The restaurant industry is notorious for being fast-paced and intense. Anyone who has been the lead in a kitchen knows that serving up a stunning plate takes an unbelievable amount of hard work, coordination, and effective time management.
The high-pressure nature of restaurant work means that you’re likely to face burnout at some point as a restaurant leader or owner. Whether you’re drawing up a new menu or managing a team of servers, burnout can impact your ability to work effectively and suck the joy out of the food industry.
As a manager, burnout can also spread to the rest of your team and affect the overall well-being of your restaurant if you’re not careful.
Burnout and Mental Health
Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as an “occupational phenomenon” that can affect anyone in any industry. Burnout can reduce your effectiveness at work and leave you feeling mentally distanced from your job.
However, if you’re a leader in the restaurant industry, you may be at a higher risk of developing burnout. That’s because many restaurateurs have been under significant stress since the pandemic, which was particularly hard on this industry. Many professionals have felt overworked and underappreciated since reopening their doors.
However, you can’t overcome burnout with adjustments to only your mindset. You need to make serious changes to your business operations and should look for solutions that reduce the amount of stress you are under.
Delegation is a great way to reduce your personal workload and get everyone involved in running the restaurant. However, delegation can quickly become unequal as some staff members are overloaded while others have plenty of free time and energy.
Survey your staff and find out which tasks take the most out of their energy reserves. Make sure to optimize the schedule so that everyone has an equal share of more demanding tasks. Delegation is particularly important if you’re higher in the chain of command. It’s easy to overburden yourself when you care about the business. However, overworking will only lead to burnout and diminishing efficiency over time.
Prioritize Your Physical Health
The restaurant industry is filled with folks who often aren’t allowed to take a day off. Managers and chefs will often forgo their holiday believing that no one else can do their job as well as they can. Whether you’re getting less sleep, skipping out on exercise, or working even if you have a cold, you’re probably familiar with all the ways you can put your physical health on the back burner.
However, all of these tasks also put your mental health in jeopardy. Therefore, it’s best to prioritize your physical health every day, no matter what comes up. For one, this may mean making daily rituals of movement and exercise. You may not have the space or time for this, but you can easily make do—even if it means waking up before your shift in the morning to stretch in your bedroom or creating an at-home gym in your garage to decompress after a day in your restaurant.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If you’re coming down with a cold, it’s time to rest, not push your body to its limits.
Thanks to new technology like AI and automation, you can alleviate some of the stress and time you spend on inventory management or bill creation.
For example, programs like Slack and Microsoft Teams make setting the schedule that much easier and can leave you more time to focus on tasks you enjoy like writing a new menu or sampling new ingredients.
Healthy Work Environment
You can reduce the stress and strain you feel by actively creating a healthy work environment at your restaurant. Despite the stereotype, restaurants don’t need to be hostile places filled with banging pots and arguing staff.
Poll your staff and find out which changes they’d be most excited about. Maybe they need more comprehensive insurance to cover their bills. They may even ask for small improvements to kitchen safety or equipment.
They might also want a space to relax onsite—either indoors or even in an outdoor space. Being in nature is beneficial for everyone’s mental and physical health. Going outside is a good way to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and promote better sleep, in addition to helping your staff get out of the heat of the kitchen.
All of these changes should be discussed and implemented if possible. This ultimately will change their behavior with each other and with you. When you find ways to show your appreciation for your employees, they’ll go out of their way to show their respect for you too. With it, you’ll look forward to coming to work every day, knowing that you’ve cultivated a healthy workplace.
Most people who work in the restaurant industry love the daily challenge of serving folks great food. However, overworking in unhealthy environments will only lead to burnout and resentment. You can overcome your burnout by investing in time-saving tech solutions and delegating more effectively. Remember to check in with your staff, too, as they’re bound to have plenty of great ideas and take the creative load off your plate.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.