6 Board Games That Perfectly Summarize Working in Hospitality

by Katie Sawyer, 4 minutes read
HOME blog board games that perfectly summarize working in hospitality

Game nights have made a comeback. Whether due to fewer options during the pandemic or a longing for nostalgia, board games and card games are bringing families and friends together for bouts of strategy, wits, and mayhem. They’re getting people back to basics for low-cost fun and good company.

While every game is unique, success typically requires a combination of improvisation, resourcefulness, and luck. And if you work in the hospitality industry, you already have an edge.

Servers, bartenders, hosts, and managers all work in a real-life board game every day. Discover which games perfectly summarize hospitality jobs, and maybe you’ll develop strategies to take your teams to the next level.


Players take turns getting rid of their cards by matching numbers and colors to the card on the table. If they only have one card left, they can yell Uno. Once they get rid of the last card, they win. But if they can’t match the last card, they’ll have to keep drawing cards and the cycle continues.

A restaurant server clears out tables during their shift. With just fifteen minutes until closing, they’re about to clear the last table until a “wild card” shows up and asks to be seated. Does the wild card mean that the team has to keep working, or should the restaurant have turned them away? Serving is like anticipating wild cards and knowing what to do next.


Nothing beats neatly stacking wooden blocks, only to remove them from within and placing them back on top. When you tap the right block and wiggle it free, you feel so satisfied.

The same can be said for servers stacking plates. There’s an art to how they balance a full spread on their arms, and how they can wrangle a mess into perfect neat piles. Just don’t think about what happens if it all comes crashing down.

Apples to Apples

In this game of preference, players adapt to how their fellow players think. Are they more cheeky or straightforward? More into science or pop culture? Sunnyside up or scrambled? One player presents an adjective card, while the others try to match a noun card to that adjective. The player that gets most of their nouns chosen wins.

At a restaurant, you’ll always have the customer who just can’t decide. They’ll ask for something spicy, or something lower carb, and always seem to take forever. It’s the server’s job to know the menu in and out, and offer a choice the customer can’t refuse. The best servers will offer suggestions for substitutions — and do it with a smile.


Does your job ever leave you tangled up? Twister, the party game classic, asks its players to assume twisted positions as they place their hands and feet across a color-coded mat. Try not to fall.

For hotel workers, keeping guests happy can feel like bending over backward on the left hand: yellow. On top of checking guests into their room, they’re watching a busy phone line, giving out directions, and switching reservations on the fly. Remember to support your team and enjoy the ride. In the business of travel, take a breath before you end up in knots.


Scrabble is the game of possibilities. It’s competitive yes, as players try to spell out words with their given letter tiles. It can also be cooperative, as players try to complete the game as quickly as possible by contributing to the bigger picture. Scrabble requires players to see how things fit together.

For hospitality workers, each day presents a new round of Scrabble. Will operations flow smoothly as words flow into and around each other? Or will a series of miscommunications bring the board to a stalemate? Don’t get stuck in a rut. Be patient with one another, and the words will come right out.

The Game of Life

The Game of Life — the human experience in board game form. Players maneuver around the board and make decisions around their education, career, family, and finances. Sometimes they’ll take risks and get ahead, and sometimes they’ll stumble on bad luck and fall a little behind. Either way, they work with the hand they’re dealt and move on.

Hospitality workers are all playing their own Game of Life. They’re chugging along in plastic cars, gathering experience, and earning cash for future goals. Whether or not they stick around will depend on how well you treat them and how many opportunities you provide. Listen to your team. Do they have the best tools to succeed? Be the job card that your players want to land on.

Boosting job satisfaction

While there are many ups and downs in hospitality, the benefits are plenty. You and your team serve up delicious food, provide memorable entertainment, and create special experiences.

To learn more about what's happening in the world of hospitality, download the 2021 State of Shift Work Report which features insights from more than 1,400 shift workers around the world.

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