should encompass several key components. These are one’s skills and abilities, personality traits (a.k.a. how they operate), values, dreams, and passions.

A mission statement is a declaration of purpose, which is why it’s such a powerful tool. Again, we walk KRG Hospitality clients through this process utilizing Napkinomics.

During his keynote, Kaplan shared the following fill-in-the blanks-style sentence. It should provide someone with an idea of how to identify a personal or brand mission statement.

“I will [action] for [audience] by [skills] to [desired result].”

From there, one can polish and restructure the sentence to craft a non-negotiable declaration of purpose that fits them or their brand. For example, Kaplan shared Death & Co.’s mission statement:

“Creating experiences and connecting people through cocktail-anchored hospitality.”

Providing context, Kaplan shared a long-form version of the above: “We create experiences to foster and allow for deeper human connection through cocktail anchored hospitality.”

With the mission statement in place, Kaplan, his partners, and the Death & Co. team have been able to identify and work toward a key goal:

“To become the most established cocktail-anchored hospitality company in the world by December 31, 2028.” For the eagle-eyed, that’s a deadline of 20 years after the NYC bar’s grand opening.

Now, “most established” can be seen as somewhat nebulous. So, the Death & Co. team has identified metrics to ensure their lofty goal is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound):

  • A great place to work.
  • The thought leader in the space (being part of the overall hospitality conversation, and helping lead others).
  • A healthy, profitable business.
  • Regionally and globally recognized.

Tie it Together

Considering the symbolism of death as change, you and your team are undergoing a metamorphosis.

Taking the steps to pull your concept out of your imagination and bring it to life involves change. Changing your personal relationships, your position within the hospitality industry, your relationship with risk… Changing your life, and significantly so.

Furtherno pressureyou’re also transforming the lives of everyone who buys into your dream and decides to work with you. You’re asking people to bet on you as a leader, and buy into your vision. Whoever accepts that challenge is risking a lot, and this cannot be overstated.

Keeping your business alive and moving forward also requires change. It will have to evolve with the times and guest expectations. And should you scale your business you’ll once again face significant changes.

Becoming an entrepreneur requires the “death” of your previous life. In the infancy of this process, you’re going to feel discomfort. You may feel fear, and you’ll feel uncertainty. A deep understanding of why, how, and what are crucial to navigate the process and work through those feelings.

After all, if you don’t know what you’re working toward, why would you endure this challenge? How will you achieve your “what” if you haven’t developed the process to get there? And without a “why,” no entrepreneur’s vision becomes reality.

There’s no reason to fear the death of your life prior to the beginning of your journey as an entrepreneur and operator. The only things to fear are never taking the first step, and not starting off in the strongest position possible.

Sit down today to identify your why, your how, and your what. If you need help, we’re here for you.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

Interested in checking out the Death & Co. Big Horn Sheep cocktail mug? Click here.

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals #1

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 1 to 50

by David Klemt

The interior of Virtù bar in Tokyo, Japan

Virtù in Tokyo, Japan. Number 11 on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 list, and the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award.

Cheers to the Best Bar in Asia, which also happens to be the Best Bar in Hong Kong, and the winner of the 2024 Disaronno Highest New Entry Award.

Connecting the dots, that means the bar that has earned the number one spot has achieved something stunning. Looking back at the previous eight editions of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, no other bar has taken the top spot on its first appearance on this list.

The top bar in Asia is taking home three awards, plus a record.

Now, let’s look back at last week’s list. In revealing the expanded rankingbars number 51 to 100—I identified three cities that appeared to be on the rise. These are Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Nara, Japan; and Tainan City, Taiwan.

I was curious as to whether any (or all) of these cities would be home to bars on the one to 50 list. While they weren’t, I think it’s only a matter of time before a bar in at least one of the cities breaks into the main list. On the topic of keeping an eye out, Dry Wave Cocktail Studio in Bangkok, Thailand, earned this year’s Campari One to Watch Award.

In perhaps unsurprising news, Singapore boasts the most bars on this year’s list, claiming 11 spots. If we were to combine all of mainland China plus special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, there are 15 bars to Singapore’s eleven. Seoul, South Korea, is home to five bars that earned placement this year, including Zest at number two. Bangkok, Thailand, claims four bars, with BKK Social Club landing at number seven.

Take a look at the list below to find out which bar is the best in Asia. Cheers!

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 50 to 11

  1. Pine & Co (Seoul, South Korea)
  2. Atlas (Singapore)(Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award 2024; Bareksten Best Bar Design Award 2024)
  3. Le Chamber (Seoul, South Korea)
  4. The Haflington (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  5. Alice (Seoul, South Korea)
  6. Mostly Harmless (Hong Kong, China)
  7. The Public House (Taipei, Taiwan)
  8. CMYK (Changsha, China)
  9. Fura (Singapore)(Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2024)
  10. Reka (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  11. ZLB23 (Bengaluru, India)(The Best Bar in India)
  12. Barc (Kathmandu, Nepal)(The Best Bar in Nepal)
  13. Employees Only (Singapore)
  14. Bar Mood (Taipei, Taiwan)
  15. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  16. Analogue Initiative (Singapore)
  17. The Bellwood (Tokyo, Japan)
  18. The Curator (Manila, Philippines)(The Best Bar in Philippines)
  19. Origin Bar (Singapore)
  20. Native (Singapore)
  21. Vender (Taichung, Taiwan)(The Best Bar in Taiwan)
  22. Smoke & Bitters (Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka)(The Best Bar in Sri Lanka)
  23. Craftroom (Osaka, Japan)
  24. Pantja (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  25. Quinary (Hong Kong, China)
  26. Offtrack (Singapore)
  27. Penicillin (Hong Kong, China)
  28. The SG Club (Tokyo, Japan)
  29. The St. Regis Club (Macau) (Macau, China)(The Best Bar in Macau)
  30. Bar Us (Bangkok, Thailand)
  31. Bar Cham (Seoul, South Korea)
  32. The Savory Project (Hong Kong, China)
  33. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
  34. Darkside (Hong Kong, China)
  35. Night Hawk (Singapore)
  36. Sago House (Singapore)
  37. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou, China)(The Best Bar in Mainland China)
  38. Vesper (Bangkok, Thailand)
  39. The Cocktail Club (Jakarta, Indonesia)(The Best Bar in Indonesia)
  40. Virtù (Tokyo, Japan)(Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2024)

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 10 to 1

  1. The Aubrey (Hong Kong, China)
  2. Argo (Hong Kong, China)
  3. Penrose (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)(The Best Bar in Malaysia; Nikka Highest Climber Award 2024)
  4. BKK Social Club (Bangkok, Thailand)(The Best Bar in Thailand)
  5. Nutmeg & Clover (Singapore)
  6. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo, Japan)(The Best Bar in Japan)
  7. Coa (Hong Kong, China)
  8. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)(The Best Bar in Singapore)
  9. Zest (Seoul, South Korea)(The Best Bar in Korea; Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2024: Dohyung “Demie” Kim)
  10. Bar Leone (Hong Kong, China)(The Best Bar in Asia; The Best Bar in Hong Kong; Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2024)

Cheers to Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024! For more information, please review the official press release below.

The Bar Leone team from Hong Kong

Cheers to Bar Leone!


