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How to Motivate the Unmotivatable Youth of the Restaurant Industry

The secrets to getting millennials to do the impossible ... care about their job
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The history of the restaurant business was built on young adults needing supplemental income for bills and school. Traditionally, these individuals had a very strong work ethic and responsibility to their place of employment. These employee givens are quickly being replaced with a new generation of less motivated kids that would rather spend time making money on a new social media platform from the comforts of their bedroom, than in the exhaustive blue collar world of restaurants.

To combat this, restaurant operators need to pay close attention to the ever-growing tech industry and take heed of all the employee programs they are creating. The tech world is the reality for the next generation of employee and restaurants can stay up to speed by committing to three basic ideas.

Develop of Higher Purpose

If you want to capture the attention of the next generation, you better have a higher mission beyond selling food and delivering hospitality. Whether it’s a charity, a special guest appreciation program, or neighborhood outreach, restaurants better create a reason to trigger loyalty and commitment from their team members that lives outside the four walls of the operation

Create Autonomy

Team members want freedom. This can get tricky in restaurant operations because its not a tech company that will allow you to come and go as you please or work from home. A couple ideas are to have the team members pick their own schedule or choose what position they want to work each day. This keeps it fresh and delivers just enough autonomy for them to feel in control of their own day to day lives.

Outline a path for Mastery

Everyone wants to be good at their job. This is still true with young adults today. Establish a training program that develops the skill set for each position. Try to focus on skills that can achieve that job position but also help the team member in the real world. Create a system for constant feedback. Daily and weekly feedback works. Six month reviews and annual sit downs don’t. Tell team members where they are succeeding and where they need to improve and you will see improvement and reinforced positive behavior.

If you put this in place in your operation, you will have a better culture and a more successful restaurant. If you want to read more about this idea, buy a book called “Drive’ by Daniel Pink. There is also a Ted Talk.

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