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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #19

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: A Worthy Foundation (III)

Two previous articles on the foundational principles undergirding the butling profession addressed (1) the butler as master of relationships and (2) what constitutes high quality of life. This third installment addresses the profession’s moral imperative—how to recognize a moral issue, what is moral or not, and why it is important.

Several conditions must be present for an issue to be one of morality:

  • Moral issues have to do with behavior, things that people do or don’t do.
  • Someone is affected by the behavior;
  • A deliberate choice of behavior exists based upon moral preference;
  • There is an implied or explicit responsibility to make a morally superior choice;
  • There is a moral standard by which alternative choices may be decided.

Absent any of these conditions, no moral question exists. The problem, however, seldom is whether a moral issue exists, but rather, what is the moral thing to do?

The basic idea is simple. Moral behavior improves quality of life and the welfare of others. It is helpful and kind. Immoral behavior deliberately harms or diminishes quality of life and the welfare of others, either directly or indirectly. It is hurtful and unkind. The governing principle is to care enough about the quality of life and welfare of others to do something about it.

A butler’s immediate professional moral imperative is to support, protect, and enhance the quality of life and welfare of his employer, members of the household, and guests. On a higher order, a butler’s professional moral imperative is to support and improve the welfare of society in general and the profession. And in the case of a moral dilemma, where there is moral conflict between choices, the welfare of society and the profession generally sway the choice. A moral breakdown threatens everyone concerned, near and far. The aim is the greater good and less harm.

The Butler’s Professional Code of Ethics state: “Abide by the highest ethical, moral, and legal standards….”

The Rotary Club has a “Four-Way Test” for anything we may say or do which may prove useful:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Does it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Is it beneficial to all concerned?

Next month’s installment will address the foundational principle of excellence.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #18

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: A Worthy Foundation (II)

This second piece of our professional foundation requires a well-developed understanding of what constitutes quality of life. Our overarching responsibility is to assure an outstanding quality of life for our employers, their households, and guests. Many people equate high quality of life with high standard of living. The idea is that greater wealth ensures a higher quality of life. These are not, however, equivalent terms. While wealth can afford some of the more expensive toys, comforts, and pleasures of life, the term “quality of life” usually has more to do with overall happiness.

Some years ago, I undertook an informal little research project identifying 14 features constituting a high quality of life. These features serve well to guide modern butlers in their scope of expertise and responsibility:

  • Safety
  • Health and fitness
  • Intelligence/wisdom—usually acquired through a good, broad education
  • Personal practical virtue—reflected in practical life skills
  • Order and cleanliness
  • Beauty—e.g., geographic scenery, the fine arts, gardens, the culinary arts, architecture, interior design, the mechanical and industrial arts, etc.
  • Personal spirituality
  • Moral virtue—acting in behalf of the individual and collective welfare of oneself and others
  • Healthy relationship portfolios—including family, friends, professional associates, and others
  • Economic welfare and security—i.e., standard of living, with the understanding that living rich is not necessarily the same as living well
  • Meaningful purpose—good reason to get up in the morning
  • Interesting, pleasant, and wholesome activities
  • A strong heritage and sense of identity within context of that heritage
  • Agency—the right and ability of choice, within reasonable constraints of moral and conventional responsibility.

These features of a high quality of life undergird the broad scope and depth of responsibility a butler has for his employer, the household, guests, and household staff.  Our next installment will address moral imperative incumbent upon the profession.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #17

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: A Worthy Foundation (I)

The Butler’s Standards for Professional Performance provide extensive guidance for the practice of modern butling—from attitudes, to professional responsibilities and behavior, to the performance of specific tasks, and the maintenance of professional relationships. Now may be a good time to discuss some basic foundational principles underlying these performance standards.

A master butler is a master of relationships, requiring four basic qualities:

  1. Most important is a genuine concern for the welfare, comfort, and pleasure of others. A butler’s professional life is devoted to this one objective. This simple, basic idea feeds the success and joy of a butling life.
  2. Competence enables a butler to perform the duties of office. These include technical skills (for example, meal service, managing the household, tending family archives, valuables, wardrobes; overseeing the care of motor pools and gardens; and the production of ceremonies and celebrations); communication skills (no skill is more finely honed and tuned than a butler’s ability to turn the right phrase at the right time in the right way); and people skills (etiquette, diplomacy, and simple good manners grease the wheels of human society and enable the butler to help create a treasured moment or turn a potential disaster into a pleasant memory).
  3. Personal and professional integrity earn trust, a butler’s stock in trade. Closer to a household and its members than any outsider and even many family members, the butler is entrusted with both treasures and secrets which cannot and must not be violated. He is unfailingly honest and true to his word, and also understands the value of discretion and the importance of keeping confidences without compromising his own or his employer’s integrity.
  4. Responsibility to the relationship is a special dimension of integrity, but important enough to consider separately. Responsibility means to do whatever is necessary to preserve the welfare of the relationship and that the butler will always act in the best interest of those within his charge.

