Snub Smoking in the Workplace

Every sense matters in the restaurant business: sight, taste, noise, tactile, and smell. While you may consider changing decor, adding spices, and ensuring that your restaurant is spotless, many forget the impact that employee habits can have on the perception of your restaurant. In fact, employees who smoke can introduce unpleasant odors as well as have dampened palates which are essential to knowing whether or not your food actually tastes good! With 30% of restaurant workers smoking, smokers are hampering some of the most important senses in the industry. Helping yourself or your employees to kick the habit can improve the overall quality of your restaurant.



So what is it that’s making the food and hospitality industry the second-highest occupation hampered by smoking? Joe Bastianich, renowned restaurateur and judge on FOX’s hit show Master Chef says there are a variety of factors that play a role: late nights, long hours, and smoking coworkers. Over the years, smoking has become a sort of ‘norm’ for restaurants, and employees use smoking during breaks as a crutch to get them through their shifts.


You may be thinking that smoking is really not a big deal for your restaurant, and employees only smoke on their breaks anyway. The fact of the matter is that long after the stub has been snuffed out, the smoke lingers on clothes and is brought with that employee back into the restaurant. It can be off-putting to patrons, and it can be even worse when a delivery driver brings a smoky smell onto a customer’s doorstep. This could be the dealbreaker for many who may choose to never order delivery service again! Even  more importantly, your employees’ health is on the line, and this should be a huge concern for you as the employer. It can impact your health insurance costs, and as you’ve probably formed some sort of relationship with your workers, you probably also have a genuine concern for them as a healthy person.


It can be difficult for anyone to break such an addictive habit, but keeping the health of your employees as a priority should be an easy choice. Creating an environment to support kicking the habit can be the first step to a smoke-free environment. While you can’t force anybody to quit, you can promote healthy lifestyles by providing incentives and supporting healthy lifestyles. In fact, many restaurants and businesses in general have adopted health policies that provide breaks to those who don’t smoke, making it a cost-effective decision for employees.


Unfortunately, the statistics show that fewer than 5% of folks who try to quit smoking are unsuccessful without a program or support system. Bastianich recommends Blueprint to Quit, a program that takes multiple approaches to supporting a lifestyle without smoking. QSR Magazine reports, ‘Because smoking is a two-part problem—both a physical addiction and a habitual addiction—Blueprint to Quit offers a two-part solution: nicotine replacement treatment, such as Nicorette gum or NicoDerm CQ patch, and an online behavioral support tool to manage the behavioral change.’ In fact, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has designated Blueprint to Quit as the official ‘quit smoking’ program for its members!


Adopting a program is the first step to showing employees that you care about their health and that smoking is becoming unacceptable in the modern-day restaurant. Provide support and incentives to keep the ball rolling, and ensure that your employees are leading healthy lifestyles!

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