Shorter Workweeks – Tips from PMG Consulting

Lee Schulman
Lee Schulman

by Lee Schulman, founder of Panacea Management Group (PMG) Consulting

Shorter Workweeks - Tips from PMG ConsultingOne of the biggest lessons the pandemic has brought to light for restaurant operators is the importance employees place on quality of life. Offering a positive work-life balance is crucial for operators looking to hire – and retain – quality employees. And one way that many restaurants are providing that balance is by shortening their workweek and providing more consistent time off.

Lee Schulman, an industry veteran with three decades of experience and the founder of Panacea Management Group (PMG) Consulting, knows firsthand the benefits of reducing a restaurant’s hours of operation. As the owner and operator of Old Vinings Inn in Atlanta, Schulman made the decision in January to close the restaurant on Mondays and Tuesdays – a move that has resulted in happier, more relaxed staff.

“We’re closed now on Sunday night, and we don’t open again until dinner on Wednesday,” Schulman says. “We’re down from 14 shifts per week pre-pandemic to eight now. That gives our employees time off that is sacred. And when they come in on Wednesday morning, they can get ready for that night’s shift; everyone can communicate and get all their ducks in a row for the week ahead.”

Of course, shortening the workweek comes with its own set of challenges. Among these are:

  • Deciding what shifts or days to close your restaurant
  • Communicating the challenges – and opportunities – to your team
  • Ways to make up lost revenue
  • Anticipating the downsides (customer confusion, staff turnover)

Restaurant operators looking to provide a better work-life balance for employees should start with considering the pros and cons of a shorter workweek of their businesses. This is just one way to improve quality of life and retain quality employees.

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