As children we were told, ‘it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.’ As adults, we know that is simply not true. Money matters, success matters, and the winner does matter. The principal matters. If there is still a question about this truth after the 2020 presidential election, then please submit your rebuttal to [email protected] or The New York Times or to Fox News.
But what about when it's all over? Tally’s are in, the winner has been declared, and emotions are still raw. We can’t keep spinning in opposite directions, (theoretically) bumping into each other, and worse, knocking each other down. As hospitality professionals, we aren’t just stewards of food, beverage, and a hell of a good time. We are (and have always been) peacekeepers, listeners, advice-givers. We bring another glass of wine or refuse to bring another shot of whiskey to ensure a wonderful memory. We learn the needs and desires of others because it is our job and we love to do it. Now, but always, we need hospitality, and to be guided to our community. To push people over the hill of frustration, sadness, elation, and towards the reminder of our commonalities. This is what we’ve been training for. So, we pull out our sharpest tools: Empathy, Recognition, and Nourishment.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Hospitality is a culture of providing not pervading. Our job as leaders in hospitality is to recognize that election results and dinner do not intersect, but that human emotions do. We are a platform, an opportunity to provide shared experiences and communal healing.
‘I choose to believe that our industry is better than that, and that true hospitality, where the host’s prime objective is the satisfaction of the guest, trumps partisanship (pun intended).’ -Nancy Kruse, Kruse Company
Recognition is acknowledgment of something's existence, validity, or legality.
Danny Meyer, hospitality icon, can be equated to the Gandhi of hospitality. His analysis of human experience as it relates to our profession is powerful, and his book ‘Setting The Table’ is the gift that keeps on giving. The cornerstone of his ideas are about taking care of one another. What can we, as food and beverage professionals, do to make people feel heard and supported? Hospitality is the practice of seeing how much people need us, what they need from us, and it is doing it no matter the circumstances.
‘Everyone on Earth is walking around life wearing an invisible sign that says, 'Make me feel important. ' And your job is to understand the size of the font of this invisible sign and how brightly it's lit.’ -Danny Meyer
Nourishment is the substance necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
Merriment, joy, and relaxation are feelings that we welcome, with food and beverage at the apex of this. Everybody must eat dinner eventually amidst diverging political beliefs.
‘Everyone should be allowed to eat their pasta in peace.’ -Senator Bernie Sanders