The Aging of America’s Restaurant Workforce

According to some recent stats by Black Box Intelligence and The People Report Workforce Index, a quarterly barometer of market pressures on employment practices for the restaurant industry, America’s restaurant workforce median age is on the rise.

No longer are the typical high school-aged teenagers we’re used to seeing behind a counter serving up dishes to guests, as the face of the restaurant service industry is shifting from teenagers to 20-somethings and beyond.

The landscape now shows that the median age for restaurant workers varies from 22 years old for quick service restaurant companies to 25.5 years old for upscale casual/fine dining concepts. Furthermore, a quarter of those upscale casual/fine dining employees are 30 years or older and on average 28 years old for quick service restaurants. And the trend is expected to steadily rise in the future.

Sure, you may be thinking that as your restaurant employees start checking off the next age bracket they might request a higher salary than the typical teen, but it’s worth taking a look at your forecasted business plan to review the benefits of creating a team where many of your players are not still playing high school varsity football. From advantages such as having the benefit of life experience and having more at stake in wanting (and many times needing) to keep their jobs, these substantial reasons could pave the way for the success of your staff, management, and the business as a whole.

So to keep your business growing, you should continue training staff and improving upon set service standards. Be a hands-on role model and complete tasks alongside employees as they train in order to not only perform as a team, but to ensure your brand concept is carried through each undertaking. Making them feel like a respected part of the organization is crucial for loyalty and longevity, and the overall benefit of your guests and your business.