How to Deal with the Stress of Running a Restaurant


Dealing with anything that is stressful can be difficult, but the running of a restaurant, especially a bustling, busy one, brings a few extra nags to the table that have unique difficulties of their own. After running a successful bar and grillĀ in Vancouver BC for several decades, I can share my tips and opinions on the best ways to handle such stress. Let’s begin!

Firstly I’d like to point out a few things you SHOULD NOT do.

  1. Don’t turn to drinking and smoking on the job to cope, as this will ultimately make things worse in the long run, as you become too cloudy-minded to handle new problems.
  2. Don’t lose patience with your employees, no matter how hard you want to smack them. Instead, stay calm and in control. With that said though, don’t be too nice, as being too nice will make them think they can get away with more than they should.
  3. Never kick your broken appliance in front of customers. The reasons are obvious.
  4. Don’t hide in the bathroom for hours out of shame. Even when mistakes are your fault and you feel too embaressed to show yourself, stand up to your problems and face them like a proud feminist.
  5. Don’t get angry with customers. When they leave a bad review of your business, smart readers will be able to see the authenticity of what they’re saying. If they mention nothing about you getting angry or being rude, than the review is nothing more than an opinion rather than a hard fact that says “never eat here.”

Now that we got those “don’t does” out of the way. Here’re some tips on what you CAN do when stress comes your way.

  1. Simply step out for a walk around the block to clear your head. Remind yourself how grateful you are to have a successful business, or the chance to become successful, and assure yourself that it’s worth it to deal with your problems now. Who knows? You might be reviewed on TV one day or become a franchise, but only if you can handle your stress in the right way now.
  2. My favorite advice: Fire employees without mercy. I know this can be tough or seem harsh, but the worst mistake a restaurant owner can do is keep an employee around whom you know is the cause of your stress. Over time their mistakes will continue and it’s best to get rid of them sooner than later. Trust me!
  3. Have that one employee or business partner who you can trust to talk to about your problems. Having no one to talk to in the kitchen, ready at hand, means you have to deal with everything internally by yourself. It’s healthy to be able to reach out and talk openly ASAP, rather than let the stress build up over time. Having an employee who wishes to help, one who doesn’t just come for the money, is vitally important, but hard to find. Hold that special person dear, and don’t take them for granted.

Know that more tips and advice are coming soon, and stay strong. You have one of the most unique positions in the world, and people look up to you to have a fine evening and a meal. Keep yourself firmly grounded in the belief that things will get better if you work towards it, and never quit.

For a bonus, this might help, too.

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