Hospitality is a Way of Life | Kelly Doran – Gracie’s Office Manager
There are industries built on the very idea that being friendly, generous, and kindly accepting friends, family, and strangers into our lives is something worthwhile. It’s something that, in this day and age, needs to be protected.Hospitality is not just a concept one talks about. Hospitality has to be an action. It has to be in you, somewhere, in your heart, soul, and brain. It is a true way of life.
To say being a server at Gracie’s—or anywhere, really—is challenging would be an understatement. It is the server’s job to synthesize all information learned over hours of pre-meal conversations in order to prepare for the night’s service. The most up-to-date information is taught during these sessions, and team members’ participation is highly encouraged. We clean house, and then we open the doors for our guests. We meet every need we can possibly meet for our patrons, because hospitality is what we do best at Gracie’s. There is a shared feeling that hospitality is what’s expected, and our team gladly provides.
To be hospitable is to truly want the time your guests spend with you to be filled with moments worth remembering, where there is never any need to worry. Having the desire to provide this service arises from a million different reasons for millions of unique people. Growing up in Rhode Island, my family didn’t have much. I had two working class parents: one a screen printer by trade, the other in the medical field working with handicapped adults. They had three girls to raise, and later, our foster sister to add to the brood. But that’s the thing about my parents: they didn’t have a lot of money to give, yet they always found space for these abandoned children who came knocking at our door, hungry and cold. My mother would contact the parents of these kids, only to be told that they were too unwanted, too unruly, making too much trouble in school, and could we keep them for a few nights?
Of course we could keep them. No child was to be turned away. Any knock at our door was met with a fresh pot of coffee, food if you were hungry, and understanding if you had none. We had an open door policy growing up. This is where my hospitable nature comes from: seeing my mom put together a New Year’s Eve celebration for our friends and family on a shoestring budget, or my dad being the first to extend a hand to anyone in need of an AA Meeting, a shoulder to cry on, or just a pal to go fishing with. This is where my passion for taking care of people was born.
Money is not the determining factor in how hospitable you can be, or are. Being hospitable is sharing what you do have with the people that you love. Hospitality and kindness go hand and hand. It costs nothing to be kind, just as it costs nothing to extend your hand or your home to another being without wanting anything in return but their happiness. There is an altruistic quality to hospitality. You give and you expect nothing in return.
The hospitality industry is one of the major industries for Rhode Islanders. We come to work in our restaurants, our hotels, and our boat houses during the summer. We seasonally cycle through busy times and more laid back times. We work late nights and holidays. We are the background in your beautiful moments; moments that we helped create. The hours in this industry can get taxing, and the pay can be inconsistent. So why do we always come back to this, and keep showing up for our next shift? It’s because we love what we do, every day. It’s because hospitality is in our blood; it’s our way of life. We do it because we love to.