The title of Erk Potur in his business card is “cupbearer”. He is actually the general manager of HIMKOK and is responsible for the revenue and cost elements of this massive bar complex.

Potur started his presentation with a sweaty photo of Rambo showing thumbs up in a middle of a battle with a quote “When your boss asks how you are doing in halfway through your shift.” The crowd was laughing, but there was a deeper meaning behind the funny meme. In bartending industry we have a myth that bartenders have to be like Rambo: though, hard like a rock and tackle everything that comes along. According to Potur, bartenders fuel their body with alcohol to dope with the stress of this lifestyle and it is the biggest problem of the industry.

Erk Potur.

But there is a less stressful way of working out there. In HIMKOK, the managers decided to take better care of the bartenders.

– It’s getting harder and harder to find good bartenders with knowledge and experience. It is very related to run a financially sustainable bar and to take care of your bartenders. In a way it’s not wrong to say good bartender life equals to profit, Potur says.

That resulted to 200 000 cocktails sold in 2018 and a staff that is happy, committed and motivated. Only four of their staff has quit since the bar opened in 2015, and three of them only left to open their own bars. Potur was asked whether he is sad to see those bartenders leave and use all they have learned to open their own venues.

– I am not sad, I am very proud. They are like my children and now they continue the HIMKOK heritage in their own venues.

Not the hours, but the quality

Potur thinks that one of the biggest problems in the industry are the long working hours. After a certain time, the creativity and productivity drops. For that reason, bartenders in HIMKOK only for seven and half hours a day with a 30 minute paid break.

– Ideally our bartenders work four days a week with two full days off.

According to Potur, the amount of hours their staff works is not the most important.

– The quality of work you do in these hours is more important aspect. That is why we pay the same salary but our bartenders work less in service.

The last day of the week is spent in trainings that are also paid. Bartenders get to choose what they want to do on that time: they might take part in the distillation process of the in house distillery or go on inspiration tours or take part in competitions.

– We also provide retirement fund and insurance for our employees. Vacation money is 12 % of their salary.

The last day of the week is spent in trainings that are also paid.

Bar owner, take care of your staff

Besides education programs, HIMKOK offers a wide selection of other activities for their staff. From self defense training for their female staff to foraging and nature walks to sports activities, the range is wide.

– We also have regular health checks. This way our staff gets new data about their health and can make adjustments to their routines. It gives an insight look of your own body.

All of this costs a lot, but Potur says that it pays itself back.

– Our bartenders work less for the same salary and for that reason they are more focused and their work is consistent and of highest quality. HIMKOK is very productive in all the fields: we have already four HIMKOK babies!

To maintain their great level of work, HIMKOK managers have created a HIMKOK bartender statement. It reminds all of the HIMKOK staff of the principales they have when it comes to working in a sustainable manner now and in the future.

HIMKOK bartender statement

  • Have fun while you are at work, don’t JUST OCCUPY A SPACE TO WORK THE HOURS!

  • Feel motivated

  • Be productive

  • Encourage yourself and your colleagues to participate in team activities

  • Feel safe and secure with your environment, you are not alone  

  • Your vision is important at HIMKOK and put it on front

  • Clarity and transparency makes life easier for everybody, let`s TALK

  • SLEEP WELL, EAT WELL (NO 4AM KEBABS OR 5PM BREAKFASTS)

  • EXERCISE REGULARLY