The 4-Day Workweek Has Reached F&B

4-day work week

Insomnia Cookies recently became the latest company to announce a growing trend in the workforce: a four-day workweek.

Many businesses, and even schools, have dropped the standard five-day week for a more desirable schedule for workers. This, of course, entails longer hours for four days out of the week, but it also grants people longer weekends and more time with friends and family.

While three-day weekends sound amazing, some labor experts wonder if the “4 10s” scheduling model is truly feasible long-term. Some wonder aloud: Will productivity suffer with four-day workweeks? Will workers be significantly happier?

One thing’s for certain: there are no shortages of opinion on the topic.

The Switch 

Recently, Restaurant Business noted that Insomnia Cookies’ headquarters will be closed on Fridays, and staff members there will now work nine hours per day, Monday through Thursday.

A corporate office is one thing, but is it possible for restaurants to have staff members work just four days a week? The New York Times noted that multiple restaurants have made that scheduling model work for them, including Hearthside in New Jersey.

After staffing shortages during the pandemic forced him to cut back hours and eventually close his doors for a brief period, chef and owner Dominic Piperno realized that his employees seemed happier with the limited hours, the New York Times noted. The long hours that the restaurant business is accustomed to can quickly lead to burnout.

So, Piperno decided to cut back to four days of service, from Wednesday through Saturday.

“That way of life is just not sustainable anymore,” Piperno said.

The Impact on Productivity

This isn’t the first time that The Food Institute has analyzed this issue. Back in 2022, we discovered there are mixed opinions on it, but the consensus does seem to be that it leads to happier employees.

Cupid PR has transitioned to a 4-day workweek and, according to co-founder Mark McShane, productivity has not been an issue.

“Our transition to a 4-day week at Cupid PR has changed the way we work for the better – not only have productivity levels soared and employee happiness rocketed, (but) it has revolutionized the company,” McShane recently told FI. 

CupidPR saw a 40% increase in project completion rates and 30% increase in client satisfaction scores, McShane noted, adding:

The shorter workweek encourages more focused work habits, diminishing procrastination and increasing output.”

Bill Catlette, partner at Contented Cow Partners, also sees a negligible impact on productivity from a condensed schedule.

“From a purely business standpoint, people who are psychologically engaged in their work are more productive; they get more done,” Catlette said.

The additional two hours per shift many have added to their Monday-Thursday schedules are not “unduly taxing,” he added, especially for those that commute and would be able to come into the office one less day per week. After all, those workers tend to save time and money by being off one extra day per week.

The Impact on Happiness

Lisa Richards, CEO and Creator of the Candida Diet, said her company switched to a four-day workweek and that the mood of her team has “skyrocketed.”

“Employees are spending more time with their families, engaging in their hobbies actively, and taking better care of themselves, all of which we have seen increase our, thus far, exceptionally healthy workplace even further,” Richards said

Yasin Arafat, founder & CEO of DOPPCALL, said shorter work weeks are a benefit and will make people happier in the long run.

“The idea of having an additional day off to unwind and enjoy life outside of work is incredibly appealing,” Arafat said. “It would likely lessen the stress and anxiety that often comes with a continuous five-day grind​​.”

 McShane says that additional non-working time for the employees of large corporations increases community involvement, and is good for the environment, since less commuting translates to reduced carbon emissions.

Four-day workweeks can be a valuable recruiting tool for companies and are especially appealing to candidates who have children. Richards found that condensed workweeks have resulted in a 15% decline in absenteeism.

“Should we see such a trend everywhere, we would undoubtedly be living in an era where people live longer, happier and more healthy lives,” Richards said. “As a committed business leader … I can’t help but think that we’re doing much too little to instigate change that goes beyond just advancing our financial bottom line.”