While the British Kebab Industry has much to be proud of, it can also be a strenuous place to work at times. Whether chefs or table staff at restaurants, or drivers delivering goods from suppliers on late night rounds, the long hours, hot temperatures, high pressure environments and fast pace of work — not to mention aggressive customers — can all have a negative impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
Worse still is that many industry workers, especially those in kitchen roles are often less likely to speak up about their difficulties and feelings because of macho cultures of silence that can develop in the workplace.
If left unaddressed for too long, these issues can lead to higher staff turn around in an industry that is already experiencing a labour crisis. Many kebab business owners struggle to recruit suitable employees that want to stay working in restaurants and takeaways for a long time, and mental health issues at work can make staff retention even more difficult.
Employees who feel anxious at work are often unable to perform to the best of their ability. They can also be less likely to have positive exchanges with customers. Service with a smile, a joke or a brief friendly chat can often help create strong customer relationships for any business; this is especially true for those operating in the catering or hospitality sector, of which the Kebab Industry is most definitely a part. Strong customer relationships develop into customer loyalty, which in turn leads to repeat business and increased sales.
With this in mind, service with a frown can lead to the opposite effect, it’s a lose-lose situation! Customers are less likely to enjoy their restaurant experience and unlikely to want to come back any time soon, the staff are still unhappy, unproductive and more likely to quit, and the business could be losing valuable sales.
Here are just a few things kebab business owners can do to turn those frowns upside down:
1. Bring up the issue of mental health. If the boss him/herself speaks to staff about mental health, this can encourage staff to speak freely and openly about their own concerns and feelings. Open work environments like these help staff to feel more valued and listened to as employees. If they are comfortable at work, they are more likely to stay.
2. Make sure staff get the chance to have a proper break during their shifts. A short tea or coffee break, a moment outside in the fresh air or a chance to sit down and think of anything else but work can really help employees to re-charge while on the job. This helps them to cope better and work more effectively during busier periods.
3. Offer one high-performing member of staff an extra free hour off a month. Little prizes like this can go a long way for an employee’s job satisfaction and wellbeing. If a staff member sees that you are willing to reward them when they perform well, this can encourage them to work harder in future, while giving them an all-important sense of achievement.
4. Try to react positively when staff make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but the way you react can have a big impact on how an employee feels at work. Shouting at someone can make them anxious, which in turn can cause them to repeat the same mistakes again and again. More shouting and more stress can also make a member of staff feel resentful. This makes them more likely to under perform and can even be a reason for quitting. Taking a bit of time to politely explain to them what they got wrong, and sharing some tips to help them avoid slipping up again in future can have a big impact. It shows your employee that you are interested in seeing them do well at work which make them feel more motivated to succeed in the future.