OK, hear me out.
To the uninitiated, having a bar in the office may seem a bit silly. There’s free alcohol, people who serve it to you, and no shortage of thirsty willing participants.
But here’s the thing: we’re actually not getting on the sauce all day. Really! It genuinely doesn’t happen. That’s not what Barception is all about.
The first clue is in the name: it’s a bar, in a reception. In an office. Like the movie Inception, it has layers.
Speaking of movies, here’s a short one about what working on Barception is like:
Of course we like to enjoy a few evening cervezas from time to time. But that’s not Barception’s primary purpose—it’s somewhere we get to know each other. It upholds our company culture.
I know it sounds like we’re using a lot of high-flying concepts to justify free beer. And we are. But that doesn’t mean they’re not true.
Still don’t believe me? Ask our “barceptionists.”
Giulio Boato was running a tattoo studio in Barcelona when his friend Hubert told him about his new job.
He was intrigued to hear how his fellow waiter had landed a gig at a tech startup, and whether he could get him any inside marketing tips for his studio.
Instead, Giulio ended up joining the company so he could find out for himself.
And having started at Typeform a mere two months before, Hubert had only just been initiated too.
The pair—along with a third barceptionist Kasia, who joined later—were asked to create a space that worked like any office reception, and which also served as a hub where everyone could start and end their day with a conversation.
In other words, it had to embody the spirit of Typeform. And since people are at the heart of everything we do, a barception can’t do this—but a barceptionist can.
Clearly it wasn’t going to be your average bar job. Even for these hospitality veterans.
So how do Barcelona bartenders turn into tech company talismans?
The first part is simple: they make our stomachs smile.
From day one, the barceptionists have been committed to stocking only the highest quality produce. Tuesday is smoothie day , summer is cold brew season , and around Christmas the famous hot chocolate makes an appearance.
The beer of choice? Barcelona’s best: Moritz. Sorry, Estrella.
And whenever possible, products are hand-made with organic ingredients:
“Everything is locally sourced, and we try to look after the planet too. I actually think my favorite thing about Typeform is the food.” – Kasia Gawdzik, Barceptionist
Sometimes they know what we want before we’ve even thought of it. But the barceptionists are dealing with colleagues, not customers—so beverages are only the beginning.
Of course, if you can pour a pint and make a killer cortado, chances are you’re just as good at making friends. But the best bartenders go the extra mile to look after their regulars. And at Typeform, almost everyone is a regular.
When we go to meet a friend for a cuppa, is the prospect of a hot drink the real reason for going? Maybe it depends on how cold it is that day, but really it’s company and conversation that we’re after.
The barceptionists are all about bringing people together. The square shape of Barception means people face each other, so it’s easy for them to get people talking. More ideas are exchanged and first conversations facilitated here than anywhere else in the office.
And if it’s quiet at the bar when you turn up? The people behind it are always up for a chat:
Of course, there are times when a trip to Barception provides more than just moral support:
But it’s not just us they have to please—Barception is Typeform’s first point of contact for people visiting the office. And this comes with a whole other set of duties.
Making a nervous interviewee feel comfortable, cracking a joke with a shareholder, connecting people who don’t yet know each other—whoever comes through the door gets a warm welcome.
For a company that’s all about putting people first, that’s a pretty big deal. But as Typeform’s headcount grows, maintaining that personal touch gets harder—and even more important.
Sounds a bit daunting, doesn’t it? Well, for those that take on the barceptionist’s burden, the rewards are plenty.
If you’ve worked as a bartender, you’ll know that you have to listen to customers because they’re paying. And usually, they’re not that interested in what you have to say back (source: I’ve tended my share of bars).
Not the case at Barception:
“As I’ve worked here I’ve really got to know people over time. There’s a friendly, almost family-like vibe. It really transforms the workplace.”
Sure, things can get intense sometimes. During the Typeform challenge, the barceptionists were in the office for 36 hours straight. They wore pyjamas at night and slept when they could, as Barception was open almost the whole time.
But for seasoned bartenders, a bit of excitement every now and then keeps things fresh.
In fact, the barceptionists’ to-do lists are growing as fast as the company. When the developers hit crunch time, they make energy drinks. As in-house events get larger, their support becomes even more vital.
So if you do decide to build a Barception in your office after reading this article, there are two things you should consider:
Because one thing’s for sure: the value our barceptionists bring to Typeform is definitely worth more than two kegs of beer a week and a few broken glasses.