FOUNDER A ND CEO, TAP & BAR RE L RESTAURANTS
Being an entrepreneur is the only kind of work Daniel Frankel has ever known. The founder and CEO of Vancouverarea Tap & Barrel Restaurants tried a few times to land traditional employment, but he couldn’t. “I applied at a bunch of places,” Frankel says. “I never managed to get a regular job.”
Frankel, who grew up in Vancouver, earned a film degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1996 and started a small commercial production company shortly afterward. Film wasn’t a particularly lucrative line of work, so he bought a coffee shop in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour in 2001. He grew that into eclectic portfolio of restaurants, pubs and gift shops in Vancouver and Victoria.
Tap & Barrel is much more than just the latest in a line of more than a dozen businesses that Frankel has built over his career, though. He opened the first location in Vancouver’s Olympic Village in 2012, designing it to encapsulate the vision and values he’d been forming over a decade. There was no unifying link or purpose to his previous restaurant collection. When Frankel secured the prime waterfront spot that would become Tap & Barrel, he felt he couldn’t start another restaurant if it wasn’t something more meaningful. “I almost walked away from it,” he says. “I realized, if I can’t do it right, what am I doing here?”
Doing it right for Frankel meant creating a restaurant that developed leaders from among its staff, acted as a good steward of the environment, supported the community and was a place where people could connect. The beers and wines all come from B.C. producers, as do the food ingredients whenever possible. Frankel wanted to create a consistent culture committed to its core beliefs, so he began selling and divesting from all his other restaurants and bars.
Today, Tap & Barrel operates three large-format restau- rants along the Vancouver and North Vancouver waterfronts, two smaller Tapshacks, and a combined microbrewery and beer hall in the historic Opsal Steel building in Olympic Village. Frankel’s company employs about 1,200 people and supports dozens of local suppliers. —D.H.
What other career might you have had? When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an architect. My grandfather escaped the Holocaust, but he studied at the Bauhaus, the famous and influential German art and design school, before Hitler shut it down