Here comes Generation Z – How to manage your restaurant’s youngest workers

The oldest members of Generation Z are fresh out of college, driven, and ready to make an impact on a business. But they have also already lived through two major economic downturns in their relatively short lives, making them more pragmatic than their Millennial predecessors. Entrepreneurially spirited, they will often have a side hustle, and what better industry to offer a flexible schedule than restaurants. But how do you convince them to seriously pursue a career in the restaurant industry?

  • Create a Clear Career Path
  • Don’t Offer Perks, Offer Security
  • Let their strengths shine
  • Get internal communications up to speed
  • Be Willing to Listen

With the proper guidance, Generation Z workers can become creative and ambitious leaders that will drive the restaurant industry forward.

Create a Clear Career Path


Although they are one of the slowest generations to enter the workforce (only about 50% of 18-24 year-olds are currently employed), they will need to find their professional footing somewhere. Help them visualize the long-term opportunities available in the restaurant industry. Managers need to show them as many exciting career paths as possible. In the short-term, set clear milestones for pay raises or promotions to keep them motivated. Mentorship programs are also an excellent way for Generation Z workers to feed their appetite to learn and drive to succeed.

Don’t Offer Perks, Offer Security


When a young person sees the effects of two global recessions, they tend to be unimpressed by frivolous perks like casual uniforms or free break-room snacks. They want security from their job. For them, a steady income and health benefits are far more important than any incentive contest or “hip” work atmosphere. Instead, give them quality healthcare benefits to provide them with peace of mind.

Let Their Strengths Shine


Generation Z was born with a phone in their hand. They intuitively understand not only how to use and adapt to new technologies, but they also get how to creatively apply them to solve problems. At the moment, the restaurant industry is going through a major technology surge. Generation Z will be able to keep that momentum going to help a restaurant stay competitive.

Get Your Internal Communications Up to Speed


Because this generation is constantly connected to technology, they will be less than impressed by low tech internal communications. If you rely on booklets for training or distributing hand-written schedules, it is time to upgrade your communication channels. Most young workers will be accustomed to keeping track of schedules, contacts, documents, and education online. Consider investing in a labor-management software that can keep everyone updated in one place.

Be Willing to Listen


Above all, you should be flexible with these workers and listen to their insight. With their creativity, drive, and vast knowledge of new technologies, you may even learn something new themselves. If your management can empower these workers, you will see the next generation of leadership flourish. But to inspire loyalty to your company and the industry, you’ll need to have the right management team in place. Learn how a specialized restaurant recruiter can help you do just that.

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