The prestigious list and several special awards were announced at a live ceremony in Hong Kong, featuring bars from 18 destinations across the region

  • Bar Leone ranks 1 and is named The Best Bar in Asia, sponsored by Perrier, and The Best Bar in Hong Kong
  • Bar Leone also wins the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award
  • The list features 15 new entries spanning 11 destinations
  • Singapore leads with 11 bars on the list, as Jigger & Pony ranks No.3 and is named The Best Bar in Singapore for the fifth consecutive year
  • Singapore’s Atlas wins the inaugural Bareksten Best Bar Design Award in Asia, as well as theRémy Martin Legend of the List Award
  • The Savory Project in Hong Kong is the recipient of the London Essence Best New Opening Award
  • Bar veteran Yangdup Lama of New Delhi’s Sidecar is awarded the Roku Industry Icon Award
  • Penrose, Kuala Lumpur, is named winner of the Nikka Highest Climber Award after rising 42 places in the rankings
  • New entrant Fura in Singapore takes the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
  • Dry Wave Cocktail Studio from Bangkok receives the Campari One To Watch Award
  • Nest by Pun, Taipei, takes the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award
For the full 1-50 list, please scroll to the top of this article.

16 July 2024 – The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony this evening in Hong Kong. The ceremony, hosted in collaboration with destination partner Hong Kong Tourism Board, featured bars from 18 cities across Asia, including 15 new entries, culminating in Bar Leone in Hong Kong being named The Best Bar in Asia.

Bar Leone has achieved the remarkable feat of debuting at the coveted No.1 spot, clinching The Best Bar in Hong Kong title, as well as the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award. This marks the first time in 50 Best Bars history that The Best Bar in Asia has been a new entry on the list. The one-year-old neighbourhood bar in Central, Hong Kong, founded by bartender Lorenzo Antinori, embodies the Italian ethos of ‘cocktail popolari’ or ‘cocktails for the people’. With behind-the-bar experience at Argo in Hong Kong and top bars in Seoul and London, Antinori brings expertise to a beverage programme focused on classic, approachable cocktails that are inspired by the traditional Roman bars of his home country.

The bar programme focuses on revived classics made with a low-intervention, seasonal approach, and is complemented by minimalist garnishes, like manicured citrus peels and quality olives. The relaxed and fun vibe mirrors Lorenzo’s playful personality, with decor featuring burnt orange banquettes, a mahogany bar, church candles, Italy-themed posters, a 70s-80s Italian pop soundtrack and personal knick-knacks – all of which combine to create a space that feels both homely and high end.

Emma Sleight, Head of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are thrilled to be back in Hong Kong celebrating Asia’s vibrant bar community. The region’s bars continuously redefine exceptional drinking experiences, showcased by the talent and creativity at this year’s winning establishments. With 15 new entries, the list is bound to entice and excite even seasoned cocktail enthusiasts. Huge congratulations to the tour de force that is Lorenzo Antinori and the whole team at Bar Leone for the impressive – and previously unheard of – feat of entering the ranking at No.1. This is undoubtedly a strong testament to the bar’s irreverent and casual approach to cocktails, design, service and hospitality.”

At No.2 is the intimate low-waste bar, Zest in Seoul, which has ascended three spots, making it The Best Bar in Korea. A consistent presence in the top five is Jigger & Pony in Singapore at No.3, making it The Best Bar in Singapore for the fifth year running. Last year’s top spot holder, Coa, comes in at No.4, and No.5 is Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich, which takes the title of The Best Bar in Japan.

Destination Success Stories

A total of 15 bars from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan made the list this year, while Hong Kong leads the region with nine spots, with Coa at No.4 and Argo at No.9. The 25th-floor izakaya with sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, The Aubrey, has risen seven spots to No.10. Darkside comes in at No.17 and new entrant The Savory Project debuts at No.19. Penicillin rises two places to No.24, while Quinary climbs five spots to No.26 and Mostly Harmless rounds off Hong Kong’s showing at No.45.

From Taichung, the vending machine-themed craft cocktail den, Vender, climbs 11 places to No.30, earning the title of The Best Bar in Taiwan. In Taipei, Bar Mood re-enters the rankings at No.37, while The Public House is at No.44. Guangzhou’s Hope & Sesame, a technique-driven speakeasy, is now at No.14, ascending 25 spots and holding onto The Best Bar in Mainland China title. CMYK from Changsha debuts at No.43, where award-winning bartender Ethan Liu has created a high-energy, multi-room drinking den inside an old residential building. This also marks Changsha’s first appearance in the rankings. Additionally, The St. Regis Bar at No.22 is Macau’s sole representative and is named The Best Bar in Macau.

Singapore tops the rankings with 11 coveted spots: alongside Jigger & Pony (No.3), Nutmeg & Clove, founded by bar veteran and former Roku Industry Icon winner Colin Chia, rises to No.6. Sago House follows at No.15, while new entrant Night Hawk debuts at No.16. Offtrack, another new entry at No.25, offers a music-focused drinks experience with local DJs and lesser-known classic cocktails.

Native climbs 11 places to No.31, and Origin, another new entrant at No.32, features interiors resembling an old-school train station with cocktails themed around the city’s five districts. Analogue Initiative is at No.35, followed by Employees Only at No.38. Newcomer Fura comes in at No.42, while Atlas rounds-off Singapore’s showing at No.49.

Bars from Seoul secured five positions on the list, led by Zest at No.2, making it The Best Bar in Korea. Sustainability-forward Zest is helmed by Dohyung ‘Demie’ Kim alongside Korean bartending stalwarts Sean Woo, Jisu Park and Noah Kwon. Bar Cham is at No.20, followed by Alice at No.46 and Le Chamber at No.48. Closing the list at No.50 is new entrant Pine & Co, a bar resembling a scientist’s R&D lab, known for its future-forward cocktails.

In Japan, Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich secures the No.5 spot, maintaining its title as The Best Bar in Japan for the third consecutive year. Following closely is Virtù which climbs nine places to No.11, The SG Club takes No.23, while The Bellwood has surged 15 places to No.34. Hailing from Osaka, newcomer Craftroom debuts at No.28. This petite, six-seater bar, led by revered bartender Ryu Fujii, offers classic cocktails within a seasonally changing menu.

Bangkok also holds five spots on the list, with BKK Social Club leading the pack at No.7, also earning the title of The Best Bar in Thailand. Vesper follows at No.13, while the funky, fun and immersive Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar climbs four spots to No.18. Finally, new entrant Bar Us debuts impressively at No.21, offering a high-concept ‘drinking room’ with all-black interiors and bartenders sporting freshly-pressed white lab coats.

Penrose in Kuala Lumpur makes an impressive climb of 42 places to reach No.8, earning the title of The Best Bar in Malaysia and earning the Nikka Highest Climber Award 2024. Also hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Bar Trigona maintains its position at No.36 while newcomer Reka, a self-proclaimed ‘post- modern flavour lab’, enters the list at No.41. Indonesia is represented by two bars from Jakarta: The Cocktail Club ascends seven spots to claim No.12 and secures the title of The Best Bar in Indonesia, followed by Pantja, which enjoys a two-spot hike to No.27.

India is represented on the list by Bengaluru’s ZLB23 at No.40. This newcomer claims the title of The Best Bar in India, serving prohibition-style cocktails in a venue accessed through a secret entrance hidden within a working kitchen. Hiriketiya’s Smoke & Bitters climbs 11 places to No.29 and is crowned The Best Bar in Sri Lanka. From Kathmandu, Barc debuts at No.39 as The Best Bar in Nepal, offering an upmarket, elegant space accompanied by a sophisticated selection of cocktails. Manila’s The Curator ascends one spot to No.33, earning the title of The Best Bar in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Hanoi’s The Haflington enters the list at No.47 – this immersive, vintage-themed space offers an adventurous cocktail menu inspired by The Jungle Book, securing the title of The Best Bar in Vietnam.