A successful butler will score high marks on all four of these foundational qualities, as will a desirable employer. A struggling butler or employer likely will find a need for improvement herein. Also, virtually every specific standard is rooted within these foundational qualities.

Next month, I shall discuss a second set of principles supporting our professional standards: what constitutes excellent quality of life.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #16

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Controlling the Dominos

Scenario: The lady of the house is planning a formal dinner at the family’s small mountain estate, with a grand view of the valley below and the bloom of spring on the surrounding meadows. With just days to go, she directs myriad details in a perfectly timed sequence to be completed the day guests arrive. The butler is given some of the more critical tasks and is available for reassurance and special help.

Suddenly, “Clyde” (a treasured old pickup truck) breaks down, making the day’s collection of supplies impossible for several hours. Everything stops, as each step in the carefully planned sequence depends upon the step before. Clyde is the critical link to a successful conclusion and no alternative transportation is available (another story for another day). The dominos begin to fall, threatening the entire operation. Worse, the few hours delay look more like a couple of days. Madam begins to panic.

Now is time for reassurance and special help.

The Standards: The Professional Performance Standards state, “The butler…should employ suitable principles of management and leadership.”  While specific principles are unstated, the standard suggests those needed for the work at hand, e.g. time management, operations management, and ways to cope with bad surprises.

Recommendations: Volume I of Serving the Wealthy offers basic, helpful guidelines.  The work can go on with little more inconvenience or stress than that associated with a modest hiccup.

Guideline 1: Stay calm. Revise tasks into several simple semi-independent operations that can be done, even with a delay in the day’s deliveries;

Guideline 2: Be flexible and adjust as necessary. Letitia Baldrige once successfully negotiated a monstrous kitchen mishap, after all the guests had arrived, by converting a formal embassy dinner into a pizza party!

Guideline 3: Arrange help if needed. Hire a mechanic to fix Clyde; rent a van;

Guideline 4: Stay the course…. Make steady progress. Guests will know only what they experience. Problems? What problems?

Guideline 5: Don’t make the problem bigger than it really is. Dividing the work around the problem contains the fall-out.

Guideline 6: Reassure everyone and keep them informed. Explain the problem and the new arrangements to the staff, demonstrating and assisting as necessary.

And yes, the party went splendidly!

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #15

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Promotion of the Profession

Scenario: I recently visited a friend and his wife, who are living in an upscale retirement facility near a large city in the Western United States. The facility is beautifully designed; immaculate; with luxury apartments, professionally landscaped grounds, guest quarters, a large private dining room for luncheons and dinner parties, and ample parking space, including garage service. It houses a movie theater, a quiet, well-equipped library, a chapel, an exercise room and personal trainer, and is well-located for various activities such as golf, tennis, hiking, concerts, theater, gourmet dining of every imaginable type, shopping, and outings to scenic locations in the region, even wilderness and seaside hikes, river day trips, freshwater and deep sea fishing, and cruises. There is ready access to commercial and private airports. Maid service is offered once a week, as is personal transportation service for its residents. Gourmet meals and any-time snacks are prepared by an expert kitchen staff, including a highly accomplished chef and two sous chefs. Residents have formed groups for various activities, from volunteer service, book clubs, discussion groups, to music, sports, and dancing. You surely get the picture—an upscale lifestyle suitable for well-to-do, active, retired seniors desiring independence without the responsibilities of maintaining large households. Nearly perfect!

Nearly. With all of these amenities, there still was opportunity for a butler’s touch of luxury in ambience and quality of service.

Standards: The Butler’s Professional Code of Ethics encourages not only the practice of superlative service in one’s own employment, but extends the butler’s responsibility to promoting superlative service in other professions through “mentoring, promoting industry standards, and active involvement in professional relationships and organizations.”

Recommendations: My friend arranged a personal tour for me with an assistant manager of the facility. We discussed the butler’s relationship-based approach to staff and service management, the manner and delivery of perfect moments, the importance of setting the stage for the pleasure, safety, and success of others while remaining in the background ourselves, and other principles of successful butling.

Our tour has led to possible training opportunities for management and staff of this facility in the basic principles and techniques of modern butling that can be easily employed in a modern, new professional and living environment to enhance the life style and comfort of a large “household” of people.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #14

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Anticipation

Scenario: An invited guest brings an unexpected guest to a formal dinner party. The unexpected guest is unknown to both the host and the butler. Guests, all of whom otherwise know each other, are gathering for cocktails in the library prior to the meal. All dinner settings have been placed; the food has been prepared and is ready to be served.

