An in-depth list of the best reads from industry leaders — including the latest books, resources and digital media to guide your summer reading
Welcome to Provi’s inaugural Summer Reading List! This list is meant to equip food and beverage professionals, like you, with the latest books and resources from industry thought leaders so you can participate in the current drinks industry discourse.
Whether you’re interested in learning the latest marketing tools and tips, operations best practices, or looking for book recommendations from industry leaders, this list has you covered.
Happy summer reading!
The Provi Team
Recommended Summer Reads For Those Interested in Bar & Restaurant Operations
MUST READ! Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer
“This best-selling book from award-winning restauranteur Danny Meyer of famed Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack details how a 27-year-old with a hopeful vision and a few good ideas became one of the most preeminent visionaries in the restaurant world. Meyer takes us on a journey through his philosophy of Enlightened Hospitality — the idea that building strong in-house relationships with a laser focus on customer satisfaction will result in success. It’s an insightful must-read for anyone who works in the hospitality business.” — Ryan Philemon, Director of Marketing at ProviBuy Book
Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect by Will Guidara
Will Guidara was just 26 years old when he took the reigns of Eleven Madison Park, which at the time was a struggling two-star restaurant. Eleven years later, it would be crowned as the best restaurant in the world with many other accolades to come. His book, Unreasonable Hospitality, details his belief in providing bespoke, over-the-top hospitality as a means to running a successful, world-renowned restaurant that’s seen as a north star for up-and-coming generations of restaurant workers.Buy Book
Restaurant Success By The Numbers by Roger Fields
Like any business, the first year is the most challenging one. In his book, Roger Fields, accountant-turned-restaurateur, guides aspiring proprietors through how they can find success in the first year. The book acts more like a guide and includes key information on funding, hiring, menu-making, number-crunching, and turning a profit along with sample sales forecasts and operating budgets.Buy Book
The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation by Douglas Robert Brown
In its 4th revised edition, this best-selling and award-winning book provides in-detail everything you need to know about running a successful bar and restaurant business. With chapters on how to hire and train staff to tips on IRS regulations to implementing on- and off-premise catering operations, it’s a must-read for aspiring and accomplished bar and restaurant operators.Buy Book
Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest by Chris Hill
Making the Cut is the culmination of chef and author, Chris Hill’s desire to bring to life stories and lessons from the world’s greatest chefs in one, digestible place. The question at the center is, “What does it take to be successful?” Through many wide-ranging interviews with top industry leaders, Hill shares their stories, both successes and failures, looking for the answer. It’s an excellent read for those asking the same question about not just finding success in their careers but also finding success in life.Buy Book
Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch
Award-winning chef, restaurateur and Top Chef judge, Barbara Lynch takes us on a journey through her rise to the top of the culinary world — from her rough Southie childhood to stardom. The book covers the good and bad of life in the kitchen: from the ecstasy of culinary invention to the long hours and the self-medication that comes with it. A brilliant memoir about following your dreams with conviction, it’s also a love letter to South Boston and a culture diminishing all too quickly.Buy Book
Straight Up: Real World Secrets to Running a Killer Bar by Ramona Pettygrave Shah
Ramona Pettygrave Shah speaks on more than a decade of experience at the speed rail to deliver wisdom on successfully running a bar. This witty, comprehensive guide covers topics from time management to team cultivation to finances. It’s as relevant to the diviest of dive bars to the most serious, high-end cocktail bars. A must-read from barbacks to proprietors.Buy Book
Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors & Secrets by Jeff Benjamin
Front of the House is a revealing and wildly funny look behind the scenes at providing stellar restaurant service. Written by Jeff Benjamin, two-time James Beard Award nominee and managing partner of Philadelphia’s acclaimed Vetri family of restaurants, it takes us on a journey through the other end of reservations, table service and the daily incidents that take place while working in a busy bar and restaurant.Buy Book
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
A New York Times Best Seller and named one of the best books of the year by over a dozen media outlets, Blood, Bones & Butter takes us on a journey through Gabrielle Hamilton’s career — from the rural kitchen of her childhood to the kitchens of France, Greece and Turkey where she learned the essence of hospitality. The book tells her story as an up-and-coming chef and details the unexpected challenges of opening her acclaimed New York restaurant, Prune. It’s a delightful adventure that’s equal parts epic and intimate, written with honesty, humor and unwavering passion.Buy Book
Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reich
When Ruth Reich took the food critic's job of a lifetime at Gourmet, she did so with great risk. Her memoir, Save Me the Plums details her groundbreaking tenure in the high-stakes world of magazine publishing as Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet. It’s a warm and inviting look into the glamorous era of magazines and unveils the moment when restaurants became an important part of popular culture. A must-read for any food and magazine lover.Buy Book
Recommended Summer Reads For Those Interested in Evolving Bar & Restaurant Programs
MUST READ! Meehan's Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan
“Meehan’s Bartender Manual is a definitive guide to the world of bartending, through the eyes of a true industry veteran. Whether you’re looking to take your bartending knowledge and skills to the next level or are just enthusiastic about cocktails, this book covers topics such as spirits production, menu development, what makes a great bar, elemental hospitality principles, and of course, making drinks. With over 100 classic cocktail recipes including some of Meehan’s own, Meehan’s Bartender Manual offers unprecedented access to how and why drinks are made the way they are.”— Corey Hines, Content Marketing Manager at ProviBuy Book
Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar by David Wondrich
Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike cannot miss this updated edition of cocktail writer and historian, David Wondrich’s, definitive guide to classic American cocktails. In his homage to Jerry Thomas, father of the American bar, Wondrich paints a colorful yet little-known history of American drinks. It includes definitive recipes for more than 100 punches, cocktails, sours, fizzes, toddies, slings, and other essential drinks, along with detailed historical and mixological notes.Buy Book
The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender’ by Dale DeGroff
Long considered the first “cookbook for cocktails,” Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail is a masterclass in cocktail creation. Featuring over 500 recipes, DeGroff also dives into the subject's rich history and its colorful personalities through time and provides insights on how to set up a bar, master essential bartending techniques, and how to use tools correctly. It also delivers how-to’s for unique concoctions, many featuring DeGroff’s signature use of fresh juices, as well as all the classics. It’s a bible for your back bar.Buy Book
Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions [A Cocktail Recipe Book] by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald & David Kaplan
From the best-selling Death & Co., comes Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions [A Cocktail Recipe Book]. This book acts as a comprehensive guide to the craft of mixing drinks from the author’s unique “root cocktails” approach that equips any bartender with the knowledge to understand, execute and improvise classic and original cocktails. “There are only six cocktails,” according to Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan who claim that the old-fashioned, martini, daiquiri, sidecar, whisky highball, and flip are the six essential templates that all cocktail recipes are based. Cocktail Codex teaches you how and why that is so you’ll learn how and why some cocktails work and others don’t.Buy Book
The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
From renowned bartender and cocktail writer, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique teaches readers the essential techniques that go into bartending including best practices for juicing, garnishes, carbonating, stirring and shaking cocktails. It’s elemental but richly informative using photography to illustrate bartending basics.Buy Book
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold
At Dave Arnold’s former high-tech bar, Booker & Dax, Dave Arnold saw each ingredient at the near molecular level. The shape of an ice cube to the type of acid in an apple to the size of the bubbles in soda water were all ingredients in their own right to be tinkered with. This book takes cocktail creation beyond the realm of the obvious and provides learnings from years of successful and failed experimentation. Things you’ll learn include how to make crystal-clear freezer ice, clarify cloudy lime juice with enzymes, and nitro-muddle fresh basil to prevent browning. Perfect for those looking to take their creations well beyond the next level.Buy Book
The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft by Gary Regan
In The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan brings on a new way of understanding the world of cocktails. By assimilating them into “families,” one can begin to understand that a margarita (part of the New Orleans Sour Family) and the Kamikaze are related, only a different base spirit separates them. This methodology helps explain the root of all classic cocktails which aspiring bartenders can use as a jumping-off point for their own creations. It’s a ground-breaking book written with authority from one of the industry’s greatest minds.Buy Book
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
Although The Flavor Bible is written by chefs and intended to be read by chefs, it’s highly relevant to bartenders. Bartenders also need to learn how to balance flavors, match drinks with food, and learn how to combine different ingredients to achieve congruence.Buy Book
The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender by Helen Rothberg Ph.D.
