This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"And what shall I be doing all this time!" some proprietor will ask, who has read thus far. Well, there was once a very handsome and popular hotel proprietor, whom the writer knew, sitting on the piazza among his guests and one of them asked him about something in the back of the house and why he had it so. "Well, sir," said the proprietor, "I have a steward, an excellent man, and very capable to attend to all those matters, and I think I build up my business better and make more money by remaining in front and looking after the comfort and pleasures of my guests, than I could by hiding myself away in the interior and leaving you all to the small share of attention you would get from the over-worked clerks. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. I give my steward entire charge of the inside of the house and do not interfere with him, and I take entire charge of the front myself." There was nothing very striking in this reply, but it outlines the chief duty of the proprietor to himself as he understood it Very few men are adapted by nature to be at once a genial host in the front and an austere disciplinarian inside the house.
At present, it is true, a great number of proprietors are performing the more responsible part of the steward's duties, because they have no steward, and the head cook is trying to do the rest. The effect will be when every hotel has its real steward in his proper place that there will be fewer managers, assisstant managers, clerks and men of mixed duties, there will be more cooks and fewer chefs.
The relation of the hotel steward to the landlord is the same now as the land steward of scriptural days was to the land owner; he gives an account of his stewardship.
Under the modern hotel system the steward comes to the proprietor's private office with his books or transcripts of them In hand and shows what it it costing per meal and per day to run the house in its present style His accounts, properly kept show at a glance:
How many people were in the house to-day.
How many meals where served.
How much value of material the meat cook used. How much the pastry cook used. How much the pantry man or woman used. How much the head laundress used. How much the office force used. How much the barkeeper used. How much these amounts are above or below the average. How much per meal it cost for all hands. How much it cost for the guests. Cash value of stock in store room this night.