794: Leo Holtzman, Co-founder of SoCal Cantina and founder of Cocktail Conjuring, Inc.
Leo Holtzman is the co-founder of SoCal Cantina and founder of Cocktail Conjuring, Inc. Leo first started tending bar in Orlando when he attended UCF triple majoring in Theatre, Psychology and Hospitality Management. Bartending was just a means to an end until he could make it as a full-time close-up magician. Upon graduation he moved back to Miami and worked as a magician/performer for various events and companies while working a few nights a week at Cadillac Ranch. Eventually he became the bar manager of Cadillac Ranch while the performing season was in a lull. In 2012, he wanted to take his talents to Las Vegas and saw that his best opportunity was to work for the new hip and chic hotel, SLS South Beach. SLS had/has plans for a large scale resort in Las Vegas set to open Labor Day weekend 2014. He landed an entry level job at SLS as a bar back at Katsuya’s Dragon Lounge mixology bar. This was his first introduction to the world of “mixology”. He learned everything from the bottom and within 6 months was the head bartender/manager and was in charge of all normal duties of the bar program including cocktail design. During his time with SLS he also took on consulting and worked various events including the Lucky Rice festival and Bacardi Legacy competition. His talents did not go unnoticed and in 2014 he partnered with Patrick Gleber, owner of Tobacco Road, to open Cocktail Collection and put his magic career on hold. Cocktail Collection was the hottest bar in Miami, featuring a rotating original cocktail menu and local artist show cases. Cocktail Collection has received numerous accolades from various mediate outlets and critics including the only 5 star cocktail lounge/bar rating on YELP in the greater Miami area. It was loved by guests and critics, a rare feat in today’s hospitality market. Then without notice Tobacco Road and Cocktail Collection were demolished to make way for the new high rises of Brickell. But Leo kept on bringing his cocktails and hospitality though Cocktail Conjuring events, pop-ups and consulting for select venues including Norwegian Cruise Line and The Palms Hotel and Spa. Then out of nowhere AJ Billapando contacted Leo with an idea. AJ had remembered one night at Cocktail Collection where he had the best cocktails of his life and a surreal experience of Leo performing close-up magic for a group of him and his friends. The cocktails and experience was unpretentious yet sophisticated- something he wanted SoCal to embody. After a brief call, the two met and came up with SoCal Cantina over night. They opened a week later in Brickell and were a wild success. SoCal Cantina offers out-of-this-world margaritas as well as some classics from Cocktail Collection menu (smoke fashion anyone??). The drinks pair perfectly with quite simply the best tacos you will ever have. Check out SweetProcess as mentioned in today's episode. Check out Jolt as mentioned in today's episode. Show notes… Calls to ACTION!!! Join Restaurant Unstoppable Network and connect with my past guest and a community of superfans. Subscribe to the Restaurant Unstoppable YouTube Channel Join the private Unstoppable Facebook Group Join the email list! (Scroll Down to get the Vendor List!) Favorite success quote or mantra: "Do it now." In today's episode with Leo Holtzman we will discuss: Being a magician Bartending Checklists Managers Finding an investor Finding an investor in a customer Popups Renting a space within a space Developing your personal brand Follow trends and create spaces for them Collecting emails Enforcing SOP Contracts Enthusiasm trickles down Game-ify business Becoming a mentor Today's sponsor: 7shifts is a modern labor management platform, designed by restaurateurs, for restaurateurs. Effectively labor management is more important than ever to ensure profitability and restaurant success. Trusted by over 400,000 restaurant professionals, 7shifts gives you the tools you need to streamline labor operations, communicate with your team, and retain your talent. Best of all 7shifts integrates with the POS and Payroll systems you already use and trust (like Toast!) turning labor into a competitive advantage for your business. Restaurant Unstoppable members get 3 months, absolutely free. PaG ProfessionalTM offers innovative total foodservice solutions featuring trusted brands such as Dawn® Professional, Cascade® Professional, Spic and Span® and Comet®. We are unique in that our total solutions are founded in customer and patron understanding, superior products that help save time and cut overall costs, and a five-star service group that is compensated based on customer satisfaction, not commissions. Visit www.pgpro.com for the latest information about PaG Professional's solutions and services. Knowledge bombs Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success? Perseverance What is your biggest weakness? Trust What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? Future plans What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it? Hiring and making things more efficient with less staff Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team. Accountability What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff? Treat people like they are a guest in your home, not in your restaurant What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner? How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie GET THIS BOOK FOR FREE AT AUDIBLE.COM Name one service you've hired. BarMetrix What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influence operations? MarginEdge If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be? Do it now Be what you know you can be Try to be empathetic to everyone Contact info: Instagram.... personal: @cocktail_conjuror business: @socal_cantina -OR- SoCal Cantina website Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below! If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them. And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates. Huge thanks to Leo Holtzman for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time! Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!