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Belize~The Bartender Industry

Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2017. 3:18 pm CST.


By Richard Harrison:  Bar tenders are like pharmacists….only they serve up social medicine.

With the right mix….they can help people to “forget about life for a while”….to otherwise let down their hair, smile, hum, whistle, sing, dance and engage in merry making.

A good bar tender leaves his own worries home….and pays full and keen attention to the mood of each of his patrons….he tries to make everyone more happy….he is at the center of creating happiness for clients and co-workers….and profits for establishment owners.

It is estimated that there are around 2,500 bar tenders in Belize…..from neighborhood cantinas and private parties to resort and beach clubs, private yachts and cruise ships….demand for Belizean bar tenders is on the rise.

Bar tenders earn anywhere between $200 to $900 per week, including tips….and earning depends on customer friendliness, experience, skills, training, character, reputation, number of hours worked, establishment, location, among other factors.

Only an estimated 10% of bar tenders are females….and establishments are very interested in employing more female bar tenders.

A young Belizean entrepreneur by the name of Luis Velasquez manages a certified training program for bar tenders at different levels from basic to masters….under the brand Belize Institute of Mixology. He claims that they have trained over 500 bar tenders since starting up….and that his successful graduates find jobs very quickly….as far off as Roatan, Cayman Islands, Montego Bay (Jamaica), Cancun and the entire Riviera Maya, Miami and Peten and Izabal, Guatemala….as well as on various cruise ships. Their training does not only include the mixing of exotic drinks, but also entertaining showmanship, ambiance creativity, the profitable management of the establishment under his direct supervision…and most importantly, group working skills.

The market for bar tenders in the region is very large….and growing along with the tourism industry and local populations.

The local manufacturers of liquor, beer, wines, mixers, fruits, juices, spices and all those things produced in Belize benefit from the bartenders work……even the importers of these, benefit handsomely….this is an estimated $300 million market annually….they all should come together to invest in a more sophisticated bar tender industry….everyone has something to gain….and Belize can rapidly multiply its export of bar tenders to other parts of the world…being bilingual, trained in mixology and bar management and with the best character, attitude and disposition among bar tenders anywhere in the world.

The bar tender is in the best position to apply for higher jobs….such as food and beverage manager….purchasing manager…..events manager….etc etc…..and thus good bar tenders can move rapidly up the chain of command in establishments….and can pull up their colleagues along with them.

A good bartender needs to also be a DJ of sorts….because music is an important part of ambiance management. They need to judge the mood of clients….and put on music that gets them into a happier state of mind….in balance….so that all customers are satisfied. It is not an easy job!

The bartender is a good listener…..he listens to stories….real and imagined….from all kinds of customers….and keeps them to himself…..he is a trusted friend! Jeje

Without refusing a customer a drink….he knows when to reduce the dosage of alcohol in drinks to help patrons from getting too drunk and out of self-control…..and he knows when to make it their last call, if and when necessary….and to allow calls to friends to pick up a customer that should not be allowed to drive home alone.

The bar tenders job is one of the most fun jobs in the world….they get to meet a lot of people, old and new, most of which are nice…and who give them their trust…sometimes love…. at first sight….plus tips! A bar tender knows where to find anything and everything in a community….and has contacts. Many people will accept a bar tenders recommendation without even thinking. He is a trusted friend!! Jeje

As with any craftsman….a bar tender needs his tools….to make the best drinks…without making too much noise….in the fastest way possible….served with style and finesse….while keeping the work place tidy and orderly. A bar tender is an artist!

Some bartenders have created their own concoctions of social medicine….the famous Green Lizard at the Split in Caye Caulker is now world famous….the Panty Ripper is as popular as Pina Colada. This laboratory of creativity must be encouraged and rewarded…perhaps even patented!

The world of beverage manufacturing is also out there….Belikin sorrel and chocolate stout is growing in popularity, as bartenders promote it to more customers….and there are drinks from coffee, chocolate, craboo, and a wide range of fruits, herbs, leaves, roots, barks and other materials. When Belize learns to commercialize consumer goods internationally, the sales of these will explode….because there are a lot of interesting products in the pipeline….alcoholic, medicinal and non-alcoholic.

There are a lot of bar goers that want non-alcoholic drinks….and the bartenders are developing a wide range of shakes, smoothies and other non-alcoholic “virgin” specialties.

In short….the bar tender industry is experiencing dynamic growth…and presents a world of opportunity for young Belizeans so inclined. Shots!!!

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.


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