How Food and Bev Staff Stay Sane During the Holidays

The holidays are a grind when you’re in the world of food and beverage. Regardless of the gig, the holidays are always a little bit extra. Your staff is going to be tired and cranky.

As the boss, you have work to do. The holidays are a tight time of year when people are expected to hustle, but there also needs to be compassion for employee well-being. The holiday rush is long, people are overworked, and given the national labor shortage, there are more jobs than people. The absolute worst thing a boss can do is be a hard jerk because it’s easy to forget while they’re on the hook for the bottom line, the workers are the ones out there in the mix, on their feet and putting in the grunt work. You control the variables that create holiday season stress.

People are always looking to make extra cash during the holidays, but working them to death and feeling stress radiate is never a good look. There’s a limit on how much someone wants to work, and when there’s no end in sight, it can get ugly. During the holiday rush, if there’s one thing a boss can do is be sympathetic. Why are people picking up hours? To buy gifts for their kid, the spouse, whomever, but when someone is working so much that they can’t see these people, resentful feelings bubble up. 

What can a boss do when everything is chaos and people are moving like chickens with their heads cut off? Turns out, there’s a lot. 


Be mindful of others 


Starting the conversation from a place of mutual respect is an excellent place to begin. People are stressed out, that’s the first thing we need to keep in mind. There’s vacation time people want to use, because in some cases if they don’t, they’ll lose it. Second, everyone is concerned about making money because it seems like every year there’s always a new person to buy Christmas presents for. 

Management and HR are in the position to celebrate the achievements of their teams by doing the little things: 

  • Show appreciation to the employees who show up on time, ready to work during the busy days. Let them know that you appreciate the hard work. 

  • Provide coffee, sodas, water, and meals for the days when the hours will be a grind. In most cases, providing these are considered tax write-offs, anyhow. 

  • Some companies offer deep discounts for employees for their hard work, while others provide time and a half, double time and triple time, depending on how close to Christmas the shift is.

  • Being considerate of employee scheduling and offer flexibility with half shifts or keeping working hours realistic so people can live their lives and run errands.  Some companies offer seasonal bonuses for workers who can help them achieve a specific goal. 

As the calendar inches closer toward the holiday season, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • People will have heavier workloads. Just because the boss is stressed out, it doesn’t mean that burden should be dumped down on those below. There are always year-end goals, but meeting those goals needs to be realistic. Celebrate “holiday heroes,” those who are crushing their workloads, celebrate their work ethic.

  • Host a “healthy holidays” competition for anyone trying to lose a few pounds, despite the regular sugar and fried foods everywhere. Employees can battle against each other for who can lose the most weight, while you could offer prizes like gift cards, workout clothes, or even just some branded water bottles for people participating. 


Take illness seriously 

There will be people who call in “sick” but, if you’re in management, that’s just business: people get legitimately sick. Between allergies, the flu and colds, people are going to be under the weather, and it’s probably best they didn’t bring that junk into the office or kitchen. If someone is sneezing, coughing and spreading germs, what good is that going to do anyone? It’s not going to do anything. It’s going to make everyone need a trip to get a Z-pack. Don’t be the boss who makes people work sick. 

The holiday rush is crucial for every business’s bottom line. Don’t be the boss who compromises the future of their team or the company for a quick buck. It won’t serve well over the long term. 

Do be a caring, compassionate boss; that’s what people will remember.

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