Good managers and leaders aren’t always the same, and neither are their methods. Dr. Helen Rothberg’s book, in the same realms as other business classics, reveals valuable insights she picked up while working as a bartender and restaurant manager. Now, a highly-sought consultant for Fortune 500 companies to startup entrepreneurs, she teaches her vision of management and leadership she calls ADVICE: Action, Determination, Vision, Integrity, Communication and Empathy. Each chapter ends with a cocktail recipe mixed with a lesson for the reader to contemplate and savor.Buy Book
The Maison Premiere Almanac: Cocktails, Oysters, Absinthe, And Other Essential Nutrients For The Sensualist, Aesthete, And Flaneur by Joshua Boissy, Krystof Zizka, Jordan Mackay, William Elliott
As a major player in the craft cocktail revival, Brooklyn’s Maison Premiere is one of the world’s most celebrated bar and restaurant establishments. The restaurant harkens back to late-nineteenth-century New York, New Orleans and Paris when cocktails (and oysters) were an integral part of daily life. Complete with 90 drink recipes with deep explorations into the art of the cocktail including a section dedicated to Absinthe and oysters, the Almanac offers a compendium of useful knowledge for beginners to seasoned bartenders alike.Buy Book
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine will teach you how to serve wine, store wine, taste wine, compile tasting notes, and more. Vivid graphic illustrations of these wine concepts make it simple to digest and remember. This book is perfect for those just starting out in the wine world, looking to obtain a foundational understanding of it and use it as a launching off point to more in-depth wine learning.Buy Book
The Mini Bar: 100 Essential Cocktail Recipes by the Editors of PUNCH
The Mini Bar offers 100 essential cocktail recipes, compiled in 8 mini books focused on an essential spirit, liqueur, and wine: whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, champagne, sherry, and amaro. Featuring both classic and modern cocktails, it’s a go-to source of reference for beginner to advanced bartenders.Buy Book
Recommended Summer Reads For Those Interested in Marketing a Bar or Restaurant Business
Restaurant & Bar Design by Julius Wiedemann
“Restaurant & Bar Design is the perfect book for flipping through some of the most visually stunning restaurant and bar interiors around the world. The exceptional dining establishments featured display a wide range of styles, themes and concepts and detail the innovative and creative approaches designers and architects take to create a place where aesthetics and ambiance meet in harmony.” — Maria Builes, Lead Visual Designer at ProviBuy Book
The Art of the Restaurateur by Nicholas Lander
From acclaimed Financial Times restaurant critic (and former restaurateur) Nicholas Lander, this publication is composed of a collection of interviews and insights from successful restaurateurs around the world. It explores their philosophies, approaches to hospitality, and the unique elements that contribute to their brand identity and success. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in opening their own restaurant one day.Buy Book
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
Using the wrong words about your product will result in nobody buying it, according to author Donald Miller. In his book, Building a StoryBrand, Miller emphasizes the importance of storytelling in branding and marketing, and yes, using the right words to do it. It provides a framework for crafting a compelling brand narrative that resonates with customers and helps small businesses stand out in a crowded market.Buy Book
Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The no bulls#it guide to improving guest counts by Erik Shellenberger
Restaurant & Bar Marketing is a practical guide that provides valuable insights and strategies for improving guest counts in the food and beverage industry. The author, Erik Shellenberger, offers a no-nonsense approach to marketing that emphasizes the importance of understanding your target audience, developing a strong brand, and implementing effective promotional tactics. From social media marketing to in-house promotions, this book offers a comprehensive overview of the most effective marketing techniques for restaurants and bars. Whether you are a seasoned restaurateur or a newbie in the industry, Restaurant & Bar Marketing is an essential resource for anyone looking to increase guest counts and boost profits.Buy Book
The Restaurant Marketing Bible by Andrew Wood
Face it — running a bar or restaurant is not easy and it’s not getting any easier. Shifting consumer demand, changing tastes, social media and new technology constantly bring on new challenges for operators. That’s why marketing (and marketing well) a food or beverage business is as critical as ever for success. This book will walk you through the process of improving your marketing skills: from writing emails to posting on social media so that you can up your marketing game and grow your business.Buy Book
May We Suggest: Restaurant Menus and the Art of Persuasion by Alison Pearlman
Have you ever considered the menu? Not just a piece of paper and ink, but a physical token of careful thought and precision, engineered to guide the eye and tantalize the senses. In this fascinating book, art historian and food lover Alison Pearlman takes a deep look at the physical and psychological design of restaurant menus — their content, size, scope, material, and more — to explore how they influence the dining experiences of diners around the world.Buy Book
Misfit Marketing for Restaurants: How to Acquire, Retain, and Track Guests by Brett Linkletter, Jace Kovacevich
Misfit Marketing for Restaurants provides insights and strategies for restaurant owners to acquire, retain and track guests. It offers practical tips on how to stand out from the competition, build customer loyalty, and measure marketing efforts effectively. With this book, restaurant owners can learn how to create a successful marketing plan that will help them grow their businesses and thrive in the industry.Buy Book
The Industry's Best Digital Publications to Follow This Summer
SevenFifty Daily is a Provi publication and award-winning online magazine about the business and culture of the beverage alcohol industry covering all three tiers of the alcohol industry.
