Andrea Hoover is the Beverage Operations Manager for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.
Andrea is a seasoned hospitality professional who has worked in the industry since she was just 13 years old. She has held positions at restaurants around Columbus including The Bexley Monk, Lindey’s in German Village and The Top Steakhouse, which was owned by her family.
Early in her career, Andrea was hired as a server and moved behind the bar within a few months. She quickly became eager to be involved in the creative and developmental side of the company’s beverage program. In May 2013, Director of Beverage Ryan Valentine took Andrea under his wing. In the following months, she helped develop the beverage program for Hudson 29 and The Barn, and traveled to Philadelphia to help open and to train the new bar chefs.
Among many other things, people are the reason Andrea loves working at CMR (Cameron Mitchell Restaurants) most. She greatly values all of the relationships and connections she develops in her position. Whether her associates, who are like a family, or the numerous others she encounters on a daily basis—Andrea cherishes the opportunity connect with people every day through her work.
What do you train other bartenders in?
I train bartenders about people and compassion and to look within themselves first before lashing out at others. This business we are in is stressful at times and we are all human. In order to run a proper shift, we need to leave our negativity/pride/ego at the door and walk in ready to take care of each other and the guest’s experience will inevitably reflect our vibe. Seek to understand before judgement in every situation. Skill and technique is important but in the business of hospitality, personality is vital.
What can you train other bartenders to do? What is your specialty?
Have you ever heard the metaphor about the duck? Paddling feverishly underwater to keep it moving, yet calm and collected on the surface for everyone to see. I would say that is my greatest strength as a bartender and that is what I try to instill amongst our teams the most. It is easier to keep the “three c’s” (cool, calm and collected) when there is trust within a team. If we have trust in each other, we know we can get through any shift. The guest will feel our energy behind the bar before we even make eye contact, so how we make them feel will inevitably shape the experience.
Here are Andrea’s Five Tips for Creating a Beverage Menu:
- Know your guests! We don’t create cocktails for ourselves, we create cocktails for those who dine with us. Don’t let your ego get in the way of what your people actually want.
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose ingredients that bartenders once found passé. Those who enjoy cocktails have found ways to bring back “ironic” ingredients. Find a way to make that blue curaçao behave in a delicious cocktail!
- Be conscientious of overly harvest cocktail naming if you plan to carry the list through winter. The Harvest Citrus Spice cocktail won’t be near as appealing once December hits.
- Become hip to what is in season in your region. Fresh is always best.
- As much as we all love to display our highest level of creativity, accept cost effectiveness as a challenge, not a barrier. There is no sense in creating a menu that will cause your beverage cost to sky rocket. Being conscientious of cost does not mean we cannot produce delicious, interesting, quality cocktails.