Back of House, Front of Mind
“Back of House, Front of Mind” is a podcast presented by Healthy Mind Menu, an industry-led initiative that aims to improve the lives and normalise conversations around mental health for those working in the hospitality industry.
Welcome, Rachael Niall
Rachael Niall is a highly accomplished Beverage & Business Coach, specialising in assisting entrepreneurs in the drinks and hospitality industry. With a passion for branding, product development, and alignment, Rachael supports her clients in creating successful and sustainable businesses. She recognises the importance of self-care and ensures her clients prioritise their personal well-being alongside their professional endeavours.
As the founder of Tomorrow on Tap, a renowned specialty non-alcoholic drinks retail store in Perth, Rachael’s entrepreneurial spirit shines through. With her own self-funded project, she orchestrated the concept and fit-out, and now dedicates her time to sourcing products, engaging customers, and organising captivating events.
Rachael’s diverse background as a former bar owner, sommelier, and experienced wine marketer equips her with a vast knowledge base and invaluable insights. Her infectious enthusiasm and vibrant personality make her a natural connector and advocate for both people and products she believes in. Through her services as a business coach, beverage consultant, life coach, and mentor, Rachael empowers her clients to align their actions with their goals and values.
Beyond her coaching achievements, Rachael has also made notable contributions as a wine judge and curator at prestigious events and competitions, including the West Australian Good Food Guide, Truffle Kerfuffle, and the Wine Show of Western Australia. Rachael’s commitment to transparency, compassion, sustainability, and discovery truly sets her apart in the industry.
Have you ever worked in the hospitality industry?
I have 20 years of experience, I’m a certified sommelier and wine marketing specialist, plus I owned and managed a small bar for 4 years called Budburst.
For the last few years I’ve worked as a freelance wine consultant but this has morphed into more of a coaching role where I help other business owners, which I love!
Can you tell us about your career and how you got to where you are today?
I knew when I was still in high school that I wanted to work with wine; it fascinated me.
I studied Viticulture as soon as I left school, then started to work in local wineries and wine stores.
I worked as a ‘baby somm’ in London and learned so much, at a time when people were spending crazy amounts on wine and it was part of my job to taste every bottle I opened.
I knew I wanted to continue to work with and learn about wine but didn’t really like hospo hours, so started studying marketing and PR, before moving into marketing roles for wine producers.
For many years I switched between wine retail, hospitality, and marketing roles, before diving into the deep end and opening my own bar. I had never managed a team or business or written a wine list on my own before so it was a steep learning curve with many highs and many lows, including burnout and depression, plus often feeling the isolation of being a single person and solo business owner.
Next, I set up the wine list and liquor store at Tiny’s, before taking some time out to recover and work out my next step.
After realising I wanted to help people and work with drinks people in a more holistic way, I completed a life coaching and NLP certificate. Whilst I offer coaching services, I also wanted to create a business and lifestyle that felt positive, which is where the idea for Tomorrow on Tap came from.
Explain the reasons why mental well-being has become important to you.
I suffer from depression, and mild anxiety and recently had a late diagnosis of ADHD, which has been a game-changer. I take medication to manage my mental health issues and occasionally check-in with a psychologist if I feel my DSA levels are becoming overwhelming. I have always been open about this, even with my staff, so that they are more aware but also so they feel comfortable to talk to me about their mental health issues if they need.
I’ve experienced true burnout and some very dark days – I don’t want others to feel that way and don’t want to go back to that myself.
The drinks and hospitality industry is fun but we often give all our good energy and time to others and feel depleted. Industry leaders need to be aware and encourage self-care, as do business owners, which can be really hard to do!
How do you prioritise self-care and balance it with other responsibilities in your life?
Regular exercise! I walk with a friend a few times a week and if I’m solo, I’ll listen to a podcast, usually business-related but I find it motivating. I have a few injuries that have prevented me from high-intensity exercise for the past 6 months, but walking and connecting with others, even if it’s for a quick coffee before work, feels good.
When I know I’m entering a busy period of work, I have healthy meals delivered.
If I feel like I’m spending too much time on the socials, I just deactivate my accounts for a few weeks (or sometimes months) to free up some headspace and time.
I make sure I have something to look forward to – one thing short term and one more long term. it doesn’t need to be a huge goal or event.
How do you approach goal setting and achieving success?
My ADHD brain is constantly coming up with ideas, and many of them are ridiculous or fleeting. With such a busy mind it can be difficult to figure out which idea is genuinely worth exploring. Mind-mapping and Journalling help but a key thing I come back to is my pillars. If the idea I have doesn’t align with my values, I’ll drop it.
If it does align, I’ll look at the MVP: think big, start small.