Special Awards

Dry Wave Cocktail Studio, Bangkok (No.73 on the 51-100 list), has won the Campari One To Watch Award, hand-picked by the 50 Best team as a bar that it feels has the potential to break into the 1-50 list in the future. Dry Wave Cocktail Studio runs a stellar beverage programme of classic and creative libations, led by veteran bartender-owner Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana, who formerly helmed Vesper (No.12 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 and No.55 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023).

Bartender, entrepreneur and author Yangdup Lama has been crowned the Roku Industry Icon 2024.

Owner of New Delhi’s Sidecar, Lama is a legendary figure in the industry and the subcontinent’s leading mixologist. Under his leadership, Sidecar has earned several placements in Asia’s and The World’s 50 Best Bars rankings. Lama inspires with his creative cocktails and advocacy for regional ingredients, and as a mentor and trainer, he proudly showcases India’s bartending talent on the global stage.

Singapore’s Atlas (No.49), a jazz-age-inspired gin bar, has been honoured with the Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award, recognising an establishment that has consistently performed well in the rankings since the list’s inception in 2016. It is a double win for Atlas this year, as it also receives the inaugural Bareksten Best Bar Design Award in Asia for its spectacular art deco style and a 15-metre-tall gin tower housing around 900 labels. This new accolade celebrates bars with thoughtful designs emphasising accessibility, sustainability and market appropriateness.

The Savory Project, Hong Kong, is awarded the London Essence Best New Opening Award and enters the list at No.19. Founded by the award-winning team behind former top spot holder Coa, this newcomer spotlights craft cocktails with savoury and umami notes made with unorthodox ingredients.

Fura (No.42) in Singapore wins the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award for its groundbreaking, low-carbon footprint cocktails, circular ethos and commitment to low-waste practices. Fura exclusively uses local ingredients in its drinks, highlighting its dedication to a sustainable beverage programme.

The Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu award goes to Nest by Pun in Taipei. This reservations-only speakeasy features a thematic menu reflecting its bee and honeycomb design elements, enhancing its mysterious charm. The menu is thoughtfully crafted to help patrons narrow down their drink choices based on preferred ingredients and flavour profiles. Guests can expect not only cocktail mastery, but also a captivating storytelling experience.

Pre-announced special award winners that accepted their accolades at the live awards ceremony include Virtù in Tokyo, winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, and Dohyung ‘Demie’ Kim from Seoul, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.

The Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 awards ceremony was streamed live and is available to view on The

World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook and 50 Best Bars TV YouTube Channel.

Voting Process

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024. See more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process here.

About Asia’s 50 Best Bars

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is the first regional event of The World’s 50 Best Bars brand, created in 2016 with the purpose of showcasing the best and most innovative talent in the drinks industry in this region. The annual ranking is based on the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, comprising the most knowledgeable and travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. The Academy spans dozens of cities across the continent, reflecting the relative development and importance of bar scenes in different locations and the diversity of the drinking scene in Asia. Asia’s 50 Best Bars, The World’s 50 Best Bars and North America’s 50 Best Bars are owned and organised by William Reed, the group behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Hotels.

About the host destination partner: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is a Government-subvented body. Operating 15 offices around the world and representative offices in seven different markets, its primary mission is to maximise the social and economic contribution that tourism makes to the community of Hong Kong, and consolidate the city’s position as a world- class destination. The HKTB works closely with the Government, travel industry and other partners to promote Hong Kong worldwide, widen the range of tourism products and elevate service standards, as well as enhance the experiences of visitors during their stay.

For more details on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and selection process, please visit:

Our Partners:

  • Hong Kong Tourism Board – Official Host Partner
  • Perrier – Official Water Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Asia
  • Michter’s – Official American Whiskey Partner; sponsor of Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award
  • Nikka Whisky – Official Whisky of the World Partner; sponsor of Nikka Highest Climber Award and The Best Bar in Malaysia
  • Ketel One – Official Vodka Partner; sponsor of Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
  • Siete Misterios – Official Mezcal Partner; sponsor of Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award
  • The London Essence – Official Mixers Partner; sponsor of London Essence Best New Opening Award
  • Disaronno – Official Italian Liqueur Partner; sponsor of Disaronno Highest New Entry Award
  • Roku Gin – Official Gin Partner; sponsor of Roku Industry Icon Award
  • Altos Tequila – Official Tequila Partner; sponsor of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender
  • Matusalem – Official Rum Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Mainland China and ceremonial scarves
  • Naked Malt – Official Scotch Whisky Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Korea
  • Rémy Martin – Official Cognac Partner; sponsor of Rémy Martin Legend of the List
  • Campari – Official Bitters Partner; sponsor of Campari One To Watch Award
  • Mancino Vermouth – Official Vermouth Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Taiwan and ceremonial shakers
  • Amaro Lucano – Official Amaro Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Indonesia and ceremonial shakers
  • Tia Maria – Official Coffee Liqueur Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Singapore
  • Torres Brandy – Official Brandy Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Japan
  • Scrappy’s Bitters – Official Cocktail Bitters Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Thailand
  • Bareksten – Official Aquavit Partner; sponsor of Bareksten Best Bar Design Award
  • Rosewood Hong Kong – Official Hotel and Venue Partner
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong – Official Hotel and Venue Partner
  • Aqua Hong Kong – Official Venue Partner

Images courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best Bars/The World’s 50 Best

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 51 to 100

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 51 to 100

by David Klemt

The Zest bar team, led by Dohyung "Demie" Kim, in Seoul, South Korea

The bar team at Zest (No. 5, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023) in Seoul, South Korea, led by Dohyung “Demie” Kim.

As we near the ceremony for the ninth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, taking place in Hong Kong on July 16, we can congratulate numbers 51 to 100.

Clearly one of the hottest bar markets in the world, Singapore dominates the 51 to 100 list this year. Unsurprisingly, the city-state also featured the most bars on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 51 to 100 list. Interestingly, Singapore boasted eight bars on the list last year, and the same in 2024.

In second place on the expanded list in terms of number of bars is Bangkok. The legendary nightlife city claims six spots on the 2024 51 to 100 ranking.

Seoul, South Korea, is not only home to three barsincluding number 51the city is also the home to Zest. This is noteworthy in part because Dohyung “Demie” Kim is the winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2024, one of two awards announced ahead of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 ceremony.

Kim is the co-founder of Zest, which took home the fifth spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list. With that ranking, the bar also claimed the title of the Best Bar in Korea. Further, Zest earned number 18 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list.

On another note, it appears that the we should keep an eye on Tainan City, Taiwan; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Nara, Japan. Each of these cities holds two spots on the 2024 expanded list, a 100-percent increase over 2023. Last year, Lamp Bar, located in Nara, earned spot number 23 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. It’ll be interesting to see if these cities are represented on the one to 50 list for this year.

On that note, we’ll find out which bars are ranked one to 50 on July 16. Mark your calendars. Cheers!

