It goes without saying that Donald Trump is a rather complex individual and from whatever we have seen of him we can only imagine what it would be like to work for him. Things also become a lot more complex when your billionaire boss also becomes the President of the United States and this is when the term ‘work pressure’ actually feels like an understatement.
A few former staff of the Trump International Washington DC Hotel spilled the beans on how it was to actually serve the President when he himself arrived at his own hotel. As with Mr. Trump no longer being the President the hotel may have lost some of its regular business, during the Trump presidency the hotel was always buzzing with VIPs. Here is what an ordinary day in the hotel was and how it used to change when the big boss / eagle would drop in.
A permanent table for Trump:
‘Prevention is better than cure’ and the round Table 72 in the middle of the Trump Hotel’s mezzanine was the staff’s way of preventing the mishap of turning away the leader of the free world if he happened to show up on a whim. There certainly would be no cure for that! The hotel could be a packed house of politicians, celebrities, and billionaires but no one sat at Trump’s table except the President, his children, and, occasionally for his closest associates like Rudy Giuliani or Mike Pence.
7 step instructions on how to pour him Diet Coke
To make things discernible (read: compelling) for the staff a “Standard Operating Procedure” document, was presented to ensure Trump had the same satisfactory experience at BLT Prime, the hotel restaurant. It began with a mini bottle of Purell hand sanitizer and has no relation to the Covid-19 pandemic; It’s just always been like that for the germophobe. As mentioned in Washingtonian.com, this mandatory step is followed by the server greeting the President as instructed, “Good (time of day) Mr. President. Would you like your Diet Coke with or without ice?”. Whatever his answer, a perfected tray with chilled bottles and highball glasses was already prepared for either response. Not only should his coke be perfect, but even directions for pouring the soda have to be followed to the T, to avoid confusion. Ensuring the ease of operations is another seven steps long and illustrated manual with four photo exhibits made available to make the coke-pouring tasks easy to explain. It should be noted the beverage had to be opened in front of Trump and “never beforehand.” Once poured, the drink had to be placed at the President’s right-hand side. “Repeat until POTUS departs.”
SOP for the food-serving ceremony
The Washingtonian states, shrimp cocktail, well-done steak, and fries are the man’s uncomplicated preference every time he visits which at least takes off the pressure to dish out new, impressive culinary delights every time the POTUS eats. Also, that’s where the simpleness of the situation ends. Just like his Diet Coke servers are commanded to inaugurate mini glass bottles of Heinz ketchup in front of Trump, ensuring the pop sound is clear to satisfy him. As far as food is concerned, Popovers always had to be served within two minutes, and the crustaceans without a seconds delay. Reportedl, Trump never displayed the audacity of returning a plate on being displeased, the complaint did make its way down the ranks. In a manner of sibling rivalry, the President once raised a question why his dining companion had a bigger steak? Williamson, who had previously run the kitchens of DC staples Birch & Barley and the Riggsby said, “It was the same steak. Both are well done. Maybe it was a half ounce bigger or something, I don’t know.”
He loves junk food –
How many times has the world asked Mr. Donald Trump to grow up? Take one look at his specially ordered tray of junk food and you will know he still hasn’t. Trump loves his junk food and it needs to be available for every visit. On the tray, one will find Lay’s potato chips (specifically, sour cream and onion), Milky Way, Snickers, Nature Valley Granola Bars, Tic Tacs, gummy bears, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Nutter Butters, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate-covered raisins, and Pop-Secret. At the risk of sounding ageist, I would like to add that Donald Trump is 75 years old.
VIP Guests galore:
When you are as infamously famous as Donald Trump you cannot be seen without a Ferris wheel of allies. Former executive chef Shawn Matijevich says there were always more than a few important people around and they belonged to the President’s roster of loyalists made it important and sometimes impossible to please them. He told The Washingtonian, “Senators and cabinet members and all of their staffs and the President’s staff, important members of the Republican Party, megachurch pastors, MyPillow guy. He was a VIP, absolutely.” He continued, “The hotel would print us a book every day, if they were staying at the hotel, and it would have their pictures and their name and their job title.” Not knowing exactly who often landed the dining staff in a soup (pun intended).
