I’ve previously devoted significant digital ink to the topic of Drinking on the Job. However, in light of my seismic “demographic” shift late last year, from a career of working mostly big Corporate Hospitality and Fine Dining, to one of Pub Life, it’s a topic that now needs revisiting. You’ll easily find much Hospitality Consultant coverage and opinions on the matter (several of them are linked to on this blog). Rarely, however, will you get an F.O.H. insider’s perspective as you’re about to. Moreover, you’ll almost never get such a rant from a bartender who doesn’t abuse the sauce.
At issue, is the gargantuan disparity in policies, actual practices, acceptability, tolerance, social impact, and most of all: Top-line and Bottom-line impact on income. That last one is an huge issue – one which many smaller owner/operators (particularly those who have little to no experience outside their own) have little understanding of and often, lesser clue how to realistically quantify.
See my disclaimer. But I’ll mention it briefly here again: I am not a lawyer. I make no claims in regards to the legitimacy of anything I publish in this article, or any other on my blog. I will not be responsible for your [bluntly wrong] assumption that I’m dispensing legal advice. If you choose to run with it, without appropriate validation, you’re an idiot.
Since I’ve been hammered with this question lately, I thought I’d address it directly and publicly. The answer may vary from state to state, and even municipality to municipality. I live and work in New York City so my answer will be based on local hospitality experience and familiarity with New York State and City laws. I can’t speak for Nevada, Florida, or Timbuktu. If you need additional information, or if you’re opening your own bar, I highly recommend you hire the services of a reputable corporate attorney. Those sharks are abundant in this town – you’ll have zero trouble conjuring one up.
Now that the mumbo-jumbo is out of the way, let’s get to the crux of the matter…
Houston, we’ve got a problem. Man down… uhh… make that several men down. My barbacks of the last few months have seemingly developed a new fangled love affair for this funny tasting juice distilled from Mezcal and Agave cactus plants. I don’t know exactly what the deal is, but these bros love this stuff. They love it so much, that in the last 5 months, four of them have wound up exactly like our latest barback, above. His name was Francisco and as you can imagine, he just got shit-canned.
Like most Service Industry dweebs, this bartender consumes copious amounts of Jameson Irish Whiskey – pure sorcery. I drink a lot of this shit. I’d estimate that I drink it more frequently than all other alcoholic beverages I consume combined. I drink it on the job and off, both day and night. There’s only one problem: Jameson Irish Whiskey tastes like ass. Yeah, you heard me; I said it. Given the choice, I’d rather suck on a rusty hitch ball than touch the stuff. Yet, I must continue to guzzle this crap. I’ll explain why.
The heart of the issue is twofold: