Stress is a fact of life in the food service industry, and most restaurant workers work hard to cope with it on their own as they make a living. But as food and beverage industry workers deal with the effects of constant stress, a recent study has revealed that the hectic – and sometimes, toxic – environment in the food and service industry can have a negative impact on workers’ mental health.
Not only does the research show that restaurant workers are more likely to develop anxiety problems and insomnia than other workers, but they’re also at greater risk of being addicted to alcohol or drugs.
To help your employees cope with stress, it’s important to make some changes to ensure an efficient working environment which can help them to be more productive. Moreover, you need to find ways to change the restaurant culture and make it healthier for your staff.
Make the restaurant design work for your staff
Restaurateurs often invest the majority of their decorating budget in the main dining space as the interior speaks volumes about the restaurant’s brand. Ensuring that it’s well-lit and has the right ambience for a good dining experience should be a priority.
Having different seating options such as booth seats, high top seating, and private dining areas can also help to make a restaurant more appealing to all types of diners, from couples on their first date to families celebrating a special occasion or milestone.
But apart from the main dining space, all other areas such as the kitchen and storage room should also be efficiently designed to increase work efficiency and reduce stress in the workplace. A kitchen with sturdy prep areas, lots of space to move around, and storage areas for cooking equipment can make cooking and clean-up easier for your staff.
Meanwhile, creating a break room with comfy seating areas, live plants, and strategic lighting to boost one’s mood can also help to promote a healthy work culture in the restaurant as your employees can use the space to decompress when they need a break.
Finally, don’t forget about bathroom design. You can install stainless steel restroom partitions to improve hygiene and create a specific look.
Plan your employees’ schedules carefully
All workers’ schedules and shifts should be planned in advance so that your employees can make time for their family and other commitments. Before posting the schedules and shifts at a designated place in the restaurant, check to see if you’ve divided the hours fairly among everyone so that they can be assured of their earnings.
Proper planning can put your staff’s mind at ease, and it gives them the reassurance that you value them as individuals, and not just as workers in your restaurant.
Have daily pre-shift and post-shift meetings
The pre-shift meeting lets your staff know what to expect before you open your doors to customers, and it also sets the tone for the entire shift. Let everybody know who’s on staff for the day and if there are any changes to be made in case of absences. You should also let everyone know about changes in the menu, if there are any, and take the time to explain elements in a new dish.
If a customer booked a group reservation or a special event, let them know in advance so they can be on their toes all throughout the shift. Before sending your employees home, have a quick post-shift meeting so you can properly acknowledge the efforts of those who performed well or did the extra mile during the shift, and give some pointers on the things that everyone can do better on the next day.
Restaurateurs should always make sure to prioritize their staff’s health and wellbeing if they want their business to thrive. Creating a productive and positive restaurant culture can increase job satisfaction, and help your employees maintain a healthy and happy mindset while they work.