“Go on, let’s have another drink,” says the restaurant owner. Only, you don’t want another drink. You’ve been on your feet for twelve hours and have just overseen one of the most trying evening shifts you can remember. You’re also three sheets to the wind and badly in need of a lie down.
He’s relentless, though. You’ve earned it, he says. So you have another drink.
If that little tale rings bells you’d rather not hear again, you’ve probably been working in the restaurant industry for quite a while. How do we know that? Well, when you start as an eager-to-please hospitality fresher, you’ll grab every opportunity to impress the boss, even if it involves countless extended nights having a tipple or three after long shifts.
You’ll probably work longer hours than is strictly necessary, too, and do all you can to fit in with the co-worker clique. As a result, you’ll wind up tired, over-worked, surrounded by people you hate and somewhat less healthy than when you started.
Make no mistake – working in restaurants and bars is very challenging, and with a job as sociable as this one, it’s easy to fall into the trap of losing sight of what matters.
Don’t worry – in this post, we’ve got five tips for remaining grounded in the restaurant industry.
Sound simple? If only. Think about the number of times you’ve reached the end of a busy day and struggled to recall when you last ate. Unfortunately, by that time, hunger will have long since subsided, despite your body not receiving those valuable calories and vitamins.
You work in a restaurant – there really is no better place to ensure you eat correctly! Most owners will allow staff meals on the house, but if not, ensure you take that packed lunch or dinner in every single day (and eat it!).
2. Say “no” to post-shift drinks more often
As noted at the start of this post, post-shift drinks, while a great deal of fun, can become rather toxic when indulged in too readily.
Don’t be afraid to turn down the offer of a few drinks after a busy shift. Reasonable owners and managers (i.e. the ones you want to be working for) will understand and hold no grudge.
3. Make friends, but keep work separate
It’s hard not to make friends in the hospitality industry, but the trick lies in your ability to keep work separate when you spend time away from the business.
When out for drinks, or at a house gathering, keep work chat to an absolute minimum. Friends for life will be the ones who share common passions outside of hospitality – direct your social efforts there instead.
4. Avoid mood-hoovering colleagues
Negativity breeds negativity, and co-workers who do nothing more than moan incessantly about their job should be kept at arm’s length. You won’t be able to avoid them entirely, but by staying just outside the realm of their negative attitude, you’ll be able to retain a far more positive outlook yourself.
5. Don’t be afraid to turn down overtime
When first starting out in the restaurant biz, it can be tempting to take any overtime that comes your way. And, while a bit here and there is no bad thing, too much will wear you out – quickly.
For that reason, you should only ever indulge in overtime if you feel up to it and if it won’t disrupt your plans outside of work. Just like saying “no” to those post-shift drinks, the process of turning down overtime shouldn’t be feared – it’s your life you’re meddling with, after all.
You entered the restaurant business because it excited you, but it’s safe to assume that you had no intention of it consuming vast chunks of your precious time.
With that in mind, treat the above advice as sacred and live by it daily. You’ll end up happier, healthier and far more satisfied with your choice of career as a result.