ST. CLOUD -- This has been a very challenging year for people who have made a career out of working in the restaurant industry.

Tim Edmunds is a bartender and assistant manager at Olde Brick House in downtown St. Cloud. He has spent almost 30 years in the industry working for chefs in Minneapolis early in his career and eventually becoming a wine sommelier.

He says bartending is the part of the business he enjoys the most.

One, it's the center point for a lot of the restaurants and it allows you to feel the intensity of the entire room.  You can see most guests from where you are and it's just a great way for me to interact with our guests.

Edmunds says over his career he's seen demand from guests improve over time with more interest in craft beers and craft cocktails.

They expect a certain level of unity between the food and beverage for your concept and that's refreshing to me, that excites me, to have guests that want to learn something and want to see how food and beverage interact together.

He says if you want to have a long career in the restaurant industry you have to be passionate about creating an experience for guests. It's an industry that thrives on creating a positive experience for guests, which has been challenging this year.

It's exhausting on top of an already aggressive workload, so maintaining positivity and coming in and inspiring the rest of the team to be positive when there are so many variables that are unknown.

Edmunds says the food and beverage industry has always run on cycles with December typically a very busy time, and then January usually slower. He says he's expecting bars and restaurants to eventually be full once again.

I just think that when this is over people will come out in droves because they'll want to do this again, and then they'll realize how much they love having someone else serve them and have the opportunity to eat great food that's paired with great beverages.  You just can't keep this type of backdrop in your home.

Edmunds moved to St. Cloud four years ago and has been working at Olde Brick House for about a year.

WJON News is starting a new series featuring people in the St. Cloud area who have made a career out of working in the bar and restaurant industry. If you know someone you think we should be featuring let us know, email me at jim@wjon.com.

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