Life as a millennial employee

By 
Dana Moran, Managing Editor

millennial employee handshake

Boy, is it ever fun being a member of the millennial generation. On the one hand, there’s a bevy of seasoned bosses and co-workers who typecast us as lazy, easily distracted, entitled upstarts who don’t value older generations’ experience. And on the other hand, there’s an economy that we entered at the exact wrong time that—while it is recovering—required us to settle for less pay and fewer benefits at the beginning of our careers, stunting our growth trajectory right from the start. (Whoops, there I go playing right into our complain-y stereotype.)

Like us or not, the millennial workforce takeover has arrived. In 2015, Generation Y (those born from roughly 1980 to 1995) surpassed Gen X as the largest employed generation, and by 2020 we’ll represent 46% of U.S. workers. Today’s servers, cashiers, cooks and dishwashers will be tomorrow’s foodservice directors, so it’s imperative to bring quality people on board and train them for success. 

In this special issue, FoodService Director partnered with Restaurant Business magazine and Chicago data firm (and FSD’s sister company) Technomic, together with the California Restaurant Association and Workpop, to zero in on four key personas in the food and beverage industry (See Page 36). The survey respondents—83% of whom were millennials—are looking for a variety of perks, from flexible scheduling to competitive pay to skill development. But they all have one thing in common: They won’t be leaving the workforce anytime soon.

FoodService Director also put a face to the statistics with a look at 30-somethings on the rise within the industry (See Page 51). They include a dietitian who can’t wait to mentor others, a food truck manager who’s always overprepared, and an executive chef who excels at making trends possible. They’re an important reminder that no matter their age, geographic location or personal interests, millennials do have a passion for their careers and the drive to innovate. 

When I entered the workforce in 2007, I was thrilled to be graduating with a job—it didn’t matter that it was in suburban Indiana, or that I wasn’t making great money, or that I worked second shift. I capitalized on my extroverted nature, volunteering for tasks outside my job description and pushing for more creative control. By the time my next gig came calling, I had a well-rounded skill set that made me stand out, and the confidence to sell myself to a new employer. 

My career track would have been much more difficult without co-workers of older generations who, instead of rolling their eyes, recognized my passion and took me under their wing. I hope you’ll take the time to do the same for millennials at your own operation. You never know when you might be changing someone’s life. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Anchorage School District in Anchorage, Alaska, is offering free meals to students this week while schools are closed due to the recent earthquake, KTVA reports.

The meals are being served at nine schools throughout the district between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and are available to anyone 18 and under. The district has provided school buses at each location to allow students to eat inside.

Read the full story via ktva.com .

Industry News & Opinion

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced its final rule on school meal standards .

The final rule builds upon the USDA's changes to school meal standards announced last year . It will keep the sodium Target 1 limits in place through school year 2023-2024, and Target 2 limits will go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year. The final sodium target (Target 3) will be eliminated.

While operators have been able to meet sodium Target 1 limits, many felt that the second two would be difficult to acheive. Over 90% of respondents in a School Nutrition...

Industry News & Opinion

Cafeteria employees throughout northern Ohio are holding an auction to raise funds for their peers in Paradise, Calif., impacted by the wildfires that struck the state earlier this fall , WFMJ reports.

The employees will host an auction this week at Glenwood Junior High School in Boardman, Ohio. Money raised from the event will go to help nutrition staff at schools in Paradise. The items listed in the auction will be donated by local community members.

Read the full story via wfmj.com .

Industry News & Opinion

A cafeteria worker at Smith High School in Greensboro, N.C., has been credited with helping prevent a school shooting , News & Record reports.

Earlier this week, a man entered the cafeteria during lunch through an unlocked door, where he was confronted by a cafeteria employee. The man pulled out a gun, and the employee immediately radioed for help. The man was taken into custody and no one was harmed.

As shootings continue to take place throughout the country, schools are taking extra safety precautions such as participating in active shooter training to help be better...

FSD Resources