ChinaMoon Cromwell – Bartender 608

Who doesn’t love to party?
But a funny thing happens with a party, or a celebration, or really anytime people get together.  People want to be in on the fun, not running around serving their guests.
Enter the genius of ChinaMoon Cromwell and her business, Bartender 608, a superior mobile bartender service in the Madison, Wisconsin and surrounding area.
What puts Bartender 608 a step above other mobile bartenders is the higher level of service and the systems they have in place to make everything easy, or at least, look easy.  We love chatting with entrepreneurs that have their systems down.
Listen as ChinaMoon explains how she started Bartender 608 and what she does to make sure that her clients get the best, and enjoy their parties.
Enjoy!
Visit ChinaMoon at: Bartender608.com
Authentic Business Adventures Podcast

[00:00:04.140] – Speaker 1
You’ve found Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings the struggles, stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land. Downloadable audio podcast can be found at the podcast link found at drawincustomers.com. My name is James Kademan, entrepreneur, author, and helpful coach to small business owners across the country. We are locally underwritten by the Bank of Sun Prairie. And today we’re welcoming/preparing to learn from ChinaMoon, the owner of Bartender 608. So China, how are you doing today?

[00:00:34.450] – Speaker 2
I’m good, how are you?

[00:00:35.370] – Speaker 1
I’m excited, thank you. I’m excited because we could talk about drinking. Drinking in Wisconsin, right?

[00:00:41.260] – Speaker 2
That’s always a good thing.

[00:00:42.450] – Speaker 1
Yeah. So, bartender 608, let’s start with what is Bartender 608?

[00:00:47.130] – Speaker 2
Bartender 608 is a luxury mobile bartender service. We provide bartenders, barbacks, rum runners and servers for people having weddings, graduation, different variety of events in Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Illinois.

[00:01:01.440] – Speaker 1
Oh, nice. All right, tell me so I know bartenders. What is a rum runner? I just think of someone in the NASCAR

[00:01:10.160] – Speaker 2
A ballback rum runner is someone who is able to assist the bartender so that they can always be at attention for the guests.

[00:01:17.820] – Speaker 1
Got you.

[00:01:18.390] – Speaker 2
If they need more liquor, if they need more ice mixers, anything like that.

[00:01:23.070] – Speaker 1
All right. So literally running for Rome for the bartender. Exactly. I should have known that. And I’m sorry, the third one that you said servers. Servers. Okay.

[00:01:32.020] – Speaker 2
So tables, servers, actual service or say they want wine service, table service. Offer that as well.

[00:01:40.150] – Speaker 1
Nice. And what was the fourth one?

[00:01:42.550] – Speaker 2
That was it.

[00:01:43.320] – Speaker 1
That was it. Bartenders rubber on your servers. All right. So how do you get into a business like this?

[00:01:50.960] – Speaker 2
Been bartending since 1995. Variety of places in New York City and then here in the Midwest. Bartendered for a variety of people in New York. Kind of logo myself as bartender, seven, one, eight for the city. But then when I was here full time when my daughter was young, started moving around and bartending at a number of places, a lot of places that are not around anymore. Here like Sagrado the Cardinal Bar, things like that.

[00:02:25.050] – Speaker 1
The Cardinal.

[00:02:25.860] – Speaker 2
I remember The Cardinal

[00:02:27.940] – Speaker 2
So those were fun spaces. And people would always ask me, I’m having a party, can you come through and bartend for us? And I’m like, well, this is big on east and west coast. There must be a market for it here.

[00:02:41.950] – Speaker 1
Yeah, that’s awesome. So you decided to start your own business. You’re like, hey, and at the time you have a young kid, right?

[00:02:50.340] – Speaker 2
Yes, at the time.

[00:02:51.370] – Speaker 1
How young are we talking?

[00:02:53.360] – Speaker 2
95 is when she was born. So.

[00:02:57.260] – Speaker 1
All right, so you’re like, hey, I’m going to start this business. And was the idea to have it be a side hustle on top of the other bartending jobs?

[00:03:04.450] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:03:04.770] – Speaker 1
And just kind of make a little money on the side. All right, absolutely. When did it turn into a full.

[00:03:09.520] – Speaker 2
Time gig for you when people were like, you know what? You really have a knack for this. And I was like, well, so I did some market research, and I’m like, oh, well, there were some places that like, for example, I’m a dry hire, so I do not have a liquor license. So we provide everything but the boost. Or if you have your own backyard or barn or vineyard, what have you, we come in and bring everything else so you do not have to worry about schlepping 1000 pounds of ice, slicing a bunch of fruit, anything like that. So we want to make sure that your entirety can focus on your guests.

[00:03:46.890] – Speaker 1
Got it. All right. So I think you’re kind of alluding to this, and this is one of the questions that I’ve had as far as alcohol servicing, licensing, and all that kind of stuff. Imagine every state is different.

[00:03:57.750] – Speaker 2
Absolutely.

