What kind of restaurant industry books can I give out as holiday gifts?

book gift
Yes, books can be good holiday gifts, says Advice Guy. | Photo: Shutterstock.


Dear Advice Guy,

What do you think about bar/beverage books as holiday gifts for employees? I usually give nice bottles of booze but I worry it sends the wrong message about how to enjoy the holidays.

– Cocktail Bar Owner


I love the idea of industry books as holiday gifts for employees provided there is cash between the pages. In seriousness, it’s a great component of a gift but my advice is that a book alone will alienate staff if it’s not accompanied by a monetary reward such as cash, gift cards, or a paycheck bonus.

That said, industry-related books for employees are a great gift idea for a few reasons:

  1. It can be low-cost professional development.
  2. If you give different books for different employees, it may encourage them to share and swap books and ideas.
  3. It promotes healthy behavior for employees like reading, talking and developing skills rather than just eating and drinking their way through the holiday.
  4. It can provide creative menu inspiration for the coming year.

Rich Cusack, Chef-Owner of June BYOB and Café Le Jardin in New Jersey says, “When I am coming up with menu ideas I just bury myself in flipping through a ton of cookbooks to get inspiration.”

A good hack to make books extra special as a gift without additional expense is to reach out to the authors to see if

signed or personalized copies are available. Many authors can sign and ship signed books directly to you or can work with bookseller local to the author who can sell you signed copies.

A few beverage-focused titles on my nightstand this season are:

More on holiday parties and gifts here.