This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
A new steward cannot get along with old help. Such is the rule. The old hands all think they know more than he possibly can know, they do not want to do new ways, they feel disposed to tell him, he being a stranger, how they do and how he ought to do, instead of looking to him for direction. When the old hands are good and worth keeping the proper way to do is to call them up, one at a time, offer to pay them off and turn them over to the new steward, for him to hire them over again if he wants them and if they want to remain. It may be productive of temporary inconvenience to have any of them leave, but it is far better in the long run, for it is a formal investment of the new officer with his proper authority, without which he can not run the back part of the house according to his best ability. When a head cook leaves his second expects to leave, too, or be discharged; only a few exceptional men in that position ever remain without the formality, at least, of being paid off and beginning anew under the new head cook. So in the case of a new steward; the head cook and headwaiter expect that their situations will be wanted for new men of the steward's own, and if they are expected to remain it is best to go through the same formality with them and let them all begin anew.
In most cases where a new steward comes in it is to be inferred that either there was no steward employed there before, or else there has been laxity of administration or corruption or misdoing which has led to the change being made. Then it is most desirable all around that "a clean sweep" should be made. Let the really good hands come back alter a time and be hired over again. This rule is good and even necessary, as has been observed already in the case of the headwaiter, for if each hand's place depends upon the duration in office of the steward, each one will be more likely to uphold him and his rules than to oppose him.
As a measure of defense when he is but one against so many, the steward keeps other hands in view continually. Perhaps he finds it convenient to keep in communication' with an employment agency, more especially for the finding of the commoner sort of help, who are alway changing their situations.
He does not seek to be popular with his help. It Is not good business policy for the steward, or head cook either, to let the help praise them too much. The head cook is a little less bound, he may let his men have a half day off by turns, considering that ' hey have no Sunday, but the steward can not afford to make any such concessions of his own accord. The least familiarity leads the help to ask favors in food or holidays, or drawing pay out of pay times, and if the steward yields in any case his power is broken.
He decides according to the kind and style of hotel whether the waiters shall have their meals in their special dining room before the guests' meal time arrives, or whether they shall eat after the meals are over, he also fixes the time for meals for all the other hands, then posts up the rules and the notice with them that they will loose their meals if they do not come within half an hour of the time specified. The steward, after consulting the cook, fills out a printed blank bill of fare each day for the officers' dining room, which takes in at its several tables the clerks, housekeeper, linen keeper, engineers, carpenter, barkeepers and various others. If there are two soups, this bill of fare has one allotted to it, fish, perhaps, and one or two kinds of meat, and in all about half the variety which goes to the guests, and all expensive extras are omitted. A similar selected bill of fare is allotted to the nurses and children's ordinary. As regards the discharge of the hands under the head cook and headwaiter, the steward who sees they are idle, inefficient, or not longer needed requests the head cook or headwaiter respectively to dismiss them, and it is expected that they will at once comply with the request since it is but a matter of courtesy to them.
But for all flagrant offences such as drunkenness, using profane and obscene language, gambling within the house, insulting females, insolence to guests and patrons of the house and the like, the steward instantly discharges any hand without ceremony. Fines are imposed in some cases for minor delinquencies and under some circumstances the direlict hands are suspended from employment and thrown upon their own expenses temporarily.
It is the steward's duty to ask of every strange face that appears is his departments why it is there, to watch that no idlers are admitted and to be sure that every hand hired is at once entered in his book; name, for what purpose employed, wages, date. A copy of this memorandum he transfers to a printed blank and hands it in to the cashier. When a hand is to be paid off, he fills out another printed blank, with date, name, time due - that is, not days, but such a part of a month at so much per month - occupation, or what class of service the money is paid for, signs it as steward and sends the hand with it to the cashier's desk to be paid.