With the coronavirus lockdown in place and bars not being able to operate since level 5 until recently, there was no income.
It has been a notoriously difficult time for restaurants and bars as no alcohol could be sold in premises. And so what did bartenders do? They pivoted and found a plan to make some money.
A group of bartenders from Cape Town joined forces and opened a car wash service called The Cartenders.
The Cartenders was founded by Cassandra Eichhoff who is the director at Cape Town European Bartender School, Charne van Heerden who is the head bartender at The House of Machines, Katlego Manyathi who is also a bartender, and Rigo Eichhoff who is a chef at The Pot Luck Club.
Co-founder, Eichhoff said they decided to make the most of the current situation and offer an essential service, a car wash, with a hospitality twist.
She said The Cartenders are go-getters and apply what they’ve learned from working in bars and restaurants to give their customers a cool and retro car wash experience.
“The idea initially started to formulate in May and I decided to run with it in June. The ‘workshop’ operates from the EBS student accommodation in Walmer Estate in Cape Town. The Cartenders is unique simply because it started as an initiative for bartenders to make some cash to pay bills.
“But as the brand started to develop, we realised that we can easily combine our hospitality skills and car washing into a super rad experience.
“Guests are welcomed with a comfortable waiting room, which is geared with sufficient seating, free wifi, coffee, and even popcorn. The Cartenders vibe is retro, cool and charming – we like to make our guests feel like they can do whatever they want during the time of the car wash, may it be getting some work done, reading a book or just sitting back and taking a moment to relax,” said Eichhoff.
Asked now that bars are open, what will happen to the carwash, she said they had thought about this business being a pop-up until bars reopened. However, it has changed into becoming a growing brand that will hopefully become its own full-time entity.
“Many people own more than just one business. What stops us from doing the same? We’ll learn how to juggle and diversify ourselves because to be honest, The Cartenders is just so much fun and rewarding, and it would be a pity to stop it now. It’s been a great learning experience so far and we try to make it exciting for ourselves as we continue to build the brand.
“One of the biggest benefits is that we are learning how to start a company from scratch and what type of entrepreneurial skills we can all offer. Of course, it’s also very scary because we’ve invested money and time into this project, but it’s opened up our eyes to the world of business and just how much we can diversify and grow ourselves going into the future. We’re looking forward to that after-work drink. Even though we might be returning to work, it only means that we can allow other out-of-work bartenders to join the team and make the most of it,” said Eichhoff.
For bookings – dirty riders can visit The Cartenders Facebook page and choose the ‘book now’ option to make an appointment.
They have a few package options which range from the exterior and interior washes, and very soon, they will be launching add-ons such as scratch remover, headlight restoration, and even some awesome merchandise.