Feeling burned out as a restaurant manager? Four ways to re-ignite your spark!

5/4/16 7:00 AM Richelle Starke


There’s a misbelief that seems to run rampant in many industries these days, and the hospitality industry is no exception.

It’s the belief that by working more hours, you’ll get more done.While it seems logical, it’s not exactly true. There’s a tipping point where you actually become ineffective – usually after 50 hours per week. And for restaurant managers, many of whom are teetering on the edge of burnout, this is a very pressing concern.

While it might seem as though people around you are wearing their business like it’s a badge of honor, those extra hours at work can actually lead to poorer decision-making, sleep loss and related physical symptoms, as well as mental health issues like depression.

So how can you, as a restaurant manager, avoid the burnout and start loving your job again?   

Here is some good advice inspired by our friends at Sirvo.

1. Never stop learning

You probably don’t have time in your busy week to go back to school for some “continuing ed” in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on educating yourself.

In an industry like hospitality and foodservice, there is always something more to learn. Consider shadowing someone whose role you’re not very familiar with, learning all that you can from that individual, their experiences and their challenges.

Or seek out some good resources – blogs and articles, conferences, a relevant LinkedIn group, online courses or free classes, etc. – to help stay up to date with business best practices and industry trends.

Sirvo Says: “Not only will it advance your career, it will also keep you stimulated at work.”

2. Find your Yoda

A good mentor can make a huge impact in your personal and professional development.

Mentor-mentee relationships come in many different shapes and forms, but simply put, a mentor is someone a little farther down the path than you who can provide some guidance and insight for the journey.

When you face a challenging situation, your mentor can share valuable wisdom and advice rooted in their own similar past experiences. Reach out to a person you respect, with industry experience and a good track-record of success, and establish regular times to connect.

Sirvo Says: “Another benefit of cultivating this type of relationship is the possibility of a recommendation, formal or not, from a verified source that has industry clout.”

3. Become a better communicator

Often, interpersonal tensions or conflict in your restaurant business can fuel unhappiness and lead to burnout.

As hard as you try, you can’t run the whole show yourself.

Avoiding difficult people or conversations is never the answer. Instead, encourage open and honest communication at all levels, push for clarity in your own interactions, and address problems and concerns as soon as they surface.

When you find yourself in one of those conversations where emotions start to run high, take a moment to check yourself and your own attitude, separating facts from interpretations. Don’t think of it as your side versus their side – try to focus on shared goals or find common ground you can build on.  Sirvo Says: 


4. Hire the right team

If you don’t feel as though you can trust your employees, you’re on a surefire road to micromanagement, long hours at the restaurant, added stress and eventual burnout.

First, make sure you’ve got the right people in place who not only the right skill set and industry knowledge, but also the attitude and values that align with those of your restaurant.

Next, clearly communicate your vision and end goals you want the team to achieve, and then empower them to execute.

Sirvo Says: “Take the time to complete a thorough interview process, find the funds to pay the salaries that qualified candidates command, and do not hesitate to fire employees who have proven themselves to be incapable, untrustworthy or unreliable.”

So there you have it! Four ideas that are not about simply working harder or clocking more hours, but about making the most of your time, your team and the other resources in your care.

And hopefully they will serve to move you away from a place of stress and burnout, and re-ignite the spark of what drew you to the job in the first place!

Topics: Leadership, Restaurant Culture