How Does the Restaurant Business Experience Substance Abuse?


Substance abuse does not discriminate – people of all ages, races, ethnicities, income levels, and career fields can become challenged with substance abuse due to peer pressure, stress, and coping mechanisms. The restaurant industry faces this problem more than people realize; according to the National Public Radio (NPR), people who work at restaurants have unique concerns that increase their risk for substance abuse.

Restaurant employees face high pressures, as large groups of people come in and they work strenuously to accommodate them in a quick manner. Late night shifts can make it even more difficult for people to get a good night’s sleep, and many ending up staying awake throughout the night. As one person stated, “Nobody knew what it was like to go home at one in the morning and be so wide awake that I couldn’t sleep.”

A 2009 study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley found that of 1294 telephone interviews with national restaurant chain employees, “hazardous alcohol consumption patterns were seen in 80% of men and 64% of women.” The study found that socializing with coworkers was one factor that increased the risk of problem drinking, and those who smoked cigarettes were also more likely to engage in problem drinking behaviors.

The New York Times states that many employees will abuse drugs just to get through long shifts. A person who works in the industry stated, “We knew which servers, cooks, and managers, relied on cocaine to get through the long hours that restaurant life demanded.” Other stressors an employee might face are exploitation, assault, low wages, and more, according to The Guardian. Why do many people continue to work in this industry, despite the harsh conditions?

There are various reasons for this, but qualifications, the opportunity to learn new skills and work with highly-regarded chefs, too high of expectations and a passion for food are a few. Unfortunately, many who work in this industry find stress in the harsh demands and low-wages earned. This is one industry we need to work diligently with – one that needs more outlets, resources, and justice for the hard work they do.

If you have been struggling with substance abuse, make the decision to seek help today. There are healthier ways to cope with your problems and drinking/drugs do not have to be part of it.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery treatment center. If you’re ready to seek treatment from substance abuse, call us today at 888-743-0490 for a consultation. Recovery is possible and there are people who want to help you.