5 Minutes With... | June 4, 2019
Kim Bartmann, CEO The Bartmann Group
Kim has been a visionary and pioneer on many fronts. She has created nine well-respected restaurants in Minneapolis (Red Stag Supperclub, Tiny Diner, Barbette, Bread & Pickle, Pat’s Tap, The Bird, Book Club, Trapeze, Gigi’s). One of her restaurants was the first LEED Certified restaurant in Minnesota, while another features creative energy sourcing using solar panels, cutting edge gardening and water use methods. She has been given a number of accolades, including two James Beard nominations. Kim is consistently recognized for giving back to the community in generous ways. As CEO of The Bartmann Group, Kim plays an active role in creating memorable restaurant experiences and providing solid jobs for her teams. How she has been able to succeed multiple times in an industry with a notorious failure rate made Scouts curious to learn more….
Q: If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?
I’d like to work in design, specifically planning with the architect, contractor and client.
Q: What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
Ask for help! Most young entrepreneurs forget this as they are often barreling ahead so fast with a do-it-yourself mantra, or thinking they really do know what they are doing. This mentality can be a big mistake. Time and money can be saved and things learned by engaging with your network of supporters and asking for help.
Q: What is your mantra?
Fall seven times; stand up eight.
Q: How do you get yourself out of a slump?
I’ve got a busy job, many outlets for creativity, and two small children— so no slumps allowed. However, when I need to recharge, I spend time alone. I enjoy reading outside of ‘my industry’ or getting up north in the woods.
Q: What companies or leaders do you admire?
So many!! I’m on the board of International Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. I’ve met so many amazing leaders through this organization. Standouts include: Lydia Bastianitch, Nora Pouillon, Ruth Gressor, and Wendy Coats. We all know Lydia. Nora opened the first organic restaurant in America. Ruth brought Neapolitan pizza to the D.C. area 25 years ago, and Wendy Coats is now a Superior Court Judge in California. Here in Minneapolis, we also have many notable leaders too, especially people in sustainable agriculture organizations that I would call my “food heroes”.
Q: What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?
I’d say the farm-to-table movement really started to accelerate into the mainstream about 10 years ago. A little over 10 years ago, I opened the first LEED certified restaurant in Minnesota (the 17th in the country), so sustainability beyond just farm-to-table has really taken off as well. The latest shift we’re experiencing now is a demand (partly sparked by the #metoo movement), for restaurants to work towards being better workplaces. We’ve got a long way to go on that one as an industry.
Q: Who has been most instrumental in your career?
Again, I’ve had so much help along the way. Early in my career, I had several mentors that helped me tremendously including: Pam Sherman, Lynn Alpert, Brenda Langton, and Nan Bailey. In the last few years, Dennis Monroe and my new business partner, Christopher O’Donnell have been invaluable.
Q: What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?
Well— no restaurant person could answer that question succinctly! For brevity’s sake, I’ll just say there’s no occasion where Champagne doesn’t do the trick!