MAGAZINE

The sense of wellbeing

There was a time when mental health issues in hospitality were mostly associated with back-of-house teams. The hours that chefs worked and the conditions under which they did so regularly led to burnout, depression and, understandably, a massive dislike for their profession and the industry.

I got thinking about this a little more when watching comedy-drama series The Bear, which was released last summer. The audience is often shown lead character Carmy reflecting in panic on his time in high-end kitchens around the world, including New York’s Eleven Madison Park and Copenhagen’s Noma. The show portrays his treatment in the former as to what ultimately led him to having a breakdown over his work, yet it clearly defined and shaped his manic, aggressive and hostile approach to his career, which is palpable throughout the series, no matter the kitchen he is cooking in.

Unfortunately, we know that kitchen environments such as this still exist across the industry – it’s not just world-renowned restaurants that can create such negative workspaces. However, through the combination of staff shortages, cost of living and, broadly speaking, the pressures generated from myriad 21st century zeitgeists, mental health and wellbeing among your teams has never been a more important topic.

If this is something you haven’t actively considered within your organisation, now is the time. Fortunately, there are many initiatives and campaigns out there to help you look after your employees, no matter their role in the business. For example, in April, more than 30 on-trade operators, including a number of pubs and bars, launched a new campaign that helps provide a workplace for employees to thrive through development and reward. The new Hospitality Wellbeing and Development Promise, spearheaded by the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board and supported by government, is designed to ensure all team members are given the opportunity to thrive within a supportive and positive workplace. You can learn more at wellbeingpromise.co.uk, or another fine place to start would be on page 38 of this very issue, where you can find our feature on team training, welfare and inclusivity.

Tristan O’Hana - Editor