Hospitality: an interview with Shatbhi Basu
Shatbhi Basu, director, Stir Academy of Bartending, and Kishore Thapar, partner Cocktails and Dreams academy, tells Purva Mehra why bartending as a vocation is such a crowd puller.
What are the factors drawing the youth to this industry?
Basu: Primarily the fun, glamour and attention.
Thapar: The opportunities to work abroad are infinite. It can be glamourous and you earn while you learn.
What is the salary scope for bartenders?
Basu: The divide is quite huge between stand-alone bars, nightclubs and star hotels. In India, it starts at Rs 5, 500 and with some experience you can earn up to Rs 25, 000 a month. Working on a cruise ship can net you up to Rs 60,000.
On an average how many students apply for bartending courses?
Basu: I started Stir in 1999 with seven students. It went up to 100 students a year by 2003. The fact that so many institutes are mushrooming speaks volumes.
Thapar: We started with 80 students in 2005, and today we have more than 220 students graduating from our academy annually. We also conduct on premise trainings for which we have 2000 candidates at nightclubs, restaurants and star graded hotels.
What is the scope for the youth opting for bartending?
Basu: For the serious bartenders who go beyond circus performances, opportunities are vast within India and overseas.
Thapar: With experience, students have the option of becoming bar managers, beverage consultants with liquor companies and brand promotional events. For those looking to specialise, becoming a sommelier is a popular option.
What are the main challenges in this industry?
Basu: Compared to other industries our pay scales are extremely poor. That is the biggest challenge. We need to get people in power to realise that we lose good manpower to other countries and other sectors within India owing to poor pay scales.