(Out of Hours)


(Out of Hours)


Is Stress Forcing Chefs out of the Kitchen?

Written on 17-Apr-2018

Stress is a word we hear time and time again from chefs, and it is a topic that cropped up multiple times during our CJUK Live panel event at Northern Restaurant & Bar in March.

Our panellist, chef Mike Harrison Law, discussed how he had seen many chefs leave the industry due to the long hours and stress.

Stress in the workplace is clearly a major factor as to why the UK’s culinary professionals are choosing to leave the industry, thus contributing to the worrying skills shortage we are currently facing. So to get a better idea about the main causes for concern, we asked our CJUK chef brigade about their experiences with stress in the kitchen…

CJUK chef cookingThe results show a staggering 74% of chefs have suffered from work related stress, citing bad management and a poor work-life balance as the main contributing factors. This ties in to other feedback we received during CJUK Live; chefs don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.

According to the respondents, the top three causes for stress in the hospitality industry are:

  1. Long hours
  2. Bad management
  3. Poor work-life balance

Other significant factors include lack of recognition and low morale.

So how can employers reduce stress and the pressures faced by their kitchen’s brigade?

Before we cast a net of generic advice, we must realise that each kitchen is different. If you feel like your kitchen staff are feeling too much pressure, your first step should be to talk to your chefs and to find out what, if anything, is causing them stress and what needs to be done to reduce those pressures.

If you are a chef, please don’t wait to be asked about how you are feeling. Go direct to your manager and talk to them about what is affecting your team – it’s better to take proactive rather than reactive measures.

Employers need to consider staff retention and not just recruitment. Training and development, rewards and incentive schemes are all common ways to help keep people happy in their roles. However, if the core experience for chefs is bad, the added incentives aren’t going to make much of a difference in terms of keeping them.

“Everyone wants to be treated well” was a statement from an audience member at CJUK Live that has stuck with us, as it sums up what we all believe in and in its simplest form. Treat your chefs well and they will stay, if you don’t they will go elsewhere or leave the industry altogether.

Hospitality Action Logo for chefsWe put together 5 tips to help improve the chef experience, and we hope this will help kitchens to proactively tackle some of the major factors that contribute to stress.

If you are struggling with stress, you can contact Hospitality Action who will arrange a series of telephone/face-to-face sessions close to where you live or work via their network of counsellors across the UK.

All CJUK chefs also have access to our Employee Assistance Programme for confidential support, advice and counselling if they feel that they need it.