Understanding Your Restaurant Staff’s Hangover Level

I’m feeling like having a little fun. See if any restaurant managers can relate to the following:

It’s Sunday morning, almost everybody’s late for their shift, again. Knowing what level hangover your staff is suffering can help you determine whether or not they, or you, (like you have a choice) should be serving your “church crowd”. Let’s take a look inside the heads of your hungover staff:

One Star Hangover

No pain. No real feeling of illness. Your sleep last night was a mere disco nap, which has given you a whole lot of misplaced energy. Be glad that you’re able to function relatively well. However, you’re still parched. You can drink 10 Dr. Peppers and still feel this way. You’re craving a chili-cheese coney and a side of gravy fries. You might as well work. There’ll probably be some dead food to graze on.

Two Star Hangover

No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay, but you have the mental capacity of a 2 ounce ladle. The coffee you’re chugging is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a Rootie Tootie Fresh and Fruity pancake breakfast from IHOP. There is some definite havoc being wreaked upon your bowels. You can work but you should beg your manager to let you make a breakfast run before the store opens.

Three Star Hangover

Slight headache. Stomach feels crappy. You are definitely not productive and praying to be cut early. Every time you walk by a female guest you gag because her perfume reminds you of the random Jaeger shots you did with your alcoholic buddies after the bouncer 86’d you at 1:45 this morning. Life would be better right now if you were in your bed with a dozen jelly donuts and a meatball hero watching Spongebob. You’ve had 4 cups of black coffee, a gallon of water, 3 Red Bulls and a 2-liter of Mountain Dew Voltage, yet amazingly you haven’t peed once. If your manager’s smart, you’ll work in a non-guest-contact capacity today.

Four Star Hangover

Life sucks. Your head is throbbing (Man, the Muzak is cranked today!). You can’t speak too quickly or else you might puke. Your boss has already blasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore yesterday’s uniform, which you pulled out of the backseat of your car and “ironed” by shaking it out the car window on the way to work. And you can’t hide the fact that you missed an oh-so obvious spot shaving, (girls, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding horseback.) Your eyes look like one big vein and your hair looks like you fell into the bar blender. If you do make it to work, DON’T taste-test the seafood gumbo.

Five Star Hangover

AKA “Dante’s 4th Circle of Hell.”

You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is loud enough to annoy the guests still waiting in the lobby to be seated. Vodka vapors are seeping out of your every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth in a futile attempt to rid yourself of the remnants of the Dog Crap Fairy’s apparent visit. Your mouth has lost the ability to generate saliva, and your tongue is suffocating you as it sticks to the roof of your mouth. Death seems pretty good right now. You definitely don’t remember who you were with, where you were, or what you drank. The only reason you’re at work is to avoid the not-so-cute stranger still sleeping in your bed at your otherwise empty house.

Six Star Hangover

Otherwise known as “Damn, I’m unemployed!”

You wake up on your bathroom floor…never a good sign. For about 2 seconds you look at the ceiling, wondering if the cool refreshing feeling on your cheek is the bathroom tile or your vomit from 5 hours ago. You try to lift your head. Not an option. Then you inadvertently turn your head too quickly and smell the funk of 13 packs of cigarettes in your hair. Suddenly you realize you were smoking last night, but not ultra lights… some jackass handed you a pack of cheap cigars, and you smoked them like a side of babyback ribs. Eventually you manage to look in the mirror only to see remnants of the stamp “Ready to Rock!” faintly atop your forehead… the stamp on the back of your hand that has magically appeared on your forehead by alcoholic osmosis. You have to be to work in t-minus 14 minutes and the only thing you can think of wearing is your “Scooby Doo” pajamas and slippers. You need to end your love affair with the toilet and start calling around to see if you can pay someone (Anyone!) to cover your shift so you don’t have to start filling out applications…tomorrow.

Read more Restaurant Humor here.


Brian Bruce, an author of multiple articles published online and in several industry trade publications, has been cited in multiple news stories as an authority in Executive Restaurant Recruiting. He’s an Executive Restaurant Recruiter with HHB Restaurant Recruiting and recruits nationally. He can be reached at 405-361-7582 and by email at Brian@HeadHunterBrian.com.

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