Young people in foodservice, in their own words:

Aidan Fisher, 21 years old

Fisher has worked as a customer service associate for a national foodservice retailer for over five years. He has spoken to peers about their experiences working in foodservice, and shares his take on what matters most to him at work.

JOB SATISFACTION AND A SENSE OF BELONGING

“To keep your young employees happy you must make sure that you treat them with respect and make them feel comfortable. Making someone feel welcome in the workplace is very important, especially if they are new.”

“As employees, we want to be enthusiastic about our workplace and make it known that we’re interested in making the customer happy. Engaging makes customers want to come back to the store, and lets them know that it is a friendly environment. We want to engage with customers and our managers.”

Meaghan Oliver, 24 years old

“My very first job in the restaurant industry was six years ago when I was 18 at Swiss Chalet as a server. It was a great job where the hours were short, but I made decent money. I was working alongside ladies who have been in the industry for decades as well as a couple of girls my age. Such a fun time!”

TRAINING

“Almost everything we learn in this industry comes from experience; almost everything you learn comes from being on the floor, from your boss and your co-workers.”

HAPPINESS FACTOR

“I absolutely adore this industry. Everything about it, really. Especially being on the FOH side of it; interacting with people, it’s fast paced, and time goes by super-fast. I make connections with people, I indulge in good conversation and I make good money in a short amount of time. Even when I’ve tried other jobs I continue to come back to this industry.”

“If working at the right place, the establishment can feel like a second family.”

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

“A lot of places have rotating/random schedules where it makes it hard for anyone in the industry to plan a life. Also, adding the option of benefits would be greatly appreciated. Show your employees that you care about their well-being and they’ll show you their appreciation by being a great worker!”

Christina Oest, 21 years old

CONNECTIONS

“You get to know regular customers and they become like your friends. You can learn a lot from people. One of them became my motorcycle instructor. Also, free food! Knowing how to handle difficult people is very important. I think working in customer service, in general, has greatly improved my ability to handle conflicts (among customers or co-workers), which isn’t something you can learn out of a book, but requires a lot of experience to be able to read a situation and act accordingly.”

CONSUMING IN THE INDUSTRY

“Younger customers will eventually become older customers. No matter what your preconceived notions of youth today, you need to treat them with exactly the same amount of respect that you treat older customers.”

Want to know more about attracting young people as employees and customers? Check out our article on Engaging the Next Generation.