Not too long ago, the Big Hospitality Magazine ran a story about a restaurant that went from a five-day week to a four-day one. This was not done as an austerity exercise as the move to the reduced days was implemented with no changes or negative repercussions to staff wages. The article made it clear that the objective of the exercise was motivated by the vision to improve the wellbeing of staff.
Commendable! The change came as a success story for the restaurant mentioned.
Staff wellbeing issues have been at the forefront of discussions in the hospitality sector in recent days and clients have raised these with me from time to time.
Yes, there are some restaurants that are certainly suited to move to a four-day week. In my opinion, notably the top-end and Michelin-Starred ‘’destination-dining’’ restaurants are. There have been many examples of such restaurants doing that successfully here in the UK and even overseas.
In those cases, yes, it can be good for staff welfare, staff morale and thereby also staff retention.
HOWEVER, we must not forget that those represent only a small percentage of the industry restaurant outlets. There are very many more restaurants where it is just not possible to reduce the days of operation. For these restaurants, it is essential that they maintain a five-day / six-day or seven-day operation.
Immediate examples that spring to mind would be garden centre, pier and harbour-side restaurants and cafes. The same applies to hotel-based restaurant offerings and those situated in very public areas such as busy town centers / busy shopping malls and in areas of high tourist footfall during specific seasons.
Hence yes, great in principle for certain types of restaurant to move to a four- or five-day week but they are more the exception rather than the norm.
We need to remember that we are a very disparate industry. We operate at different levels, offer varied menus and we serve many different types of customers who all have different expectations and needs.
If you are considering the introduction of Wellbeing Initiatives to your establishment or give your staff (including yourself) a better work-life balance, but cannot move to a four-day week, there are several alternatives one can implement. I am happy always to share and discuss these with you and explore what can and cannot work with your style of operation.