What wellness means to restaurants

What wellness means to restaurants

By David Faro, contributing editor

Wellness is a state of optimal health that is oriented towards maximizing potential. A healthy restaurant is one that is moving toward physical, intellectual, emotional, social and environmental well-being at all times.

The restaurateur who looks only to her bank balance for indicators of well-being misses out on a holistic understanding of what makes her store tick. The restaurant that overlooks the real needs of its employees opens itself up to infectious ideas that may or may not contribute to the overall well-being of the establishment. A restaurant that does not actively seek to understand its role in the community in which it resides – one that does not participate in the civic processes that define many of its operations – quickly atrophies.

You get the point. Wellness equals wholeness, and wholeness requires people to be aware of their whole being. A healthy restaurant is one where each system is looked at, assessed individually, then calibrated to fit into the complete organizational structure in a way that moves the whole machine forward with as little friction as possible.

The well-being of individual restaurants is important to consider, and creating an environment where hospitality establishments can thrive is paramount to the over-all health of a local economy. Local restaurants allow people to move forward. Many stories from upper echelon hospitality professionals start in the dish room or as entry level assistants. Local restaurants treat workers fairly and serve a vital role in the communities in which they do business.

Healthy restaurants and healthy communities go hand in hand. The system is a cycle. As long as the local environment for restaurants allows them to prosper, they will be a pipeline of entry-level jobs for the community. They will generate the wages that allow young people to attend college and fund dreams.

Many American dreams started in a local restaurant, and those dreams continue to be the building blocks of our local cultures across the state and the nation. Restaurants often lead on the issues of our times, and the change to healthy offerings, local products, going green and investing in education are all indicators that being part of a healthy society is a top priority for many restaurateurs.

So, do a wellness check on your business; are you providing useful training and career opportunities for your staff? Does employee performance indicate that your business is helping to teach responsibility, time keeping and a strong work ethic?

If you are doing these things, you are providing an avenue for young people – with no experience – to move toward a rewarding career. Your healthy restaurant is contributing to a healthy economy, healthy families and a healthy community. Beyond serving great food and being a meeting place for people, being an important part of a community’s fabric is the real role of restaurants, and it should never be overlooked how important the health of your business is to the vitality of the whole state. Local restaurants employ almost a quarter of a million people in Washington. That’s important, too. The health of our industry starts with the well-being of YOUR business. Take care, be aware, be healthy and be well.

(Source: Washington Restaurant Magazine, Winter 2014)