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How to stay happy when your restaurant stresses you out

We asked seven experts – including restaurant consultants, life coaches and bestselling authors–to offer their tips on keeping happy and coping with stress in the restaurant industry. Here’s what they came up with.

David Wood
Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Culinaire
Dallas, TX

Chances are, your love of food and fondness for people are the two motivating factors that got you into the business to begin with. So engage your customers and rediscover your foodie roots! Enjoy the open discussion and free sharing of opinions that breaking bread encourages.  If you spend most of your time on the floor or in the office, throw on a pair of whites and work in the kitchen for a shift. Aside from reinforcing to your crew that you care enough about them to work alongside them, it gets you out of your rut.

JoAnna Brandi
Happiness Coach and publisher of The Customer Care Coach®
Boca Raton, FL

Remember each day the real reason you are in the restaurant business (which doesn't have anything to do with money). Focus on the faces and the smiles of your happy patrons.
Think about how you give them nourishment and a great place to visit. Spend a little time each day appreciating the "higher purpose" of your business.


Christopher Jones
Senior Restaurant Consultant, Restaurant Results
Conklin, New York

Do what you love and delegate the rest. Recall the reasons you got into the restaurant business and find a way to do those things. Reserve your valuable time for those activities that use your unique core strengths. And remember, any restaurant function can now be outsourced so that you can focus on what you love.

Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D., M.S., P.T.
Author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness
Wexford, PA

Focus on gratitude. Start a gratitude journal and every day list at least three positive things that happened to you that day. They may be related to your work in the restaurant, your personal life, the world, or anything else. This changes your concentration from "what is wrong" to "what is right." It is the fastest way to boost happiness.


Sandra Bienkowski
Personal Development Writer
Asheville, North Carolina

Exercise and make time for yourself. If your body can’t keep up, the demanding and stressful lifestyle of a restaurant owner won’t last long. Exercise naturally reduces stress, improves health, increases endurance and results in endorphins, putting you in a better mood to take on your day.

Flip Brown
Executive Director, Business Culture Consultants

Burlington, Vermont

Sure, you work crazy hours (and probably too many of them). If you can't unplug—that means no dialing out, no checking voice mail or e-mail—once or twice a year, you're as susceptible to being burnt as your crème brûlée.


Jeff Wasserman
Life Coach, Creator of Life Coach Marketing
Atlanta, Georgia

Take the time to speak to coworkers, guests, customers and management. Find out what others are saying about you, and accept the feedback as positive reflection. These people are your best critics.

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