The Fast Food Worker Challenge

High turnover, low unemployment rates and a more capable senior workforce has created a number of new hiring dynamics.

Senior Holding Fries

The fast food industry is seeing a convergence of trends impacting its hiring practices. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2035 there will be more workers 65-74 then under 18 years of age. This is contributing a growing trend of fast food restaurants targeting senior citizens over teenagers to fill open positions. 

One of the key reasons for this shift is not just the growing numbers, but the fact that many of these older workers have more polished social skills than younger applicants who grew up with more technology and fewer interpersonal interactions. Simple communication skills help in improving customer service and dissolving potential disputes. 

Additionally, with the unemployment rate sitting at a nearly 50-year low of 3.7 percent, fast food franchises are also struggling to compete in the labor market. Their solution has entailed throwing hiring parties. 

One example is Taco Bell. An Indiana location recently invited job seekers to its’ restaurant for games, nacho fries, frozen drinks and gift cards. They could also interview on the spot and learn about the company’s benefits. Taco Bell reportedly hired nearly 75 in-person applicants as a result of the job fiesta. 

Shake Shack started hosting pop-up parties before a store opening. The restaurant gives away t-shirts, sunglasses and other merchandise and food. They’ve been able to hire as many as 40 percent of their staff as result of these events, which can be up to 60 total employees.

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