Dennis Oakley is the inventor, founder, creator, and patent holder of The Original BarBack Tool, an elegant multi-function tool for kitchens and bars. This nifty little tool isn’t just for bartenders – it’s perfect for anyone who likes to make a good drink, and it’s forking convenient on my boat. We dive into not just the tool, but also mindset, personal development, and what it takes to achieve a goal.
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Dennis learned a lot in the restaurant industry, but he didn’t learn how to set goals or be confident behind the bar – he learned that on the mat. Dennis spent his formative years wrestling. It helped him form the mindset necessary to go after a difficult goal and achieve it, and gain the discipline necessary to get out of bed at 4 AM and start training
“I wanted to share the things I learned with other people and show them the light, show them the way, because I feel grateful that someone took the time to teach me – so I felt it was my responsibility to pass it along.” –Dennis Oakley Click To Tweet
The Original BarBack™Tool (a.k.a. The O-Rig™BarBack™Tool) is a modern tool innovation conceived by professional bartender Dennis C. Oakley in 2005, with convenience in mind. The O-Rig™BarBack™Tool is a specially designed multi function tool developed initially to meet the needs of bartenders and servers as well as home/amateur food & beverage enthusiasts. The O-Rig™BarBack™Tool is the first in a future line of modern bar, food and beverage tools being developed by The BarBack Tool Company.
A compact, handheld unit, The BarBack™Tool boasts an elongated, rectangular shaped casing featuring softly rounded edges, inside of which a series of easily accessed food and beverage service tools are conveniently stored. The foundation of the design is derived from the standard stainless steel “flat bar” bottle cap popper, which is used widely among modern day bartenders worldwide. The finished product is a combination of the “flat bar” and other existing classic beverage tools and food preparation tools.
“The BarBack Tool Company” concept was conceived by the founder, Dennis in 2005…but his road to the invention was a long and winding, across-the-country journey. Dennis was born and raised in New York, living in several places between Selden, Long Island, and upstate in the Catskills. His grandparents owned a local hotel and tavern in the small upstate hamlet of Palenville, where he lived for most of his youth. He began working in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry at the age of 13 as a busboy at a resort in Tannersville, New York and worked as a waiter throughout high school at various other Greene County resorts during the late ‘80s to early ‘90s.
Oakley studied graphic design at R.I.T., and worked as a waiter while he was a student there. He was also voted in as his fraternity’s Social Chairman, where he organized events and managed the frat-house’s popular beer-bar: TED’S BAR. “TED’S BAR was where I first recognized my passion for the tavern business,” Oakley recalled.
After college, he continued to work in the Restaurant & Bar Industry in Florida, Maryland and Northern Virginia, where he soon cultivated a strong set of skills and experience. Oakley continued this adventurous ‘traveling bartender’ lifestyle throughout the early 2000’s. He gained a wealth of knowledge working for successful restaurant chains such as: Dave & Busters in Maryland and Colorado, and Uncle Julio’s in Virginia and Texas, as well as the Boulder Colorado landmark, The Sink. Oakley consistently earned positions as a corporate bar trainer, supervisor or manager and personally crafted many bars and restaurants’ training manuals and beverage programs.
He soon began competing in ‘Bartender-Skills’ competitions, which measured a bartender’s speed, accuracy and showmanship qualities. These particular skills, Oakley realized, were the key to providing World-Class Beverage Service.
In 2002, Oakley started his own Bar & Night Club Consulting Agency called Premier Bartending Service, Inc. He would eventually train hundreds of Service Industry Professionals over the next few years from Colorado to Long Island and then to Albany. During his 20+ years in the business, Oakley has worked behind more than 60 bars as either a consultant, an on-staff bar trainer, or a guest bartender.
It was during one of his consulting projects when Oakley conceived the idea of a ‘multi-tool’ for bar and restaurant employees. He soon began filing his first Patent, which was eventually granted in 2011. “In that first ‘ah-ha’ moment…the epiphany, it seemed like a no-brainer concept to combine classic food and beverage tools into one modern, convenient embodiment,” said Oakley. “I wondered why it hadn’t been done already. It only made sense to combine them into one unit.”
To keep his finger on the pulse of the Beverage Industry, Oakley currently works part-time in Saratoga Springs, New York, as a bartender and trainer at The Bourbon Room.
I love the world of food and beverage, everything about it, it’s soo damn sexy! Every time we eat and drink it ignites us sensually…the look, texture, taste, smell, sound all in a unique combination, encapsulating a moment in time. The act of sharing a meal with friends, chatting, eating, and drinking together is so forking perfect. It is a feeling that echoes a sense that All Is Good! Very, Very good!