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Gen Z Shaping the Future of the Restaurant Industry

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Nate Lozier
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Generation Z, commonly known as Zoomers, encompasses the 83 million individuals born between 1995 and 2012. Raised in an era dominated by social media, the internet, and advanced technology, Gen Z is often referred to as digital natives.

With Gen Z making up a significant portion of the workforce, especially in the restaurant industry where they account for 49% of food service workers, it’s crucial to understand their unique characteristics and expectations. In this article, we’ll explore the changing work expectations of Gen Z and provide tips on how restaurants can adapt to attract and retain top talent.

Tip #1: Embrace Accessibility

To engage with Gen Z, it’s essential to prioritize accessibility. This generation is accustomed to seamless access to smart technology, so restaurants should offer convenient options such as online platforms and QR codes that can be accessed from any device. Embracing video call interviews and alternative communication channels can also facilitate meaningful engagement with this tech-savvy demographic.

Tip #2: Highlight a Larger Purpose

Gen Z seeks meaning and purpose in their work. Restaurants can attract and retain these employees by emphasizing the bigger picture. Highlight commitments to sustainability, farm-to-table practices, and other socially responsible initiatives to showcase the positive impact the business is making. By aligning with Gen Z’s values, restaurants can motivate employees and foster deeper engagement.

Tip #3: Cater to Instant Gratification

Gen Z grew up with instant access to information and services, leading to a desire for immediate results and satisfaction. During the hiring process, emphasize employee benefits that offer instant gratification, such as fast pay options, sign-on bonuses, and employee discounts. Meeting their need for immediate rewards can help attract and retain Gen Z talent.

Tip #4: Provide Advanced Training

Gen Z values skill development and career growth. Restaurants can position themselves as attractive employers by offering advanced training opportunities such as culinary, barista, and business training. Highlight the valuable skills gained through restaurant experience, such as customer service and conflict resolution. By investing in employee skill development, restaurants can showcase their commitment to growth and advancement.

Tip #5: Prioritize Mental Health

Mental health has become increasingly important in the workplace, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Recognize the demanding nature of the industry and offer mental health support to employees. This can range from providing access to meditation apps to promoting regular discussions about mental well-being. By demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being, restaurants can differentiate themselves and create an attractive work environment.

Tip #6: Foster Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion

Gen Z places high value on diversity, equality, and inclusion. Bridge the gap between generations in the kitchen by promoting a culture that values communication and respect. Provide coaching and training to address generational differences and ensure a harmonious working environment. By fostering diversity, equality, and inclusion, restaurants can create an inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and supported.


As Gen Z enters the workforce, their impact on the restaurant industry is significant. By understanding their expectations and adapting to their needs, restaurants can attract and retain top Gen Z talent. Embracing accessibility, highlighting purpose, catering to instant gratification, providing advanced training, prioritizing mental health, and fostering diversity, equality, and inclusion are essential strategies for success. By aligning with the values and aspirations of Gen Z, restaurants can thrive in this new era of the workforce.