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Businesses today spend considerable time and money determining how best to cater to Millennial customers. And it's true that members of this demographic segmentage 23 to 38 this year-can be tricky to figure out.

They can also be difficult to manage, in that their work expectations and motivations differ from previous generations. And as the next cohort, Generation Z, enters the work force at a time of record low unemployment, the hospitality industry faces increasing challenges in finding, training and retaining employees.

This issue came up frequently at beverage industry events this spring. How do we attract team members and reduce staff turnover?

Several attendees at the Cheers Editorial Advisory Board meeting in May, held in Chicago during The National Restaurant Association show, stressed the importance listening to these younger employees and trying to understand their needs.

For instance, many of these folks "work to live" and just want to clock in and clock out. Employers that aim to offer work/life balance and a path to personal fulfillment can help workers feel more engaged and satisfied.

What's more, younger staffers in the hospitality industry often lack "life skills," such as personal financial management. Including some of these topics as part of the training process can build confidence and loyalty.

Education in general can help boost job satisfaction: People want to learn, and Millennial are naturally curious about how and why to do things.

And when bartenders or servers are confident when talking about wine, beer, spirits or different brands, they're happier at work and more effective at selling.

Keep in mind, though, that many younger workers are not necessarily motivated by money. Millennial are drawn to a stong company culture, and want to feel like they are making a difference in the world.

They also use technology more extensively than previous generations; social networks are a part of their daily lives. Use this to your advantage rather than fight it.

During an NRA panel titled The Future of Dining, one foodservice executive noted that he fully expects younger workers to be on their smartphones 10% of the time that they're at work. And that's fine, he said-provided that they know they need to give him 110% while they're on the job.

Perhaps most Important with younger workers entering the restaurant industry: Teach them to think of this as a real job.


Melissa Dowling


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Title Annotation:FIRST SIP
Author:Dowling, Melissa
Date:Jun 1, 2019
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