Work-life balance was a big topic at this year’s Food on the Edge symposium in Galway, Ireland, with several chefs explaining how they’ve tried to tackle the problem of chef burn out in their restaurants.
One of those was Magnus Nilsson of the two Michelin star Fäviken restaurant in Sweden. There chefs work just eight hours a day across a 40 to 45-hour week, plus they get five weeks holiday a year.
Nilsson says he didn’t want to follow the example of Maaemo in Oslo by simply cutting opening hours to reduce the working week. That still perpetuates the problem of long days, he says – “18 hour working days interfere with how the rest of society functions … People can’t work at the same level for 18 hours, as they can eight.”
Instead, Fäviken has hired more staff, and increased their covers and their prices – with little fuss or complaint. The changes have saved his business he says: “If we didn’t try we would have to close the restaurant anyway” and he’s now happier too, working two days and three nights a week. “No one should be indispensable,” he says. “We want people to want to be there, not feel like they have to be.”
Watch the speech in full above