Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Have All The Parties Gone?


As some of you know – I am the Events Manager at a Manhattan restaurant. It is my job to “sell” the restaurant to corporate and tour groups – and coordinate all large parties. I have been doing this job at various NYC restaurants for almost 15 years.

And in 15 years, I have NEVER had such a slow December. December is the month for corporate holiday parties – and this year I have booked exactly ONE. That’s right … one holiday party – and it’s a small one at that.

It has literally become politically incorrect for companies (even profitable ones) to spend money on holiday parties. With so many people out of work, and some of the biggest financial firms (many of which are based here in NYC) having to be bailed out – companies aren’t willing to spend money publicly on something as “frivolous” as a holiday party.

Two years ago I had eight large parties (and numerous small ones) – with clients such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the accounting firm Deloitte. This year? My one and only client is a small publishing company … owned by a Jewish family.

This is a shame. First of all – bitch all you want about your boring company Christmas Party – but it’s still usually an opportunity to see your co-workers in another environment and let off some steam. It's also an opportunity to get the hot guy in accounting drunk and possibly naked. After all, there are very few negatives when you're talking about free food and booze – especially in this economy.


And speaking of this economy, when companies DON’T throw holiday parties the economic effects are felt by people like me. Not to mention the bartenders, waiters and cute busboys who rely on the gratuities from these parties to spend on their families. It is going to be quite a lean Christmas for all of us – and I feel like I somehow let down the staff by not being able to bring in more business.

I just hope this negative stigma toward corporate parties isn’t around next December – because it really sucks. And if you work at a company and are the decision-maker regarding your holiday event next year – do SOMETHING. A dinner or even a happy hour at a bar will give those of us in the service industry a much needed boost during the holidays.

11 comments:

froggy said...

The Engineer's boss is taking everyone out to dinner.
I'll have to ask Eldest about his restaurant in Seattle - it may be busy because I get quick text messages and IMs. Does get the 24th and 25th off. :-)
btw - he was promoted from bar back to bartender.

Wonder Man said...

hopefully things will pick up soon

Joy said...

The ripple effect of this economy goes on and on. I hope it gets better and that all the businesses do well. So sorry! It's not your fault.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

My company has actually "forbidden" holiday parties unless "they involve an entire store or location" which is,of course, ridiculous. Maybe you could throw a party for "the Mothership". Can you accomodate the 33,000 that work at HSQ?

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sorry it is so slow, hope it picks up soon.

ousslander said...

I feel you, our events are down big time. If it wasn't for a couple of Unilever events ans some bat mitzvahs Christmas would be very bleak.

Hope things pick up!!!

mistress maddie said...

At the store ,we usually have a huge Christmas party, but this year we are having something different. A wine tasting and small bites at a New Jersey vineyard. Sounds like it will be fun.

Mechadude2001 said...

This economy sucks!

Anonymous said...

Maybe all the rich bloggers out there should throw parties for their readers. LOL. This economy is the pits. But at least you still have a job.

Jennie said...

Oh, hon, that really bites. The dealership my husband works for tried to host a family BBQ at the zoo and only half the employees showed up. Others complained that the money spent on the party would have been better spent mitigating the 10% paycut or restoring the insurance package that had been slashed. No one seemed to get that the party was only a small fraction of the amount it would've taken to do those things.

Things WILL pick up. They just have to.

Mark in DE said...

I can definitely see companies not wanting to seem financially irresponsibile by spending money on a 'frivolous' holiday party during a down economy, but I hadn't really thought about the effect this has on the restaurants, bars, and employees.

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