Alcohol Abuse in the Restaurant Industry  

The abuse of alcohol in the food-service industry has been a problem that is growing each year. Restaurant workers are shown to abuse alcohol at higher rates when compared to other occupations, according to the National Institutes of Health. By understanding the underlying causes of alcohol abuse among food service workers, it is possible to start evaluating solutions that may prevent continued alcohol abuse.

Understanding Alcoholism in the Restaurant Industry

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that roughly 6.6 percent of Americans binge drink alcohol each month and an estimated 55.3 percent of Americans report drinking alcohol on a monthly basis. Furthermore, approximately 7.9 percent of adults in the United States seek treatment for alcohol use disorders each year.

Although alcohol abuse can be found in all occupations throughout the United States, the foodservice industry has a higher rate when compared to the general population. According to the National Institutes on Health, approximately 12 percent of food service workers abuse alcohol on a regular basis. The rate of binge drinking is nearly double the rate found in the general population, which raises concerns about the potential causes of alcohol abuse within the foodservice industry.

Foodservice workers have a high risk of alcohol abuse when compared to the general population. Due to the stress of the COVID-19 virus, there is a concern that it may cause increased rates of alcohol abuse in general. Since food service workers may find that they have fewer work hours, changes to their work environment, and more risks when compared to other industries, they may have a higher rate of stress when compared to others in the general population. In some cases, it may increase the rate of alcohol abuse or contribute to further abuse of alcohol.

Dangers and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and Foodservice Industry Professionals

Alcohol abuse is a common concern within the foodservice industry. According to the National Institutes on Health, roughly 85.5 percent of restaurant workers and other food service workers report drinking alcohol during their off-hours and around 36.5 percent of food service workers report that they have gone to work with a hangover from binge drinking the day before.

The foodservice industry has many factors that may contribute to binge drinking and alcohol use disorders. Common factors that may arise when working in foodservice include:

  • Long work hours
  • Working during holidays and special events
  • Limited time off or no vacation time
  • Low wages
  • A stressful work environment
  • Limited breaks for meals during a shift
  • Working around alcohol throughout a shift

The restaurant industry has many factors that contribute to a high-stress work environment. Waiters and waitresses are often surrounded by alcohol during their shifts and may be working in a dim or dark space throughout their shift, particularly if they are working in a bar or a restaurant has a bar. The wages and the limited time off may also contribute to a high-stress lifestyle that may further contribute to alcohol abuse.

Preventing Alcohol Abuse Among Foodservice Workers

Taking measures to prevent alcohol abuse among food service workers is a process. Starting early in an individual’s career or work in the foodservice industry may help limit the risks to their health and well-being over time. Give them the facts about the risks and ensure that they are prepared for the high-stress environment.

Encouraging healthy stress relief solutions is a good option to help with the risks involved in the industry. It may also help if restaurant owners and professionals within the industry provide more breaks and more time for meals during long shifts. By taking advantage of slower times throughout the day or night to allow breaks, the rate of stress is reduced during a shift.

Find The Right Alcohol Rehab Program at Riverside Recovery of Tampa 

When you or a loved one have concerns about alcohol abuse while working in the foodservice industry, you want to understand your options for treatment. Riverside Recovery of Tampa offers treatment options for alcohol abuse and addiction based on your situation and your needs. We may recommend a 12-step program, counseling services, family therapy, or other treatments that assist with your recovery goals. We may also offer solutions to teach you proper measures to manage stress without abusing alcohol.

If you want to address alcohol abuse, then you want to reach out for professional help. To learn more about treatments available to help food service workers address alcohol abuse and addiction, contact Riverside Recovery today.


National Center for Biotechnology Information – Divergent Drinking Patterns of Restaurant Workers: The Influence of Social Networks and Job Position

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Alcohol Facts and Statistics 

National Center for Biotechnology Information  Food Service Employee Alcohol Use, Hangovers and Norms During and After Work Hours

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Coping with Stress

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