What is it about the foodservice industry that seems to drain the life out of its employees? With so many opportunities and outlets for career advancement and creative expression, its unfortunate that so many of our colleagues are either completely disenchanted or approaching burnout. What's even more surprising is that many of them are young, and barely a year or two into their careers.
What’s going on here? A failure to inspire, perhaps?
have my own theory: I think that people suffer tremendously when they're unable to make the connection between what they love and how they get paid. I see it all the time; people who can't seem to integrate passion into their workplace. This translates into forced enthusiasm and disingenuous service. You won’t last long in this industry if you have to reach so deep to find that part of yourself that communicates joy.
I recently created a poll on Linkedin that asked people to vote on what matters most when sizing up a food server. The results were overwhelming.
It's all about Attitude.
Here’s an idea: Ask your staff (or your coworkers) to make a list of all their passions, pursuits, hobbies, interests, etc. and put that list up where everyone can see it. Now, challenge one another to find opportunities for these to be expressed within the restaurant. Whether its photography, web design, acting, music, social networking,
videography, or writing, we have to find ways to infuse those passions into the workplace, or we risk losing the very thing that sustains and drives this industry.
Why: If you can't identify with your workplace, you are more than likely not going to be able to project the levels of enthusiasm that are necessary for success in this industry. You will be dragging yourself around like so many of the bored, lifeless, close-to-walking-out-on-their-shift employees that shuffle about our industry's dining rooms.
If this sounds flaky or too West Coast for you, spend a few minutes reading the workplace manifestos of Fortunes 100 Best Places To Work. They put an incredible amount of effort into nurturing their employee's sense of what? Yes. You guessed it: a connection between work and personal passion.
Now, imagine if FohBoh could be an online community where we all come for quick attitude adjustments. For some of us, it already is. We need to create a movement, people.
Michael Biesemeyer Manager of Online Communities FohBoh, Inc.