Around the beginning of December is the beginning of surges in excitement & hype for diners everywhere, in the office & blue collar worlds alike. Whether being out with your office teams or simply on a pre-Christmas night out with the family, the busiest time of the year for Catering & Hospitality staff is in full swing: the Christmas banqueting season. Venues large to small;local pubs to high end hotel banquet halls, dining areas are packed with (mostly) merry diners. They loudly chatter away whilst waiters & waitresses do their best to deliver many 2-3 course meals served on high-end crockery plates, accompanied with glistening stemmed glasses of champagne. Kitchens are rustling & filled with every chef available on the rota possible, stressfully yet expertly coordinating with each other in effort to meet the dining demands of their many guests, with no room for error allowed.  Whilst tucking into buffet chicken drumsticks, washing it down with a glass of beer with friends from the Finance Team or feasting on restaurant-prepared Christmas dinner with our loved ones on December 25th, there is an aspect to our festive dining experiences that is all too much taken for granted. This is of course referring to the unsung heroes of our merry celebrations, working tirelessly to fill our Christmas times with delicious cheer: the catering staff.




If specifically asking about respect for the much higher levels of management, silent pub owners or Hotel Directors for example, do deserve their own levels of praise in leading the charges on a successful Christmas season. However, subject of credited respect during this incredibly busy time in this industry deserves to be given to those in the brunt of it, on the front lines, if you will. This is to be said because for any waiting staff; bar staff, pot washer & chef working in the Christmas-New Year Season, the catering & hospitality industries are extremely difficult industries to be in. Not extremely difficult just because of the work involved but also due to what it means for their lives around them.


Working long, hard hours is part of the industry’s nature for full-time workers. However, with Christmas parties & meals being increasingly frequent all month around, so is the hours & the level of work involved: pre-event staff meetings, large amounts of prepping dining rooms & equipment, evening-long banquets followed by hours of clean up. Staff can be working 12 hour+ shifts in order to help accommodate high demand, with overtime pay of course. As said before, with this line of work being staff’s ideal career choice for most, it can be a pleasure to bring some tasteful joy to guests’ festive day: watching them happily munch down the turkey & pigs in blankets that were dutifully prepared for them. Although, it sadly takes them away from their families during the key days of the Christmas season, being unable to celebrate until they come home to the lukewarm crockery plate of Christmas leftovers, bundled in the fridge for them by their families.


Agreeing to hours on scheduled rotas are what catering staff members have signed up for. What truly makes these employees deserving of our respect is the dramatically increased intensity of the work accompanied with those hours. Dining rooms & banquet halls are packed to the brim, leaving little room to maneuver between tables, causing them to slide & twirl like a ballerina in order to serve multiple plates simultaneously. Even when all hands are on deck, all waiting & kitchen staff available being called in, it can sometimes still not be enough. Demand can always be higher than expected & like most massive catering events, something can go wrong: plates being dropped; orders fulfilled incorrectly, equipment suddenly not working, all whilst rushing to do their best to get food & drink out to customers on time, all with a delightful smile on their face (the good staff at least). Also, you just know there’ll be one of two staff members that will pull a sickie, leaving the rest of the teams to pull up the slack.


Whilst we’re sat with our friends & families this Christmas, our worse case scenario being the local pub, serving our dinner, taking a few minutes too long getting the second course out, think about those who get the food out there to us. As we drink from our glistening flute glasses of Prosecco to go with our mince pies, remember those who won’t be able to enjoy any themselves until after their shift at 1am. What is a time of celebration & glee can be a time of exhaustion & stress for those who work so hard in this industry to make sure we have a good time. Despite overtime pay or days off in lieu, working Christmas shifts in catering & hospitality can be a thankless task: not receiving any praise for giving up the time & relaxation with their loved ones.


Thank you to all of the chefs, waiting & bar staff for all of the hard work you have been & will be putting in this Christmas season. You’re all part of why we’ve been able to enjoy the festive season to it’s fullest each & every year. We only hope you’ll have every opportunity to do the same, on behalf of the Alliance team.