“Never, is this a truer observation than working a Christmas lunch service in a restaurant.”

Photo credit: William Meppem

Never, is this a truer observation than working a Christmas lunch service in a restaurant. I am lucky enough not to have worked too many Christmas days, through a mixture of both good fortune and choice, a fact for which I am grateful. It is one of the two days in the year that can conjure up the most apprehension in a restaurant. Christmas Day and Mother’s Day are almost on a par, but Christmas edges to the top, ever so slightly, as a day when dining together can be an obligation and therefore dysfunction can rule even in the most civilised of dining rooms.

I suppose the trouble can start internally. There is something about working – and usually very hard – on a “state occasion” that is difficult for a restaurant to navigate through. Asking, or even insisting that staff work on Christmas Day is a tough call. No one wants to miss out on having Christmas Day off. This fact is compounded for city restaurants as they are usually incredibly busy leading up to Christmas Day and the onslaught is about to arrive for the country and beachside cousins. And so, as Tolstoy advises, restaurants, that are so like an extended family in their own way, respond the same.

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