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 100 to 51

  1. Moonrock (Tainan City, Taiwan)
  2. Drinking & Healing (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  3. Dry Wave Cocktail Studio (Bangkok, Thailand)
  4. Tell Camellia (Hong Kong, China)
  5. Home (New Delhi, India)
  6. Charles H (Seoul, South Korea)
  7. Wu (Nothingness) (Taipei, Taiwan)
  8. Last Word (Singapore)
  9. Sober Company (Shanghai, China)
  10. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
  11. Asia Today (Bangkok, Thailand)
  12. Gong Gan (Seoul, South Korea)
  13. The St. Regis Bar (Jakarta) (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  14. High Five (Tokyo, Japan)
  15. Bulgari Ginza Bar (Tokyo, Japan)
  16. The Sailing Bar (Nara, Japan)
  17. Sidecar (New Delhi, India)
  18. Firefly (Bangkok, Thailand)
  19. Southbank Cafe + Lounge (Muntinlupa City, Philippines)
  20. The Hudson Rooms (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  21. Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  22. The Han-jia (Tainan City, Taiwan)
  23. 28 HongKong Street (Singapore)
  24. Cat Bite Club (Singapore)
  25. Gold Bar (Tokyo, Japan)
  26. Bee’s Knees (Kyoto, Japan)
  27. Folklore (Tokyo, Japan)
  28. Opium (Bangkok, Thailand)
  29. Under Lab (Taipei, Taiwan)
  30. The Old Man (Hong Kong, China)
  31. Coley (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  32. Manhattan (Singapore)
  33. Lair (New Delhi, India)
  34. Honky Tonks Tavern (Hong Kong, China)
  35. Mizunara: The Library (Honh Kong, China)
  36. The Elephant Room (Singapore)
  37. Yakoboku (Kumamoto, Japan)
  38. Stay Gold Flamingo (Singapore)
  39. Tropic City (Bangkok, Thailand)
  40. To Infinity & Beyond (Taipei, Taiwan)
  41. No Sleep Club (Singapore)
  42. The Bombay Canteen (Mumbai, India)
  43. Stir (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  44. Republic (Singapore)
  45. Three X Co (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  46. Lamp Bar (Nara, Japan)
  47. Epic (Shanghai, China)
  48. Tokyo Confidential (Tokyo, Japan)
  49. Backdoor Bodega (Penang, Malaysia)
  50. Soko (Seoul, South Korea)


The fourth edition of this prestigious list announces 15 new entries across Asia, with bars from Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo leading the region

9 July 2024 – Shining the spotlight on an extended collection of bars across the region, Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, releases the prestigious 51st to 100th list for the fourth year running. The ranking is revealed one week ahead of its live awards ceremony in Hong Kong and is created from the overall Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process, which sees its 265-member strong Academy – consisting of a gender-balanced group of bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados – place independent and anonymous votes for what they believe constitutes a “best bar experience”.

The 51-100 list: A Snapshot

  • This year’s 51-100 list includes 15 new entries from across the region
  • The list comprises bars spanning 19 different cities across Asia
  • Singapore leads with 8 bars on the extended list, among which Cat Bite Club at No.77 is a new entrant
  • Bangkok is represented by 6 bars, while Tokyo follows with 5 places on the list
  • A bar from Muntinlupa City debuts on the list with Southbank Cafe + Lounge at82

For the full 51-100 list, please refer to the accompanying graphic or scroll to the bottom of this release.

Bars from Singapore command eight places on the 51-100 list, with Republic leading the pack at No.57. This ultra-luxe drinking den at the Ritz-Carlton is inspired by the swinging sixties, with a cocktail menu focused on art, cinema, fashion and music. It is followed by No Sleep Club at No.60, which has moved up fourteen places from last year, Stay Gold Flamingo (No.63), The Elephant Room (No.65), and Manhattan (No.69). At No.77, specialising in rice and agave spirits, Cat Bite Club, is a new entrant, while 28 HongKong Street at No.78 and Last Word at No.93 round off Singapore’s showing.

Bangkok follows with six spots on the list, led by Tropic City at No.62 and Opium at No.73. New entrant Firefly, at No.83, is the Sindhorn Kempinski’s lavish lobby bar where whimsical cocktails and live jazz are complemented by a cigar parlour, followed by Asia Today at No.90 and The Bamboo Bar at No.91. Closing Bangkok’s showing at No.98 is another new entrant, Dry Wave Cocktail Studio, which runs a stellar beverage programme of classic and creative libations led by veteran bartender-owner Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana, who formerly helmed Vesper (No.12 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 and No.55 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023).

Tokyo maintains a strong showing with five bars on the extended list, starting with new entrants Tokyo Confidential (No.53) and Folklore (No.74). The former is an edgy rooftop craft cocktail bar, while Folklore, a modern minimalist space, spotlights avant-garde sake and shochu cocktails. Gold Bar comes in at No.76, followed by another new entrant, Bulgari Ginza Bar at No.86, which promises an Italian aperitivo experience within Tokyo’s iconic Ginza Tower. High Five (No.87) rounds off Tokyo’s representation on the list.

In Hong Kong, Mizunara: The Library has moved up twenty places to No.66, alongside three other bars on the list: Honky Tonks Tavern, which climbs thirty-one places to No.67; The Old Man at No.71; and Tell Camellia at No.97. Topping the 51-100 list is Seoul’s Soko at No.51, followed by new entrant Gong Gan at No.89, a bar housed in a traditional Korean home reimagined with modern design elements and a focus on upcycling. At No.95, Charles H from Seoul rounds off the city’s representation.

Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Taipei boast three spots each on the list. From Kuala Lumpur, Three X Co ascends twenty-one places to No.56 and is followed by Coley (No.70) and Junglebird (No.80). While in New Delhi, the modern speakeasy Lair (No.68) is a new entrant, followed by regulars on the list Sidecar (No.84) and Home (No.96). To Infinity & Beyond leads Taipei’s representation at No.61, followed by two new entries, the laboratory-like cocktail den, Under Lab at No.72 and the offbeat, ‘classic cocktails only’ Wu (Nothingness) at No.94.

Ho Chi Minh City, Nara, Shanghai, and Tainan each occupy two spots on the extended list. From the Vietnamese capital, Stir rises twenty-four places to No.58, followed by Drinking & Healing at No.99, a new entrant boasting ‘industrial chic’ interiors and cocktails with local ingredients. Nara is represented by Lamp Bar (No.55) and The Sailing Bar (No.85), which has ascended three places. In Shanghai, Epic moves up sixteen places to No.54, followed by Sober Company, re-entering the rankings at No.92. The Han-jia from Tainan is a new entrant at No.79, offering a luxurious space with industrial design elements, a global whisky selection, and inventive cocktails; and Moonrock rounds off the list at No.100.

Several destinations are represented on the extended list with one bar each. From Penang, Backdoor Bodega re-enters the rankings at No.52, while The Bombay Canteen from Mumbai comes in at No.59. Kumamoto’s Yakoboku ascends twenty places to No.64; Kyoto’s Bee’s Knees is at No.75, and The Hudson Rooms – the 1920s-inspired oyster and cocktail den on the rooftop of The Capella in Hanoi – is a new addition at No.81. In Indonesia, a new entrant from Jakarta, The St. Regis Bar (No.88) enters the list for its New York-inspired signature cocktails paired with a live jazz band and ultra-luxe interiors.

Marking its debut on the rankings is Muntinlupa City in the Philippines, with Southbank Cafe + Lounge (No.82) – a self-proclaimed ‘drinking room’ that focuses on technique-heavy cocktails within a Melbourne-inspired space.