[00:03:58.450] – Speaker 1
In a lot of states, I guess we were talking about earlier, just the rules on alcohol are weird yes. Crazy, outdated, and strict. Yes. And not arguably not conducive to doing business very easily.

[00:04:13.240] – Speaker 2
They’re not. When I lived in the town of Blooming Grove and went before the board, so I had three licenses beer, wine, and spirits. And it was $350. Then the law was passed, and then it blew up. Basically, I went from $350 to ten GS.

[00:04:32.440] – Speaker 1
$10,000.

[00:04:33.730] – Speaker 2
That is the reserve to have a liquor license. If they grant you one here.

[00:04:38.050] – Speaker 1
Holy cow. What is the goal on their end? I like to think that when they come up with laws and rules, I like to believe that they’re going for something positive. I don’t always agree with that, but I like to believe that they don’t have negative will or negative intention.

[00:04:55.200] – Speaker 2
Right. Sometimes things are hard that Wisconsin wants to be a place for small businesses. And sometimes but sometimes there’s a lot of red tape if you don’t know where to go or who to ask for help. So that’s a big thing. Getting in touch and networking and being around the right people is a big part of things. I’m perfectly happy being a dry hire right now, but if that changes, like, in the next year or so, then that’s something that we’ll put more of our reserves too. But right now we’re fine. A lot of things are at people’s residences and a lot of the neighborhood barns and blue mounds and Mount Horror and things of that nature.

[00:05:39.730] – Speaker 1
Yeah, well, they have their own license and all that kind of stuff.

[00:05:42.390] – Speaker 2
No, they just have the venue because what we usually do are private events. So if you’re having a wedding, it is not open to the public. It’s private. You bring the booze. We can serve it. It’s an open bar. There’s no cash, so everything is on the up and up.

[00:05:55.080] – Speaker 1
All right. Interesting. It just seems like something when you learn how about either shipping alcohol or just driving with alcohol cross state lines. Yeah, it seems so archaic.

[00:06:07.120] – Speaker 2
It is. Like, for example, in Wisconsin, it’s very important that I work with the clients so that I know what type of drinkers their clients are and their guests are of clients being that if it’s a corporate event, making sure that they know how much beer, wine, and spirits to acquire so they don’t have a lot left over. Because you can’t return it in Illinois. You can. So it’s always making sure that you know where you are. Yes.

[00:06:34.410] – Speaker 1
Like, you buy a bottle of vodka and then later you’re like, eh, like.

[00:06:37.870] – Speaker 2
We bought too many bottles and most places. Yeah, you can return it in the state of Illinois.

[00:06:42.480] – Speaker 1
Oh, wow. It didn’t even dawn on me that you would return that, but I guess that’s Wisconsin. Thank you. Oh, that’s funny. Tell me about when you moved from it being a full time gig to now. You got employees.

[00:06:55.910] – Speaker 2
So first I had independent contractors because things were not there wasn’t a steady schedule.

[00:07:01.930] – Speaker 1
I live on weekends, nights. It’s kind of seasonal to a point.

[00:07:05.980] – Speaker 2
It is. But I was still working most of the gigs myself. Most of the gigs I don’t work anymore, unfortunately. I had COLVID in February of 2020. So it is very nice that I have Rocksteady employees who are awesome and so gave me time to heal up. We usually do 150 events a year, and in 2020 we only did five. So you can imagine the pain.

[00:07:44.740] – Speaker 1
Yeah. You said 100 to 150 events. That is a lot of events. You’re talking three weeks.

[00:07:51.850] – Speaker 2
Yeah, we used to do up to three events per day, but since there are so many variants, we’re now doing up to two events a day. So if someone gets sick or calls in, we have a reserve. So we don’t want to stretch ourselves too thin. So there may be like, say there’s a family reunion on Saturday in Mount Horb and then someone’s having something in here in Sun Prairie area, we can send out those two teams to those events.

[00:08:23.920] – Speaker 1
That is awesome. Tell me about employees as far as finding them.

[00:08:28.690] – Speaker 2
A lot of them, sometimes I put ads out, but usually the ads come from the intake, comes from the employees I already have, and so they’re referring people that they know. So it’s more like very close knit environment for them.

[00:08:47.590] – Speaker 1
And most of what you guys are doing from serving drinks and stuff like that, are they mixing or is it serving beer and shots or something like that?

[00:08:57.120] – Speaker 2
Yeah. So when you’re having an event, we’ll ask we have five different packages that are popular packages. All right. And let’s say that you’re having just a standard event. It will ask you on our event central quoting platform that we have, are you going to be having like two part cocktails? So you just need a bartender. Beer, wine, Jack and Coke, whiskey, gingers, Baka soda, that type of thing. If that’s it, fine. You have your regular bartender at a little bit of increase, you have your bartender intoxicologists. All right, so those are the people that are going to be actually muddling your old fashioned. They’re going to be stirring your Manhattan’s. They’re going to be making your negronis and cesarex and things like that. So it just depends on what the feel of the event that you’re going for and what kind of cocktails that you’re looking for.

