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Yassmin Amao - loving life and living it to the fullest.

Yassmin Amao may not get much downtime but this 23-year-old entrepreneur is loving life and living it to the fullest.

Amao – who lives in Paulshof – became the owner ofThe Barcafé and lounge earlier this year while still studying at The Private Hotel School (PHS) campus in Rosebank, Johannesburg (a second campus is located in Stellenbosch).

In between her days spent on campus and her evenings running the bar, we managed to find some free time with her to ask a few questions.

What makes you passionate about hospitality?

I love working with people; I love hosting them as well as cooking. It’s why I decided that my ideal career would be one in hospitality. I get to do what I love.

How did your business venture come about?

A friend of mine ownedThe Barwhich is located in The Square in Sunninghill (corner Rivonia Rd and Naivasha Rd) and, afterthe lockdown, he decided to sell it. I was looking for a café or a coffee shop of my own, so this was a great opportunity to take it over and my husband and I took the plunge and bought it. In the morning, it is a coffee shop where we serve a fabulous breakfast, and we also offer lunch from Tuesdays to Sundays. From Thursday to Sunday evenings it transforms into a lounge bar where DJs come and play for the crowd. We’ve done great business since lockdown restrictions were eased.

What course are you doing at PHS and how has it helped with your business?

I am doing my second year studying events management which deals with all areas of hospitality. In the course we learn a lot, such as food production, food safety, costings, accounting, event planning, design, structure of a business and its departments (kitchen, bar etc), we learn how to serve and there is also a bit of culinary work involved. The fact that we are doing internships is great as we get to work at different hotels and event places and experience the work environment hands-on. If I hadn’t been studying and learning about a business plan, I don’t think I would have been as successful with The Bar. It will also help with the special events we are planning to feature in the months ahead.

Why did you choose to study at PHS?

What caught my attention is the events diploma. I also love the fact that it is not a huge school, the staff are all friendly and the school itself is very good. You just have to look at what some of its graduates have achieved to get an idea.

How do you combine running your own place with your PHS studies?

I can tell you it's not easy, but PHS has made it manageable for me as they allow me to attend classes online and only go in for tests and exams.

What do you believe is the future of the hospitality industry as we emerge from lockdown?

The hospitality industry suffered a lot because of the lockdown. But we humans are innovative; every day there is a solution to a problem. I believe that it will take time for this industry to pick up its pace again, but it will find its way.

  • For more information on The Private Hotel School and the courses it offers, visit

  • The Bar, Kiosk 1, The Square, corner Rivonia Rd and Naivasha Rd, Sunninghill. Telephone: +27 67 788 1878. Instagram: @thebar_jhb

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