Wonder what it’s like to start a neighborhood juice bar? Curious about how the Juice Nazi runs his notorious juice bar? Can you correctly answer the infamous Alive Juice Bar application test questions? Will you find the questions funny or mind blowingly offensive? Read this to find out how to run a juice bar and if the Juice Nazi thinks you’re batshit crazy.
They say the Chinese government is run like a business. The President is the CEO and the Premier is the COO. The Politburo are the board of directors and Communist party members are shareholders. Provincial leaders are district managers and so forth and so on, all the way down to the student interns. Chinese citizens are the customers.
Restaurants — businesses in general — are run like the Chinese government. Juice bars, even more so because unlike most restaurants, my job at my juice bar isn’t solely to entertain customers, but also to guide them about matters of health and diet. I don’t just cook nutritious drinks and meals that taste good to the customer, I’m expected to nurse sick customers back to health, to prescribe remedies to heal an injury, and to absolve those who’ve committed dietary debauchery. Which means my job isn’t to give customers what they ask for, my job is to build trust. That means I treat customers differently from what you’d get at a typical restaurant. I expect customers who are transparent about what they want and need.
I might poll customers about their preferences (focus groups) but I don’t let them decide what and how I serve because most of them, like American voters (myself included), don’t know what the fuck is going on on my end business-wise and on their end health and diet-wise. Want wheatgrass? Go to Jamba Juice, I’m not serving bullshit shots. Want an acai bowl? Go get one at Costco, that shit is a waste of time and resources. The customer isn’t always right, the customer is usually wrong, ok? My job is to cut through the bullshit to give my customers not what they want, but what they need to be healthy.
An employee who makes an excuse gets chewed out. No, not later when the customers are gone, immediately because otherwise, they’ll forget what happened. Managers run the store as they want as long as we’re getting good results, and if the results aren’t good, they’re fired. There’s no states rights or voting. There’s surveillance. Employee input and checks and balances, sure, we have those in place, just like how it is in China. But no more than that because businesses need to be nimble to survive, we don’t have time for long debates and hesitation.
It’s not my intention to conflate the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with the Nazi party, the two parties are nothing alike unless you believe Western — especially American and British — media’s representations of the CCP and China (I don’t). Rather, the “Juice Nazi” moniker that customers gave me references Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, who is based on a real person. In any case, I haven’t done anything extraordinary to earn this praise — I’m not at the same level as great chefs like Marco Pierre White, Jiro Ono, and Charlie Trotter, or great athletes like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan. I’m nowhere as demanding, strict, and disciplined as any of them, which is why I’m nowhere as successful as they are.
My purpose here is to show readers how to run a juice bar without boring those who aren’t planning to do so. You can read this book as a behind the scenes reveal of a notorious juice bar, similar to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
This book is divided into five parts and thirty eight chapters. Part I, Mindset, shows you my mindset and the reasons for it when I work. Part II, Hiring, is mostly a collection of my most controversial application questions and shows how far we go to find the right employee.
Part III, Employees, has musings about human nature — which you have to understand to run a juice bar and most businesses — considers how employees should be compensated, and reflects on why the labor market is what it is. Part IV, Customers, explains why I treat customers as I do. Part V, Nuts and Bolts, shows how Alive Juice Bar is run, from its use of music attract and repel customers to its batshit crazy way of luring new customers.
This book can be read in whatever order you want. Feedback and questions are welcomed, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
How it began
Part I — Mindset
Chapter one — Sixty rules I learned about owning a business
Chapter two — Mindset of a bad cook
Chapter three — Your hobby is not your passion
Chapter four — So you want to be a porn star?
Chapter five — Ten worst reasons to open a juice bar
Chapter six — Devil in the Kitchen: Review of Marco Pierre White’s memoir
Chapter seven — Ideas are worthless
Chapter eight — To whom I’d sell Alive Juice Bar
Chapter nine — How the cult of self-esteem produces fuck ups
Part II — Hiring
Chapter ten — Reader reactions to Juice Nazi application
Chapter eleven — Juice Nazi seeks head of secret police
Chapter twelve — Alive Juice Bar seeking angry people
Chapter thirteen — Alive Juice Bar seeking very very very nice people
Chapter fourteen — Seeking Darth(ette) Vadar to join the Dark Side.
Chapter fifteen — So you want to manage a controversial juice bar
Chapter sixteen — Example of management material
Chapter seventeen — Answer key to
Part III — Employees
Chapter eighteen — On human nature
Chapter nineteen — How to spot bullshit
Chapter twenty — Training employees guidelines
Chapter twenty one — Passage of Seattle $15 minimum wage: notes and predictions
Chapter twenty two — $15/minimum wage: bring it on, motherfuckers
Chapter twenty three — What’s a fair wage?
Chapter twenty four — What’s a living wage?
Chapter twenty five — Who deserves a living wage?
Chapter twenty six — Jobs for all is the dumbfuckingest idea ever
Chapter twenty seven — How schools train students to not be responsible.
Part IV — Customers
Chapter twenty eight — How to talk to customers
Chapter twenty nine — Obedience versus responsibility
Chapter thirty — What is means to be responsible
Chapter thirty one — Never say “no” to a customer
Chapter thirty two — How not to run a start-up business
Part V — Nuts and Bolts
Chapter thirty three — How to run a juice bar
Chapter thirty four — How to break rules and get away with it
Chapter thirty five — Use of music
Chapter thirty six — Guidelines
Chapter thirty seven — Etiquette
Chapter thirty eight — Are you batshit crazy?