When Michael started his own mobile bar hire and beverage catering business, he had no idea just how big it would become in the business events sector.

Name: Michael Watson
Age: 25
Position: General manager
Organisation: Wats On Tap

When I started Wats On Tap in 2009 I was only 21 and had no experience in terms of managing or starting my own business. I was working as a major accounts manager for Pacific Brands when I decided to go out on my own and it has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.
When attending a range of different events, both for work and socially, I saw mobile bars consisting of a trestle table and tablecloths, mismatched glassware, unprofessional staff and a severe lack of attention to detail. I saw a distinct gap in the marketplace and decided to go for it, and haven’t looked back since.
My primary concern with the business is to holistically fulfill the needs of any client we work with and I think this has been the basis of our success over the past few years.
I love my job because every day presents new challenges and new opportunities for me to sink my teeth into.

Innovation and the repositioning of the brand and the services offered has also been immensely important to me and has been a key factor in assisting growth and gaining larger market share. We continuously strive to offer a greater range of services than our competition, which has led to bigger and better events, such as entering the festival bar marketplace and the introduction of a new division within the business that we’ve called ‘pop-up projects’. Here we’ve managed to tap into the pop-up bar phenomenon and create turn-key activations that are licensed and operational.

I enjoy working in the business events industry because corporate clients often come up with incredible, sometimes left of field, ideas for their events and this pushes me and the team to be just as creative in order to pull off some of their more crazy ideas.
Day to day inspiration comes from the thought of how quickly the business has grown – where we came from, where we are now, and where we are headed. It is hugely exciting for me to see my baby continually grow and a major source of inspiration always comes from seeing our clients’ expectations blown out of the water.

My goal for the future is to become an industry leader on a national scale while still maintaining the business’ grassroots feel. Ultimately, I’d like the business to reach such a level of notoriety that when someone thinks large-scale event bars, they don’t have to turn to Google, they’ll just give us a call.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to start their own business would be to take the risk while you’re young. The world is your oyster and you may not have the restrictions (kids, mortgage, etc) that come about in your late 20’s or 30’s and if it doesn’t work out then you’ve got enough time to start again on a new project. m

Mentor’s comment:

What’s impressed me most about Michael is his drive, enthusiasm and commitment to providing a very high level of customer service excellence. This commitment to service excellence is best demonstrated by the innovative product lines available, such as his illuminated L.E.D and curved bars. Michael possesses an eye for detail and a passion for providing his clients with a ‘wow’ experience. The continued growth of his business as well as its ongoing success is a testament to his passion, enthusiasm and innovation.

Belinda Sullivan, managing director, Flavours Catering + Events