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Top Tips for Hiring and Training Gen Z Restaurant Staff

Top Tips for Hiring and Training Gen Z Restaurant Staff

Picture of Nikol Moen

Nikol Moen

Dive into how to best hire, train, and motivate some of the younger team members in a restaurant. Provide pointers on what may resonate best with Gen Z, like technology tools.

Believe it or not, the number of Gen Z workers is slated to surpass the Baby Boomer workforce this year! Both generations include around 17 million workers in the U.S. workforce, with Gen Z workers on the rise. How exactly does that impact the restaurant industry? As more Gen Zers begin to — or continue to — work in restaurants, managers and leaders need to know how best hire and train this cohort of employees to keep them engaged, motivated, and performing their best day-in and day-out. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the best tips for hiring Gen Z workers and, more importantly, how to best train this tech-forward generation. Let’s get started!

Understanding Gen Z’s Work Style

Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is the first generation of “digital natives” who don’t know life before the internet. While some may negatively stereotype this generation as plugged in online, but disconnected in the real world, there’s research that proves otherwise. 

According to the research of Roberta Katz, a senior research scholar at Stanford who conducted a years-long study to find out what matters to Gen Z and why, Gen Z inherently has unique characteristics that make them a wonderful, creative addition to the workforce. Here’s what she says we can expect from this new generation workforce.


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Gen Z is pragmatic.

Because they’ve lived in a world where the answer is a simple Google search away, Gen Z approaches work very logically. They work best when they understand why something is done the way it is done — and they aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo if it doesn’t make sense.

They’re adaptable.

As the restaurant industry undergoes a technology evolution, Gen Z is an amazing asset to help push technology initiatives forward. They’re unafraid of new technology — in fact, they expect change. They’ve grown up in a fast-paced, always evolving world of technology. Plus, their pragmatism makes Gen Z quite adaptable. Since they’re always searching for the “why” behind the way things are done, they’re not afraid to try new things that challenge the status quo.

And they’re collaborative.

In addition to their pragmatism and adaptability, Gen Z values collaboration. While the stereotype of this generation is their disconnection in real-life relationships, that perceived idea could not be farther from the truth. They’re socially connected — especially online — and could be your largest asset in keeping your internal restaurant newsfeed buzzing with collaborative ideas and engagement.

Tips on Hiring Gen Z Restaurant Staff

One of the best ways to attract highly motivated Gen Zers is by using modern recruiting techniques. Gone are the days of door-to-door resume drop-offs. These days your online presence matters to both customers and future hires. Here are a few ways you can attract Gen Z to work with your restaurant brand:

  • Embrace technology in recruitment. Leverage social media platforms and online job boards to reach Gen Z candidates where they spend most of their time. Use engaging visuals and videos to showcase your restaurant’s culture and values.

  • Highlight growth opportunities. Gen Z employees are ambitious and eager to learn. Clearly communicate opportunities for career advancement and skill development during the hiring process to attract top talent. Implementing a digital training program can help clearly outline growth opportunities for new Gen Z employees.
  • Foster diversity and inclusion. Gen Z values diversity and inclusivity. Create a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture that celebrates differences and encourages collaboration among team members. For example, make sure any training and communication you provide to team members is available in multiple languages so that every team member feels connected to your brand’s mission.

Best Practices When Training Gen Z Staff

Once you’ve hired on new staff members, it’s important to make sure your onboarding and ongoing training practices are as modernized as your recruiting practices. Here are some ways to ensure Gen Z employees are engaged during the training process:

  • DIY learning tracks. According to Stanford’s research, Gen Z will “readily seek out the answer for themselves” when they want to know more about something. This makes DIY training a must-have when onboarding new hires. Give Gen Z a library of learning video courses as reference material they can use over and over again as they learn your brand’s processes.

  • Interactive and visual courses. Incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, and interactive modules into your training programs. Gen Z learns best through visual and hands-on experiences.

  • Gamification. Gamify the training process by turning learning modules into interactive games or competitions. This not only makes training more engaging but also enhances knowledge retention.

  • Bite-sized learning. Break down training materials into digestible chunks to accommodate Gen Z’s short attention spans. Short, focused training sessions are more effective than lengthy lectures.

How to Motivate and Retain Gen Z Staff

Once your team has been hired and trained, the most important thing you can do is motivate your employees to encourage them to stick around. Here are a few ways you can empower Gen Z team members at your restaurant:

  • Provide regular feedback. Gen Z craves feedback and recognition for their work. Implement a feedback system that offers real-time feedback and celebrates achievements to keep them motivated.

  • Offer flexibility. Flexible work schedules and remote work options are highly valued by Gen Z employees. Empower them to balance work and personal life effectively.


  • Invest in technology tools. Equip your restaurant with modern technology tools for streamlined operations, such as mobile POS systems, online ordering platforms, and communication apps. Gen Z appreciates efficiency and innovation in the workplace.


Incorporating these tips into your hiring, training, and motivation strategies will not only attract top Gen Z talent but also foster a productive and engaged workforce in your restaurant. By embracing technology and adapting to the preferences of this generation, you’ll set your restaurant up for success in the digital age. Remember, understanding and catering to the unique needs of Gen Z employees is key to building a thriving restaurant team for the future.