Wine Folly makes learning about wine fun. Learn for free online, explore our books, maps, or take an online course.
From Toast, On The Line is a publication for restaurant people to learn tips and best practices on topics such as hiring, marketing, staffing, accounting, operations and more.
Punch is a James Beard Award-winning media brand dedicated to drinks and drinking culture. Its goal is to capture the ethos that’s driving drinks forward: the connection of beverage to tradition and place, the passion to innovate and, yes, fun.
Imbibe is a multi-platform drinks destination that celebrates drinks as a distinct culinary category, deserving in-depth exploration of the people, places, cultures and flavors that make the world of drinks so fascinating.
The Best Bar and Restaurant Industry Podcasts for Summer Listening
Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast – A Restaurant Coach Podcast
The Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast’s mission is to inspire, empower and transform restaurant owners and operators around the world and includes in-depth interviews with renowned chefs, restaurant owners and operators, and great leaders across the food and beverage industry.
Restaurant Rockstars Podcast
Engaging weekly conversations hosted by Restaurant Rockstars Founder, Roger Beaudoin, featuring industry leaders and restaurateurs who give insights on tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to help grow your bar and restaurant business.
On the Back Bar: A Bartender Podcast for The Drinks Trade
Join Christopher Menning each week for “On The Back Bar” as he interviews industry leaders and experts in the world of bartending, cocktails, wine and spirits.
Bartender at Large
Bartender at Large is hosted by the award-winning bartender, Erick Castro and is an online series that covers the craft cocktails around the world and the bartenders who shake and stir them.
Copper & Heat
Copper & Heat is a 2019 James Beard Award winning-podcast for restaurant folks, diving deep into the topics that plague the restaurant industry, including gender and racial inequality, pay inequity and mental health. It’s a podcast perfect for bar and restaurant owners and managers looking to improve their workplaces.
All in the Industry from Heritage Radio Network
“Shari Bayer of Bayer Public Relations explores behind-the-scenes talent within the hospitality industry. Experienced restaurant and hospitality professionals reveal their stories and expertise through a lively and reflective conversation about the industry. Shari also adds speed round games, solo dining stories, PR tips, and current event discussions into the mix, rounding out each episode with a question from the current guest to the next, tying the entire series together.”
The Restaurant Growth Podcast
The Restaurant Growth Podcast by 7shifts brings together restaurant leaders from all corners of our industry: full-service, quick-service, tech and everyone who helps push hospitality forward.
Listen on: 7shifts.com
Secret Sauce – A Restaurant Marketing Podcast
The most popular marketing-specific podcast for restaurants around the world, Secret Sauce highlights the marketing ideas, strategies and focus you need to know to grow your business.
Opening Soon by Heritage Radio Network
“Follow the journey of opening a restaurant through conversations with some of the world’s greatest chefs, restaurateurs and vendors that help take their business from an idea to opening soon. Opening Soon is hosted by the founders of Tilit NYC, Jenny Goodman and Alex McCrery, who bring their unique perspective as hospitality industry insiders and many questions as the former proprietors of a now-shuttered restaurant.”
Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast
Drawing from years of combined experience in restaurant technology, implementation, and marketing, The Restaurant Technology Guys share tips and best practices to help you run your bar and restaurant business best.
A Deeper Dive by Restaurant Business Magazine
A Deeper Dive is brought to you by Restaurant Business — the leading media brand in the commercial foodservice industry, with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and growth and features interviews from CEOs of some of the nation’s largest chains to local mom and pops.