How Retirees Can Fill Restaurant Staffing Gaps
Where have all the workers gone? In most cases, they’ve moved on to different industries or retired. But recent statistics show that older adults who retired during the pandemic are reentering the workforce — often in the form of part-time work — and they could be the answer to many staffing woes at quick-serve restaurants.
The industry has traditionally targeted young workers who want flexibility and lack higher paying options. But older workers who want to make extra cash, stay busy, and interact with people might be an increasingly good fit. While people of any age have their own qualities, there are many benefits people often overlook in this hiring pool.
Evenings and weekends are the best times for most teens, college students, and other young adults, but day shifts still need to be filled. Without school or child care responsibilities, older adults are more likely to be available to fill morning and afternoon weekday time slots. If you can offer a semi consistent schedule, many older workers will also consider it a great draw.
Some older workers might not have experience working in the restaurant industry, but they do have decades of experience participating in the workforce. Younger workers often have to learn professional skills on the job, but older workers already have many of them down. They generally know how to accept feedback, manage conflict, arrive on time, and provide good customer service. Those skills are some of the most challenging to teach, and learning to operate the register is a breeze by comparison.
Younger generations are more prone to job-hopping than older ones, meaning that statistically, a baby boomer will stick around longer than a member of Gen Z. Younger workers are usually focused on building a career. Many will go on to buy homes, have
children, and, in many cases, move away from the quick-serve restaurant industry. No one can continue working forever, so older workers will eventually retire, but they are still likely to give you more value for money in terms of hiring and training costs.
If you’re struggling with staffing and not currently targeting retirees, it’s time to reconsider. The team you need could be ready and waiting — but first, you must go looking for them.