Overworked, Stressed Out Restaurant Workers Gain New Job Perk — On-Site Therapists

Woman working at the cashier at a restaurant wearing a facemask stock photo
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Quit rates in the hospitality industry exceeded the national average quit rate of 2.9% in February 2022, with 6% of restaurant and hotel workers quitting that month. According to the Department of Labor U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these rates were the highest in the nation, with 795,000 people leaving restaurant and hotel jobs that month, an increase from January 2022 and December 2021.

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To keep employees, restaurants are increasing pay rates, adding better benefits packages, and providing tuition assistance. The Washington Post writes that 84% of restaurants have raised wages recently, with workers earning 13% more, an average of $19.57 per hour, compared to last year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

But at least one restaurant group is taking a different approach to worker retention. Bonanno Concepts, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is offering on-site therapy to workers. Qianna Torres Flores saw the job ad for a company wellness director on LinkedIn, applied, and is now working to help the company develop a wellness program for all employees.

“Folks working in the dish pit to the executive chef can come have a counseling session with me,” she told CNBC.com.

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Flores, a mental health professional and certified yoga instructor, offers one-on-one counseling and group mindfulness sessions, CNBC.com reported.

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The idea emerged when Bonanna Concepts completed an employee survey last year, and workers listed “mental health support” as the service they most wanted from their employer. Numbers two and three on the list were job security and better pay.

Normalizing mental health services in a job setting, especially a high-pressure field like hospitality, can make it easier for workers to get the help they need, rather than burying their feelings until they simply quit.

While there are organizations like Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness, which provide resources for restaurant workers, having an on-site therapist can make it easier for employees to discuss their struggles and challenges openly.

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The Bonanna Concepts program appears to be one of the first of its kind in the country but could pave the way to enhanced mental health resources for workers in hospitality and other high-pressure fields.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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