[00:09:55.420] – Speaker 1
Nice. I was just at a drink mixing class a few weeks ago, and it never dawned on me how much of, I guess, art and science comes down to mixing drinks. I was normally just like, I’m not a bartender. I can totally do the entertaining, having fun with the guest thing. But when it comes to mixing a drink, that’s actually good. Probably not your guy.

[00:10:19.890] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:10:20.400] – Speaker 1
So that is cool.

[00:10:21.480] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:10:21.730] – Speaker 1
That is interesting. From a personality standpoint, was it tough to find people that are cool talking with people and interacting with them?

[00:10:28.840] – Speaker 2
As far as employees?

[00:10:29.950] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:10:30.750] – Speaker 2
No. A lot of the people that worked with me previously and some that work with me now, we’ve worked together in previous positions. I know their background. I know how they are behind the wood, behind the bar. So it’s all gravy.

[00:10:48.100] – Speaker 1
All right, nice. And you speak to the bar. You guys bring in your own bar, I imagine, right?

[00:10:53.430] – Speaker 2
Yes. We have various bars, back bars. We don’t have a rig. A lot of people use the old horse trailer rigs to wheel them in. I’m looking at something a little bit bigger, but we do have I call it the 608 toxicology tent. So it’s a huge pop up tent with a flag, with a giant flaming martini, has builtin counters, has a pagoda tent to keep if it happens to rain, keep everybody dry, keep the sun out, which is a very people don’t understand if we are an outside gig.

[00:11:32.620] – Speaker 1
Oh, yeah.

[00:11:33.420] – Speaker 2
And let’s say your wedding is six to 8 hours. Our day is about 12 hours long, including travel and everything like that. So us being outside is very important that we have adequate shade.

[00:11:46.690] – Speaker 1
Well, I bet. And just imagine the ice, the liquor.

[00:11:49.930] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:11:50.530] – Speaker 1
Here’s your warm beer.

[00:11:51.870] – Speaker 2
No, warm beer is not snow. No, we will not be serving that.

[00:11:56.040] – Speaker 1
All right. So from an equipment point of view, when you first started your business, did you have to build the bar or how do you end up with a bar? Rolling bar?

[00:12:06.260] – Speaker 2
You can buy them. I mean, they’re not as prevalent they were not as prevalent back then as they are now. But I mean, you can make a bar from a six or eight foot table if you just want to dress it up. Make sure you have nice linens and everything like that. Table clips where they’re going to have it flat. You’re going to have little ruffles in the front, but yeah, the accents count a lot.

[00:12:27.420] – Speaker 1
All right, tell me about I’m trying to think I have to get my temporary server’s license for something that was happening on Square Taste of Madison. I want to say yes years ago. Years and years and years ago, because it was some fundraiser, and I remember taking this little test, and it talked about overserving yes. And the liability that’s on the bartender.

[00:12:50.110] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:12:50.860] – Speaker 1
And I was like, I’m just volunteering. This is a huge potential for liability, which seems to kind of be like, whatever, just take the test. Not a big deal. But I imagine for you guys where it’s a business, it’s probably as big of a deal as it seemed to be to me when I was taking that test.

[00:13:11.530] – Speaker 2
Absolutely. So we just had our meeting in March on Saturday, March 5, where all the employees come in. We go over our employee handbook. We go over our training manual and things like that, basically getting ready for the season. Everyone is required to take the four hour responsible beverage course. That’s probably what you’re talking about. Usually it’s with tips, 360 training, or learn to serve so they know what’s going on, overseeing and all of that. And then depending on what county or town or area you’re in, you receive that license for that. It’s also important to know that we are insured. We carry $2 million insurance. All right. And we do, of course, workers comp, so we take care of our employees.

[00:13:59.360] – Speaker 1
When did you move from the essentially independent contractors? When it’s kind of sporadic to employees, things get more consistent.

[00:14:08.360] – Speaker 2
We moved to that, I believe, in last year, I believe, 2021.

[00:14:14.190] – Speaker 1
And was that a tough move for your crew or for you?

[00:14:19.030] – Speaker 2
No, they still get paid. Our payroll is weekly, and then our sales manager gets paid monthly.

[00:14:24.360] – Speaker 1
Okay.

[00:14:24.780] – Speaker 2
But yeah, they get paid every week. Gratuity is usually day of, depending on what’s going on.

[00:14:30.760] – Speaker 1
Sure.

[00:14:31.150] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:14:31.650] – Speaker 1
All right, well, that’s cool. You mentioned you have a salesperson.

[00:14:34.810] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:14:35.260] – Speaker 1
So how do you find a salesperson for selling stuff like this?

[00:14:38.620] – Speaker 2
Yeah, so our new salesperson is Michael, so him and I did some onboarding. His background does a lot with sales and actually working with beer and spirits. So that was awesome. We didn’t really have to step back and then have a whole outlook on that.

[00:14:58.610] – Speaker 1
Nice.

