January 18th, 2020

An eatery’s most important staff

By Letter to the Editor on July 24, 2019.

I, like probably a lot of other folks, have a favourite eatery and bar. Haven’t been to many, but enough to consider myself perhaps not an expert but certainly, shall we say, a bit of an aficionado. And in that capacity I dare to write what follows, to the chagrin of some but I’m sure to applause of many.

What makes a pub or eatery more successful – successful as in people from any walks or stations in life liking to go there – than others? Others often have greater chefs, perhaps even more talented and skilled and trained than the gals or guys who do the cooking at our favourite spots, or great managers or owners or wonderful ambience. Sometimes it’s very accessible locations, very comfortable, lots of large TV screens that keep customers coming back.

But I maintain that the gals and guys right there in the front lines, so to speak, are most important. The servers – who often have to be multiskilled – like being handy, doing quick adjustments, showing ability to make initial repairs to those gambling machines, fill those free popcorn dispensers, to make those favourite libations – or edibles – when the person originally hired for that purpose is not available or the establishment doesn’t have or cannot afford one. They not only make them as tasty as a connoisseur’s taste buds demand, but still can be instinctively aware when one has had too many, to ask him/her, diplomatically and politely,yet effectively, to either give the keys or have her/him call a designated driver. Some are willing to walk the “transgressor” home if he/she lives nearby.

Those front-line gals and guys, I figure, have to be amateur psychologists, have great patience while sounding very interested, and actually be interested on occasion in whatever is on the guest’s mind, yet know that they have to be quite swift on their feet and as fit as can be and they have to be mathematicians, have fabulous memories and be always friendly and courteous and polite.

I figure that those mentioned qualities are som important that if they are not there in any establishment or not in sufficient numbers, it won’t matter how much backup capital is available, how great the owners, the management, think they are, how hard they themselves work, etc. In other words, it’s the front-line personnel that makes or breaks an establishment. Fortunately, there are some owners/managers who are very much aware of this, who are actually also personally of the same frame of mind.

So I figure those folks in the front-line trenches deserve and earn every penny, and likely much more, that they can get their hands on.

Oh, and anyone thinks appearance, as in attractiveness, doesn’t matter anymore in these politically correct days, is out to lunch. If that makes me a sexist or whatever the latest term is used for weirdos like me, than so be it.

Ted Kohlmetz

Medicine Hat

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