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I Love Millennials in the Food Industry!

people Sep 05, 2017

I think that millennials are perfect for our industry.  I know that many people may think that I am crazy or that maybe I don’t know enough millennials to understand how terrible it is.  I have heard so many complaints about them that I do understand your pain.  I have to say that I also know millennials very well.  Not only have I worked with them, my franchisee clients have lots of them and I even have three of them at home.  One of them is 22 and I have 17 year-old twins.  All three of them are part of the American workforce and two of them in the food industry.  Not only do I love spending time with them but their friends think that I am “cool”.  A couple of days ago my 22 year old daughter asked me to go to go to lunch with one of the friends that she is considering being roomates with.  Yesterday my 17 year old son asked if I would play a board game with him and his two buddies and my daughter likes to bring her boyfriend to my home office just to “chat”.  What makes my experience different than most?  I think that it is the fact that I like to understand their perspective, their motivations, their goals and aspirations.  I talk to them as the smart individuals that they are and love having open discussions with them.  I also love teaching them everything I can and they are willing to learn.

Here are my top 5 tips to lead millennials to success:

  1. Treat them Respect – Sometimes because they are young we treat them like kids, but the reality is that if they are old enough to have a job, they are old enough to be treated like adults.  Many of them know more about things that we do because they are avid learners and google researchers.  For example, I think that my son can explain how an engine works and why as well as a mechanic that has been fixing them for years.  If you treat them with respect they will do the same. 
  2. Provide Clear expectations – If you provide them with clear expectations from the day you interview them and then hold them accountable to that expectation every day, they are more likely to meet that expectation.  Make sure that you ask the right questions and that they are willing to fulfill their responsibilities.  If it is not a fit from day one, it will never be, so don’t offer them the job.  Give them the space to tell you that they don’t want the job or that if their circumstances changed after they are working for you, so that they can resign with dignity.  Just remember that you will get an abundance of that which you will tolerate.  So, don’t allow them to change the rules, especially if it affects your business. I truly believe that if you expect them to be great that they will rise to that expectation.
  3.  Give them Flexibility – Provide flexibility everywhere you can.  Something that Millennials are teaching us is that we should work to live and not live to work.  I think that this is a fantastic lesson.  We can do a great job when we are at work, but when we are off we should enjoy the other aspects of our life.  Provide flexibility in their schedule that still takes care of your business needs.  Provide flexibility in exchanging shifts between coworkers.  Provide flexibility of positions.  They don’t like to be bored doing the same thing every day, but ask if they want to, because some may not.
  4. Incentivize good behavior – Millennials want to know that they are doing a good job.  They have grown up hearing from their parents how wonderful they are.  If they don’t hear that from you, they may believe that you don’t care about them or that they are not doing a good job and this will diminish their motivation and enthusiasm at work.  It doesn’t cost you a penny to say, “Great job!” but you could get loyalty and commitment in return if you do. Set goals and give the team rewards if they accomplish those goals.  You’ll be surprised how much goodwill a basket full of cookies can get you!
  5.  Give them opportunity to grow – If your millennials know that if they stay with you and do a good job they have the chance to not only learn different positions within your business, but on top of that they have a clear path to becoming a shift leader, assistant manager of even a General Manager, they will do their best to show you that they deserve it.  Teach them the skills necessary to succeed and they will step up to make it happen if that is their career calling.

Being the leader of millennials does take a little more of active leadership, care and consideration, but what you get in return is a fun work environment full of young millennials that can teach us how to live a better quality of life and how to run our business in a more relaxed and fun environment.  I think that this is something to embrace.

 Wishing you great success!


Aicha Bascaro is a 30-year veteran in the franchise industry and the author of the #1 Amazon Best Selling book “The Franchise Fix”. Aicha offers a few complimentary Consultation Sessions every week. If you are interested, schedule your session here: Aicha's Calendar