Generation Z and Foodservice: How To Recruit and Retain

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rsz_alphabet-2051643_1920Move over millennials, Generation Z is here!

Consisting of those born in the mid-90’s and later, Generation Z makes up just under 26% of the population. They are tech-savvy, great at multi-tasking, crave individuality, and differ greatly from Generation Y – aka millennials. So how can the foodservice industry start to recruit and retain this group of the population as they become increasingly eligible to join the workforce? Understanding some key characteristics of a Gen Z-er will help when developing new recruiting strategies and learning how to retain these individuals in a foodservice operation.

Recruit With Technology

It’s important to remember that Gen Z grew up with technology and never experienced the world without it, making them more connected than any other generation. On average, they use their smartphones 15.4 hours per week – more than any other type of device. Being able to reach them where they spend the most time is essential so if your recruiting strategy still relies almost solely on career fairs, flyers around campus, or word of mouth, it’s time to up your recruitment game. Make sure jobs are posted and promoted online but get creative to capture their attention.

Video is as hot as your chef’s signature jalapeno poppers right now, so create and share a fun, creative, and engaging recruiting video on YouTube – Gen Z’s favorite website. Also think about live-streaming a recruiting message so the Z’s  can see you, easily understand what you’re all about, and interact with you directly. Despite their affection for technology, they actually prefer face-to-face communication.

Recruit With Value

This generation is aware of and worried about the impact their actions have on society and keep that top of mind when researching companies to work for. They want to know their employer is socially responsible and that the work they do will make a difference. When marketing to this group, emphasize your company’s mission statement, core values, and any socially-conscious activities you’re involved in. Maybe you’ve made significant strides to go green for the sake of the environment, or you cater an annual event to raise money for the community. If so, share this on social media or in a company blog – but always remember to stay humble.


Retain Through Training and Long-Term Career Growth Options

Through constant training and professional development, Gen Z is more likely to stick with your foodservice operation in the long run. Technology-based training tends to be the most effective since they’re extremely comfortable with a variety of devices but hands-on, in-the-field training will keep them comfortable in their roles as they continue to learn and grow within your company. And make sure growth opportunities are known and emphasize a clear career path. Otherwise, Gen Z will find someone who can offer them what they want elsewhere.

Retain With a Culture of Encouragement and Recognition

Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done, and there’s no difference with Generation Z. However, they also require constant feedback on how they’re doing overall. Keep them engaged by regularly reviewing their progress, recent work, and accomplishments and if you need to share negative feedback, do it constructively and encourage them to get better. The sandwich approach is a great way to do this – first offer positive feedback, second share the constructive criticism, and finally, end on a positive note.

Another great way to create a desirable environment for Gen Z is to recognize employees for going above and beyond their daily responsibilities. For example, a catering supervisor always creates employee schedules a week in advance but notices that since it’s graduation season, the calendar is booked with events back-to-back for the next month. Said catering supervisor decides to complete the employee schedule for the next month so he or she can focus on higher priorities during the busy season. Something like this can be recognized by giving this supervisor a big thank you for going above and beyond for the betterment of the business.


Gear Up For Gen Z

Understanding how to reach the now youngest generation in the workforce is important as Gen Z begins to fill open positions throughout the foodservice industry. Tailoring your recruiting and marketing strategies to appeal to them will prove beneficial as the industry evolves with the addition of this new group of eligible employees with fresh eyes and fresh ideas.

Have you welcomed any members of Generation Z into your foodservice operation yet? If so, have you noticed how the use of technology has left such a big impact on their daily lives? Keep them happy and engaged with catering management software that will streamline your foodservice operation to help you better manage your business, and keep your new employees around for the long haul. Book a demo today to see how CaterTrax benefits thousands of foodservice operations already.

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