Keeping your team cool in a warm restaurant
Not all venues have air conditioning, so we look at some simple ideas and tips for keeping you and your team cool on hot days.
It's becoming more and more common that we're getting extremely hot days. I'll leave the obvious political reason that is aside to focus on something a bit more tangibly fixable - keeping your team cool, both literally and metaphorically speaking.
Remember: There is no law for maximum working temperature, or when it's too hot to work. That doesn't mean you should force your staff to work in unsafe conditions. Closing is always better than causing harm.
1. Make sure your restaurant is well-ventilated.
If you're lacking in air conditioning, a through draft can do wonders. Just remember that you should remain compliant with any safety and licensing requirements when keeping doors open. You might have staff keeping their cool, but fire inspectors don't appreciate fire doors being propped open!
2. Encourage employees to take breaks in a cool, air-conditioned room or outside in the shade.
It's only natural that some staff might want to soak up some rays, but whenever possible try to speak to your team about how they might be able to find a suitable area to try to cool down during breaks. A cheap parasol outside can do wonders - you can pick them up for as little as £40. Don't have air conditioning? Don't be afraid to suggest your team have their break at another venue that does.
3. Provide light, loose-fitting clothing for employees to wear.
A uniform is important for any business to look professional, but don't enforce it as stringently on really hot days. You may think it's important to have your team wear their lovely aprons you recently invested in, but sweaty foreheads and higher tempers will have much more of a detrimental impact on your business.
4. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the kitchen and offer employees regular drinks.
It is important to keep everyone hydrated. Always ensure that there is water within reach, and on super hot days don't be too stingy with staff drinking some soft drinks. Encourage your team to bring in their own water bottles - or better yet, invest in some to hand out to your team.
5. Avoid using unrequired electronics
Beyond the economic and environmental benefit of turning off electronics that aren't being used, there is the heat benefit. Every electronic device loses some of its energy as heat. Lots of things that might not seem like they are giving out heat combine to produce a noticeable effect. Think things like printers, non-required lighting, computer screens etc. On the matter of computers - if you have a front of house device look into having the screen turn off automatically; monitors are a huge source of heat. 6. Adjust your menu
On days when it's so hot that the kitchen is unbearable, consider making some changes to your menu. Serve lighter meals that don't require cooking, or offer discounts on iced drinks and desserts. Customers will be more likely to visit your restaurant if they know you're making an effort to keep things cool.
7. Ice Lollies. Obviously
It's a good idea to keep a stock of ice lollies in the freezer for your team to enjoy during their break times. Not only will this help them to cool down, but it will also give them a much-needed sugar boost! We frankly feel no one is too old to enjoy a nice ice lolly on a blisteringly hot day.
Remember, Some people are more susceptible to heat than others - for example, those with medical conditions or who are pregnant. Make sure you keep an eye on these employees in particular, and offer them any support they might need to stay cool.
The most important thing on hot days is to keep your cool. No one wants to visit a restaurant where the staff are sweaty and irritable. By following these tips, you can make sure that your team - and your business - stays cool under pressure.