Emma Sleight, Head of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are thrilled to welcome this diverse cohort of bars on the 51-100 list as part of this year’s 50 Best rankings. Since introducing the extended list in 2021, we have been consistently impressed by the innovative drinking experiences Asia has to offer, and it is beyond exciting to see the large number of new entries and new destinations that have made the list this year. With this recognition, we are hopeful that more bar talent will step forward annually, creating fresh and dynamic cocktail experiences for enthusiasts across the region.”

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024. See more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process here.

The ninth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, will be announced at a live awards ceremony in Hong Kong on 16 July 2024 and is hosted in collaboration with destination partner Hong Kong Tourism Board. The awards ceremony will also be streamed live on the 50 Best Facebook channel via the link here and the YouTube channel via the link here. The announcement of the list and individual awards can be followed via the 50 Best social media channels, with the livestream beginning at 20:25 Hong Kong time/13:25 UK time.

Asia's 50 Best Bars 2024, 51 to 100 chart

About Asia’s 50 Best Bars

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is the first regional event of The World’s 50 Best Bars brand, created in 2016 with the purpose of showcasing the best and most innovative talent in the drinks industry in this region. The annual ranking is based on the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, comprising the most knowledgeable and well-travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. The Academy spans dozens of cities across the continent, reflecting the relative development and importance of bar scenes in different locations and the diversity of the drinking scene in Asia. Asia’s 50 Best Bars, The World’s 50 Best Bars and North America’s 50 Best Bars are owned and organised by William Reed, the group behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Hotels.

About the host destination partner: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is a Government-subvented body. Operating 15 offices around the world and representative offices in seven different markets, its primary mission is to maximise the social and economic contribution that tourism makes to the community of Hong Kong, and consolidate the city’s position as a world- class destination. The HKTB works closely with the Government, travel industry and other partners to promote Hong Kong worldwide, widen the range of tourism products and elevate service standards, as well as enhance the experiences of visitors during their stay.

For more details on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and selection process, please visit:


KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Welcome: Start the Experience Right

Welcome: How to Begin the Guest Experience Like a Pro

by David Klemt

Restaurant host or manager holding menus and leading guests to their table

When you think about the guest experience you and your team deliver, how much consideration do you give the welcome?

I don’t mean just the greeting your front-of-house team gives guests. That’s an important part of the equation, but it’s only one element.

Rather, I’m talking about developing SOPs for welcoming guests into your venue. As importantly, I’m also suggesting that you develop specific onboarding and training for anyone who will greet guests and lead them to their seats.

Luckily, one of the best front-of-house trainers in hospitality spoke at the 2024 Flyover Conference in Cincinnati about this topic. Bethany Lucas, director of operations for Maverick Theory, shared her best tips for startingand endingthe guest experience in a memorable way.

The tips Lucas shared during her Flyover session “Untapped Potential: How to Transform Your Front of House” will indeed transform your business and guest experience.

Now, a word of warning before I begin. Once you read these tips, you’ll likely find yourself analyzing your next few restaurant visits. Ever since sitting in on Lucas’ session, I’ve been unable to avoid paying more attention to how my restaurant visits have begun.

This has included sharing what I’ve noticed with the people in my group. Some of these friends will also pay more attention to the greeting they receive when walking into a restaurant now.

If you’re an operator or front-of-house leader, you’ll probably benefit from checking out restaurants in your area for their welcome procedures.

Invest in Your Door

Operators need to invest in their doors, because “it really is the brain of your restaurant,” says Lucas.

Therefore, it’s crucial that owners and operators understand what’s going on at their doors. Assuming your front-of-house team knows how to greet guests rather than training them on a procedure is a mistake.

Most operators know that hiring the right leaders, kitchen team, servers, and bartenders is imperative to the success of their business. However, the same attention must be paid to finding the right hosts and hostesses.

As Lucas says, “There is no ‘just a hostess.'” Bluntly put, the person running the door is the gatekeeper of the business. They’ll interact with just about every single guest since they serve as the first touchpoint.

So, Lucas encourages operators to ask a number of questions before initiating the hiring process:

  • Are the ideal candidates formal and proper, or friendly and casual? (Or something else entirely.)
  • Will the ideal hosts and hostesses need to be thick-skinned?
  • When considering the appearance of the host team, what does that look like to you? Lucas seeks out people who are polished and professional when building her teams.

These questions should inspire even more considerations, helping an operator identify who they want to run their door.


During her presentation, Lucas provided an example of a less-than-ideal welcome. I think we’ve all experienced what she described.

How often have each of us walked into a restaurant, been greeted, and then led to a table by someone who just takes off? The host or hostess grabs menus, starts walking away toward a table, doesn’t speak to you, and doesn’t even look over their shoulder to see if you’re still following them closely.

I know it’s happened to me more times than I can count. Although, I’m happy to report that this hasn’t happened to me since attending Flyover. Maybe what Lucas put out into the world has had a greater impact than she expected.

A polished and professional host or hostess, per Lucas, will not take off when leading guests to their seats. Additionally, they won’t be silent, failing to engage with the guest verbally. Further, a polished, professional host or hostess doesn’t drop menus on a table and rush back to the door.

In fact, Lucas requires each member of her host teams to ask at least one question of guests being led to their seats. This can be as simple, she explained at Flyover, as the host or hostess turning and asking “How are you today?”

It’s important to note that this attention to the door team isn’t reserved for upscale or fine-dining venues. The beginning and end of a guest’s visit are too important to fail to plan them properly. Regardless of concept and category of venue, guests must feel welcome and valued.


According to Lucas, the farewell can absolutely impact how a guest perceives their visit, and the brand overall. While the server or bartender who served the guest should thank them at the end of their visit, so should the person who first welcomed them.

A simple “thank you for visiting us” can go a long way and serve as a cherry on top of the entire experience.

However, there’s another tip Lucas shared that has really stuck with me. A truly a savvy host team will add a question after they thank a guest for their visit: “Can I make a reservation for you for your next visit?”

Doing so requires the ability to read a guest and their satisfaction with their visit. However, if executed well this is a brilliant way to increase your guest retention rate and convert a first-time guest into a repeat guest, and eventually a regular.

If you’ve read this far, I encourage you to consider your welcome SOPs and door team today. You and leadership team should observe the door and note how guests are being welcomed.

If the procedure doesn’t impress you, it’s not impressing your guests. And if it isn’t impressing your guests, ask yourself why they’d return.

Your door isn’t “just a door,” and your hosts aren’t “just hosts.” Remember that, and plan accordingly.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Cheers to the Flyover Conference!

Cheers to the Flyover Conference and Cincy!

by David Klemt

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River, heading toward Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio

Just pretend the temporary SkyStar Wheel isn’t in this picture.

The successful and exciting launch of the Flyover Conference makes it clear that co-founders Sarah Engstrand and Greg Newman are onto something big.

Big, yet intimate. There’s a real feeling of community when a small-but-driven group gathers with purpose. That’s exactly what Flyover embodies.

Now, I know some people who live between the east and west coasts in the US find the term “flyover” irritating, if not outright offensive. As someone born and raised in the Midwest, I understand the frustration. However, I can assure anyone raising a skeptical eyebrow or frowning at the name of the conference that it isn’t meant as a pejorative.

Rather, Engstrand and Newman are giving a cheeky middle finger (likely two, really) to those who dismiss “secondary” and “tertiary” markets. In fact, their intention is to shine a spotlight onand servecities that don’t receive the same attention as “primary” markets.

By primary, I think you know main culprits: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Miami. In contrast, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cincinnati, and Detroit carry the “secondary” label (as do many other cities).

So, a core element of the conference is featuring speakers who have, up until now, mostly spoken at highly visible trade shows that take place in major host cities. For example, the National Restaurant Association in Chicago.

