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Daniel Frazier, General Manager at The Pharmacy Burger, on His Rise Through the Ranks and Passion for the Industry

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The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden in Nashville, Tennessee, is known for two things: its exceptional burger creations, with nearly every ingredient made in-house, and its unbelievable beer selection. The man behind it all is Daniel Frazier.

Industry

Frazier, currently the General Manager and Director of Operations for The Pharmacy, was born in Cleveland, Tennessee, but grew up in Smyrna, just 25 miles southeast of Nashville. He pursued a degree in recording production from Middle Tennessee State University and started his professional career around this time as an employee, then supervisor, at Kohl’s department stores. Shortly thereafter, in 2014, he accepted a hosting job at The Pharmacy.

“It honestly started as a quick way to make money as I was playing music, and at the time, my job in retail wasn’t cutting it,” says Frazier when asked why he took his early role with The Pharmacy. “One of my best friends worked at The Pharmacy and recommended the job to me, as well as put a good word in for me with the current management.” 

After a year of hosting, Frazier began to move up the chain of command at the beloved burger and beer joint. He began serving in 2015 and was promoted to Lead Server by the end of the year. He started managing part-time in 2016 to help out the current management team, as the restaurant’s popularity was booming, and he was quickly promoted to Assistant General Manager in 2017. Stepping into a leadership position felt right, and he enjoyed making the server schedule and training new hires. The thin management team was also thrilled to have him jump on board, and he went through what he describes as a “training camp” in leadership by working his management role two shifts a week and serving on the weekends.

As the restaurant’s beverage program evolved, Frazier took on the additional roles of Beverage Director and Bar Manager in August 2017. In these positions, Frazier learned the ins and outs of the worldwide beer and beverage industry.

“One of my proudest professional accomplishments was securing new beers brought in from Belgium to the U.S. market. I was able to do this by running an excellent bar program and nurturing the relationships needed to allow that to happen. I couldn’t have done it without our awesome team and great colleagues in the industry, though,” says Frazier. His contributions to the bar program helped solidify The Pharmacy as having one of the best beer selections in Nashville—not an easy feat in such a competitive market.

Frazier held his Beverage Director and Bar Manager positions for nearly five years until July 2021, when he was promoted to General Manager at The Pharmacy. In July 2022, Frazier became the Director of Operations for all three Pharmacy locations. 

“My experience at every level of the organization has allowed me to be more empathetic with my team members,” says Frazier, when reflecting on his journey with The Pharmacy. “It’s important to see, hear, and experience things from team members’ perspectives so you aren’t making simple mistakes as a company, especially on the hospitality front. Habits and points of service are so important to day-to-day operations, and without touching those with some regularity as a leader, it’s easy to have redundancies, inefficiencies, and avoidable quality issues.”

Burger Industry

In his decade with The Pharmacy, Frazer cites the incredible team as the reason why he’s stayed. The company and its extraordinary culture, curated by owner Cees Brinkman, are unmatched in the industry. 

“I love the people,” he says. “The people are what makes everything work. They are the hardest part of the job, but they are also why The Pharmacy is so beloved in the community. Great people are why any business succeeds.”

The Pharmacy’s mission itself has always spoken to Frazier. He alleges that people need great experiences, fabulous food in inviting environments, and positive human interactions to be happy. The Pharmacy is designed to offer guests this experience over and over again. “Human existence gets pretty stale without being nurtured by food, family, and wonder,” Frazier says.

An essential part of Frazier’s role today is helping create a certain vibe or feeling when guests enter the restaurant. This starts at the top and trickles down to every aspect of the enterprise, from management to barbacks. “I want people to feel the pure electric energy and excitement that I feel on warm evenings in the spring and early summer in the beer garden,” Frazier says. “Surrounded by friendly faces, beer in hand, with great food on the way. Life is perfect in that moment.” Frazier cultivates a warm, welcoming atmosphere for staff, and that reflects on the guest experience.

Industry

Even though Frazier dreamed of working in the music industry just out of college, his role today has helped him achieve similar outcomes. He gets to make people happy, provide them with an unforgettable experience, and infuse joy into his community. 

On this topic, he says, “Your escape from the mundane doldrums of the everyday is waiting for you at the bottom of a milkshake glass or beer stein at The Pharmacy.” The restaurant’s management team has lofty goals for the brand, hoping to secure its place as a staple in the Nashville food scene for years to come. Rather than rapid expansion and overhiring, Brinkman, Frazier, and their team plan to provide consistently excellent food quality and customer service, week in and week out.  

What’s next for Frazier and his team? “We are working on some fun, culturally inspired burgers we hope to announce later in the year,” he says. “We really enjoy being creative and having fun. Having exciting programming for the staff to sell is half the battle. If your staff loves it, it makes it much easier for your guests to feel that way too.” The feeling is mutual.



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