“Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give. It’s about how many you can take and still keep moving forward.”
– Rocky Balboa

“I always remember this quote in times like these,” says bartender Steven Huddleston.

“What I have learned is the amazing camaraderie of the food and beverage community. While the government is implementing stages to separate the public, the entire Food & Beverage community is coming together as one family to support each from bartender to line cook.”

Steven is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and is also an award-winning Charleston, South Carolina bartender who runs a bar and cocktail consulting company named GRAIN Consulting.

“Circumstances like the one we are in currently is not something that we were prepared for,” continues Steve. “My advice to bartenders to help soften the impact during this crisis is to look at trade positions and set aside your personal pride. I understand that most of us have professional degrees and have worked hard to get where we are, but now it’s about survival.”

Bartender Steven Huddleston mixing a cocktail behind the bar

Bartender Steven Huddleston Mixing

Recently, to help soften the financial impact on his family, Steven supplements a portion of his income by working 8 pm to 11 pm at a valet trash position for a local apartment complex. “Maybe becoming a driver for foodservice delivery or joining a mail delivery service like USPS, DHS, FedEx, and UPS are ways that can help with the financial impact. Another option is stocking services for stores like Walmart, Cosco, and Target, etc. that are struggling to keep items on the shelf and are hiring.” Steven’s outlook is to do whatever he has to in order to support his family. “This epidemic will not last forever. Do what you have to in order to support your friends and family through these trying times. If you can, look on employment sites and craigslist to find trade jobs or any other relevant temporary positions.”

If unable to secure another job, recourse for bartenders and people in the service industry exists. “The relief efforts offered by the USBG Relief Fund has had many large brands like Bacardi, Heaven Hill, and Diageo donate upwards of a million dollars to support hospitality workers, which is comforting and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Bartender Steven Huddleston

Bartender Steven Huddleston

Another resource available that can help struggling F&B families is CORE, Children of Restaurant Employees. A qualifying family can receive a grant to cover medical bills for children, gas cards, groceries, clothing, medical supplies and therapies, utilities, rent, and mortgage, including other essentials a family might need to navigate their specific circumstances.

“The USBG Relief Fund and the CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) are both great recourses for emergency financial relief,” says Steven. “When you apply for assistance, know your needs and have a game plan of what is a necessity and what you can move on without. Have all of your personal information and W2 information available as well as financial need as it will only expedite the process.”

The plan for Steven’s bar, “currently at our workplace management has taken voluntary pay reductions in order to help cover the cost of current hourly staff wages at our establishment and have voluntarily cut down on our workdays in order to hold workers’ jobs through this trying time.”