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Did you know the Hub is open throughout the Spring and Summer semesters? It’s true! From the Food and Beverage Manager’s lips himself, here’s what we can expect this summer from our favourite local spot.
What is your position at SAMRU?
I’m the Food and Beverage Manager which means that I operate things like rentals and internal caterings. It also means during the Cougars season I staff and run the concession. Then there’s the Hub in general. I started in September 2015 because Brendan, the Director of Communications and Marketing, was aware of the newly created Food and Beverage Manager position and I wasn’t super happy where I was bar-tending. He noticed that and recommended that I apply for the position!
What’s been your favourite experience so far as the Food and Beverage Manager?
It’s a composite of a lot of small things. There’s a lot of changes that have been really hard-won that go unnoticed sometimes. For example, we replaced all the plastic glasses with real glasses… things like that we replaced with better quality versions. We got things to how they were supposed to be. There’s been a lot of opportunities where I’ve gotten to improve the service to the staff and the quality of a job working in the Hub. That’s been the most satisfying for me.
Do you have an —insert adjective here– story that you’d like to share with readers from your experience?
One experience that I thought was super funny was the first St. Patrick’s Day that I worked here. It was a really busy day and there was a regular customer I knew pretty well who came into the Hub. The next day, I came into work and saw these glasses on the counter (which I recognized as this customer’s glasses). Then somebody came in with this customer’s coat saying that the customer had taken their coat by accident. It was this weird thing where five different people came in with a piece of that customer’s night. So we were reverse-engineering this person’s night at the Hub. It was such a weird story… everyone who came in had a different item that related back to this customer’s night. It was a long process of returning these items and the story just became richer as the day went on.
What’s your favourite event held in the Hub?
In general, I really like the Wild Card Wednesday programming because it provides a lot of interesting opportunities for everyone. SAMRU’s Got Talent was really successful and was a nice showcase for everyone. Actually, maybe overall, I like the karaoke nights and I use to participate in them all the time.
What does the Hub have in store for us over the summer?
We just changed up our draft lineup to reflect a more Spring/Summer style. We’re doing mass revamps to the drinks menu and table cards. Besides that, we’re playing host to a bunch of conferences and big events in the upcoming future. We have the Health and Physical Educators Conference which will be a gala-style event in the Hub and Wyckham Bowl. We also have the Unison Festival which is the LGBTQ+ national choir festival. So there’s like 600 delegates staying on campus for that. And then shortly thereafter there’s the wheelchair rugby nationals happening in Recreation so we’ll be open extra hours for that. In August, we booked the entire building out for the 18+ NSF Con which is a once-a-year festival they put on.
Any summer specials students can look forward to?
We’ll keep our study break happy hour going, otherwise, we always have a list of food specials that we start serving in the summer to try-out for the fall menu. We’ll sample and test new things. We have a good selection of products and high-quality products for the value.
What hours will the Hub be open for the summer?
11 am to 6 pm daily most days minus a short closure from July 1st to 15th. We’re closing during Stampede this year since we typically see a smaller turnout during this time. It also allows our servers to work Stampede and cash in on that. Most neighbourhood pubs turn into ghost towns during Stampede and we’re especially victim to that over the summer with a small student population on campus.
The Hub’s hiring is ongoing but are you looking for any positions in particular right now?
Front-of-House staff are needed but we’re mostly looking for people who are able to commit to full-time hours (or very near full-time hours). There’s a lot of positives for working at the Hub and SAMRU as a whole in terms of serving. With SAMRU, you get to bartend/serve with a registered charity. We have a Monday to Friday work week so you have your weekends free. We’re super flexible on scheduling and we’re changing our gratuity system to a full tip pool. This way everyone works more as a team and there’s no management tip out. At other bars you usually lose about 6-10% to the House and that does not happen at the Hub. There is effectively no House tip-out.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We’re working to make the Hub as low-waste as possible. We already try to compost everything we can. I recently also got in contact with a manufacturer of biodegradable straws which is the last big waste piece we have. We also donate leftover food from catering to a Calgary organization called Leftovers. They pick up the food and distribute it to whichever shelter or residence that has the highest need at that time.