What Can The Restaurant Industry Learn From Doctors? Balance.

I am always down to challenge the status quo and for so long (too long) the hospitality industry has been chewing people up and spitting them out. Just last week I spoke with a friend who went from running her own restaurant to running someone else’s and now is pivoting to real estate. She’s simply done.

Why is this the case? Are we in restaurants stuck in the echo chamber where it is “cool” to work unfathomable hours day in a day out? Is it sexy to burnout? How sustainable is this model?

I feel like other industries have caught on to this and facilitated the necessary changes to allow for longevity of the given industry and its individuals. The most intriguing of these industries to offer a new way of doing “business” is our medical industry here in Canada.

Featured on CBC’s White Coat Black Art we are seeing the rise of Part-Time Medical practitioners that are choosing less hours for time with family and time for themselves. A more balanced lifestyle.

“Few doctors plan for a future that involves part-time work while they're in the throes of a gruelling medical school education, but even then, Michelle Cohen knew it would be a part of her plan at some point down the line.

 "I never really wanted to be — especially with a young family — to have that kind of 60-plus-hour-a -week work,"  Dr. Cohen told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of White Coat, Black Art.

The 30-something family physician in Brighton, Ont., shares a practice with a semi-retired doctor who wanted to reduce his hours. The arrangement lets her spend time caring for her three children.

"I don't want to push myself to that extent and not be a part of my family life and not enjoy my life now that I'm finally out of school," said Cohen, who worked full-time work previously when her husband took parental leave. “

Again I want to challenge the status quo. CAN this be the hospitality industry? CAN we shift how we do things for the betterment of the industry and every individual in it? Looking at what Dr. Cohen has done is challenge the status quo to facilitate a life much more balanced and one that promotes more longevity.

What does this look like in the hospitality industry? Right now, I don’t know but I’d love to have the conversation with members of the hospitality industry and other industries as well to see what we can come up with. How creative can we be? How badly do we want to see a change.

For me it all starts with setting boundaries for your particular business and the lifestyle you want, and then being extremely mindful when things begin to get a little bit sketchy. Have you just worked 4 weeks in a row with no days off? Likely time to check in with those boundaries or set some new ones. Are boundaries not possible? O.k well then lets discuss why that is, and what you need for these boundaries to exist.

I am completely empathetic to the challenges that our industry faces. With rising food costs, staffing issues, and the subsequent low margins there doesn’t seem to be a bright light in sight, but what we need is a shift. A shift in perspective on what is possible and a greater more prominent conversation amongst our community members discussing what could be possible.

Feet on the ground, head in the clouds approach

Taking from the Stockdale paradox, we have to stay attached to reality but hold on to the ultimate vision of what is possible. I am convinced that if, as a community, we are willing to come together to facilitate this change, one that supports a greater balance, we will look back at this time as the most defining for our industry unlike anything else we have ever experienced.

I’d love to engage with the global community on this and see what you all think as this will take a unified front and more sharing than ever before. But like I said, if doctors can do it, why can’t we?