For the inaugural Flyover, the co-founders put in the work to provide Cincinnati with a powerhouse lineup of hospitality industry speakers. Additionally, this year’s F&B sponsors delivered an awesome array of sips and bites.

Killer Kickoff Keynote

Truly, Flyover’s mission is to deliver maximum impact over the course of just two days. The 2024 speaker lineup serves as a testament to their dedication.

So, too, is how the 2024 show utilized the two speaker stages, provided by Rhinegeist Brewery. Flyover attendees and speakers were close to one another, not separated by the vast expanse of a ballroom or elevation of a platform.

David Kaplan, CEO of Gin & Luck, the parent company of the world’s first cocktail bar chain (for lack of a better term, really) kicked off the event. Perhaps multi-location craft concept is a better phrase to explain Death & Co. in five words or less.

During his informative and inspiring keynote, he detailed he and his team’s approach to entrepreneurship. As Kaplan explains, when someone understands their purpose (why), they come to an understanding that helps develop their process (how). In turn, that gives an entrepreneur an understanding of the outcome they’re working toward, or their “what.”

I’ll dive much deeper into his keynote in a future article, because Kaplan’s approach goes much further than why, how, and what. In fact, in keeping with his status as one of the most transparent people in hospitality, Kaplan shares his personal core values, along with those of Death & Co.

Engaging Education

Bartender-cum-licensed psychotherapist (and soon-to-be organizational psychologist) Laura Louise Green took on a topic afflicting all of hospitality: burnout. The founder of Healthy Pour, Green explained that burnout is not only different than stress, it’s certainly not a sign of weakness to take the time to address it.

One of my favorites, Chef Brian Duffy, took a different approach to the topic of menus. Instead of reviewing a handful of submissions, Duffy took questions and addressed issues with food purveyors directly in a frank and open discussion.

Encouraging operators to take greater risks, Michael Tipps, co-founder of Maverick Theory, drove home a compelling point. Oftentimes, operators are fearless when developing their concepts. However, something curious often happens when it’s time to welcome the public into the space: second guessing, and blunting the sharpness of the original vision.

Oh, and I shared the KRG Hospitality approach to systems, starting, stabilizing, and scaling, my second time every presenting at a conference. Most people assume that because I host a podcast I’m comfortable talking to anyone, anywhere. That’s mostly true. However, I, like millions of other people, find public speaking anxiety-inducing. So, a huge thanks to the Flyover team, fellow speakers, and mostly the attendees for setting me at ease.

The above are but a handful of the education sessions that Flyover provided for attendees. Other topics ranged from the need for fully realized non-alcohol bar programs, building events in house, and operators handling their own PR campaigns, to leadership skills and leveraging the power of an effective door team.

Bang for Buck

Anyone who has attended one of the big hospitality industry conferences has probably been subjected to the experience below.

You file into a session featuring a topic of particular interest to you and your business. Even better, the speaker is someone you’re excited to see and hear. The presentation ends and…awkward silence. Almost everyone is too afraid to ask a question that they feel may make them look “stupid,” or like they’re not a good operator. Finally, someone asks a question, and that leads to a few more questions.

Unfortunately, the presentation was 45 to 50 minutes long, and with the awkward pause after its conclusion, there are barely ten minutes left for the speaker to answer questions. When they’re shooed off the stage, they’re swarmed in the hallway. You think they may be overwhelmed, you don’t want to add to that or inconvenience someone you admire, and you never get to meet them, ask them an important question, and exchange business cards.

That’s not an indictment of the large, more mainstream conferences. It’s just how it is when you pack dozens upon dozens of speakers, and thousands of attendees, into a conference hall. Further, schedules tend to be so loaded in order to attract attendees and boost ticket sales that people are forced to make difficult choices and miss out on some awesome sessions.

In contrast, Flyover intends to limit their ticket sales. And while there will always be a choice to make at a conference, they seek to mitigate that prevalent issue. Was this year’s show perfect? No, there were growing pains, as expected. Will this team learn and improve the show to maximize the impact for attendees? I have every confidence that the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Future Flyovers

I have to say, I’m deeply interested in the future of Flyover Conference. In fact, schedule permitting, I would attend even if I weren’t asked to speak at future shows.

It was an honor to be part of something of so impactful.

The entire point of this industryhospitalitycan sometimes fall to the wayside at conferences, trade shows, and expos. Another way of saying that is that while we all speak the same language, we often forget to take the time to connect with one another.

While there’s work to do, Flyover addresses this issue. The show is set up so that attendees, speakers, and sponsors are sharing the same spaces; there’s an actual sense of community. When it comes the host city, there’s a real sense of place, and that’s important.

Speaking of the host city…the next Flyover will take place in a city I mentioned at the top of this article. The most populous city in Michigan, DetroitMotor City itself—will host the second Flyover Conference. Looking forward to it, Hockeytown.

Be sure to connect with Flyover for updates and announcements.


Image: Jake Blucker on Unsplash

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5 Books to Read this Month: July 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring July book selections will give you a new perspective on developing leadership skills, identifying your core values, effective branding, and more.

To review the book recommendations from June 2024, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Wawa Way: How a Funny Name and Six Core Values Revolutionized Convenience

Core values is one of the topics that came up during the inaugural Flyover Conference, which took place in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact, keynote speaker Dave Kaplan of hospitality group Gin & Luck (Death & Co.) shared his approach to identifying personal and brand core values. (Yes, I’ll be writing an article on that for publication in the near future.) This book, written by Howard Stoeckel, vice chairman of Wawa, illustrates the importance of identifying, adhering to, and revisiting core values on a regular basis to forge a path toward long-term success.

From Amazon: “Grahame Wood opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for Wawa dairy products. Since then, the convenience store has grown into a well-known company that competes against the biggest industry players in the world in three areas: fuel, convenience, and food, all while maintaining their personal approach and small business mentality. Now, almost 50 years later, Wawa has opened its first store in Florida and begun to play on the national field. How did it happen? What are the reasons for their success? Why have they been able to go up against the big guys with nothing more than homegrown talent?”

Pick up the paperback here.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Interestingly, The Checklist Manifesto credits the US Air Force with implementing checklists to great success. As a former airman myself, I can attest to the USAF’s strict usage of this simple but effective tool. So, it should come as no surprise that Iand the rest of the KRG Hospitality teamare firm believers in operators using checklists every day. Indeed, one of the services we provide is creating tailor-made checklists for our clients.

Moreover, Dave Kaplan recommended this book during the Q&A session of my Flyover Conference session. Now, I’m recommending this book to you and our clients.

From Amazon: “We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist. First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.”

Get your copy today.

Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make It Work for You

Are you aware there’s a position within the US Department of State dedicated to advising president, vice president, and secretary of state on diplomatic protocol? The person in this role is the chief of protocol, and they claim the ranks of assistant secretary of state, and ambassador. Among their responsibilities, this person ensures those in the highest offices are aware of and understand cultural gestures. Further, these people know how powerful seemingly “small” gestures are in influencing interactions and experiences.

Savvy operators will see parallels in the experiences they deliver to guests. Protocol was written by Capricia Penavic Marshall, former chief of protocol to former President Obama. In its pages you’ll learn the importance of etiquette, diplomacy, implementing and training your team on SOPs, and how there are no “minor” details in hospitality.

