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Shift patterns & hot working conditions most disliked by restaurant workers

Unreliable, unsociable and long shift patterns are the most disliked aspects of working in the restaurant industry, according to a new study from OpsBase. The poll, which surveyed hospitality workers in the UK, found that vast majority of restaurant workers most dislike ‘long shifts’ (36%) or unsociable working hours (41%).

The survey also highlights that 34% of restaurant workers are concerned about working in high temperature environments such as in hot kitchens or during the summer months. As it stands, the law says little about maximum working temperatures.

However, a quarter (25%) of restaurant workers said a lack of opportunity for career development was their biggest pet peeve at work, while a further quarter (25%) attributed their biggest annoyance at work to the perception of others that their industry wasn’t a ‘real job’. Attracting and retaining new talent can be a significant challenge for some restaurant managers due to a common misconception that the industry cannot provide a fulfilling long-term career.  

Zero hours contracts in the restaurant industry

16% of restaurant workers openly expressed their dislike for zero hours contracts. These contracts are designed to help businesses better cope with seasonality and changes in demand, but also mean that employers are not obligated to provide their staff with a set number of minimum working hours. The new poll also follows a recent nationwide survey which found that 3 in 5 voters in the UK want the government to ban zero hours contracts. The new government has already come under pressure from trade union groups to preserve and enhance workers’ rights after Brexit. According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, the accommodation and food sector has the highest proportion (24%) of workers on zero hours contracts of any industry.

“Our survey highlights that restaurant workers are most ‘peeved’ by issues related to their working hours. However, it is important to understand that it is not only about unreliable shift patterns and zero hours contracts. The biggest pet peeves in the restaurant industry are long shifts and unsociable hours, suggesting that many workers also want more flexible shift options. Historically, that’s been quite difficult to provide. So it’s important that managers utilise all of the technology and software solutions available to them to help create efficiencies in their operations that will save time, reduce stress and potentially result in more reasonable shift patterns,” said Michael Douglas, OpsBase’s Chief Commercial Officer.

84% of restaurant workers would still recommend a career in the industry

Despite their pet peeves about the industry, 84% restaurant workers in the survey said that they would ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ recommend a career in the hospitality industry. Interestingly, the poll also found that very few restaurant workers were concerned about an intimidating atmosphere in the workplace (14%), having to do jobs such as cleaning toilets (2%) or micromanagement (16%).

Restaurant workers most motivated by providing customer satisfaction

The survey also asked restaurant workers what they liked most about working in the industry and found that most are motivated by the opportunity to make a difference. 43% attributed this to providing customer satisfaction, while 27% said it was about having ‘pride in what you do’. Nearly one third (32%) most liked the industry for the opportunity to meet new people. Interestingly, only 7% said that best thing was the long-term career prospects – and just 11% put it down to the opportunity to be creative.

See for the full report on workers in the hospitality industry.

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