We have all had times when we question ourselves – especially if we work in the restaurant industry.
Some call it burnout. Some call it a sign to get out.
More likely, you've been disconnected with the driving force that sustains your passion for restaurants. That force is still there; it’s just taking a nap.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to talk you out of being in the restaurant business. What we’re going to talk about is why you love this business so much and how to awakens that fire deep down inside.
Quitting is easy. It’s easy to say, “I’m just not right for the industry.” That’s the coward's way out. Chances are, if you are reading this, you truly love the chaos and intensity of this roller coaster business, and now, you just have to realize again why.
Reason #1: You Aren't Fueled By People
Aside from the food, the restaurant industry is defined by people. If you're not fueled by the people who visit your restaurant and love your food, the industry is not for you.
We are drawn to the restaurant industry because we get energy around other people. Breaking bread has been such a long tradition that it’s unclear when the first human actually reached out and offered another person some food.
No matter how divided we can be on issues, we can come back to the dining table to share what holds us together: humanity. In a way, we go to restaurants to share life.
You don’t have to be an easygoing social person to need to be around people for energy. Just look at a professional football game. It would be easy (and probably a lot cheaper) to sit at home, alone, with a takeout out meal from your favorite neighborhood restaurant watching the game and yelling at the TV alone – but it’s the human energy we crave.
That why football stadiums sell out with tens of thousands of raving fans.
That’s why restaurants and bars get more business come game day. People amplify emotions – and it all ties back to the experience you need to deliver for your guests. If you don't feel that drive, maybe quitting the restaurant business makes sense for you after all.
Reason #2: You Don't Feel the Desire to Give
What is a restaurant besides a place to eat? A place to restore your soul.
Don’t think so? Take a trip back in time to Paris in 1765. There was a small tavern owner and soup maker named Monsieur Boulanger who thought it was a great idea to sell food to the public. He sold what he called “a restorative” to the masses.
Basically, it was a bowl of sheep’s feet in a white sauce (not cutting-edge culinary by today’s standard, but let’s roll with it). The sign above his door allegedly proclaimed, “Boulanger débite des restaurants divins.”
Translation: Boulanger sells restoratives fit for the gods.
Now, the word restaurants is derived from the word for rich broths then considered capable of restoring one’s health. A variation of the word "restaurant" is used in many languages today and actually comes from the French verb restaurer, meaning “to restore or refresh.”
Feeling drained lately? Remember, you can't pour from an empty glass, and your restaurant can't live up to its namesake if you're not taking the time to take care of yourself. If you are just exhausted at the end of the day, it's easy to look for a way out.
But remember: it’s not time to get out. It’s time to cowboy up and take care of yourself. Eat better (come on, you are surrounded by fresh ingredients). Sleep better. Get some exercise. Make the most of yourself so you can give to others.
Reason #3: You Hate the Chaos
Can you honestly say you hate chaos if you've worked in the restaurant business up to this point?
Come on. Deep down, you love this business! The excitement of dinner rush can give you such a buzz that you can’t wait to get back the next night. You might say you don’t like it, even going out of your way to tell others. Yet, when you are sitting there alone with your thoughts, you miss it. You crave it. You need it.
Now if your restaurant is not run well, then you might not have those warm happy feeling about the service rush. However, if you have ever worked in a restaurant with a team that moves like a well-choreographed dance, then you know the feeling of being on the edge of being out of control, yet still in control.
You live for this. The restaurant is your stage and every night is a performance that allows you to participate in an event that elevates the human experience to a higher level.
That’s what restaurants truly do.
If you don't understand that, it's tough to say the restaurant business is for you.
Is The Restaurant Industry Right for You?
If you have been in the restaurant industry for some time, and if you search your heart, you might find that you don’t want to quit the restaurant industry.
Read this post again and see if you can reignite that spark you once had. When you do, take great care to fuel that fire and make a commitment to keep it burning inside.