Scottish chef Tom Kitchin has followed in the footsteps of a number of fellow high-end restaurateurs by cutting staff hours to improve employees’ quality of life. His Edinburgh restaurants the The Kitchin (pictured) and The Castle Terrace are to close for a week every three months to give staff time off, thereby retaining talent for longer and hopefully bolstering the consistency of operations, as well as improving working conditions.
The new regime will be put into practice in 2016.
These two highly-regarded Edinburgh restaurants are the latest in a growing number of destination dining establishments to announce a decrease in staff hours in order to promote a better work/life balance for chefs and other industry workers – jobs that typically carry long hours in a high-stress environment.
In November Michel Roux announced that he was doing away with normal service at Mayfair’s legendary Le Gavroche on Mondays. Instead the dining room will be available for private events and pop-ups, the first of which will begin in January 2016. Part of the reason for the switch-up was to allow staff increased time away from their jobs.
And earlier this year the chef behind the Sunday Time’s Top UK restaurant, Sat Bains, told how he cut staff hours (without a cut in wages) to promote not just a better quality of life, but also to encourage employees to stay in their jobs. This was swiftly followed by announcements from Hedone and Raby Hunt, who did away with weekday lunches.
In an industry that traditionally has a high turnover of staff, and is notorious for poor working conditions in some quarters, it is great to see respected restaurateurs and chefs leading the charge for better quality of life on behalf of their employees.