Dealing with Stress

How do you deal with the stress of running a restaurant? I am stressed out and burn’t out and no matter what I do, I can’t get the problems and concerns out of my mind. I will have a drink or two at night and don’t want to get into a habit of that. I am tempted to start smoking the stuff I did in high school again!

The first thing I would say is know your not alone. Its a tough business. Know as well that it will get better. Do you take time out? Time to get away and really not think about the restaurant? Do you have capable staff? The thing I have learned in the past is to have staff you truly trust. Some one who, if you couldnt do the job because of injury or death would keep your business running for a time without a glitch. I think sometimes we think we have to do everything, remember to deligate, make somethings your problem, and some things other peoples problems. You of course have to keep an eye on all things, but you dont have to do all the little details yourself. You have staff? Depend on them, its weird, the more you need them, the more they come to value their status in your company and try harder.
Hope that helps a little

We close every sunday…no matter what. It could be our 3rd busiest day of the week, but it is the best day to spend with family so that is what works for us…at least I know there is something to look forward to every week (i put in at least 70 hrs in 6 days)…also we close for a week every 6 months for vacation and to recharge and regain our sanity.
Good Luck!

I have been in stress too deep in both my insurance adjusting and pizza shop owner pasts…No fun at all…I have peaks and valleys in my current business but not too bad…The best thing that happened too me is dogs…2 of our own and a loaner…This time of year it is just short walks but when the weather is good I walk up the mountain everyday…About 1 1/4 hours…I leave my noise at home and use the time to think and ponder life…And look at the Columbia River below…The important thing is too take time for yourself no matter what…Close 1 or 2 days per week no matter what…You will make up for your financial losses by improved health and working better on other days…Good luck…RCS…

Long ago I’d get real stressed and get bad panic attacks. Then I read alot of books and listened to audio self-help programs. It helped alot and got my mind right.
The key for me was to stay organized and understand the difference between things I have control over and the things that were out of my control.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good diet, restful sleep(quality not quantity) and exercise.

Quotes about stress from people that probably never owned a pizza shop:

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.â€

Write down on a piece of paper, the top 3 things that stress you out the most. Next come up with 5 solutions for each stressor and implement those solutions to solve the problem.

Don’t sit and ponder problems. Sit and ponder solutions and take action to make those solutions happen.

You need to overcome your problems. Run them over with positive, and successful behavior. Example:


  1. My employees are always coming in late or not showing up.


  1. Create a tardiness policy and have the employee sign it, understanding the rules. If they dont follow them, let them go.

  2. Use the buddy system. Have your employees call each other and check in with each other every day to ensure everyone is on time.

  3. Replace the employees that are causing problems.

Now… As stated above… Delegate your responsibilities to other employees or family members if possible. That could be a solution to many problems. “I don’t have enough time to hire people”… Delegate that to one of your employees. Problem solved.

You need to become a master at problem solving. It will make your life alot easier. Focus on generating more money for your business and positive thoughts and do not focus on problems. Focusing on problems will put you in the percentile of failed business owners.

Easier said then done… But practice it and I’m sure it will help.

I have found you need to figure out where the stree is comming from and then fix it. Is it Because you are to busy you cant do everything that needs to be done? Its easy for us to say get someone else to do it but now you have the stree of training that person. Is it because money is tight and you dont know how much longer you can keep the business going? Is it that things are disorganized and you dont know where you should be and when? Prioritize where your stress is comming from then look at the list and ask your self how can i eliminate the stress from these areas. You may find instead of getting rid of the biggest area where you have stress maybe getting rid of 3 small areas givesy ou what you need to handle the big issues.

I empathise with you completely after going through panic attack stress condition about 10 years ago through work loads etc.

Funny thing is after being raced to hospital at 4am by ambulance, being put on medication (got off it quick smart), seeing a pysc. etc, I finally self analysed what caused it in the first place.

The main factor that tipped me over the edge was so trivial, but a part of a whole process of building up of stress. I looked back at it and had a really good think about what mattered most. I also convinced myself that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many things you can do.

Now I have a pizza shop and have been going through heaps of good and bad in the 14 months I have had it. The worst was losing my manager when he fell down a seaside cliff and broke a bone in his hand (now has been off 13 weeks). At first I cursed and wondered how I could cope as I would have to take on his shift as well as mine which meant 100+ hours 7 days per week.

In the end I just re-organised my priorities ( my garden is overgrown, the pool is green) and made sure I used every bit of down time to relax and unwind. I make sure I play 9 holes of golf (badly - no correct that, very badly :D) every Wednesday morning and go for late breakfast or lunch every Sunday with my wife, sometimes even take in a movie.

I have just completed 14 weeks straight 7 days per week with only Christmas day off, yet I feel totally relaxed and stress free.

