By launching Unfiltered Hospitality, Co-Creators Gui Jaroschy and Ben Potts boast a consulting company that “make experience better.” In addition to creating Unfiltered Hospitality, Jaroschy has designed menus or collaborated on products with Williams Sonoma, British Airways, The Smithsonian Museum, and The James Beard Foundation and won recognition as a mixologist, director, and personality. Potts is also the co-owner and creative director of award-winning bars The Sylvester and Beaker & Gray, one of the Top 10 Best Bartenders in Miami as well as the former director of training and bar education for Blackbird Ordinary, Purdy Lounge, and The Bar in Coral Gables. Their process-driven, experience-focused hospitality development strikes a balance between the professional and the personal to find sustainable, applicable solutions to problems within the industry. Their approach stands on four pillars: process, people, product, and performance. These pillars suggest that process and people are as fundamental as product and performance in efficiency and success. Unfiltered Hospitality allows clients to acquire the tools and the knowledge to feel empowered and achieve the best results. There is also an emphasis on coaching and consulting to build and develop lasting relationships that clients then cultivate with their employees and partners. Through their Beverage Consulting, Coaching and Development, and Brand Strategy services, industry professionals Jaroschy and Potts offer a quality investment that stems from a combined thirty achievement-filled years in the hospitality industry.
How did you two meet? Tell us where your journey intersected.
GJ: Ben and I met each other as far back as 2008 through mutual friends. I started to manage the Delano Hotel bar in 2009 and around that time Ben had started a hospitality headhunting company. He invited me out to lunch, we hit it off very well, and we became fast friends. Some years later, Ben was bartending and becoming quite good at it. He rose through Blackbird and some other places. He was leaving those places to open Beaker & Gray and I was managing Broken Shaker in Miami. I thought he needed a job for 3 months tops, and ended up working at Shaker for over a year.
How did you two become the co-creators of Unfiltered Hospitality?
GJ: During the pandemic, we had a little time on our hands. A project came up that [Ben] got and he brought me in this time. We decided that we wanted to do more work together.
BP: We’ve both done consulting separately over the years. We saw that the traditional consulting model doesn’t always produce the desired effect. When we got first together, we were like let’s just take this on, have a couple of extra bucks in our pocket. We saw that there had to be a better way. It started with consulting and it’s something that we still do but that consulting led to a revelation that we had. That revelation was that management, and hospitality professionals in general, are severely underserved from an educational standpoint.
What inspired you to create Unfiltered Hospitality?
BP: We found that there is a great opportunity for us to share our experience and knowledge, from the years that we’ve had working behind bars, with those management and hospitality professionals. That led to the second arm of Unfiltered. We still have our consulting practice. We try to make it a much more comprehensive process. We’ll get into something that we called the four pillars. Every part of our business goes through the four pillars which are process, people, product, and performance. These pillars are ingrained in each of the things that we do. For the educational component, right now we have one product that helps people make better menus because the menu-making process is a nightmare. It is all over the place. If you don’t have an organizational system and you don’t set it up right or engage the team, you end up taking on all the work yourself, forgetting to do a ton of things, and being out of the product.
GJ: To a lot of people in hospitality management, it feels like a dead-end job. For me at least, when I was managing my first hotel bar, I was working my ass off six days a week to make 45,000 a year and two promotions ahead of me were my worst nightmare. At that time, I wanted to get a brand job and bartend again. At Shaker, one of a couple of things happened. One, there was a product that I was passionate about and I was working with people that I was good friends with. Two, because Shaker is such a big name, I was invited to participate in a business development program. That process was super good for me because I got to see how to balance professional and personal and how to set goals for myself to move forward. That changed my career forever because if you’re making it, you ultimately choose how fulfilling your job will be. The more you set goals and work on improving the business, you have a reason to go to work every day.
How do you distinguish Unfiltered Hospitality from other consulting companies?
GJ: We are set on changing the conversation, not just being paid to fix a problem and have that same problem pop up in six months. The first part of education asks how we can invest in management to where the ownership and the business get a better product but the managers themselves can have a life and see a sustainable version of a long-term career in hospitality. That’s what is exciting to us. We are still figuring out day by day to make that a reality. As Ben said, it has kind of taken its shape when we do more traditional consulting because we spend all of this time figuring out how to help people develop systems to keep things moving forward. Now, when we do consult, we approach it in a different way. We develop the team and the management to embrace the consulting and take it a step further.
BP: It’s not something that lasts three to six months. It lasts three to six years. Not to say that the cocktail menu should last three to six years, but making sure that [management and hospitality professionals] feel empowered enough to create their own next menu. Everything that we do is with the idea and intention of making the hospitality experience better. Everything on our website is better _____ because that is the intention behind our company. We know that there is a better way. We know that we can help people get there by doing some of the work ourselves which is essentially what we are doing with consulting but then also helping them figure out their own path. We always use the term “coaching” in a lot of our materials because you have to do the work.
Why the emphasis on education?
BP: I was very fortunate with my upbringing. I went to good schools. I was able to go to college and graduate school. I received a ton of education. Before working in hospitality, I worked in investment banking. I was in Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory for a long time. To get to that point requires training and education. When I started in hospitality in 2009, I got the standard bar back training. I didn’t get anything about what the company is about or what my role plays in the grand scheme of things. It was basically like ‘these are the tasks that you have to accomplish.’ As I progressed through the industry, I noticed that that never really changed. Even when I had experience working in smaller organizations and large hotel groups–––the training is all the same. With my experience of having so much education going into the finance industry, I was like maybe if there were better education and better training in the hospitality industry, the whole industry could get better. People could have a better experience, not 1 out of 10 times, but 5 out of 10 times which would be an incredible improvement. The lack of education was a systemic issue that we could work toward solving.
What inspires you to create (Bar design, menus, etc.)?
GJ: Connect with people. What we try to do when we are making a menu for someone, or if we are teaching someone else to make a menu, is to understand the concept. There’s the What, Why, and How. The Why is that beautiful thing that connects with people. It is why you’re doing it in the first place. If you can make your offering near that, or best accentuate that, or tell that story…that’s what really connects with people. Shaker is such a strong brand because they get that. The Why is the same and the four properties could not be more different. There’s an outdoor bar in Miami with a garden. In Chicago, it’s indoors in a basement. But they all have the mission statement: create an extraordinary experience that connects on a personal level. Go higher with the details but make sure it connects with people personally.
In addition to Consulting, what other services does your company provide that you would like to highlight and promote?
BP: We are very excited about the human development of hospitality professionals. We also offer Brand Strategy for companies and suppliers that are trying to launch a market. Gui and I have both been buyers for six-plus years. We have been approached by thousands of brands over the years. We have found that experience to be lackluster. We wanted to find a better way to improve a product launch. We’ll help with anything from product launches to how to enter the market in a more effective way and how to talk to buyers. We apply the four pillars to just about everything that we do. It works in Consulting. It works in Education and Coaching. It works in Brand Strategy.
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