Addicted to Hospitality

Perhaps not the most talked about issue in our industry, or any industry for that matter. During these trying times, it has become a pandemic of it’s own. I have personal experience with this, as many chefs, servers, managers can relate. Although not the topic many like to read about, I believe it’s important to discuss it, as there is a brighter side! Read on below for my thoughts.

In a work environment where breaks and meals are few and far between, customers are drinking excessively, and late night hours are the norm, it might not come as a surprise to find that the hospitality industry is ranked among the highest in the world for heavy drinking, illicit drug abuse, and substance use disorders leading to further mental health matters , depression, severe anxiety and sadly suicide. I personally have lost a number of friends and family members to this epidemic over just a few short years. Some of these people were known public media “star chefs”. Without bringing to much attention to that, at least they have helped bring the issue to the forefront.

It is a sad statistic that a growing number of chefs are using drugs or alcohol to help “come down” from the adrenaline rush of that stressful syndrome.

Do you hear yourself saying this, “I don’t sleep a lot. I party a lot. But, at the same time, I work a lot. I never miss work because of my addiction.”. This is a rising problem with drug addiction

Or do you hear yourself saying this, “I often find myself having wind-down drinks after service”. This is sadly the spring-board for many into full-blown alcoholism. Sound familiar?

The executive pastry chef of a restaurant in Chicago says that the combination of stress and “ready access to alcohol” is one of the downfalls of the hospitality business. The acknowledgement signals a desire from higher-ups to try and do something about the high rate of turnover in the industry, and also the negative coverage that has come from the press, as well as books and reality television shows by celebrity chefs. Business partnerships between some restaurants have sought to address the dangerously high rates of alcohol abuse that take place in their establishments, by training managers to recognize signs of abuse and burnout, and how to take steps to help employees who have addiction problems.


It doesn’t have to be this way. There are solutions. I found mine, and it’s a higher road! If you or someone you know has a problem, help them. Click HERE to see what worked for me. Cheers, and happy, sober cooking!