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Let's Hear It For The Underdogs! | Beyond The Pass

Let's Hear It For The Underdogs! | Beyond The Pass

Who doesn’t love an underdog?

Modern times have painted these figures as timid, unsure yet plucky little scamps who face adversity against impossible odds to emerge victorious.

But that’s not always the case.

Throughout my time in hospitality, I’ve encountered many an unsung hero and it may come as no surprise that they come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks. 

There is no uniform mould for these diamonds in the rough.

I was an underdog once, I think.

“What? Really? Geez, it’s not like you literally always complain about how rough you had it.”

Okay, maybe “underdog” is a little strong, for me anyway. But for others, it’s an excellent fit.

I’m talking about the unseen people who work away from the visibility of the general public (or at the very least don’t register in their consciousness), and their work is so crucial that without it, every single business in this industry would come crumbling down like a Cadbury’s Flake.

On that note, first up let’s hear it for the glassies!

If you’ve ever worked behind a busy bar, you’ll know the worth of these absolute champions. Odds are you’ll have started off as one and, as such, have an in-built level of respect.

Their worth is evident in every clean table on the floor and every clean glass behind the bar. But their skills go way beyond. 

Picture the scene: you’re in a busy bar and your friends message you to meet up, only they’re at the opposite end of the place and there’s a million drunken savages between you. No matter which way you look, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder territory and you begin to question what the safe capacity of this venue is and how far over it they currently are (or at least you do if you are me, which fortunately for you, you are not).BTP crowdsIt would take you the best part of 10 minutes to push your way through this crowd where you risk a variety of hazards ranging from wearing somebody’s drink down the front of your crisp, white shirt, to wearing the fist of an oversized meathead you accidentally bumped into making them spill their drink down your shirt, on your face.

Frodo Baggins faced a less perilous journey, but at least you get to wear shoes.

Well, a glassy can manoeuvre this landscape in about 5 minutes whilst cleaning up any spills and collecting every empty they can see creating one of the most glorious creations known to humankind: the glass snake!

Mere mortals couldn’t make it from one end of an empty room to the other without toppling this beautiful creation, but a skilled glassy can ‘make trip after trip through an illegally busy bar with 3 on the go and in record time.

So, next time you’re out having the the time of your life, and you see one of these gods amongst men, the least you can do is bow a head in respect of true greatness.

Next up (and in the same vein), let’s hear it for the dishies!

These people are tireless. Seriously, no matter the size of a venue, the only thing that is consistent across the entire industry is the relative volume of dirty dishes.

In my small cafe it felt like if you paid the sink no attention for 10 minutes it would fill up with filthy plates and cups almost out of petulance alone. It was strictly a one-person job and it was always seen as a necessary bullet to be taken by whomever was brave enough to jump.

Scale up a bit and in the larger cafes, and these workhorses were given the luxury of a dishwasher. This didn’t mean that their job would be any easier. The sink would still be piled up and emptied in a frantic dance that repeated every 10 minutes for the entire shift. Only, they had a machine to do the washing instead of their bare, wrinkled hands.

Scale up again, and there might even be a team of brave souls fighting a never-ending battle against dried-on egg yolks and frivolous food waste, with a whole room dedicated to their craft full of machines to arm themselves with. But still, the dishes pile up in that cruel cycle.

But these guys never falter. They just keep going with that Herculean resolve they display each and every time they pull on the rubber apron. They cop it from all angles, but they know (as does anybody with an ounce of experience in hospo) that this place would be on it’s knees without them, so they smile and bask in their status as absolute linchpins of the dining world.

But the role of the underdog isn’t reserved for those on the front lines.

Let me hear “whoop whoop”, or a “tally ho” or whatever you kids are cheering these days for the bookkeepers!

No, I’m not talking about the bookkeepers that play long-game torture with you by acting as a middle man with the ATO. I’m talking about the onsite employees that stay behind, night after night, to count each and every penny that passed over the bar.

This might sound a little alien to you folks who’ve never worked in corporate hospo before, but if you’ve got a big venue with many bars, and many tills, somebody has to count and balance all of those takings at the end of the night, and it’s a mammoth task.

These modern-day saints will lock themselves in an office with a stack of cash drawers and a library of reconciliations and get down to work, all whilst you and the other customer-facing degenerates drown yourselves in staff drinks.BTP in house bookkeeperHave you ever tried to count vast amounts of money in the early hours of the morning whilst an overbearing duty manager breathes down your neck, almost begging for a discrepancy so that they can exercise their unwavering desire to scream at a part-time uni student over a matter of a few dollars? Well these kings and queens have tried and succeeded enough times to make that duty manager implode with unfulfillment, and they keep coming back for more.

And if there is a variance in your till, most of the time these angels will look for its counterpart in another till and just even everything out. They will move heaven and earth before declaring a till up or down, and they do it all for you.

So, next time you’re 4 deep into a session on the staff beers, raise a toast to the poor soul in the windowless office counting your mistakes and sweeping them under the proverbial rug. And to the team of dishwashers who are soaked through after claiming victory in their latest battle. And to the glassies who can dance their way across any crowded dance floor with more ease and grace than a prime Travolta.

These are the true heroes of your good times, and it’s high time their songs were sung!

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