5 Ways to Spot Restaurant Staff Burnout

signs of burnout in restaurant staff

With an average turnover rate of 75%, the restaurant industry has always been notorious for churning through workers. But add a pandemic and extra personal stresses, and the risk of losing valuable employees only goes up. Because of this, management should be able to spot the basic signs of burnout in staff:

  • Physical Exhaustion
  • Frequent Illness
  • Negative Personality Change
  • Signs of Substance Abuse
  • Decrease in Performance

Once you have identified these signs, you can take steps to support your team members.

Physical Exhaustion

The most obvious sign of burn out is exhaustion. Heightened stress and late shifts can disrupt sleep patterns and sap energy levels. Sure, you can look for physical signs like slow movement or needing to frequently stop to rest. But the best way to know if employees are at the point of exhaustion is to simply listen to them. If an employee states that they are tired and struggling to feel rested, take them seriously. Encourage regular breaks away from their workspace. Consider switching up schedules so that employees are not repeatedly working the late shifts.

Frequent Illness

Burnout can take a real toll on a person’s immune system. Frequent illness, headaches, and stomach aches can be a sign that an employee is trying to do too much. Be sure to have a generous sick policy so that employees do not feel like they need to work through illness.

Negative Change in Personality

Even with a good night of sleep, emotional burn out can turn even the cheeriest of workers into a storm cloud. While everyone has a bad day occasionally, keep an eye out for persistently declining moods. By consistently engaging with your staff and getting to know them, you can better identify when something is off. Allowing employees to take personal days off can give them time to address any stressors they are facing at home and get some space from a hectic work environment. Also, consider including mental health services in your benefits program.

Signs of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a persistent problem within the restaurant industry. Unfortunately, workers may increasingly turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress. While some have brushed this off as an industry norm, substance abuse can signal that something else is going on. Keep an eye out for signs of drug and excessive alcohol use. Provide resources to counseling groups and help centers and if you offer insurance that covers treatment, make sure employees are aware of their options.

Falling Service Standards

Burnout can have serious consequences for performance levels. Poor memory and decision-making skills often suffer the most from burnout. If you notice an employee who is suddenly always late, frequently making careless mistakes, or just seems unmotivated, they may be struggling. Reconsider how much multitasking each employee is doing and see if you can simplify people’s daily tasks a little. This can help them focus and not feel so overwhelmed.

Prevent Burnout with Proper Management

While there are a variety of ways to combat the specific symptoms of burnout, prevention is always the best method. Your restaurant needs leaders in place who can properly manage staff to reduce and prevent burnout. Experienced restaurant recruiters, like the ones at Horizon Hospitality, can help find management with the emotional intelligence to lead staff through hectic periods and prevent the team from being overwhelmed. Learn how here.



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