Where has the year gone? It´s already Christmas and the New Year is fast approaching. Most of us are mentally reviewing how we could have sold more catering, booked more parties, and increased volume while continuing to focus on the work ahead.
The staff´s frazzle meter is rising to new heights. They have their own lives to live, travel plans to make, and contemplation on how to get out of working New Year´s Eve. The pressure is on and many of your prep cooks, dishwashers, sous chefs and other essential kitchen employees have already purchased their annual tickets home and are lining up at the terminal to fly south- for two weeks. Ah, the holidays: The time when the need for a precision team is only trumped by the exodus of stress filled employees.
Although most of your patrons are in a jovial mood, the staff hungers for comfort. Walk into any restaurant from now until New Year´s Day and the decibel stars at the bottom of any review will be rising. Dining rooms are nosier, conversations are louder, and the crowd just seems happier- whether it is the votives on the table, the vodka in the glass or the new v-8 in the parking lot, something happens to customers in December. In addition, a percentage of the staff usually feels the pressure of the season and begins to crumble like a sugar cookie ornament that has seen too many trees.
That´s the prescription for the diagnosis. Appetizers passed to customers in the dining room and the bar- by staff members- will take the stress out of any evening.
Think about it. Everyone perks up at a party when the appetizers are passed. It´s a sign of socialization. So this season, when you are making the chicken roulades with apricot horseradish stuffing for Judy Corson´s gathering, make extra for your dining room. When Sharon Carisch ordered the Crostini with poached Salmon, create something similar for your customers. Have your waiters walk through the dining room offering the delightful bites to anyone who desires.
It´s a tremendous way to increase hospitality, to show appreciation for your patron´s support and to take the stress out of the evening for the staff. Perform the gesture nightly from now until the New Year. The rewards will be greater than the cost. You´ll put the staff in a more festive mood, and the tips will reflect the small gift and increased service. And that would be a joyous holiday treat..
Attention New Yorkers: I received this note from Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page yesterday – If you’re anywhere in or around New York City, we hope you’ll be able to join us tonight or tomorrow night for a glass of wine, as we toast the exciting news that our book
WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT was named the “Best Book on Matching Food and Wine” through the 2006 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – United States.
* Thursday, December 14th, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm — we’ll be at brand-new (as of last week!) wine and spirits store POUR at 321 Amsterdam Avenue at 75th Street, which focuses as much on hard-to-find spirits and cocktails created by resident expert Jerri Banks as on wines, which are organized by flavor profile to simplify food matching.
Both events are complimentary, and there’s no need to RSVP. Where else can you find a great gift sure to please virtually everyone on your holiday gift list — a personalized signed copy of WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, perhaps with a well-selected bottle from either store — and enjoy some wonderful complimentary libations while you shop?!
Hoping to see you there,
Andrew & Karen
If you live in the area plan on attending. The book is tremendous, Andrew and Karen are stellar hosts, and the room is sure to be filled with holiday cheer.