Meet Leah, Leah is currently on her last year at Law School in Canada and she faced an increasingly common situation among students in North America: a growing student debt. Speaking with a friend who had returned from a summer bartending in a cruiser across the Caribbean making more than $25,000, she decided to give bartending a shot. Now she is making an approximate $1,000 per week working only from Thursday to Saturday in one of the most popular venues in town. This is how she does it:
Q: Leah, many of our students would love to know how you got to the point where you can consistently live on bartending? Did you have contacts in the industry? Did you attend a gastronomy school? L: Well, what made the difference was learning the foundations. I was attending Law School already so I had to take a Bartending Course every Sunday for 5 weeks. However this was invaluable since it shorted my learning curve so much! I found out that no matter how much experience you have, you will always have to undergo training when you enter a new venue, to learn their particular system of work, however, there are skills like free pouring, cocktail making and speed serving that are crucial. If you have those, everything else will come pretty easy and your bosses will notice and trust you with the busier shifts, which is where the big money is.
Q: Interesting! And how did you work your way into the bar that you are currently working at? Well, once you have the basic skills to bartend anywhere you need to get a place that will give you that first opportunity. In my case I figured that if I was gonna be turned down for my lack of experience I preferred to be said no by a manager at a top nightclub than by a shady pub owner. Fortunately I was lucky enough to run into an intelligent manager who was impressed by the research I had made into their entertainment offer and clientele. I told him I could appeal to the type of guest they were looking for and I got my opportunity. The fact I had previous training helped me absorb what they taught me 10x faster and I was given an opportunity at the bar just a month later.
Thanks for your infield tips Leah! Looking forward hearing from you in a future.