Daniel Frankel

BC Business Magazine - - Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 -

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

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