This one time, Trump attorney Michael Cohen tried to snag a table at BLT Prime without a reservation. Not knowing who he was, the supervisor turned him down which led to the hotel’s managing director scolding the supervisor. Hope Hicks and the staff experienced some hiccups too. The general manager didn’t identify her as ‘Hope Hicks from the White House’ and the order took its time to be served. What followed was a barrage of apologies and a dessert storm, including a delectable crepe soufflé and a wonderful cheesecake lollipop tree.
Let’s face it, catering to hotel guests is a naturally tedious job; whether the guests are Trump’s or not. It is also true that being Trump’s guests did in fact add tremendous pressure to an already demanding job for most at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. The most notorious VIP was Rudy Giuliani, who literally turned the table in the restaurant’s downstairs dining area into his office. It makes you wonder why he was difficult for the staff to handle when his table was full of papers instead of food? Couldn’t be much of a bother then, right? The general manager threw light on his erratic schedules which made it tough for the staff to function smoothly. As told to the Washintonian, “He was constantly in the restaurant. And I complained about it. The guy would come in, expect a table for ten at a moment’s notice at, like, 2 pm, when we’re not fully functioning. We don’t have the staff. But he’s the President’s lawyer, and what am I supposed to do?” one would expect Trump’s children to behave this way but not only did they not get in the way, but were also polite and never a reason to whine about. “They just came in, did their thing, and left,” says former assistant general manager Alyssa O’Clock.
A birds-eye view for details:
Big people, big egos. They aren’t at the Trump International Hotel for the freebies but for the world-class treatment meted to them. A lot of work went on Behind-the-scene to ensure every VIP guest felt like a VIP. This entails knowing who is who and keeping ready notes to cater to them in a highly customized approach. The staff went over the details with a fine-tooth comb and knew exactly what was required. From Trumps’ economic-revival council mega-philanthropist Catherine Reynolds, favoring a particular number of olives in her martini to hand-written notes of entire orders of certain guests, everything was documented. To accommodate lobbyist David Bockorny, a big Republican donor, the restaurant opened 15 minutes earlier than working hours for his morning coffee, rather than ask him to wait or come later. The hotel staff stocked the fancied Pinot Noir for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton even though it wasn’t on the menu.
Dressing to please:
If perfect presentations, impeccable service, attentive staff wasn’t enough it was also vital for the staff to maintain perfect appearances and be at par with the guests frolicking in the hotel (well almost). Believe it or not, but the former President’s property has strict protocols for how employees should dress and look, down to the quarter-inch limit on men’s facial hair and the three-eighths-of-an-inch max on women’s fingernail length as mentioned on Indy100.com. General manager Alyssa O’Clock says, “You’d get a disapproving look (on wearing pants instead of skirts) otherwise. I just remember knowing anytime I wore pants: Oh, this is going to be a day. Make sure I have on a nice blazer and wear heels to balance out.” As a former female manager puts it: “I always tried to dress like a Fox News anchor.”
Pretending to be a Trump supporter:
You can work in an organization where you don’t like your boss. It happens everywhere but not every boss is the President. A majority were ambivalent as the job was extremely well-paying but the boss isn’t everybody’s favorite. Matijevich explains on The Washintonian, how they had to take a lot of pressure at work and then back home because of where they worked. Trump’s reputation wasn’t just harming Trump but all those who worked for him too. Matijevich stated, “I’d say probably 80 to 90 percent of my kitchen staff was Hispanic. A lot of people that worked there, their friends wouldn’t talk to them anymore. Some of the Hispanic workers, their family wouldn’t talk to them while they were working there, even their back-home family in other countries.”
[Via – Washingtonian]