– follow Chad –www.doormetrics.com
WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I'm currently the Bar Manager at Soho Beach House. 19 years ago (when I was 17) I got a job as a barback at a hotel on the beach in RI and it was during that summer I knew I wanted to be behind the bar. The next summer my grandfather got me a job as a bartender at his yacht club where I worked all through college. I've always hated cold weather and it was during one cold winter break in college that I discovered South Beach. Next thing I knew I was living in South Beach and working at the Shore Club. I loved the excitement, the parties, the celebs and the girls! It was an amazing time. From there I went on to open the Standard Hotel, took a stab at opening my own place with a friend, worked for the Opium Group for a while and then went on to run the Rooftop of the Gansevoort, which ultimately lead me to Soho.
WAS HOSPITALITY SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
It's kind of funny because I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. Once I started working in F&B I knew immediately that I loved being around people and the excitement of bars and clubs was invigorating, to say the least.
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY OVER THE PAST 5 - 10 YEARS?
The biggest change in my opinion is the shear number of places that are opening every year in Miami. Just when you think South Beach can't sustain another bar, restaurant or hotel... BAM there is another one! The competition has definitely gotten much tougher and anyone getting into the game now better do their homework. It's not just location anymore or having the best dish, it's about entertainment, the concept and the team running the show.
YOU'VE WORKED IN SOME OF MIAMI'S MOST PRESTIGIOUS VENUES. WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU'VE SEEN?
I've seen so much over the years I'm pretty desensitized to the stuff that happens around me. I'd have to say it's some of the ludicrous amounts of money that I've seen dropped at nightclubs over the years. Like when Antwon Walker was playing for the Miami Heat a few years back. He'd come in to Privé (where I was the GM) and drop $30k without blinking an eye. When he was done, which was usually around 4 or 5am, we would have to sneak him out the back door because he had a game the next day!
WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION IN THE INDUSTRY TODAY?
This is a great question, having worked for Morgan's Hotel Group for a number of years, I would have to say it's Ian Schrager. There is no other person that I can think of who had such a lasting impact on both the club and hotel industries. I was lucky enough to be at the Delano Hotel in the 90's when there were literally no other hotels on South Beach like it. The majority of all the hotels at the time were run down and hadn't been remodeled yet, let alone have an awesome lobby like the Delano's. I definitely have to also mention my current boss, Nick Jones who founded the Soho House Group. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical if a private members club (at a hotel) was going to work in South Beach. I was way off. In my opinion, the Soho Beach House is the closest thing to the Delano of 14 years ago. It's really in its own category of hotels/brands and it's so inspiring to watch someone have the wherewithal to create something in an industry when no one else is.
IF YOU HAD THE DAY OFF TODAY, WHERE WOULD YOU BE?
If you asked me this question a few years ago, I'd have a completely different answer. Today I'd choose to be home, with my 2 beautiful kids and my wife. We all put in long hours working in the hotel business, but also have a huge luxury since our job is everyone else's 'time off'. It's amazing to be able to go home, forget about the emails and play with the kids.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
The Horned Dorset, in Rincon, Puerto Rico. My wife and I went there before we were married and it was amazing... Old Spanish style, right on the beach and amazing food.
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THE FUTURE FOR MIAMI BEACH?
A much bigger South Beach... it used to be that South Beach was centered around a few blocks on Washington Ave. Then it spread out to Collins and up to the Delano. The Shore Club on 19th stretched further North and the revitalization of South of Fifth area filled in the rest. A few years ago the Gansevoort Hotel pushed the 'beach' up even further and then with Fontainebleau reopening that same year, the rest is history. South Beach went from a few blocks to 41+ and more hotels and clubs to count and with Schrager's Edition Hotel opening this year and Faena next year, South Beach will be bigger than ever.
DO YOU HAVE A CAREER ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
Most people don't know about how much of a gadget and tech junkie I am. A few years ago I saw that the technology used in the F&B world was not moving at the same speed as other industries. Instead of just sitting back, I scraped together whatever money we had saved up and decided to create my own iPhone App to help solve one of the problems I was having at the Rooftop. South Beach attracts so many young people and making sure everyone is at least 21 years old is, at times, a huge challenge. I created an app called DoorMetrics to help doormen easily card guests entering a club or bar, which then helps to protect the business. I can say it's definitely not easy making an iPhone App and learned a lot about the experience along the way. Luckily I have made a lot of good friends and contacts along the way which, has helped get DoorMetrics in the door of more than 1000 bars, clubs and hotels around the country. (pun intended!) I'm also getting ready to launch a new website to help F&B managers process payroll called 'tipreports.com', which focuses on the distribution of tips and gratuities...another huge pain point in the industry.
IF YOU COULD CREATE A COCKTAIL FOR ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I'd love to make one last cocktail for my grandfather, Elmer Shakeshaft. He is the reason I got into this business and I can still vividly remember watching the movie Cocktail with him and then going outside to practice juggling and flipping bottles. He was much better than I was!
WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING 10 YEARS FROM NOW?
I love working in and around bars and hotels so I definitely will be in the industry. In 10 YEARS I also hope to be watching DoorMetrics' stock price climb up the Nasdaq!!! For sure I'll also be helping my wife with her company, 'Love, Style, Events,' an events production company based in Miami, FL... not to mention we make a great team and I really love working with her.