The butler’s problem: Help the host (1) seamlessly cope with the unexpected guest at the last minute; (2) welcome and integrate the new guest into the group.

The Standards: The Standards of Professional Practice state that “a butler must be a consummate professional…” Among several characteristics that describe a butler as a “consummate professional” is the ability to anticipate, i.e., to know the employer’s habits and mindset, to completely understand the demands of any usual situation of the household and intuitively to comprehend unusual situations, enabling the butler to act, even to know what will be needed so as to respond with confidence, effectiveness, and aplomb.

Recommendations: Here the unexpected guest might slip an awkward wrinkle into the fabric of the occasion; the butler must anticipate possible effects from the time of her entrance to the concluding departure. Several things must happen quickly. The butler should:

  • Welcome the guest, learn her name and discreetly inquire of any dietary requirements, preferences from the menu, and other special needs;
  • Immediately report the additional meal to the chef and server, with any accommodations required by the new guest;
  • Arrange the additional place setting, with name (if necessary) and menu cards;
  • Conduct a rapid internet search on the new guest and prepare a small printout or summary briefing for the employer. If the guest is someone especially noteworthy, perhaps draft a brief toast to welcome and honor the person at that point in the dinner when other toasts may be offered;
  • Ensure the guest has the opportunity to sign the household visitor’s log before departing.

The butler has set the stage quietly for the guest’s entrance and integration, for the employer’s role of gracious host, avoiding embarrassment of the invited guest who breached proper etiquette in the first place, the butler all the while remaining unobtrusively in the background. Complete mastery of the details of the occasion and anticipating the needs of the players made it possible.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #13

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Simple Elegance

Scenario: A young couple is planning a wedding in a few months. It is to be a very nice affair, bringing in more than two-hundred guests from several parts of the country, all expecting a grand occasion. The wedding is to be conducted in the groom’s home town, and the bride’s family are to travel some 1,500 miles for the ceremony and celebration.

The mothers of the groom and bride, respectively, have agreed that the groom’s mother should plan and make the arrangements for both the family wedding breakfast and the larger reception, since she enjoys a reputation for frequent and fine entertainment, but on a smaller scale.

Budget is not an issue, although the couple have requested what they describe as “modest elegance.” The bride said recently, “The wedding is the main event, not the parties.” The groom assured a modest approach with a modest budget for the affair.

Enter the consultant butler, to offer advice and encouragement. At a first meeting, the groom’s mother confided, “I have just finished a big Valentine’s party. The wedding is just a few weeks away. Frankly, I am overwhelmed.  This event must be beautiful and memorable, but, I do not have time to do everything. Help!”

The Standards: The Professional Performance Standards state that “a butler should create…refined, elegant eating experiences…whether a simple tray for one or a dinner for 100….”

The standards also state that “the butler’s responsibilities for…social occasions…demand attention to a…diverse amount of activity and detail…. Checklists offer a[n]…efficient answer to these needs.”

Recommendations: The mother is seeking reassurance (i.e., confidence) that the task is possible, and secondly, ideas to help achieve modest elegance and simplicity.

Elegance is a function of taste and grace under pressure. Good taste usually is learned. The consultant butler may offer ideas when questions of good taste arise.

The right tools can help achieve grace under pressure; detailed checklists can make what seems impossible, relatively easy. Checklists offer a way to plan a complicated process, to declutter unneeded parts and movements, to prepare all the pieces in order, and to avoid forgetting. Checklists simplify everything else. Like an elegant golf swing, these wedding parties can be beautiful, smooth, and easy, with a powerful result—simple elegance.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #13

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: PROFESSIONAL PAY

Scenario: Suppose two butlers apply for the same position. One candidate is a recent graduate of a reputable butler school, holds a university degree, and has served two years as under-butler on a large estate. He is seeking his first position as a butler.

The second candidate is a long-time butler for a high-level government leader, now retiring to a small country estate. She is in her professional prime, well qualified in every way to operate a large household with extensive grounds.

The position to be filled is a butler for a young celebrity’s estate. The family includes spouse and a young child. The position includes management of a small household staff, managing the household budget and expenditures, meal service, household security, small and large parties, auto maintenance, housing of a growing collection of valuable art, oversight of a small commercial orchard, and occasional travel with the family.

Question: Given the same work requirements, what might these two very different applicants expect in compensation?

Professional Standards: The Professional Standards state that “[t]he butler should be paid appropriately, according to experience and duties, on a level commanded by other professional managers of similar responsibility and stature.”

