In the first season of the, perhaps, best series about good manners, Downton Abbey, when we are just getting acquainted with the main characters, there is a scene. During dinner, Carson, the butler of Lord Grantham’s house, observes the seam at the junction of the back and shoulder of young footman William came apart.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Carson orders the inexperienced William to immediately put himself in order and says something that we can consider a program speech. «To progress in your career, William, you must remember that a good servant at all times retains a sense of pride and dignity that reflects the sense of pride and dignity of the family he serves.»
After several episodes, a scandal in the form of a shadow from the past shakes Mr. Carson himself. We learn that the strict, I’m not afraid of this word, pillar, which holds all the management of the house, Mr. Charles Carlson, in the past is none other than Charlie, a participant in a humorous show in a night cabaret.
Putting on the uniform, every waiter, baggageist, barista or restaurant director steps onto the stage and plays a role. It is extremely useful to train the staff in the field of stage performance skills instead of upselling training. Although in practice you can often hear objections: «it’s all old school», «we have progressed since that times», «it’s ridiculous to say so». Yes, really, it is pompous and funny, if you do not relax your face and do not give out a little acting.
1. Professional pride and dignity, and the culture of communication itself, in principle, have little to do with boredom and hypocrisy.
2. The ability to entertain the respectable public does not run counter to the ability to withstand distance and face.
3. Democratic modern service can be emphasized «old-school», and at the same time friendly.
A vivid example is the legendary institution, The Relais Plaza. Once in the forties they were the first to serve dishes not from a tray, but immediately in plates, so as not to delay the waiting time of respectable ladies and gentlemen arriving from the theater. It was bold. And again, Paris is excited. At the Plaza Athénée, every last Wednesday of the month, the legendary Soirée Jazz resumed.
It’s almost impossible to get to this dinner. A waiting list in case someone cancels the reservation is huge and real. This is not a trick. On your way, as usual, you will pass along the corridor with posters signed to Mr. Werner Kuchler by Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Paul Belmondo, and many other nowadays icons.
But what is so special about this tradition and classic style place in the last Wednesday of the month?
For 43 years now, the permanent director of one of the most famous restaurants in Paris, from seven in the evening to eleven at night, gives a show. He sings jazz. Himself.
It will not be superfluous to say that the Plaza is rich and exclusive by its public. The audience that gathers for these musical events is the «crème de la crème» of Paris. You feel at home, and Mr. Kuchler, nevertheless, incredibly delivers the distance and conducts the concert. The whole concert of the service.
We can not help but mention Sergey, the pianist, who on ordinary days copes with the most complicated conservative program. The Relais Plaza always has music that matches this place.
We did not just call this evening a general concert. This concept exists. Synchronous type of service is often called concert or ballet. This is clearly seen when ten waiters approach the big table and the show begins. This type is usually performed on luxury yachts. And La Classe repeatedly worked on it.
Hospitality is not a profession. It is a lifestyle. Otherwise, it does not work. It will be hard to smile sincerely, somewhere to erase your ego, to serve beautifully, with a straight back. And most likely, it is unlikely to be able to enjoy the work. It will turn into routine, sometimes inadequate behavior of clientele will begin to be taken at one’s own expense, beauty and elegance will disappear. Because visitors today — not always «noble guests of the Downton Abbey». But the panacea exists and the recipe is simple. It is necessary to perform service and love your guests, conducting them as well as the part of the «mise en scène». After all, the audience with their applause is also the essential part of the show.
With every good wish, La Classe Team