[00:14:59.130] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:14:59.740] – Speaker 1
And he’s running around town saying, hey, you want to get married? When you get married? You want drinks?

[00:15:07.110] – Speaker 2
No, he works remote. The number of leads that we come in through, we don’t really cold call or anything. Oh, there’s that many coming in. Yeah.

[00:15:17.140] – Speaker 1
Wow.

[00:15:17.560] – Speaker 2
So having the networking, we do run ads online, like Google, Facebook, that type of thing, but a lot of income just comes to our website, and we’re just working through our leads.

[00:15:32.340] – Speaker 1
Okay.

[00:15:32.970] – Speaker 2
So we want to make sure that we want to work with people who want to work with us. So let’s say that you thought you were interested in us, but you’re not or whatever. I just say don’t ghost us. Just let us know because we want to make it the best experience possible. We don’t want to bug you, so we just want to make sure that you want to work with us and we want to work with you.

[00:15:55.840] – Speaker 1
All right, very cool. I’m trying to think way back when this was probably two or three years ago, I interviewed Jody Evert who had I think she sold it shortly after. It was a website that connected businesses or vendors that had stuff to do with weddings. Okay, the website is escaping me, which that was their own business, I should remember that. But I guess alluding to the question, do you work with any companies like that that will essentially feed leads from people brides, presumably, or grooms, potential grooms that are going to figure out, hey, I got this wedding to plan. Who do I go to for dress, flowers, photographer, all that stuff? Do you end up working with groups like that?

[00:16:43.740] – Speaker 2
We work closely with Wedding Plan, who does a huge wedding show in January, which we were just at the Learning Energy Center. Oh, nice. So we do that. We had a huge number of leads from that. We handed out a lot of mocktails so that people could see what we do.

[00:17:05.060] – Speaker 1
What’s a mocktail?

[00:17:06.540] – Speaker 2
A mocktail is a nonalcoholic cocktail. All right. People saying they’re getting more prevalent now, but we’ve been doing them since 2007.

[00:17:16.630] – Speaker 1
Are you talking about a sprite and a fancy glass?

[00:17:18.870] – Speaker 2
No. Let’s say that you have people that don’t drink, and so maybe we’ll mix up some nice purees, like a BlackBerry puree with some lemon juice and then muddle that with some lemon and orange and then strain that out and then top with some cava, like of some sparkling wine. All right, so you want to make sure that long gone are the days where it’s just like, okay, you don’t drink. Here’s some coffee, here’s some soda, here’s some juice. You want their time to be exponentially awesome, and you want their drink to look as pretty and fancy as everyone else’s.

[00:18:01.860] – Speaker 1
All right, that sounds more fancier than just spraying the glass. Yes, that is cool. So I imagine that’s a whole nother science, putting stuff like that together.

[00:18:12.700] – Speaker 2
It’s just basically making sure that you have flavors that go together well. Chemistry.

[00:18:19.480] – Speaker 1
All right, so let me just dump James here. If I would go to a wedding and I would see something like that, I would be amazed, and I wouldn’t even know what to order.

[00:18:31.760] – Speaker 2
And that’s where your intoxic colleges come in handy. Even with being at a bar or something, we’re always there to help. Just to go back briefly, when I was talking about Web Plan, yeah, we do get a lot of referrals from, like, Pam and Bridal, barton Gardens, Blue Mountains, Prevailing Winds Lodge, a lot of venues that we work closely with. So they have our brochures out, they have our website out, and they like, working closely with us because of our consistency and again, our level of luxury and professionalism.

[00:19:05.500] – Speaker 1
That is awesome. You alluded to it earlier and again, now tell me about the luxury part. That’s just cool.

[00:19:14.060] – Speaker 2
When we started out, we were basically not everything for everybody, but it was just basically, if you’re having an event, this is us. But we wanted to make sure that we had more of a delicate touch and our presentation was better. We wanted to make sure that things that we had were more on the up and up, more not like on a bugatti scale, but basically we didn’t want to be just with the masses. There are a lot more mobile bartenders around okay.

[00:19:50.380] – Speaker 1
More than there were when you first started. Oh, really?

[00:19:53.370] – Speaker 2
Okay. So I just wanted us to step our game up, basically.

[00:19:58.650] – Speaker 1
All right.

[00:19:59.070] – Speaker 2
And I wanted to work very closely with guests, so I just wanted to make sure that we can give the best of what we have. And there was so much more excuse me, in me that I’m like. We need to take bartender Six away to the next level.

[00:20:17.860] – Speaker 1
All right. And tell me how what is the consumer see? I guess maybe not necessarily the person paying the bill, but the person walking up to the bar. What do they see that separates you guys?

[00:20:31.380] – Speaker 2
They’ll see usually a nice backdrop, making sure that we have certain things. Again, we have the nice tent as our rig. We might add, like, some floral decor, some balloons. We’ll also add some things for the signature cocktails, including maybe some dry ice effects to that nature. We’ll have certain specially cut garnishes. We have the update, the upscale cherries, like I said, those bright red cherries you get with dessert or what have you, will have the nice bourbon cherries or luxury cherries, the Italian cherries of that nature.