From Amazon: “Sharing unvarnished anecdotes from her time in office—harrowing near misses, exhilarating triumphs, heartwarming personal stories—Marshall  brings us a master class in soft power, unveiling the complexity of human interactions and making the case that etiquette, cultural IQ, and a flexible mind-set matter now more than ever. When the notion of basic civility seems to be endangered, Protocol reminds us how critical these principles are while providing an accessible guide for anyone who wants to be empowered by the tools of diplomacy in work and everyday life.”

Buy it here!

Day Trading Attention: How to Actually Build Brand and Sales in the New Social Media World

As an operator, your time is your most-valuable resource. Therefore, you need to make sure you spend it wisely and take massive action. This relates to marketing and branding, as creating content is a waste of time if it’s not impactful, relevant, and engaging in order to result in traffic and sales.

From Amazon: “In his latest book, [Gary] Vaynerchuk argues that today’s fast-growing businesses, brands, content creators, and influencers have one thing in common: They mastered storytelling in areas of underpriced attention, which predominantly exists across a handful of social media platforms. Informed by 20+ years of business and marketing success, he contends that the biggest transformation and opportunity is the “TikTokification of Social Media.” Increasingly, platforms are distributing content based on what users are interested in, rather than who they follow.”

Grab yours now.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Yep, I’m taking the opportunity to recommend Doug Radkey’s first book. Radkey is, as you may know, the president of KRG Hospitality. In his this book he explains the importance of nailing the fundamentals in order to:

  • start your operator journey in the best possible position;
  • stabilize your business; and
  • scale when the time comes, if that’s what you want.

From Amazon: “This informative and conversational book is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry–Bar Hacks is written just for you!”

Click here to get your copy today!

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Program for Unique Holidays: July 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: July 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you think about your July holiday programming.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and this month is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our June 2024 holidays list, click here.

July 7: National Dive Bar Day

Alright, dive and neighborhood bar operatorsthis is the day to really ensure you and your bar team shine. Show the community why your bar is one of the cornerstones of the neighborhood. This is an opportunity to pull out the stops to impress your regulars and reinforce their love of your bar, and to attract new neighbors to hang out at your place on a regular basis.

July 8: National SCUD Day

Let’s clarify this at the start: SCUD stands for “Savor the Comic and Unplug the Drama.” The intent is for people to relax, unplug, and enjoy some humor, or at least take a light-hearted approach to life. Now, if you happen to feature stand-up comedy or operate a comedy club, this holiday should be all the way in your wheelhouse.

July 9: Cow Appreciation Day

The humble cow provides a lot for us. In addition to all manner of food items, cows even help us make some very smooth vodkas. Given how much cows give, operators can make entire prix fixe menus dedicated to them: from appetizer to dessert, the cow can fill out an entire meal, including drinks.

However, you can take another approach to this holiday. Vegan restaurants, for example, can highlight alternatives to cow products by creating dishes, drinks, and prix fixe menus.

July 11: National Mojito Day

Here’s an easy one. After you’ve ensured that your bar team makes an excellent Mojito, create an LTO menu. Feature the traditional build, a high-end version, and a creative variant or two.

July 13: Embrace Your Geekness Day

How the times have changed, for the better in this instance. Not long ago, “geek” was a real insult. Now, we can’t wait as individuals to geek out with others over our hobbies, interests, and other passions.

Does your bar have an overall theme that can be amplified for maximum geekiness? Do you feature board games, card games, or even video games? Is it common for clubs to meet up at your place? Have you noticed something that several of your patrons seem to enjoy talking about and geeking out over? Lean as far into that as you can and create an amazing experience.

July 15: National Be a Dork Day

Maybe you don’t like the word “geek.” Perhaps, to you, being a dork is more about being a bit (or very) silly, and leaning into being “uncool” (which is actually cool).

At any rate, if you’re not into the idea of Embrace Your Geekness Day—or you want to showcase the difference between geeks and dorks—National Be a Dork Day may work well for you.

July 21: National Junk Food Day

We all have differing ideas about junk food. For some, junk food refers to candy and dessert foods, specifically. To others, it’s anything that isn’t considered a healthy food.

The approach I recommend is giving people an excuse to eat and drink whatever they want on this day, or taking a cheat day. Further, you can certainly create a cocktail menu that captures the flavors of people’s favorite candy bars, candies, etc. Or, build over-the-top burgers, come up with a signature food challenge, or create a signature pizza that features compelling and unique toppings.

July 22: National Mango Day

Mango Margaritas, Mango Mezcalritas, mango IPA, mango ale, mango salsa, mango-habanero-glazed short ribs… If you can mango it, put it on an LTO menu.

July 27: National Take Your Pants for a Walk Day

Are you in a walkable city? This is really just a more interesting way of saying, “Walk to our bar/restaurant to earn your treat and time out with friends.”

July 31: National Avocado Day

Don’t be avoca-don’tbe an avoca-do. If your dishes and drinks can feature avocado in some way, have your kitchen and bar teams lean into it. For example, this would be a fantastic day to impress with a signature guacamole, made table-side.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheers to the 2024 Tales Catalysts!

Cheers to the 2024 Tales Catalyst Honorees!

by David Klemt

Please join us in congratulating this year’s Tales Catalyst honorees, announced this week by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

In addition to unveiling the 2024 Tales of the Cocktail agenda, and revealing the top four Spirited Awards finalists, Tales is recognizing two industry leaders as Tales Catalysts.

Becky Paskin, an award-winning whisky journalist, consultant, and presenter, and chief curating officer for Pictures and Cocktails LLC, Keyatta Mincey Parker, are this year’s honorees.

Both Paskin and Mincey Parker are being recognized, in large part, for their commitment to community, inclusivity, equity, and innovation. That’s to say nothing of the education they provide to others in the industry.

To learn more about Paskin and Mincey Parker, including their contributions to the industry, please review the official press release below.



Tales of the Cocktail Foundation names Becky Paskin and Keyatta Mincey Parker as this year’s Tales Catalysts, continuing a 12-year tradition of championing leading industry members who represent marginalized groups and foster meaningful change within their communities

NEW ORLEANS, LA (June 26, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is pleased to announce the 2024 Tales Catalyst honorees, recognizing members of the cocktail community who are elevating the industry to greater heights. The 2024 International Honoree is Becky Paskin and the U.S. Honoree is Keyatta Mincey Parker, presented by Diageo Bar Academy. Tales Catalysts reflects a more inclusive and intersectional space for recognizing and celebrating leaders in the industry, solely for their contributions to making the drinks industry a more inclusive space – without barriers of gender or identity. Tales Catalyst, in partnership with SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media (Provi publications), the official Tales Catalyst media partners, will take place during Tales of the Cocktail® on Tuesday, July 23 at 3:00 PM, at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. The event will feature speeches by the honorees followed by a cocktail hour, with this year’s honorees speaking to their unique vision and personal efforts in fostering inclusivity in the drinks industry.

“I am overjoyed to see these new Catalyst Award recipients being honored at Tales of the Cocktail,” said Catalyst Co-Chair Tiffanie Barriere. “Their innovative contributions and consistent dedication to advancing the cocktail and spirits industry set them apart as true pioneers. Each recipient has demonstrated an exceptional ability to inspire, educate, and elevate our community, making profound impacts through their creativity and commitment. Their recognition is not only well-deserved but also a testament to the future and innovation of our craft.”

This year’s honorees were selected from a pool of over 100 qualified applicants and carefully chosen by Tales Catalyst Committee Members.

