While many people think that Generation Z is mostly kids, the truth is that the oldest among this generation are in their early to mid-twenties. Gen Z has already entered the workforce. You likely already have people from this generation working for you, and if you don’t, you will soon.
So: Are you ready for Gen Z in your kitchen?
Who is Gen Z?
People argue about the exact year that the Millennial generation ends and Gen Z begins, but it’s widely accepted that the earliest members of Gen Z were born around 1997 and the youngest around 2013. This means that Gen Z was never without an internet connection, most received their first cell phone when they were still young, and they frequently use their smartphones in personal, social, and professional areas of their lives.
- Smartphones vs. laptops: 95% of Gen Z own a smartphone, while only 83% own a laptop
- Gen Z is more ethnically and racially diverse compared to older generations
- Lack of work experience: only 34% of teens held a job in 2015 (compared with 60% in 1979)
Gen Z’s unique characteristics mean that restaurants need to have new strategies that are compatible with the values, motivations, and needs of their new employees.
Millennials vs. Gen Z
Millennials share a lot of similarities with their younger peers. For example, the majority of both Millennials and Gen Z report that they spend more time communicating digitally than in person on a given day, and both generations agree that diversity is important.
The key takeaway with Gen Z? They always take it further.
Millennials may be savvy with technology, but Gen Z is digital natives. Millennials may agree with Gen Z on racial and ethnic diversity, but Gen Z is more open to different gender identities. And look out for those college diplomas because Gen Z is more likely to attend college than their Millennial counterparts.
Beyond these differences, there is the obvious fact that Millennials are older. Most Millennials are in their thirties, and many may be in managerial roles as the next generation enters the workforce. This means that Millennial managers are in a unique position to leverage their similarities to create effective connections and retain these new team members.
Gen Z’s Experience, Values, and Strengths
When preparing to guide a new generation into the workforce, older approaches may not be as effective. It’s important to tailor your strategies to Gen Z’s experience, values, and strengths.
(Lack of) Experience
Although Gen Z is more educated and more driven by achievement than previous generations, they also lack work experience. As this generation ages, this trend is only predicted to continue, with fewer and fewer Gen Zers holding a job in their teens.
This means that chefs and restaurant managers are going to find themselves in the position of hiring more employees who do not have previous work experience. When put in this position how do you prepare a candidate for success in their new position?
Communication is key.
This is particularly true in the onboarding process. One study recommends giving new employees a “realistic job preview” which “increases motivation and decreases turnover.” The more clear you are with your expectations, the more likely your new employee will be able to meet and exceed them.
Don’t forget that communication works both ways. Not only is it important for you to communicate with your new employees, but it’s crucial that you provide them with opportunities for open communication and feedback to answer questions and keep everyone on track.
Gen Z Values Freedom and Flexibility
One-size-fits-all? Not for Gen Z.
This generation values diversity in all its forms, and they are individuals at heart. While this may be frustrating for managers, this is actually a strength that Gen Z is bringing to your workplace. With the proper approach, you can integrate this generation’s energy and unique ideas to bolster your existing team.
Gen Z wants to be taken seriously in the workplace. This means they want honest, transparent leadership that will take their suggestions into account. It might sound like this generation thinks they already know everything there is, but that couldn’t be further from the truth: they actually seek out work environments that provide mentorship and the opportunity to develop professional skills.
But remember—this mentorship needs to be tailored to the individual.
When you pay attention to their values, you’ll be able to provide Gen Z with a workplace where they can grow and develop into some of the most valuable members of your team.
Technology: Gen Z’s Superpower
Technology is part of Gen Z’s identity. From their first steps, they have been brought up with the latest technology, oftentimes understanding it better than their parents. Gen Z expects that they won’t have to lose access to their smart devices when they enter the workforce, and smart managers will learn how to work with, instead of against, this generation’s superpower.
In traditional kitchens, this desire to hold onto technology poses a problem. Frequently, kitchens use clipboards and binders to communicate recipes and prep tasks. If technology is being used, it’s by a chef in a cluttered office space, using spreadsheets to keep track of inventory and COGS.
For kitchen teams to benefit from the strengths this new generation can provide, the way they communicate needs to change. Opsi is here to help.
How opsi Supports Gen Z
Opsi facilitates communication.
With opsi, you don’t have to worry if your team is checking their emails every day. We put our communications channels in the same app where everything else your team needs is.
Not only are your messages and announcements more accessible to everyone, but your team also knows where they can reach you with questions.
Opsi makes onboarding simple.
Because opsi provides easy access to all important documents on your smartphone, tablet, or other devices, it’s smooth sailing for new hires. With clear expectations and so many resources at their fingertips, Gen Z will gain confidence in no time.
Opsi plays to Gen Z’s strengths and values.
Because opsi lives on your phone, your team gives your team access to everything they need in one place. And, opsi has an intuitive interface, so even people who didn’t grow up with technology will be able to navigate it with ease.
With opsi, you can provide photos and videos in addition to written instructions to cater to multiple learning styles, and you can hyperlink recipes to task lists so that your team can see the whole picture.
These features will streamline operations for your whole kitchen and will help Generation Z get acclimated to your restaurant. Plus, opsi is always working to add new features to keep your kitchen at the cutting edge.
Ready? Set. Go!
Opsi is here to get your kitchen up to speed with the latest culinary technology.