Fewer Teenagers Are Entering the Workforce – How Can Your Restaurant Adapt?

According to a study by The Brookings Institution, “The teen labor force participation rate reached an all-time peak in 1979 (57.9 percent) and gradually declined until about 2000 when it then dropped precipitously to a 2010–18 plateau of about 35 percent.” Why is that the case and what can you do about it?

More is Expected of Today’s Teenagers

Demands on students have intensified as universities become more competitive and expect candidates for admission to be more well-rounded, taking on activities from community services to sports to the arts. Even in the summer, students are expected to take on additional classes or retake classes to raise their grades.

College is Perceived as a Must

Part of the problem with attracting students to the restaurant industry is that they don’t think of it as a field with career potential. Asking “Would you like fries with that?” at the drive-thru has gained traction as a recurring joke and is a perception that employers must work to overcome. How can this be achieved?

They Don’t See Restaurant Jobs as a Career

While most people don’t want to spend their whole career in a busser or dishwasher role, moving up through the ranks to become a chef, bar manager, or general manager can be lucrative and rewarding careers. Educate teens on these potential career paths and what it takes to achieve them. A big selling point is that they can avoid the massive student loan debt that is crippling people in their twenties and thirties.

Focus on Retention

Once you have teenagers on the payroll, do your best to keep them happy there. Offer flexibility so that they can work around school obligations or even events like prom. When you treat them as individuals with interests and plans, they will be more engaged and likely to stay on longer. Leverage technology to optimize scheduling, such as an app that allows them to check their schedule, swap shifts, or request time off right from their smartphones.

Automate to Offset Labor Shortages

Tabletop tablets allow customers to review the menu, place orders and pay for their meals at their table with minimal interaction with a server. By automating portions of the workload, you can often make do with fewer employees on the floor.

Work with a Top Restaurant Management Recruiter

When you work with Horizon Hospitality, we take the time to understand your restaurant and your recruitment needs. We’ll help you hire restaurant managers who can keep your business fully staffed with talented, dependable people. To learn more about restaurant recruitment options, contact the experts at Horizon Hospitality today.



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