We learned of a particularly egregious incident of customer aggression and misbehavior at one of our restaurants here in Livermore a couple of days ago. And based upon the quantity and quality of the comments to an Instagram post, most of our fellow hospitality centers are in agreement with a zero-tolerance policy for assholes like the one who afflicted Range Life.
While nobody’s life is easy under pandemic restrictions, under the best of circumstances, even when restaurant guests are behaving like human beings, the life of the chef and server is an especially difficult one. Like our tasting room team members, restaurant staff is constantly trying to adapt to the expectations that the guest brings with him, to create an environment that is thoughtful and makes one feel at home, no matter the level of the guest’s sense of entitlement.
As I write in my forthcoming book, Lineage: Life and Love and Six Generations in California Wine:
The restaurant is the place where the hurly-burly of the day is quarantined. You enter alone, infected by the tumult of the noisome and uncaring world outside, you are made comfortable and are fed (an act of intimacy second only to sex), and you find yourself cordially bound to a tradition of work, horrendously difficult and so glorious because of that difficulty, that connects you to things beautiful and delicious, sustaining and transitory. For most restaurateurs the transaction is not a financially equitable one, and the attrition of restaurants is staggeringly high. If not for the money, why do these lunatic and magnanimous people do what they do? Simply, they must. And we are, very fortunately, the recipients of their compulsive caring.
Hospitality is a calling…a mission. Whether your hospitality vehicle is wine or food, the motivation is the same: the authentic need to take care of people. At The Lineage Collection, as at the finer establishments throughout the Tri-Valley, hospitality done well is our animating force. We love adding joy and richness to peoples’ lives and, like Range Life, chock-up really bad behavior to an occasional challenge that not only makes us better but also underscores the beauty inherent in a transaction between two parties desiring the same hospitable outcome.