Will Will The 4-Day Workweek Work for Restaurants?

Will the 4-day workweek work for restaurants?

A 4-day workweek seemed like a distant dream just a few years ago. 

However, fast forward to 2023, and the 4-day workweek is no longer just a far-off aspiration for workers seeking more time off. 

Companies across many industries are experimenting with compressed schedules (working full-time hours in just 4 days) to improve employee well-being, productivity, and work-life balance. 

Sounds like a win-win, right? 

However, some industries, like restaurants, can find it tough to switch to a 4-day workweek because their workers often have to work long hours and unpredictable schedules. 

In this blog, we’re going to dive into the 4-day workweek for restaurants, give you an example of a restaurant that has tried it, and find out how feasible it really is. 

Let’s dive in. 


What Challenges do Restaurants Face for a 4-Day WorkWeek? 

The restaurant industry has traditionally lacked any work-life balance. 

12-hour shifts? 
2:00 am closing time?

Long hours and unpredictable demand are par for the course for many waiters and chefs, which is why the 4-day workweek may not seem like a feasible option for the restaurant industry.

And that’s not all. 

The restaurant industry is known for low-profit margins, and reducing the number of working days could mean less time to generate revenue.

And not only that, but some restaurant jobs, such as servers and bartenders, rely heavily on tips and may be hesitant to reduce the number of working days if it means less opportunity to earn tips. 

So, some staff may not even want a 4-day workweek! 

Lastly, it may not be possible to condense the same number of work hours into fewer days without causing undue stress or exhaustion for restaurant workers.

Considering the numerous obstacles that need to be addressed, it’s understandable that people are skeptical about the idea of implementing a shortened workweek in restaurants.

That being said, some restaurants have already begun experimenting with the 4-day workweek, and it’s possible that with careful planning and consideration, it could become a viable option for more restaurants in the future.

4-Day Workweek Restaurants

Can The 4-Day Workweek Actually Work for Restaurants? 

The good news is that a few restaurants have been trialing the concept, and it’s not all bad news for 4-day workweek supporters. 

Dig, a fast-casual restaurant chain, has been testing the four-day workweek concept with its kitchen staff since 2021. 

The company offers its hourly employees the option to work full-time hours compressed into four days. The pandemic provided an opportunity for the company to test the schedule change when one of its Boston teams had to close four of its five restaurants temporarily.

To maintain the same number of hours, workers who chose the four-day week had to switch to 10-hour shifts. 

And the results have been… mixed. While some found it too grueling, others embraced it. 

Since the restaurants are open seven days a week, most employees work three days, have a day or two off, and then work a fourth day. This schedule provides workers with a better work-life balance, more time for schoolwork and errands, and a true break from their jobs when they are off.

While the model works for Dig, it may not work for other restaurants. Dig’s food requires a lot of prep work, so long shifts make sense, unlike a fast-food restaurant where shorter shifts may be more appropriate. 

The company also ensures that anything that alters an employee’s income is a nonstarter, meaning that employees’ salaries remained unchanged despite the schedule change.

So, how do employees like it? 

In an internal survey of 45 participants in the trial, 87% said they would recommend the new schedule. 

Workers also reported a positive impact on their mental health.

Should You Try The 4-Day Workweek for Your Restaurant?

Implementing a 4-day workweek can provide a lot of benefits for employees, even in the restaurant industry.

It alleviates many common problems for workers in the restaurant industry, such as childcare, by allowing flexibility in its scheduling.

Additionally,  the reported better work-life balance, improved mental health, and time for personal responsibilities will all have a positive impact on employee loyalty, team morale, and ultimately, a higher level of service provided to patrons.

Our advice? It’s definitely worth giving it some thought.

You can work with your experienced restaurant accountant to figure out how to structure your workweek in a way that won’t impact your revenue numbers, or interfere with employee tips & payroll.

If you’d like us to help you with any projections and calculations, we’re happy to help.

Simply use our quick form here to schedule your complimentary call.

What do you think about the 4-day workweek in the restaurant industry? We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time!

Matt C


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