Why is working in a restaurant so stressful?

Working in the restaurant industry can be a tough and stressful job. The hours can be long and the work exhausting. During busy meal periods, you may feel a lot of pressure to prepare meals quickly without sacrificing quality. Sometimes, your breaks may be delayed due to an avalanche of customers.

Restaurants don't have enough staff right now, so almost all current employees are overworked. Staff that used to be just waiters must now take on the tasks of waiter, host, manage food and even wash dishes. However, the nature of work in restaurants caused overwork even in the pre-pandemic era. The rush can come out of nowhere.

This intoxicating mix of uncertainty and dramatic adrenaline spikes can easily lead to exhaustion. Restaurant staff often work difficult schedules and may be prone to problems with substance use. They also approach work with an exhausting mindset. Many workers don't ask for help or don't always consider mental care important; and historically, restaurant culture hasn't prioritized it or considered it as something employees should address in their spare time.

The restaurant sector has one of the highest rates of substance use disorders in the United States, and one study classified 41 percent of restaurant workers between the ages of 18 and 29 as problem drinkers. The death by suicide of the charismatic Bourdain, a famous chef and television star who openly fought addiction and mental health problems, resonated with many restaurant workers. The Colorado Restaurant Association recently conducted a survey, and a spokesperson states that more than 80 percent of its members reported an increase in staff stress levels over the past year. Restaurant jobs have always been difficult, but mental stress has worsened during the pandemic, as restaurants closed or reduced their hours or became ground zero for the fight over the use of masks.

He had previously worked one-on-one with clients and in community mental health, but he took the opportunity to help create a whole new profession in the restaurant world. Before the pandemic, restaurants were already one of the most stressful work environments in the world. The typical restaurant asks each waiter to keep the tips they receive, minus a percentage they give to waiters, hosts and waiters. Denise Mickelsen, a spokesperson for the Colorado Restaurant Association, said she is unaware of other restaurants or groups hiring a full-time employee dedicated to health and wellness.

She gives the effort a high rating and says it builds on previous efforts to recognize the psychological cost of restaurant jobs. His restaurant experience has been featured in The Huffington Post, Modern Restaurant Management, FSR Magazine, and Pizza Today. To identify the exhaustion caused by emotional work, look for abrupt behavior with guests and employees, unexplained outbursts, or hiding in silence in areas of the restaurant that are not oriented to guests. For a waiter who recently quit his job at an Allston restaurant, much of the stress was due to weighing the cost of tolerating harassment and the need to earn a living.

Workload sharing is the most obvious way to reduce exhaustion at a restaurant, but sharing the workload can be difficult in tip-heavy work environments. If your restaurant applies for a tip credit and pays workers who receive tips less than the federal minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits you from including BOH workers in a tip reserve. Mary King's 14-year hotel career spanned from coffee shops to food trucks, to family stores and Michelin-starred restaurants. .

Ernest Dargatz
Ernest Dargatz

Freelance food geek. Bacon expert. Certified internet buff. Typical coffee nerd. Avid coffee evangelist.