Bar in the canton of Zurich

The working hours in the hospitality sector are demanding: we work until three in the morning at the weekend. Things are quieter in the week, but then you might suddenly have lots of guests – and we have to cope with this, we cannot simply share the work out. We do a lot of physical work, like carrying bottles up from the cellar, and are constantly on our feet.

Balz Coray, Partner and Managing Director

Gamper Bar, Zurich
Year founded
Number of employees

Clear processes help us prevent accidents in stressful situations

Some of our employees have had injuries too. A cut maybe, nothing too serious – but all the same. That's why I’m keen on good processes, orderliness and cleanliness. We’re not allowed to simply set crates of beverages down in corridors or leave knives lying around: colleagues are less attentive when under stress and this is when accidents happen.

It’s important to me that employees have a work-life balance

Our first priority is the welfare of our guests. We must always be friendly, listen and show an interest. Our employees have to let their own needs take a back seat, and it's not always easy to find the right balance. With this in mind, I arrange working hours, where possible, such that employees also have three days off in a row now and again. This gives them a chance to enjoy sport or go out for a meal.

Balz Coray in his bar
If I create a pleasant atmosphere at work, everyone benefits: guests, employees and me as an employer.

When and how do I give feedback?

I like to encourage honest and direct communication within our team: problems shouldn't be allowed to build up, and I like to identify when things aren't going so well. I don’t always find it easy to express criticism and give feedback myself. As the boss, should I give feedback on the spot or talk about it on another occasion? What questions should and can I ask, particularly when a personal matter is involved? I need to make a decision on a case-by-case basis – and we don't always find an immediate answer to some questions. But that’s OK.

My next goal is to have a separate break room

At weekends, we barely have time for a break. I'd like to improve this in future: more breaks, a separate break room where people can retreat to, and a healthy and varied range of food.

Everyone benefits in the long term from a good atmosphere at work

If I create a pleasant atmosphere at work, everyone benefits: the guests are happy, and employees enjoy coming to work, are healthy and show loyalty to me as their employer. In a sector where good staff are hard to find, health can become something of a competitive advantage.