[00:21:09.450] – Speaker 1
I didn’t know that was a thing.

[00:21:10.660] – Speaker 2
It’s a thing.

[00:21:11.670] – Speaker 1
It sounds awesome.

[00:21:12.810] – Speaker 2
They’re perfect for old fashions in Manhattan.

[00:21:15.240] – Speaker 1
All right. It’s not just a waxy cherry kind of no. That is cool.

[00:21:22.230] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:21:22.780] – Speaker 1
So does it take a little bit to train the employees, your crew, to get them to that level or to understand that this isn’t just another venue or just another place that you’re taking to a luxury level?

[00:21:35.340] – Speaker 2
Yes. Again, I know the employees that I work with. I know their background, but we do need to take time to let them know this is how we’re doing things. This is how things go. So we’ll set up a bar area. This is how everything should go because we want to make sure that our area is always nice to meet, even when things get hairy, because at a wedding, you have to be mindful that photos are going to be taken. So you don’t want a bunch of trash and everything behind. You want to make sure that you have adequate linen so you can hide things under the bar, under the back bar, and things of things like that.

[00:22:08.790] – Speaker 1
Got you. Yeah. The reason I ask is because with my business calls on call, the call answering. I like to think we’re above a typical call answering service. And I feel like in a day to day, people can gradually drop down just because they get so busy. Sometimes they forget to keep it next level, stay next level.

[00:22:31.060] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:22:31.570] – Speaker 1
Work to become next level and to stay there. There’s a reason a lot of companies don’t do it. So I feel like I have to remind, like, this is who we are. This is what we do. We’re super awesome rockstar unicorn. Let the other people be the I don’t know, dead Lama or whatever the other something, whatever it is. Yes, but I feel like I have to I don’t want to say constantly, but I probably have to constantly remind them. And a lot of times they’re like, yeah, James, we know, but a lot.

[00:23:06.880] – Speaker 2
Of times but I mean, as an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep on your employees. I want to make sure that I’m always in communication with my employees and that my employees are happy because they are the direct line between bartender 608 and the public. So I need to make sure that if there’s anything that they don’t understand, if they are confused about something or something is unclear, that I’m their first point of contact to work on. That our scheduling app that we use. They can send messages to me, to the other employees. They can see who they’ll be working with. They’ll have all the details when they go on their event. Let’s say the event is on. Let’s say it’s a corporate event on Friday. See them by Tuesday or Wednesday. They’ll get an event order and a timeline.

[00:24:01.770] – Speaker 1
All right?

[00:24:02.230] – Speaker 2
And then they’ll actually get that in their email. And then once they’re at the event, they’ll have a hard copy that’s laminated as well.

[00:24:08.860] – Speaker 1
So when you say timeline, can you elaborate on that a little bit?

[00:24:11.430] – Speaker 2
Yes, they’ll have a timeline, so they’ll be like, okay, what time does the event start? But what time does the bar start? What time is last call? What time does the bar close? What time does the event close? All right, on the event order, what are we serving to say they’re going to have just a beer and wine bar, so we’re going to have, like they’re going to have these two types of beer, these types of wine ales lagers. What type? A lot of people that are most people here in the corporate, they know what spotted cow is. A lot of people from out of town don’t know what nuclear brewing is. They don’t know. It’s a farmhouse, Alex. Yeah. It’s supposed to be cloudy and, you know, so it’s our job to educate the guest and what we’re serving. So it’s always important that once we book the event and then before the event, 30 to 45 days, depending on how soon they book us, we send them a final questionnaire with what will we be serving so that we’re prepared for the guests.

[00:25:13.830] – Speaker 1
All right. They never even dawned at me that someone could pour a spotted cow and somebody would be like, what is this? This dirty beer? That’s so funny. So funny. For those of you that don’t know, spotted cow is a big deal around here.

[00:25:28.260] – Speaker 2
Yes. And always sold in Wisconsin.

[00:25:30.010] – Speaker 1
Yeah. So it’s funny because I got family around Wisconsin, and they’re, like, bring some spotted cows and come and visit. Like, it’s good, but it’s not I don’t know. Bring masses across the border good.

[00:25:44.940] – Speaker 2
In my mind, that’s in the palate of the Bahamas.

[00:25:49.000] – Speaker 1
Totally. I feel like some of it’s just the rarity or scarcity of it. I think that comes into play a little bit. Yeah, whatever fun. It’s fun. Are there any venues or things that people have asked you to serve at that you’re just, like, you’re not a good fit? I can’t imagine what that would be.

[00:26:12.340] – Speaker 2
No, but I do not stress, but when I do correspond with people, I just want to make sure that we are a good fit for one another. Okay, so that’s the only thing that would there’s not really any drinks that we wouldn’t make, but for example, if someone wants a little show, we don’t do flare, bartending, like flipping bottles or anything.

[00:26:38.560] – Speaker 1
Oh, the cocktail stuff.

