Yes, Bossman! A Tribute to Local Kebab Shop Owners

In a world fraught with constant peril – whether it be viruses shutting the world down, economies weaker than a three-legged kitten or global warming leading to a future of sharing our back gardens with Orca whales – there is a universal need for reliability and stability. That one constant that will never let you down and is there for you no matter what.

None other than your friendly, local, neighbourhood Bossman.

Whether it’s a blurry 3am visit, an emergency evening dash when there’s nothing in the fridge or cupboards, a post-work Friday treat or just something to cheer you up after you happened to catch 10 minutes of the news, you can always count on Bossman. 

There he is, morning, noon and night, ready to greet you with a winning smile – or maybe a nickname developed over countless visits – and suddenly all is right with the world. The drinks fridge is stocked, the grills are stacked, the salad bar is glowing resplendently with a vibrant array of veggies. Sauce bottles are topped up and there’s a football match on TV (a match you know for a fact isn’t broadcast legally in the United Kingdom).

Bossman is a proud business proprietor. He busies himself seamlessly among his staff and customers, ensuring his doners and shawarmas are on-point, spinning like triumphant, meaty ballerinas. He examines his fryers with a subtlety almost imperceptible to the average human eye, dropping a basket or two of chips into them, wiping them down and piling another couple of baskets up ready for the next round, all within a few magical seconds. He does all this while maintaining constant conversation with you and those around you in the queue.

This isn’t so much customer service as it is a work of art, a truly masterful performance. Akin to having a front row seat to Sir Ian McKellen performing Shakespeare. Only with more tandoori chicken and garlic sauce.

Moreover, any reputable Bossman will know your order if you’re a regular in his establishment. Sure, there may have been some early menu experimentation as you worked your way through the various naan- and pitta-enveloped treats to determine your go-to order. Maybe you made a dent in his pizza offerings and took down more than a few of his burger-based efforts. But once you’re on ‘Bossman’ terms, he knows what you want.

Indeed, Bossman doesn’t do small talk. Bossman is the bloke who strikes up genuine conversation. He wants to know how work’s going, how the family have been and whether you saw the game last night so he can dig into the myriad of ways the manager got his tactics completely wrong and what he would have done differently. He does all this while piecing together your order as if it’s second nature to him. It’s a mechanical process, yet it looks like poetry in his hands.

Bossman knows what salads you want and don’t want. He knows exactly how much of each sauce you like drizzled across at the end and he’s always going to throw in a bigger-than-standard portion for you.

The side order of chips? More often than not they’re on the house these days, with a couple of dips thrown in for good measure. What’s that? An extra tin of Rubicon from the fridge to help shift the hangover you’re nursing. Where is this man’s knighthood? Give him the freedom of the city and build statues in his honour.

The Bossman has become the cornerstone of countless communities across the UK. It is a position of extreme importance, whether he’s helming a kebab house or chicken shop. Having such a pillar of society shaking your preferred measure of his prized red seasoning across your chips provides that much-needed sense of security.

The Bossman who knows to keep your sauce on the side (rather than splashing it on himself) is a heroic figure that, centuries from now, will be discussed with the same reverence as historical emperors, explorers and inventors.

So please: do not take Bossman for granted. Support your local Bossman. We all need him more than he’ll ever know.