Boothby’s Ten Commandments: I. Always be on time


As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of  “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears.  Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed.  How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.

On time.

I. Always be on time to relieve the other watch. It is a good plan to make a practice of arriving a few minutes early so as to arrange your toilet and step to your station on time.

First, and probably most importantly, if you are late, you’re at the very least inconveniencing your coworkers.  If you’re not on time they will likely have to stay late or do some of your work for you.  Not a great way to win friends and influence people.

So here’s the other thing. When I go to my job at the University, I pretty much know what to expect ahead of time. Usually, most technology changes and meetings are scheduled weeks in advance.  Aside from hardware or HVAC failures there really aren’t many surprises.  Unless you have an early morning meeting, the consequences for being 15 minutes late are relatively minor.  Maybe you try to make it up by staying 15 mins late or coming in early another day.

With food service, you almost never know what is going to happen until you get to work and start your day.

You could get there and have 50 people walk in the door as soon as it is unlocked.  A full bar for all 8 hours of your shift.  Or you could have a good hour before business picks up.

If you’re not prepared to handle the worst the evening will throw at you the moment the door opens, you are just asking for a world of pain and grumpiness.

This is a 19th Century “Commandment” that still makes sense in  the 21st Century.