[00:26:39.720] – Speaker 2
Yeah. But if someone wants a little show, like a flaming drink, like, we’ll do, like, some orange peel with a little cinnamon and light that on fire.

[00:26:49.590] – Speaker 1
Oh, nice.

[00:26:50.080] – Speaker 2
And then torch that on an orange or a lime pinwheel or something like that. But as far as an actual cocktail, that does not come to mind that it’s something that we wouldn’t make fair.

[00:27:06.850] – Speaker 1
Tell me about the industry as a whole. You said that there have been more mobile bartenders that came on the scene. Why are there more events or more people or people see it’s?

[00:27:16.990] – Speaker 2
Money or a lot of people started as a side hustle, as I did, but it’s just being more popular, more lucrative. I actually went to a mobile bartender conference in Nashville, Tennessee, last year from November 7 through the 10th for mobile conference.

[00:27:37.690] – Speaker 1
It was a conference for everything.

[00:27:38.950] – Speaker 2
Yeah. It was four days of just bliss and awesomeness. And I learned so much from Sarah. Rhonda there. I’m going to share this with them.

[00:27:51.640] – Speaker 1
Yes, sir. Tell me who that is.

[00:27:54.100] – Speaker 2
Sarah Murphy and Rhonda Cameron. Ronda cavan does perfectly cordial. She has her own line of mixers, and they’re very awesome. All right, and then Sarah Murphy owned a mobile bartender company as well, but now she is focused on just educating mobile bartenders all right.

[00:28:17.520] – Speaker 1
On how to serve, how to sell.

[00:28:20.290] – Speaker 2
How to run an actual mobile bartending company.

[00:28:22.800] – Speaker 1
All right.

[00:28:23.460] – Speaker 2
And she does coaching as well.

[00:28:25.080] – Speaker 1
Oh, very cool. All right. Nice. And I guess you’ve been in business for 15 years.

[00:28:31.080] – Speaker 2
Yes, this will be our 15 years anniversary this year.

[00:28:33.960] – Speaker 1
That is incredible. Yes, that’s incredible for any business, let alone mobile bartending business. And mobile bartending business. After dinner with the COVID thing.

[00:28:43.020] – Speaker 2
Yeah. Surviving COVID.

[00:28:44.280] – Speaker 1
Yeah. That had to be a challenge. I mentioned not too many in person venues. No events happened.

[00:28:50.820] – Speaker 2
No. Especially when it just really hit us hard when it was like, if we have a wedding with 350 people, and then now they’re saying, oh, you can only have 25 inside or 50 outside. But we only had two cancellations and everyone else rescheduled. So out of, like, 80 weddings that were scheduled, just unfortunately, losing two, but being able to reschedule those was promising.

[00:29:23.820] – Speaker 1
Well, the other two probably didn’t work out. Right.

[00:29:25.930] – Speaker 2
I don’t know. That’s not for me.

[00:29:28.750] – Speaker 1
Who knows? They’re lost. All right, well, that’s cool. So I mentioned that makes this year crazy busy.

[00:29:35.020] – Speaker 2
We’re getting a little bit busier. A lot of it is layover from we actually have layovers from 2000 and 22,021 that are tying the knot this year.

[00:29:44.800] – Speaker 1
All right, that’s cool.

[00:29:46.150] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:29:46.890] – Speaker 1
So people held off their wedding or they held off the celebration?

[00:29:50.080] – Speaker 2
Both. Both.

[00:29:51.710] – Speaker 1
Wow. All right. That is crazy.

[00:29:54.090] – Speaker 2
Different world.

[00:29:57.340] – Speaker 1
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to deal with over the course of 15 years? It’s a long time.

[00:30:04.690] – Speaker 2
Challenges. I don’t see really any challenges as far as just making sure that people take me seriously.

[00:30:16.770] – Speaker 1
Okay.

[00:30:18.040] – Speaker 2
A lot of people didn’t know that I owned the business, and it was just kind of taken aback, like, yeah, I own the business. This is what I do, and these are the people. I didn’t have employees at the time. I had independent contractors. So just people making sure that they know that who I am, I am here to help them. Things of that nature. Again, the worst that happened again was in 2019, I fell ill, and then in February of 2020, I fell ill with COVID I am still dealing with brain fog and long term tiredness. But again, having those rock star employees, they really help me out. But I am able to go on some gigs. Excuse me. I did resume my in person cocktail classes this month, so I’m doing that as well. But yeah, having to go out and work twelve hour days, I don’t have to do that because my employees are really cool. Yeah.

[00:31:32.020] – Speaker 1
All right. And typically your crew is working nights and weekends, I imagine, right?

[00:31:36.190] – Speaker 2
Yeah, usually Thursday through Sunday. So Thursdays are our Mondays.

[00:31:41.580] – Speaker 1
Okay. All right. Not a whole lot. Going on Tuesday?

[00:31:46.540] – Speaker 2
Not really, but Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are becoming more popular for some corporate gigs. But still, there are a lot of people still working from home, so our corporate gigs are not what they used to be.

