Corporate Culture, Employer Branding

Restaurant Industry Trends: What Does It Take to Attract Gen Z?

With job openings in restaurants at a record high, and millions of Gen Zers slated to enter the U.S. workforce, a new study was conducted to explore the relationship between younger generations and the restaurant industry, in order to see if and where the desires of these younger generations overlap with what the industry has to offer.restaurant

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the Center for Generational Kinetics most recent study uncovers the prevailing attitudes, perceptions, and trends that Gen Z has towards working in the restaurant industry.

Attracting and retaining Gen Z is critical to the success of the $800 billion restaurant and foodservice industry. What Gen Zers want in a job or career is strikingly different from previous generations, including Millennials. They are more pragmatic, prefer face-to-face discussions, and seek financial security.  On the job, Gen Zers thrive in workplaces with a positive culture, want diverse management, and crave flexibility.

Key findings from the study include:

The Restaurant Industry Is Training—and Keeping—Gen Z

Eighty-two percent of Gen Z got their first paid work experience in a restaurant, and that experience is overwhelmingly positive, according to 64% of Gen Z workers who say they were satisfied with their restaurant work experience. Around one-third of them aspire to become restaurant owners, managers, and operators.

Restaurants Provide Gen Z with 21st Century Skills

Gen Z makes clear that restaurants teach the practical, transferable skills required for success in this rapidly evolving workforce: flexibility, teamwork, multitasking, dependability, industriousness, customer service, and more.

Mentorship Matters

Over 40% of Gen Zers claim mentors are advantageous to building their confidence and professional skills necessary to advance their careers. Fifty-eight percent who have a mentor were in more senior positions compared to 29% of those who had never had a mentor.

Culture Is King

Gen Z has a strong desire to be part of an active, creative, collaborative, and flexible work environment. The top cultural traits found to be important for a Gen Zer’s ideal job include recognition, flexibility, and a team atmosphere. Over half of Gen Z expect to make more money in the first 3 months and receive a promotion within the first year.

Reputation Matters

Gen Z wants to be part of a restaurant or business that has high ethics, appreciates diversity, and a positive reputation in the community. Respondents expect a safe work environment where everyone is respected and treated fairly.

How Gen Z Finds Jobs

Good old-fashioned word of mouth from family and friends is still highly effective in determining where Gen Z applies to work, with social media being an additional important resource.  With so many jobs to choose from and companies aggressively recruiting Gen Z, they also expect an application process that is seamless, easy, and positive.

For more information on this study, or to view the full findings, click here.