Hospitality Industry has been dealt a huge blow with ongoing COVID – 19 crisis. As the economies slacken and people are confined to their homes in a state of lockdown, the experience of going to a pub and enjoying your favourite drink in the company of your friends now seems like a distant dream. Even more greater is the impact on the people who took their passion of mixing and innovating with drinks and converted it into a source of income a.k.a our mixologist and bartenders.
We interviewed Mr. Yangdup Lama to get an insiders view on the hospitality industry and the tough times faced. A little bit about Mr. Lama, He is a mixologist and an entrepreneur originally from Darjeeling and heads Cocktails and Dreams– a renowned bar service and beverage consultancy company. He is also a founding partner of two iconic bars, Sidecar, Delhi and Dreams Speakeasy Gurgaon. He has been a consultant and a trainer and has worked with the likes of United Spirits, Pernod-Ricard, Bacardi, Diageo, Remy Cointreau, Angostura to name a few.
Below is a short interview with Mr. Lama.
Hospitality industry has taken a huge hit due to the COVID-19 crisis, how difficult it is for the bartenders, pub owners and other employees?
Quite difficult coz survival with such high costs and no income means the times are tough. More than 50% of the bartenders are at the verge of loosing their jobs and pub owners are feeling the pressure of finding a way to survive tough. So overall a grim situation there.
Can you share with us some of the major challenges faced?
Major challenge is paying for all the fixed costs with other would amount to 35% of the business. Rentals, salaries, govt fees and other fixed charges like electricity, water and other essentials. Also keeping the motivation and the enthusiasm of the team together.
You started cocktails and dreams bartending school few years back? Has the COVID-19 crisis affected that?
Yes it has. Until there are job opportunities created there will be no demand for that career path. So the challenge is to figure out a way to see how these students can be observed by the industry. Everything seems frozen presently and there is a ripple effect.
Is bartending something that can be taught online? If yes, how effectively, since everything is about guidance on sensory perceptions?
Only 20% of the profession can be taught online. This is a profession that is all about on the job and requires a very strong human element for development and progress. Hence I would say it’s a long wait for almost a year for things to start settling down if it is likely to settle
When everyone is talking about social distancing and every business trying to go digital, where do you see the hospitality industry in the future?
It’s a very short term solution for the hospitality industry. In the true sense of it hospitality is about people and the warmth that people can bring to the table. There’s nothing that can replace people in this format of the product. Thus we will all have to wait for the normal normal and cant live with the new normal forever
I see initiatives going on around the world for contributions towards people who have lost their source of income? Are these contributions enough and do they reach the people?
It is again a short term solution. There is help coming on but that will stop soon. Each individual has to figure out his/her own way to survive these challenging times. As regards reaching to people yes and no both depending how it is being channelized by the organisers and how it is being analysed by the contributors.
Is there any initiative that you would like to share using our platform?
My initiative is simple. One should pursue certain skill apart from what one already has and this is the best time to do that. Also the fact that we are under real challenging times the idea is to realise that nothing can stop the human mind from being innovative. Thus use your intelligence to emerge as a better and a more evolved human being in the course of the next few months
One last question, how are you dealing with the tough Quarantine times? Any special drink/recipe/tip you want to share with our readers?
Cooking and practicing another very important as my life and that is spirituality. It is been growing within me for more than 20 years now and the last few weeks has brought in better realisation of the same. The mind is everything. As regards recipe here is one simple stuff that anyone can do at home. Make an old fashioned and many variations of the same
Bourbon – 60ml
Angostura bitters – 3 drops
Sugar cube – 1 number
In a rocks glass drop the sugar and angostura bitters and muddle to dissolve. Pour the whiskey and fill with ice. Stir for a while and finish with orange oils.
The bourbon whiskey can be replaced by a good aged rum, aged tequila, cognac or even a scotch to make more variations and the sugar syrup can be replaced by flavoured syrups. As you like it.