The ladies at Batch Brewing Company plan to unite fellow women in the restaurant industry to combat stereotypes.
By Courtney Burk
Photography by Patty Rooney
As the daughter of restaurateurs, I’ve had more than just a 13-year career in the restaurant industry. I spent a childhood playing in dry storage, ducking when someone said “corner” and rounded it with a hot pan, knowing not just as a number, but as the term used commonly throughout my house to indicate we were out of said ingredient or frozen toaster pastry.
I began cashiering and bussing tables at 15, filling empty coffee cups and triple checking chicken scratched to-go orders in my server book at 16, and by 17, I had learned that though the customer wasn’t always right — I had to take hold of a narrative and provide an experience through food and drink that made them feel as such.
After college I left the comfort of my family’s establishments and pursued a passion of evolving beverage programs within the restaurant industry. I spent the last four years sinking my teeth into the craft beer industry. And though the industry is largely considered progressive and creative, I found parallels to many things I experienced in the kitchens, behind the bars and in the server stations of the restaurant industry across the state: distasteful female stereotypes.
Early in my time at Batch Brewing Company in Detroit, I had the opportunity to collaborate on a beer with the only other female bartender at the time. We decided we wanted to create our favorite style of beer, a high ABV imperial stout. When it came to naming the beer, we wanted to create something we could put in front of people to begin a conversation and smash the idea of a “girly beer.”
Dicksmasher has since evolved to take on a personality of its own — a narrative that myself and a small group of passionate women in the industry, would like to invite fellow women in the industry to engage in and provide input.
A Dicksmasher event will take place in Batch Brewing Company’s train car 7-9 p.m. on Jan. 29. We ask that women in the restaurant industry come with ideas on the type of character Dicksmasher should represent, the battles we have fought in the industry and beneficial outcomes to provide education on topics that impact our lives directly.
We want women in the restaurant industry to bring ideas on the type of character they’d like to see represent us and ideas on how Dicksmasher can educate and battle the female stereotypes, misogyny and other happenings in the industry. While we love the smashing, we also want to bring awareness to the words and actions that are harmful, and generate a positive change. As the first meeting, we’re looking for ideas, insight, feedback and to begin a conversation. We hope you join us.
Courtney Burk is a freelance writer with a full-time marketing and sales position at Batch Brewing Company. She has 13 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and she’s working on her first novel entitled “Daughter to a Restaurant.” She now writes about what she knows and has written pieces on the restaurant industry for Eater Detroit, Thrillist, DBusiness and blogs at spoonfulofink.com.