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Quit rates in the hospitality industry topped the national average quit rate of 2.9% in February 2022, with 6% of restaurant and hospitality workers quitting that month. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, those rates were the highest in the nation, with 795,000 people leaving restaurant and hospitality jobs that month, an increase from January 2022 and December 2021.
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To keep their employees, restaurants are increasing pay rates, adding better benefits and offering tuition assistance. The Washington Post writes that 84% of restaurants recently increased their wages, with workers earning 13% more, or an average of $19.57 per hour, compared to last year, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But at least one restaurant group is taking a different approach to worker retention. Bonanno Concepts, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, offers on-site therapy to workers. Qianna Torres Flores saw the job posting for a Corporate Wellness Manager on LinkedIn, applied, and is now working to help the company develop a wellness program for all employees.
“People who work in the executive chef’s dish pit can come and have a counseling session with me,” she told CNBC.com.
Flores, a mental health professional and certified yoga instructor, offers individual counseling and group mindfulness sessions, CNBC.com reported.
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The idea emerged when Bonanna Concepts conducted an employee survey last year, and workers rated “mental health support” as the service they wanted most from their employer. Numbers two and three on the list were job security and better pay.
Standardizing mental health services in a work environment, especially in a high-pressure area like hospitality, can make it easier for workers to get the help they need, rather than bury their feelings until they just stop.
While there are organizations like Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness that provide resources for restaurant workers, having a therapist on-site can make it easier for employees to discuss their struggles and challenges.
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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 for improved mental health resources for workers in hospitality and other high-pressure fields.
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