Human Resources Management and the Impact of the Restaurant Opening Hours: An Exploratory Study




The hospitality sector is struggling with a generalized shortage of manpower to cope with the post-pandemic economic recovery. Furthermore, the work-life balance has become a very important issue when it comes to choose a place to work. This has been creating huge constraints in the hospitality industry in running and/or developing new businesses due to lack of qualified human resources. Considering the importance of this sector in the Portuguese economy, it is of paramount importance to better understand the origin of such constraints and how businesses can adapt to a new labour market reality. An exploratory study was conducted to understand how restaurant opening hours, as a top-level management decision, affects the work-life balance in the industry thus contributing to enrich the attractiveness of the jobs offered. To develop the study two groups of restaurants were studied. The first group is comprised of limited opening-hours restaurants, and the second group (as a control group), a non-limited opening hours restaurant. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with proprietors and/or top-level managers to ascertain how the decision on opening hours was weighed in the work-life balance concerns and what are the most important managerial implications, business profitability impacts, and staff retention indicators. Preliminary results seem to indicate that restaurant opening hours are one important top-level management decisions and the work-life balance has played a crucial role in the definition of the business model of the studied restaurants. By choosing limited opening hours, managers are able to schedule staff much easier and respect, as much as possible their work-life balance which then contributes to a more stable and motivated workforce. The results also show that this is only possible because restaurants manage to be profitable within the limited opening hours period. Further studies should be conducted to better understand how these new business model approaches could be used in larger-scale restaurants with non-limited opening hours.

Author Biographies

Daniel Azevedo, CITUR

Daniel Azevedo is a Food Engineer with a master degree in Food Innovation and a recognized specialist in the field of hospitality and food service. As well as teaching in the Institute Polytechnic of Porto, School of Hospitality and Tourism, he has over 20 years of experience as a food service professional.

Susana Silva, CEOS.PP,CITUR

Susana Silva is a researcher on Tourism, Hospitality and Human Resources Management. She has several papers published and also attended to international conferences. She teaches in the degree and master course of Hospitality and Tourism at School of Hospitality Tourism, Polytechnic of Porto, Portugal.