[00:32:02.520] – Speaker 1
All right. Is it tougher to find a corporate gig than it is to find a wedding or they all find you more.

[00:32:10.210] – Speaker 2
Or less the same? They usually find us more or less the same. We get a lot of referrals from a few of our corporate people that have been with us for, like, five years or more. So they are making sure that people know who we are, and we have a word of mouth, basically.

[00:32:30.940] – Speaker 1
Okay. What are some of the things that you’ve learned over the course of 15 years, just in business in general, that maybe when you first started off, you didn’t necessarily know?

[00:32:41.060] – Speaker 2
Making sure that people know our professionalism and our value of bartender. 608. Some people think, like, for a wedding, they think that the venue is the most important, of course, the food, the ambience. But you really can’t skip on the bar, because after the ceremony is over, that’s where people make a bum rush, too. Anybody can pour a Jack, and Cole can bring a case of beer. But you want it to be an experience. You want to make sure that everything is in its place. People are able to order whatever they like with the spirits that they have and that you want the presentation and the professionalism and the knowledge from your bartenders to be on point as well.

[00:33:26.940] – Speaker 1
Nice. What’s been your favorite gig so far?

[00:33:33.300] – Speaker 2
I really like going to Bridal Barton Gardens with Pam out in Mount Horror.

[00:33:37.790] – Speaker 1
Okay.

[00:33:38.040] – Speaker 2
And then prevailing winds lodge out in Blue Mountains.

[00:33:40.580] – Speaker 1
All right.

[00:33:41.030] – Speaker 2
They usually have a big tent on the prairie, and it’s just sunset. It’s just very pretty and awesome.

[00:33:49.290] – Speaker 1
So it’s just cool vibe.

[00:33:50.810] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:33:51.330] – Speaker 1
All right. It’s interesting. I worked at a movie theater for longer than I should have, but I loved it because, one, the other employees that I was working with were super cool, but I also loved being the entertainer I was working behind concession, staying a little bit movie usher and stuff like that. Back then, we didn’t have quite the fancy tiers that we have now. We have recliners back then.

[00:34:21.090] – Speaker 2
Right, exactly.

[00:34:22.230] – Speaker 1
But it was so much fun being behind the counter and just hustling friday night, Saturday night. And I remember my manager, who, ironically enough, was a crazy drunk. Very sharp guy, though. Even when he’s drunk, he’s sharp. He’s like, it’s always better to work at a theater than a restaurant because the theater people are happy in the restaino. They’re tired and hungry. He’s like, Friday night, the restaurant has dealt with them. Now they’re happy. They’re happy and sad. They come to the theater. So it always reminds me of the bar. It’s like you’re dealing with people that probably are happy. If not, they will be soon, whether chemically enhanced. But it’s like it’s a happy thing. It’s not some crematorium or something like that. It’s a happy thing. Which is funny.

[00:35:16.150] – Speaker 2
Yeah, it is. I still get nervous. I’ve been bartending for almost 30 years and I still get nervous before gigs. It’s not a nervous like if something going to go wrong, it’s a nervous it’s like an athlete. It’s like game time. You’re getting hot, you’re ready to go. Like this, this, and this. We’re loading up the vans and we’re picking up the ice, and then we get there and everything. So it’s just like that edge of the nervous system doesn’t really taper off until like 45 minutes after we start opening up the car. We got our groove in. We’re like, all right. And then the well oil machine is I like it. It’s there.

[00:36:00.110] – Speaker 1
Yeah, I used to do blackjack to venues and stuff like that. And I remember there was the preparation and then there’s kind of a waiting game where you’re waiting for the crowd to get their little who’s ever given their speech or wedding, whatever they’re doing to come in. And then you get the rush, and then you get that flow. Oh, my gosh. It’s fun once you get the flow. Yeah, but before then, I feel like you’re sitting in the space shuttle just waiting for the launch.

[00:36:28.540] – Speaker 2
You’re like triple and quadruple checking the list. We have everything that we have. We have the ice packs on the Garnishes. We have just making sure we have everything build up.

[00:36:40.910] – Speaker 1
But you know that you prepared so much.

[00:36:42.540] – Speaker 2
Yeah, absolutely.

[00:36:44.930] – Speaker 1
You’re almost hoping that something goes wrong just to have something to do.

[00:36:49.110] – Speaker 2
No.

[00:36:51.680] – Speaker 1
Maybe it’s just me. It’s just me.

[00:36:55.280] – Speaker 2
Cool.

[00:36:57.380] – Speaker 1
Now remind me, ChinaMoon is one word.

[00:36:59.460] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:36:59.840] – Speaker 1
Okay, so ChinaMoon, how can people find you?

[00:37:02.700] – Speaker 2
They can find us online at bartender608.com.

[00:37:06.210] – Speaker 1
All right.

[00:37:07.140] – Speaker 2
We’re everywhere. Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of that. We’re also on Wed Plan.

[00:37:13.370] – Speaker 1
Okay. Wed Plan is a website.

