The Truth About Corporate Culture – Spill Check Edition

Big Corporate Hospitality culture is a funny beast. It’s a microcosm; an extreme, shining example of what I believe even “mainstream” corporate environments are like. On one hand (the public face – the one they beat you over the head with in requisite meetings and stacks of training manuals), they are all politically correct, non-discriminatory, equal-opportunity, and “all in” for the team effort. They attempt to rubber-stamp all their establishments with the same “look and feel” and – umm – operational efficiencies.

In all the various types of restaurants and bars I’ve worked in over the last two and a half decades, I still find it amazing that the culture, practices and pitfalls are nearly the same from one to another. As bars/clubs/lounges/restaurants prosper, owners/managers seem to grow exponentially disconnected from reality – what goes on in the trenches. Having been personal witness to several establishments’ Road to Glory, I hypothesize that the tipping point is somewhere around the $500K – $750K [gross revenue] a year mark. Or, it can happen at the 2 to 3 owned/managed venue point – when a previously young, highly-engaged owner/manager morphs into the CEO of a restaurant management group – jetsetting around the region, transitioning his/her bar into a “brand,” and morphing into “Corporate Bitch.”

That said, let’s look at a few choice management group playbook excerpts:

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The Truth About Handling Douchebag Water Requests

Here’s a handy chart detailing how bartenders handle [tap] water-only bar requests based on the establishment type. As I’ve previously mentioned, fighting your way through the crowd, rolling up to a busy bar, and demanding water “with lemon and a straw,” has got be one of the easiest ways to piss of bartender. There are several issues at play as probably 1/2 of folks who start off their bar conversation with water requests: (1) won’t spend another dime – no revenue for the bar (2) they won’t tip at all (3) they’ll occupy precious bar real estate and stools, further robbing you of potential income.

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