Crew Love, Ronin, Sunday's Grocery, Yardbird • Apr 11, 2017
Meet Tara Babins, the Communications Manager at Yardbird, RŌNIN, and Sunday’s Grocery. Besides handling the marketing and communications side of the restaurants, she’s also the first face to welcome you to Yardbird as the hostess. When she’s not juggling office work and the customers at the door, she’s the female lead in a male-dominated team, acting as a big sister to the rest of the staff. Read more about the thriple threat below to see how she got started in the industry.
What is your role at Yardbird and how long have you been with the company?
I’m the Communications Manager for Yardbird, RŌNIN, and Sunday’s Grocery. You can also find me at the Yardbird host stand most nights during the week.
Where are you from?
Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
What path led you to working in communications in the restaurant business?
I had never worked in or for a restaurant before Yardbird. Before moving to Hong Kong in 2011, I was living in New York, interning for a magazine. When I realized that the internship wasn’t right for me, my brother, Matt, convinced me to move to Hong Kong as he was preparing to open Yardbird. My degree is in marketing and communications, so it was a natural fit for me to take over that role for the restaurant.
What do you love about the work you do?
I get to work with my family and with colleagues who I consider to be like family. I’m constantly meeting new people and I’m helping my brother achieve his dream.
What are your pet peeves at work?
Rude or entitled guests. Working the door at Yardbird has forced me to develop a thicker skin, but it still gets to me when people are rude or disrespectful to me or my colleagues.
How do you stay healthy and find balance while working long hours and nights?
It’s difficult to maintain balance in Hong Kong, especially working in the restaurant industry. My attempt at balance is to eat as healthy as I can and to manage my consumption of alcohol, which if you’ve been to Yardbird, you know can be very difficult.
What’s your favorite dish at Yardbird/RONIN?
I love the Brussels Sprouts at Yardbird, but chicken neck yakitori is my favorite. The RŌNIN menu changes often so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the fried quail with orange and sansho pepper is my go-to.
What’s your all-time favorite food?
Your beverage of choice?
Tequila soda or whisky soda.
What are your favorite spots in Hong Kong for food? How about for drinks?
Some of my favorite restaurants in HK are CHINO, Ho Lee Fook, Sushi Sase, Celebrity Cuisine, and Grassroots Pantry. I usually only drink at Yardbird, RŌNIN, and Racks.
Your favorite places to travel to?
Canada because it’s home, but Japan for their food, drink, and culture.
If you weren’t working in Food & Beverage, what would you be doing?
I really have no idea – maybe marketing in another industry…
So tell us what everyone is wondering…what is the best way to get a table at Yardbird?
Yardbird is the perfect restaurant when your dining plans are flexible. If you can’t make it when we open at 6PM, come in whenever you can to put your name on the list. We offer the same food + drinks everywhere – standing bar, and even outside. So you can really eat whenever you want, you may just be standing for a while before sitting down at a table.