The real enlightener came last week when my manager came in and told me that he had just had another cast put on and that torn ligaments in his hand haven’t healed yet (will pobably need an operation to fix which means another 12 weeks off), plus he is off on a two week cruise next week. :evil:

I have kept his job open but with this extended time off I have now decided to terminate him and put someone else on. I have to move on and my business which is funded by my house is my main concern. (can’t wait for all the knockers to have a go at me again over this). You know what? After making this decision I have felt the best I have since he went off with his injury. I know in my heart that I gave him an opportunity to return to his job,but as a small business I have to have a manager and unfortunately I cannot afford to keep his job open forever. I took control of the situation that has been stressful for me and I made an affirmative decision that will benefit me, my wife, my family life and our business.

The real matter of this post is that you can decide to let the stress get to you and take you down in the deep balck hole it can create or you can decide to look at the situation and change what is causing the stress.

Until you can create a clear thinking mode and stop worrying about the things that may, or will never happen then you will never go forward.

Remember this and remember it well. There are only 24 hours in a day and you only have two hands (I hope you still have both). You can only do what you can do with the resources you have been given. You can do less but you can’t do more.

Don’t worry about the things that you have no control over. Focus on what you can directly control and do them well.

I think with the right direction, relaxation and laughing you will get out of the rutt you are in.

Take it from someone who has been there and come right back out smiling.

Best of luck and keep your chin up and listen to advise from all your friends on this forum, because I would believe that most would have felt like you have at some time or another.

I certainly agree with the posters here. I am sure just reading the posts and deciding what to do is stressful.

We all have bouts of intense, on going stress but every now and again something nice happens and what a nice bit of relief that is. When I find nothing nice going on I do something nice.

Not to get on a soap box, but we are a generation that wants instant gratification. We believe instant gratification is happiness, relief, un stress. It is not. It is okay to be stressed. Stress can be a huge motivator. Drugs and alcohol only numb the stress for a period of time and then creates its own additional stress. Physically you need to be taking care of yourself. Eating, drinking water, sleeping, making personal time and forcing yourself to spend time away from the business.

I also realize stress can paralize our ability to act. I have found myself at times so overwhelmed I can’t do much of anything. I know if I would just take care of some issues life would start moving in the right direction but nope I just sit there.

I have learned over the years acknowledging I am stressed and allowing myself to be stressed helps. When this happens I go into auto pilot. I begin writing lists of what I need to do. (Of course, forgetting to look at the list the first few days) But over time I begin finding enjoyment of actually using and crossing out things on the list.

We are also closed on Sunday. ALWAYS.

Gosh, hang in there, some days things just suck and I feel for you. I appreciate your post because I have been getting stressed here lately and I think I am going to start my list now so I can be ahead of the game.

The restaurant business is one of the most stressful occupations out there, especially when you are behind the wheel. Like others have suggested… find out the problem that is causing the stress and take steps to eliminate it. Also, you have got to find time to relax. Take time to get away from it all. If that is sitting on the couch at home having a glass or two of wine while watching tv or relaxing in a hot bath, or if that is going out with friends and having a good time. Find something that works for you. Hire someone and train them to be a manager to run the place when you’re not there, maybe you can work less hours eventually.

I’m glad to see all of these responses and know that I’m not alone in my stress either! It seems the worst time for me is waking up around 3 or 4 in the morning and just lying there in bed worrying about everything. I’m trying to think of ways to be more organized also. I think I will start making more lists too!!

Thanks everyone for your great responses!


P.S. If someone could come along and dump about $20,000 into my business bank account (that I would not have to pay back) a lot of my stress would go away and I would be free to handle the rest of the issues more easily. Anyone interested??? :lol:

Hey Sara, give them my number too!

im not sure how i deal with stress,i work 7 days a week 14-16 hrs.dont have time i guess…i think its just the fact i am so involved with this place stress dos not have chance to get in.i have tried to leave early,and the anxiety of something going wrong gets to me.


We are pretty adamant about paying ourselves first . . . we gotta take care of ourselves, or we will be useless or a detriment to the business.

I SCHEDULE stress reducing activities in my quarter or my year. We plan to take time to do things that envigorate us, or we will fall apart and lose enthusiasm to do what we do best . . … pizza.

If we don’t schedule it, it is too easy to let it go by the wayside.

It’s a stressful business no doubt.

I put my faith in the Lord. Maybe a little unconventional for some of you guys, but it works. Try it. You’ll see the results.

1 Peter 5: 6-7
Psalm 55: 22-23

Believe me, I’ve been doing more praying in our first 6 months of business than I have in a long time.

I’ve always liked the verse from Ecclesiastes:

Do not be quick in spirit, to become angry or vexed. For anger and vexation lie in the bossum of fools.

It kept me from snap kicking people in the jaw muscle many times.

Thanks, mandino! I also put my trust in the Lord, although I let the devil tempt me and get me to worrying more than I should. I appreciate the Bible references. Some verses I find comforting are Philipians 4:4-7.

Thanks again!


Tired it . . . he puts too much cheese ona the 16" pies :slight_smile: Spirituality is a definite strengthener of the soul and will. It gets me through some days and nights. On top of that, for me, without some actual, true deescalation and time away from my business and stressors of daily work, it just doesn’t last. If I abuse myself without taking care of my personal needs, then I will crash as sure asdough rises and tax come due.