NRI PULSE NEWS DESK
Action School of Bartending & Hospitality
6185 Buford Highway
Norcross, GA 30071
The classroom looks like a regular bar, but, says owner
Kamal Bhatia, the bottles are filled with food color. Here,
students learn how to make the perfect margarita; or how to
achieve the exact balance of mint and lime for that ideal
The student manual at Bhatia’s recently opened Action School
of Bartending is impressive. Over 150 popular cocktail
recipes are taught here. A 40-hour course also covers every
other aspect of bartending- from setting up bar equipment
and glassware, to wine and beer making, to pairing food with
wine and cocktails, to customer service skills and
responsible alcohol services.
“Students then go through a test after which they receive
certification from the Georgia Post-Secondary Education
Commission,” says Bhatia.
Bhatia, who has a background in hotel management, having
worked for the finest hotels in Atlanta like the Ritz
Carlton and the Sheraton, saw a huge shortage for trained
bartenders, especially in the September to December period.
“This is an extremely busy period for hotels,” he says. “I
also run a consultancy company called Action Solutions,
where we train and place personnel in the hotel industry. We
have tie-ups with all the major fine hotels in the Atlanta
area. Last year, we found that there is a huge shortage of
qualified bartenders at big functions that start in
September and last through the end of the year. I used to
depend on other agencies to find people of right caliber.
That is when I thought of starting my own school of
bartending, to meet this growing demand.”
Bhatia was initiated into this business by hotel directors
because “we provided consistent quality,” he says.
Action School of Bartending offers a variety of courses
ranging from the 40-hour Master Bartender course to short
term courses on bartending for private parties (8 hours),
introduction to wines (4 hours) and banquet services (8
hours). The school has also introduced the scaled down
version of the Master Bartender course- 20 hours of training
that includes 40 of the most popular cocktail recipes.
Certified bartenders can make $20-$25 per hour depending on
their customer and selling skills.
“We get novices who know nothing about bartending,” says
Bhatia. “Once they are trained, we put them on call basis,
so that they can get hands on training in a real bar
situation. If they are looking for full time jobs, we have a
network of restaurants and bars where they will be absorbed.
There is always a shortage of bartenders.”
Action School places a premium on teaching students how to
communicate with the customer, and also train for job
interviews. A section of the school curriculum is devoted to
hygiene and sanitation. Students are taught how to clean
equipment and glassware at the right temperatures. The
course curriculum also includes responsible alcohol
“The bartender is liable, if the customer gets involved in
an accident, under the influence of alcohol,” says Bhatia.
It is the bartender’s job to tell the customer when to stop.
He can refuse to serve him more alcohol. He can even call
the taxi service or the cops if necessary.”
Bhatia has lofty dreams for his school. He plans to start
another location for his school in Buckhead, where he
expects more walk-ins. His ultimate goal is to have
franchises all over the US.
“In our culture, a “bar” has negative connotations,” says
Bhatia. “But I believe that there is nothing wrong with
having a drink, as long as you know how to stay within
For good measure, he adds: “This year’s American Idol, David
Cook is a former bartender.”