Survey finds 60% of chefs work 9-12 hour shifts, 17% with no breaks

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st November 2019

HOW MUCH HAVE working conditions in the restaurant industry improved? Are chefs happy at work? 

These are some of the questions raised by a recently-published investigation into 'kitchen culture.' 

Based on a survey run by S. Pellegrino's Fine Dining Lovers, chefs answered questions about their working hours, how they perceive their work-life balance, how the job affects their mental wellbeing, and, among other things, their overall satisfaction at work. 

The premise of the study was to show that the term 'sustainability,' beyond the ecological implications, could apply to chefs' quality of life - as improving satisfaction at work and the industry's attractiveness would ensure its posterity.

Approximately half of those surveyed were either head chefs or executive chefs, while the other halfs were in other positions

How many hours do chefs work?

According to the study, 60 percent of chefs work between 9 to 12 hours a day, and 23 percent work more than 12 hours a day.

While 60 percent said they said 1 to 2 breaks over the course of a shift, 17 percent said they had no breaks at all.

What are chefs least/MOST satisfied with in their role?  

The biggest causes of dissatisfaction among the survey participants are what they perceive to be a poor work-life balance and their working hours, with 78 percent reporting having worked when ill and 82 percent that they've come in on their day off to help their team.  Almost half of all respondents said they don't have time to eat a meal during shifts. 

70 percent of respondents said they believe their job affects their mental health, and 60 percent reported having taken painkillers to push through a shift. 37 percent said the physical and mental impact of their jobs was what caused them most frustration in their job.

Despite all the negatives, the survey found that overall chefs are most happy with the relationship they have with their direct manager and they are positive about the future career opportunities their job might allow them. 

What do chefs think is the best way of attracting new talent into the industry?

Results in this part of the survey varied according to the position of the respondents, with more senior chefs saying more people would consider a career in the industry if they were offered more benefits, while chefs in junior positions said consecutive days off and better working conditions would be more attractive. 

All agreed that more resources for kitchen management would likely attract more young professionals into kitchen work. 

Do chefs like being chefs?

Despite all the aforementioned drawbacks, 8 out of 10 chefs said they were satisfied with their current jobs stating that they 'feel free to express their creativity in their day to day work.'

What do you think? Do you think 'sustainability' should apply to chefs too? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st November 2019

Survey finds 60% of chefs work 9-12 hour shifts, 17% with no breaks