[00:37:15.240] – Speaker 2
It’s a website and an app for people who are having weddings in the southern Wisconsin area.

[00:37:23.150] – Speaker 1
All right, very cool. And 608 is the number is not spelled out correct.

[00:37:28.200] – Speaker 2
They’re 608 in numerals.

[00:37:30.310] – Speaker 1
All right, part time is 608. No spaces.

[00:37:32.360] – Speaker 2
Correct.

[00:37:32.820] – Speaker 1
All right, just got to clarify, right? What is some advice that you could think of to give to people that would be considering starting a business of any kind?

[00:37:41.250] – Speaker 2
Make sure that you have the dedicated time to devote to that. Because again, it’s not just schlepping ice and pouring beer and wine. It’s an actual business. You have to deal with the insurance and the bookkeepers and the inventory, making sure you have a good crew. You don’t have people that are going to do no call, no shows. You have to have people that are enthusiastic because again, this is someone’s special event, whether it’s a graduation wedding. For example, we have a Kentucky Derby party coming up, you know.

[00:38:18.780] – Speaker 1
Really?

[00:38:19.170] – Speaker 2
Yeah. These are events that you will do all the time, but it’s their special day, so you can’t make it a redundant. Like, we do this all the time. You need to make sure that you are up and make sure that you have systems in place to work for you. For example, I now save 25 hours a week. Yes. I saved 25 hours a week with our new coding system, Event Cinch. So when people go to my website, they fill out the quote form. The second form is event central. They can actually pick and choose what they want in their package.

[00:38:56.530] – Speaker 1
All right?

[00:38:56.870] – Speaker 2
And then we’ll schedule a 15 minutes call, and then that alone saves me 25 hours a week.

[00:39:03.720] – Speaker 1
25 hours a week.

[00:39:05.310] – Speaker 2
Do you know what that does for business when you can save that amount of time?

[00:39:09.620] – Speaker 1
Liberating.

[00:39:10.390] – Speaker 2
Yes, absolutely.

[00:39:12.300] – Speaker 1
Very cool.

[00:39:13.110] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:39:13.730] – Speaker 1
And how did you come across that?

[00:39:16.430] – Speaker 2
A gentleman who owns it named Joel Black, I was introduced to him through Sarah Murphy, the lady from Tennessee, and I went through his demo, and I’m like, Sign me up.

[00:39:33.230] – Speaker 1
Take my money. Nice. That is cool. I’m excited for you. Where do you see Bartender 608 going in the next ten years?

[00:39:42.980] – Speaker 2
I see us in a number of variety of states, so we serve three states now, but we may be moving westward, but that’s under the gap right now.

[00:39:55.280] – Speaker 1
All right, westward. Because you’ll be moving westward.

[00:39:58.420] – Speaker 2
No, I’ll have not a franchise, but I’ll have some offices out there.

[00:40:04.100] – Speaker 1
Nice. That’s exciting.

[00:40:05.680] – Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:40:06.120] – Speaker 1
Cool. I’m excited to see where he takes his business.

[00:40:08.450] – Speaker 2
Me too.

[00:40:08.930] – Speaker 1
And congrats. 15 years. That’s incredible.

[00:40:10.940] – Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:40:12.450] – Speaker 1
And I’ve talked to a lot of businesses over the years, and the five year hurdle is a big one, 10 year hurdle is rare. 15 years. That’s impressive for any business, especially small business surviving COVID. So, yeah. Cool. Can you tell us that website one more time, chamois?

[00:40:34.520] – Speaker 2
Absolutely. It’s bartender608.com.

[00:40:36.870] – Speaker 1
Bartender608.com. Easy enough. This has been Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings the struggles, stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land we are underwritten locally by the Bank of Sun Prairie. If you’re listening or watching this on the web, which you probably are, if you could do us a huge favor, smash that thumbs up and of course, subscribe and of course, comment below and let us know where you want to see ChinaMoon and her crew serving drinks, right?

[00:41:05.000] – Speaker 2
Absolutely.

[00:41:05.690] – Speaker 1
Or just come visit, crash a wedding, maybe. Don’t do that. It’s bad advice. James told me to write, my name is James Kademan. And Authentic Business Adventures is brought to you by Calls on Call, offering call answering services for service businesses across the country. On the web at callsoncall.com and Draw in Customers, business coaching offering business coaching services for entrepreneurs looking for growth. And of course the Bold Business Book. A book for the entrepreneur in all of us, available wherever find books are sold. All we got here. We’d like to thank you, our wonderful listeners, as well as a guest, ChinaMoon, the owner of Bartender 608. Tell us that website one more time.

[00:41:43.580] – Speaker 2
Absolutely, bartender608.com.

[00:41:45.680] – Speaker 1
It doesn’t get easier than that. Past episodes can be found morning, noon and night. The podcasting found at drawincustomer.com. Thanks for watching and listening. We’ll see you next week. I want you to stay awesome. And if you do nothing else, enjoy your business.

 

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