Serving during the Christmas season

Serving during the Christmas season
December 22, 2016 Amber Bruce


An opinion piece by Robyn Gray, these are not the views of the CPBA or the Rosewood Hotel Georgia – but purely of Robyn Gray.

When I thought about writing a piece to share with our community about the trials and tribulations of serving alcohol during a busy (yet prosperous) time for the service industry, a few things popped into my head.

People whom we serve are obviously of a different mindset during Christmas Party Season. I work in a Hotel Bar, so I see many different breeds of party-goers, just as each and every one of you out there has their own blend of guests in the room during the holidays, from regulars to Christmas partiers to friends on a casual night out.

Comparing your seasoned group of regulars to fair-weather Christmas party-goers is a special thing. I will often greet a guest with a “Good evening, ma’am, what can I get for you?” Now I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have worked many hosted bars at many, many different venues and I have heard the call of  “WHITE WINE!” during Christmas party season so many times that it now makes me cringe a little. There is usually a special group of people in the mix who have seemingly never been outside of their suburb before.

But be patient with them.

It takes a certain attitude to successfully navigate Christmas party season, so here is my listicle of rants to stay positive and avoid server burn-out.


  • It’s okay to make fun of people’s incompetence when ordering a drink. Don’t take it personally, laugh it off, in private out of earshot of the guest.
  • See ‘that guy’ coming over to order drinks and then stare at his bill for minutes with contempt as if it was an insult for him to pay right away.
  • Be able to understand the throat murmur of “Vuerve Clic-quot”.
  • Monitor people’s moods with a constant interchange of dialogue so that you notice when they are going sideways.
  • Make people cash and carry as much as possible. This yields higher tip averages and removes the possibility of later conflict over billing.
  • Never cut someone off while they are surrounded by their friends. Give them glasses of water when they try to order drinks. If they don’t get the hint remove them without embarrassing them.
  • Don’t take shit! Ever! This is your house, your rules, you are the bartender.  Don’t serve the drunk guy. This is Serving it Right 101 here, folks!
  • Take care of yourself above all. Work out, do yoga, eat a salad.

Remember, we are all going through it together again during Dine Out.