“Our two honorees are the definition of community builders. Each a Catalyst in their own way,” said Catalyst Co-Chair Robin Nance. “Keyatta has created and cultivated a space for her community and continues to expand and elevate what is possible. Becky took her disappointment and frustration and created a space that celebrates women in a category that often leaves them out of the conversation. They are both incredibly deserving and I can’t wait to honor them in July!”

Guests are invited to celebrate this year’s Tales Catalyst Honorees during Tales of the Cocktail® on Tuesday, July 23 at 3:00 PM. For those who are interested in attending, tickets may be purchased on the TOTCF website.

2024 Catalyst Honorees:

2024 Catalyst International Honoree:

Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin is an award-winning whisky journalist, presenter, and consultant, and founder of the OurWhisky Foundation. Formerly editor of leading online magazine and global trade title The Spirits Business, her writing appears in a variety of publications from Club Oenologique and Waitrose to Whisky Magazine and the Daily Beast. She is a regular drinks presenter for television and radio, including ITV’s Love Your Weekend and This Morning, and regularly presents educational seminars at global drinks festivals.

Becky is an advocate for equality and inclusion within the global whisky industry; her work has led her to being named Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year, IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year, SevenFifty Daily’s Drinks Innovator of the Year, and listed as About Time Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch in Drinks. She is also a Keeper of the Quaich and has been named one of the 50 most influential people in the global drinks industry by Drinks International for the past four years.

2024 Catalyst U.S. Honoree:

Keyatta Mincey Parker

Keyatta Mincey Parker, a prominent figure in the spirits and cocktails industry, serves as the Chief Curating Officer at Pictures and Cocktails LLC. With over two decades of experience in the food service and hospitality sector, she brings a unique blend of expertise, merging her knowledge from hotels, fine dining, dynamic dance clubs, and her rich Liberian heritage. Recognized by Thrillist and Tastemakers as a must-know bartender and one of the Top 50 Bartenders in the South, Keyatta has garnered attention from prestigious publications such as Forbes, Food and Wine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Southern Living Magazine.

Collaborating with influential spirit brands, chefs, celebrities, and farmers, Keyatta Mincey Parker is known for creating visually stunning and innovative cocktails. As the driving force behind Pictures and Cocktails, she designs bespoke cocktails and experiences. Additionally, she is the Founder and Executive Director of A Sip of Paradise Garden, a non-profit community garden for bartenders and hospitality professionals in Atlanta.

Keyatta’s impressive repertoire includes crafting the celebratory cocktail for the Liberian Olympic National Team, which has been adopted as the team’s official drink. She has been inducted into the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and recognized as a member of Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Future 40. Recently, she joined the board of Slow Foods Atlanta, aiming to expand her influence from the creative side of food to food justice, advocating for clean, fair, and healthy food for all.

As an esteemed speaker, Keyatta addresses topics such as philanthropy, community building, mental health, gardening, agriculture, black land ownership, equity in hospitality, and women in leadership. Despite her diverse interests, her passion for cocktails remains a constant focal point.

Tales Catalyst Partners

Catalyst is proud to share its presenting, supporting, and media partners, who help make the 2024 Tales Catalyst possible. Tales Catalyst 2024 is presented by Diageo Bar Academy with support from Don Q Rum, Korbel, Laird & Co, and Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic. Thank you to the Official Water of TOTC2024: Maison Perrier. The official Tales Catalyst Media Partner for 2024 is Provi.

Tales of the Cocktail® 2024

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation hosts its 22-year anniversary Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and will celebrate the theme of “Inspire.”

For more information on Tales of the Cocktail or Tales Catalyst, please visit the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, TOTCF hosts its 22nd Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and celebrates the theme Inspire.


SevenFifty Daily is an award-winning online magazine about the business and culture of the beverage alcohol industry. Beverage Media Group contains a network of national, market-specific publications with industry insights and printed distributor pricing by region. Covering the three tiers of the alcohol industry, the publications connect a global community of drinks professionals, creating a space that fosters conversation and a platform for showcasing the people and ideas moving the industry forward. Both SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media Group are Provi publications.

Image: 2023 Tales Catalysts event by Rush Jagoe

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Ghosting in the Professional World

Hello, is Anybody There? Ghosting in the Professional World

by Jennifer Radkey

An abandoned saloon covered in dust and cobwebs

We could be transforming this abandoned saloon into an amazing bar and restaurant, but we got ghosted. Also, drink Spork beer!

The act of ghosting may have started in the dating world but this phenomenon has, unfortunately, taken root deeply in the professional world.

In case you haven’t had the (dis)pleasure of experiencing ghosting, allow me to summarize. Ghosting is suddenly becoming unresponsive to all forms of communication without explanation.

Not only is ghosting toxic to business relationships and your brand image, it can be toxic to your overall mindset and feelings of self-respect.

People participate in the act of ghosting for many reasons, which can include:

  • conflict avoidance
  • indifference; and
  • low accountability.

These are not traits that lend well to earning respect from others or yourself. It’s good practice to protect your mental health and set clear boundaries, but this should not include the act of ghosting.

You are a professional. You can deal with uncomfortable situations and be responsible to yourself, your team, and your industry.

Ghosting can feel like the easy route, but it comes with long-term consequences. How you choose to interact with your team, your colleagues, other industry professionals, and your clients/customers is all a reflection of your personal and professional brand.

Check in with these five examples of ghosting in the professional world to make sure that you’re not participating in any actions (or inaction) that may result in a loss of respect.

Not Responding to Quotes and Proposals

You needed a service for your business, so you reached out to another business for a quote or proposal. Then you received the proposal, read it over, decided it wasn’t right for you…and never responded.

Remember, you sought out these professionalsthey didn’t cold call you. They gave you their time to put together a quote or proposal. The very least you can offer is acknowledgement that you received their quote, along with an update on where you stand.

Let’s start respecting each other’s time and effort.

Not Following Up with Job Candidates

We all complain when we’re ghosted by a job candidate and they don’t show for an interview. But that goes both ways.

Make sure that you’re taking the time to respond to job candidates (particularly after the interview process) to provide an update on the position.

You are your brand and represent its values; every impression matters.

Breaking Promises to Your Team

You promise your team a team-building event, or an end-of-quarter bonus. Then you fail to follow through.

Nothing breaks respect faster than not following through on promises. If you can’t make a promise happen you need to take ownership of that and honour your integrity by letting your team know.

They may be upset that the event isn’t happening. However, they’ll at least respect you for being honest and upfront with them.

Not Reading or Responding to Customer Reviews

Ghosting a customer or client will not only result in losing that particular person’s business but future prospects as well.

We don’t succeed without our clients, and they need to feel acknowledged when sharing reviews, good or bad as they may be.

If you don’t have time to read and respond to all reviews on your own, make sure you have someone on your team who can perform this task for you. Thoughtfully, of course.

Being Inaccessible to your Team

If you find yourself hiding from your team in a closed office or behind your computer more often than not, it’s time to acknowledge that you have been ghosting them.

A present owner is an involved owner. Not only will you have a better finger on the pulse of your business, you’ll create stronger working relationships with those on your team.

It Starts with You

If we want to bring clear communication and respect back to the professional world, it’s going to have to start with you. Complaining about being ghosted and then participating in the act of ghosting yourself is not going to change anything.

We all need to take pride in being professionals, and go out there to earn the respect of others and ourselves.

Take pride in becoming an open communicator and demonstrating respect in the workplace. Not only will this aid in your overall success, doing so will create a healthy mindset too.

Cheers to personal and professional well-being!

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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