Wellbeing in the Food and Beverage Industry
Sam Mustafa, CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group shares his passion for all things health and wellness. This blog discusses how setting an example in the workplace through health prioritization and core values translates into more productivity and engagement. These concepts come full cycle to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Being the CEO and Founder of Charleston Hospitality Group comprising over 15 restaurants and 6 restaurant brands across the nation, you can imagine that the work keeps on coming! Since establishing Charleston Hospitality Group over 20 years ago, I have become the man who wears many hats and have groomed a workforce that works equally as hard to surpass all quarterly and yearly goals. Being in the industry of food and beverage, there are no two days that are the same. Each day is a new opportunity to better myself, my business and empower those around me, both my employees and within the community.
As many of you know, recently I became aware of a recent health issue that was affecting my overall mental and physical well-being. My gut. In recent years, prior to taking action, I realized I was becoming lethargic. My personal engagement with my work was decreasing and I found myself at a crossroads where I was experiencing increased stress, burnout, and low motivation. In later years, I received information that this was directly correlated to my diet and lifestyle.
That is why it is my personal commitment not only to foster a healthy lifestyle myself, but also to ensure that my employees are receiving the best health and wellness resources as possible to be their best selves, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. I’ve found that by reducing bad habits – such as an unhealthy, unbalanced diet – and incorporating more whole foods and exercising daily, I have been able to positively transform my body and my mindset.
INCORPORATING WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE
It is true that the height of Covid-19 has brought mental and physical well-being to the forefront. I understand that now more than ever before, employees are experiencing burnout quicker than in previous years. This has been due to the stress and overwhelm of the pandemic coupled with work overload. According to Forbes, Inc, the CDC found that Covid-19 caused a spike in depression and anxiety, resulting in negative long-term effects in the workplace.
Finding this information out, I couldn’t sit back and let my employees feel that they were not valued or listened to. I questioned to myself, “How can my employees take care of my business when they are not prioritizing themselves and their health?” That’s when I knew, as a leader, it was important that I demonstrate to my employees how valued they are for all their hard work and dedication, especially in such uncertain times. With this realization, it became necessary for me to provide them with the resources and tools to be successful.
In doing so, I brought in a local certified health coach to provide a wellness workshop to my employees to discuss the benefits of incorporating mindful nutrition, hydration, exercise, and 8 hours of sleep daily. These topics were provided by our personal health coach and included 5 specific takeaways that resonated with myself and my employees.
They are below:
1) HEALTHY DIET
2) MOVE YOUR BODY
3) SLEEP- 8 HOURS EVERY NIGHT
5) LESSEN YOUR CONSUMPTION OF FOOD AND ALCOHOL
1) INCORPORATE A HEALTHY DIET
It has been proven and researched that people who follow a Mediterranean diet consisting of whole foods like olive oil, nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fish are less likely to experience any cardiovascular illnesses including stroke and heart attack.
2) MOVE YOUR BODY
Moving your body for 45 minutes to one full hour has been proven to control weight, combat health conditions, improve energy, and even incorporate social interaction. I realize that it can be difficult to incorporate this into a busy workday. That is why at Charleston Hospitality Group, we have a shared exercise space in our office headquarters that includes weights, resistance bands, and an elliptical. Exercise comes full circle with your overall well-being. No excuses!
3) SLEEP 8 HOURS DAILY
The cognitive impacts of sleeping 8-hours versus anything less include being able to learn more information faster and becoming more aware of your consciousness. This directly impacts your work life, and energy levels when learning a new skill or honing your current skill set.
Can we get a NAMASTE?! Our brains need time to rest and relax. Meditation through practices either spiritual or exercise-based, such as yoga, offer your frontal lobe to heal from the over-exhaustion the daily grind brings. Personally, Yoga and HIIT have always been a favorite exercise for me as they offer both physical and mental cross-training.
5) LESSEN YOUR CONSUMPTION OF NICOTINE AND ALCOHOL
There is a long list associated with the negative impacts of both nicotine and alcohol. Some health risks associated with long-term smoking include cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, dental problems, and more. Did you know that more than 1-drink daily is associated with slight reduction in heart disease, stroke and diabetes? Heavy drinking also correlates to its own range of physical and mental illnesses such as alcoholism, cancer, and high blood pressure.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELL-BEING MATTERS
Physical and mental well-being are a core value here at Charleston Hospitality Group. We prioritize the overall well-being of our workforce and environment. In turn, this has helped us to achieve employees who have been able to transform their professional and personal lives to reach their own sense of self-actualization. This mind and physical transformation also manifests itself into increased camaraderie which results in a positive working environment.
Sam Mustafa is the the CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise. Named one of the nation’s 100 most influential CEOs by Nation’s Restaurant News and frequent speaker on Joe Pardavila’s Podcast on ForbesBooks Radio. He has also been featured on Medium, Authority Magazine, describing his version of the American Dream. Sam is one of the leading voices in the Restaurant Industry.
“7 Great Reasons Why Exercise Matters.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 May 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389.Alexander, Lucy.
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“Council Post: How Businesses Can Address Mental Health in the Workplace.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 Aug. 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2021/08/26/how-businesses-can-address-mental-health-in-the-workplace/?sh=1b0b113025e4. Estruch, Ramón, et al.
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