A “Three week Christmas” is both a blessing and a curse for the hospitality industry. Christmas Day falling on a Saturday this year means only three usable weekends were available. That means that every restaurant and bar in the land that takes festive group bookings had to squeeze the usual four weekend’s worth of bookings into three.
This time of the year is an opportunity for people to share and give and generally show the world their nice side and this is most visible in the ‘Christmas Boss’ where the team or the crew or the staff are treated to Christmas dinner on the company tab. The restaurant staff gets a ringside seat to the show and, as onlookers, it’s an interesting experiment to muse over which type of boss we’d like to work for.
The most common species of Christmas Boss is the “All Year Round-er” where the boss in festive mode is the same bloke who runs the shop, listens to your workplace suggestions and signs your paychecks. At the party table he is almost indistinguishable from the bloke who runs the accounts department or the shop foreman. The staff are well looked after, they can order what they like and a round or two of after dinner cognacs or single malt whisky is offered. In some cases we don’t know who he is until he calls for the bill, pays on the company card and leaves a generous tip.
Identifying features; “Nice beer list you have here. Get the boys something nice and if it comes in a special glass, all the better. And keep ‘em coming, I’ve organised taxis for them all.”
Next on the list is the “Kind but Cautious” boss who is similar to the first example except that he is very obviously the boss, he keeps a lid on the frivolity and makes sure that everyone is aware that they are representing the company. Staff are well looked after and can order what food and drink they want though there is usually one staff member who looks across to see that the Cosmopolitan or Golden Dream is OK with him. He nods and smiles and all is well. He lets everyone finish before asking for the bill and he tips nicely.
Identifying features; “Nice beer list you have here. Ooh! Fancy imported beers … Kronenbourg, Heineken, Kingfisher AND Beck’s?!? Crazy stuff! Let’s get into it!”
Down the list we meet the “Tight as a Shark’s Arse” boss. He always gets to the restaurant first in case someone starts up on the tab with – God forbid – a mixed drink or an imported beer and he invariably books a table for twenty and 13 show up. This is in part because the staff are expected to pay for the meal (set menu fixed price) and he has a set drinks list from which the staff can choose. A light, Crownies or Boag’s Premium (Corona if he’s trying to make up for previous workplace failings) and Sauv Blanc for the ladies. Calls for the bill while the party is still going and rounds up to the nearest ten. Some will wait with hand outstretched for the ‘tree-fitty’ change.
Identifying features; “If anyone orders from off the set list, make sure you bill them separately, OK? And get me one of them Schofferhoffers.”
In accordance with our charter and The Waiters Code, we treat them all equally, thank them genuinely for their business and serve their needs with friendliness, efficiency and professionalism. They are all the same to us irrespective of which category they come under. We just assume that the way they run their Christmas work celebration mirrors the ethics with which they run their business.
I have a list of the businesses that I have had the pleasure to deal with over the past ten years. I have grouped them according to the above criteria. If anyone would like a copy of my ‘Naughty and Nice’ Christmas list, just give me a shout. I have it filed under ‘Beer Karma’.