John Dsouza , Proprietor of BarBoss JD Bar Solutions
Having been associated with the hospitality industry since 1993, John started his journey at a small restaurant then progressed working at a 3 star property followed by a five star property. He completed his education at IHM Goa while he was working. Then he moved on to work with an International cruise line for 12 years, which was based in UK.
During his experience with the cruise line, he completed Level 3 in wine through a renowned organisation called Wine and Spirit Education Trust which holds a lot of value in India and in different parts of the world where people are in the wine business. He also has worked as a wine sommelier with the cruise line. By the end of his tenure at the cruise line, John was an outlet head managing the entire staff and was also responsible for the operations of the outlet.
When he joined this industry he was only 19 and did not think he would have a future in it. He was still studying and was in the middle of his academic career. He did not have anyone to guide him in his career, so wherever he entered, he made that his path for a career. He mentions that it has been a wonderful journey.
For the last 8 years, he has been doing different things in Goa, teaching students in catering colleges, conducting tasting sessions with wine or cocktail workshops as well as training restaurant staff with food as well as drinks. Right from meet and greet to bidding farewell including how to handle difficult customers, promoting non moving items on the menu, how to suggest any specialities and so on.
For the last 2 years, he has been doing bar events from small house parties to large weddings and corporate events. That is from setting up from zero to everything in a bar.
He says, “I enjoy everything I do. Right from 1993 till today there is not a single moment that I regret being in this industry. I have seen more than half the globe being in this industry which I may not have been able to otherwise. I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey and I am still enjoying it and trying different things.”
“It is a complete pleasure and I will recommend anyone to be in this industry because here, we are associated with people as this is a people industry. We meet people and talk to them. Anybody feeling low and coming to you, you have to have the knack of making the person feel better and being able to understand their emotions. We are serving people food and drink. What can me more wonderful than that? That is the basic need of the human life and we are doing that for you.”
In his profession his top priority is ensuring that the guest gets what the guest expects. While designing a bar or a training method he would design the place in such a way that there is nothing that is overlooked. Right from making the area work friendly to designing the menu for the guest as to have a very good variety of drinks to training the staff to handle guests very well. He strives to make the moment and visit very memorable for the clients that would come to them.
In order to keep himself updated, John reads a lot of books or is constantly on the internet checking out what is happening not only in India but in various parts of the world, what are the new concepts or the new things that people are trying. He reminiscences of the time where the privilege of the internet was not known. There were no computers nor were there smart phones. He had to only depend on books or his seniors who worked at better properties.
He says that the availability of ingredients is truly a challenge while trying to do something new. “There are so many drinks that are designed with so many ingredients that are not even heard of in India. Take for example Bitters. Here we know only of one kind of bitter but there are dozens of bitters which are manufactured by small craft companies. Same goes for Gins and Beers which are not available locally or even in India. We are catching up slowly no doubt but there are many ingredients, liqueurs and syrups which are very popular in the Western World but not available in India. So it becomes very challenging to create those recipes.”
There is also a challenge that is faced with many equipments that may be required which he has to look up on Amazon.com and may have to come from outside the country. So here the customs becomes an issue. The laws in India are not very much in favour of alcohol. “We have to go through very stringent norms and require permissions for everything that may be related to manufacturing or marketing alcohol. But we have managed to come a long way.”
To ensure quality, Mr. John sticks to known and trusted brands. He does not use substandard products. But in case of a new brand that he would like to use, he first samples it and then compares it to other brands that he has worked with before and if it is better then he goes ahead. He also mentions that the cost factor also needs to be taken into account. If the product is pricey but the quality is very good in comparison to what he is using, then there is no looking back. It also depends on the type of client approaching him. If a client has a high budget then they are concerned more about the quality than the cost. There are also clients that are very conscious about the budget, so he needs to work around that as well. However he ensures that the quality is never compromised. He is always open to suggestions and believes in continuous improvement.
Issues with staff, is another challenge as they are not regular or punctual sometimes. Depending on the magnitude of the event, he hires staff but he does have certain guys who are his regulars. They understand his requirement and hence he does not have to spend too much time on them. He also has his nephew who is of the hospitality background and experienced as well.
He further says, “I am taking the current situation as an advantage and a blessing. You have to move on and change. As the times change or as the phase in anyone’s life changes, a person has to move on to do different things. In my life I kept on moving places and positions at work. So, I believe in moving. I don’t believe in being stagnated in one place. Even in my line of work, though it is my own and I am not answerable to anybody, I believe in changing trends or doing something that people have not seen before. I am taking the current situation as a blessing as that makes us think of how to get out of it or how to do something different.”
Being courteous, kind, respectful and making the guest feel welcomed is how one makes them happy. He says, “Right from the time the person enters your outlet or you come in contact with the guest, the vibe that emanates from you, the smile and the welcoming feeling, that itself makes the guest feel happy to be there. Even if you are busy make eye contact and acknowledge them. If you ask them to give you a moment and that you will be with them, I don’t think anybody would mind being made to wait for a while. I train my staff to do exactly this.”
- Next higher goal
Currently, he is working on a new concept but he says that it is not where he stops. “Till my mind is ticking, I will come up with something or the other”, he says proudly. “The concept we are working on right now is for the convenience of the end user. I am not doing it for the money or fame. These are things that will eventually come provided the end consumer is happy and is talking about us and are happy with us. My goal is to make it convenient for the people.”
To his readers he would like to say, “Be happy with what you do. Give your 100% and the rest will fall in place. This way you will be satisfied and the people for whom you are doing this will also be happy.”