Restaurant & Hospitality

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress

Whether its serving the customer, training employees or working long hours, the restaurant industry can be very stressful. Having to create new menu items, deal with investors, and stay ahead of the competition can take its toll on relationships and health.

Even though your work can be challenging and exciting you may still experience stress symptoms such as headaches, neck and back aches, and exhaustion.

In order to take care of yourself, you need to master three strategies: 1 – learn to relax; 2 -control, change or let go of things you can’t control; 3- create time to do things you enjoy

Learn to relax If you start the day stressed, you will be stressed all day. Balanced breathing, however, can keep you calm all day and help you will sleep better at night. Balanced breathing also improves health and prevents headaches, backaches and stomach problems.

Balanced Breathing

Find a quiet place with no interruptions for ten minutes.

Get comfortable.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

Feel your breath go down through your chest.

Then, as you breathe out, say the word ãoneä to yourself.

Repeat this breathing pattern for at least five minutes. Remember, the more time you practice, the more relaxed youâll get.

Use the Control, Change, or Let Go Process- Many people spend time trying to control things they have no control over. The frustration this causes leaves no time or energy to control the things they can control. Don’t waste time on worrying and obsessing. When you are stressed out, determine whether you can control the situation, or change it. If you can’t, learn to let go.

Learning to let go is a process you can learn. Use self -talk to you remind yourself you can’t control other people, places and things. However, by controlling your thoughts, you can control your emotions, which can bring your stress level down.

For example, you can’t control the weather. If business is slow because of weather, worrying is a waste of time. Instead, work out a way to increase business to make up the loss. Maybe you can run a 2-for-1 special or offer a free dessert to increase traffic.

If you create a new menu item, you can’t control whether someone likes it or not. If people don’t order it, you can change it or replace it.

Create time to do the things you enjoy. Most people fill their time with work related or “have to” activities, and leave no time for themselves. This contributes to burn-out, physical exhaustion, and loss of purpose., which leads to lower productivity. Make a date with yourself in your planner. If you don’t commit in advance it won’t happen. Remind yourself that by doing things you enjoy, you will get more work done, be more creative, and have more energy to be with friends and family.

By practicing the art of balanced breathing, using the control, change and let go process, and taking time to do the things you enjoy, you can be more effective in leading your employees, satisfying your customers, and successfully handling daily and crisis problems.


Here are some other ways that four successful people in the food service business manage their stress.

Tony Feicco Jr., president of Mianos Pasta Express headquartered in southern California, doesn’t bring his work issues home. He creates boundaries between his work life and home life, and makes sure he allocates time to pursue his hobby; caring for his cactus garden.

Alice Eliot, president of executive search firm Alice Elliot Assoc. which specializes within the Hospitality and Foodservice industry lets go of work stress by empowering others thru delegation, and giving them every opportunity to improve themselves. Surrounding herself with outstanding people means she doesn’t have to do everything herself. Even with running eight offices across the country, Elliot takes time to jog four times a week.

Deborah Hollis, Exec. VP of Shoneys doesn’t go into the office on Saturdays and Sundays. While some people don’t want to take work home, she prefers that to staying late in the office. She can be with her family and have more control of her time.. “Exercise, and include family and personal time in your daily schedule,” Hollis advises.

Frank Guidara, CEO of Wolfgang Puck Foods, takes time with his family and integrates work into his whole life. His hobby is even food related; wine tasting. Guidara exercises every day, using his treadmill and stretching and uses exercise time to work through problems, find solutions , and clear his mind.