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Jason-Candid Knüsel: Putting hospitality at the centre of bar culture

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When we started putting together this latest podcast, it was scheduled for National Hospitality Day which has now been moved to 30 September due to the period of national mourning. National Hospitality Day is a day to celebrate people who work in the hospitality industry and the amazing spaces that they run. At Club Soda, we are connected to this through our work with The Drinks Trust and supporting people in the hospitality industry to deal with bar culture and alcohol. Discover more about our work to support people in the industry and secure a fully-funded place on one of our in-depth online courses.

In this podcast episode, Club Soda co-founder Dru Jaeger chats with Jason-Candid Knüsel, an award-winning bartender and managing director of not-for-profit organisation Healthy Hospo. Its mission is to create a healthier, happier, more prosperous hospitality industry for workers and customers. Jason-Candid and Dru talk about how to make bar culture more mentally and physically healthy for everyone.

About Jason-Candid Knüsel

Jason-Candid is not just someone who learned how to pull a pint at a young age. Having started his career in restaurant service in his native Switzerland, he became an award-winning bartender and rose to the ranks of the London Metropolitan cocktail scene. His in-house experience of bar culture – sometimes toxic – led him to become a health ambassador and wellness coach in the hospitality industry.

All the staff gets trained about the booze and about that brand and about how to upsell, how to cross-sell. But almost no one teaches people about what alcohol is actually about…99% of the people only know that alcohol makes you wasted and not an additional thing to that. Of course, we know it is harmful to your health, but how harmful is it? What does it actually really do? This is the real education that people need…there needs to be more balance between brand awareness and bar culture.

Jason-Candid Knüsel

Jason-Candid is the managing director of Healthy Hospo, a not-for-profit organisation that works to educate people on healthier workplaces within the hospitality industry, tackling toxic bar culture and supporting staff to have a healthful career in the industry. Healthy Hospo works around the world to build healthy workplaces that are more profitable, resilient, deliver better customer service, and are much more enjoyable places to work. This helps to tackle the high turnover of staff due to stress, illness, and problem drinking.

Putting hospitality at the heart of bar culture

A conversation we often have with hospitality workers who come to Club Soda to change their drinking is how can they tackle the pressure of service and the pressure of post-work drinking without hitting rock bottom? Jason-Candid feels the focus should be on people, not drinks. Educating workplaces to focus on showing customers a good time, whether they’re drinking or not, takes the pressure off hospitality workers as well as customers.

A mentor of mine would always say, ‘We don’t serve cocktails, we serve people’. So it’s really not about the booze or the cocktail. It’s really about making sure that you have a great time. So we’re serving you, we are here for you. It’s always incredibly important that people are full of education and know their brands and spirits and categories, but also the wines and the food, because that’s how you elevate every single experience. So it’s really about how the person approaches you and is welcoming and really hospitable. And hospitality is really about taking care of people.

Jason-Candid Knüsel

How Club Soda helps to support hospitality workers

Problem drinking within the hospitality industry is an open secret. Club Soda understands the unique challenges of changing your drinking when you work professionally with alcohol, and we’ve teamed up with The Drinks Trust to help support those who want to change their drinking within the industry. Whether you want to cut down, take a break or simply find some boundaries between professional and personal drinking, we can help.

We offer a unique approach for people in the industry who want to change their drinking habits, with free courses fully funded by the Drinks Trust Wellness Services.

Choose from How to Drink Mindfully if you are cutting down, fine-tuning your drinking habits, or exploring your relationship with alcohol. Or choose How to Stop Drinking if you are taking a break or thinking about quitting drinking altogether. To apply, complete the form here.

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