Putting Gen Z to Work in Restaurants

Study by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Uncovers What Gen Z Wants in a Restaurant Job or Career - ChooseRestaurants.org/GenZ

Washington, Oct. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Original research released today from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the Center for Generational Kinetics unveiled the prevailing attitudes, perceptions and trends that Gen Z has towards working in the restaurant industry. With job openings in restaurants at a record high, and millions of Gen Zers slated to enter the US workforce, the study was designed to explore the relationship between younger generations and the industry, in order to see if and where the desires of these younger generations overlap with what the industry has to offer.

Attracting and retaining Gen Z is critical to the success of the $800 billion restaurant and foodservice industry. What Gen Zs 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 Zs thrive in workplaces with a positive culture, want diverse management and crave flexibility.

“82 percent of Gen Z surveyed say a restaurant was their first paid job – that’s a tremendous amount of young people who experience what it’s like to work in our industry,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President, NRAEF. “Our new study shows that we have the opportunity to purposefully foster longer-term relationships with Gen Z. We need to make sure every young person who works in our industry has an overall positive experience to encourage them to stay.”

Key findings from the study include:

The Restaurant Industry Is Training – And Keeping – Gen Z
82 percent of Gen Z got their first paid work experience in a restaurant, and that experience is overwhelmingly positive, with Gen Z workers found satisfied with their restaurant work experience by a 64% to 20% margin. 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 our rapidly evolving workforce: flexibility, teamwork, multi-tasking, dependability, industriousness, customer service, and more.

Mentorship Matters
Over 40 percent of Gen Z stated mentors are advantageous to building their confidence and professional skills necessary to advance their careers. 58 percent who have a mentor were in more senior positions compared to 29 percent 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 three 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 the complete white paper and infographic, visit ChooseRestaurants.org/GenZ.


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.

The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. Visit ChooseRestaurants.org. 


42% of Gen Z said a mentor builds their confidence.

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