Restaurants Today: Burnout at Table Nine

There have been repeated stories about airline staff facing belligerent passengers, but that’s not the only profession having to deal with unruly consumers.

The wait staff in many restaurants are ready to melt down.

In a survey 80% of hospitality workers said they were burned out. That was in 2019. And then Covid hit.

It’s been a challenging time to be in the restaurant business at any level.

“Burnout is not uncommon. Unfortunately, for anyone who is in a high stress situation, when we deal with the public sometimes it happens a little faster,” says Texas Restaurant Association Senior Executive Director Melissa Stewart.

Stewart says, tongue in cheek, that people tired of complaining to their spouse are taking out frustrations on unsuspecting wait staff. The industry has dealt with shutdowns, lockdowns, mask mandate enforcement, supply chain shortages, and a very hard time finding someone to work long hours in a physically demanding job.

“It’s a lot of stress from consumers, which unfortunately does come back to our staff,” says Stewart. “And then we continue to be short-staffed, and busier for quite a while now which is causing a lot of stress.”

The good news is – the industry has mostly pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy. The bad news is – everyone returning to restaurants that are short-staffed means longer wait times.

Patience is a virtue. If you are going out for a Friday night dinner, tip your wait staff. And smile.

“We’re really hopeful the Christmas cheer, the cool weather, and the continued of return to normalization will help us with all these challenges,” smiles Stewart warmly.

photo: Getty Images

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