Recommendations: Although the same job requirements would apply to either candidate, the two should expect different employment contracts and compensation packages. For example, the candidate seeking his first position would likely receive a short trial period (perhaps 90 days), and if satisfactory, a permanent contract would be signed. A smaller pay package (including benefits) might be expected during the trial period than should be negotiated for the permanent contract.

The job responsibilities are significant, comparable to those for a highly qualified chief of operations for a small-to-medium-size business. Once the trial period is successfully completed, the new butler should receive a pay package similar to other professionally trained and qualified chief operating officers undertaking their first management position.

The more qualified candidate, with a proven employment record and a more practiced skill set, should expect a short trial period and a higher compensation-package during that time, on a par with the expected permanent contract, comparable in salary and benefits to other chief operations officers in small-to-medium-size businesses.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, January 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #12

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Commitment, or “Good Help Is Hard To Find”

Scenario:

Imagine a young person interviewing for a position, sitting slouched in a chair, looking down at his hands folded in his lap, appearing almost asleep. The employer asks, “Why do you want this position?” The dull bulb’s response: “I saw the ad and thought it sounded like an easy job, and I need the money. I need the money real bad. I saw a couple of movies, and anybody can do the work. I need the money, and I like to travel around a lot.” I saw several taped interviews recently. In one, the applicant was asked a similar question, paused a long time, and said softly, “I don’t know.” That was it. Silence.

The manager of the employment center staging the video presentations observed that his office is encountering an increasing number of very poorly prepared and unmotivated clients. He said he can place prepared, motivated candidates almost immediately, because of a shortage of qualified applicants, the word qualified meaning primarily dependable.

Opportunities abound in the butler and other service industries. Not just from an increasing pool of wealthy households, but also because, “Good help is hard to find.” If you are a good one, take heart and enjoy the ride.

The Standards: The Standards of Professional Performance state that “The butler’s primary concerns are the comfort, pleasure, welfare, and security of the members of the household.” For those of us in the hospitality industry, this standard would also suggest the comfort, pleasure, welfare, and security of guests and clients.

Recommendations: There is a story about three bricklayers, each asked what he was doing. One answered, “Laying bricks.” The second answered, “I am earning money to support my family.” The third answered, “Building a beautiful cathedral.” One can feel the joy in building a beautiful cathedral. Yes, the third bricklayer is laying bricks and probably providing for a family. But there is more in the attitude and purpose of building something good and beautiful. Joy laces such vision and purpose, surely to be reflected in the work itself and the result.

Little is of greater value in life than contributing to the comfort, pleasure, welfare, and security of fellow travelers on this planet. This is the butler’s cathedral, ambition, motivation, and professional commitment.

Editor’s note: One is reminded of the advertisement used in various locales to attract new hires

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

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Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2018, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #11

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

Scenario: It is Christmas time in the Eliason household, and the family is planning a party for one hundred close friends and community associates. Mr. Eliason has asked his butler, George Nettles, to act as Master of Ceremonies and Toastmaster for the event. George is trained in the English tradition, which emphasizes remaining in the background, orchestrating the unfolding of events efficiently and effectively so as to maintain the comfort and pleasure of the members of the household, all without attracting personal attention or public recognition. George, however, possesses a dry Irish wit that he says he inherited from his grandfather, and is known for making people feel comfortable in busy and often awkward circumstances. He enjoys a dignified and commanding presence, handsome in features with a resonant baritone voice. Mr. Eliason insists that George, despite his requests to the contrary, don a crimson tailcoat and take the forefront in orchestrating the Christmas party.

Questions: Is it appropriate for George to step from the shadows into such a spotlight? And if so, how does George reconcile the long tradition of remaining in the background with the very prominent requirements of a Master of Ceremonies and Toastmaster?

The Standards: Firstly, the Professional Performance Standards state clearly that the butler acts at the request and pleasure of the employer; so indeed, short of violating law or morals, the butler may well be expected to perform such a duty. Secondly, the Standards indicate that while some ceremonial duties, such as those for a toastmaster or master of ceremonies, may attract attention to the butler, the butler should direct the focus “to the program rather than to himself.”

Recommendations: Indeed, the crimson coat will attract attention. It is supposed to attract attention, so that an audience in an otherwise confusing and distracting environment may know where to look for direction; still, a well-schooled butler must know how to turn that attention to the more substantive parts of the program, and must not pretend to upstage the real luminaries. Although some circumstances may require a clever cover for an otherwise embarrassing moment for a featured performer or someone proposing an awkward toast, the blend of gracious understatement and dignity with the splendid vestiture actually enhances the butler’s performance as facilitator, as well as the entertainment value of the program.

George seems perfectly suited in skill and attitude to orchestrate the dinner party.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.