Best Practices on How to Manage Multiple Generations at Your Restaurant

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations

Managing a bar or restaurant full of employees can be tough. With such a big mix of personalities and work styles, there’s bound to be some tension. But things can become even more heightened when you take into account the different generations you have to manage! Now that people live and work longer, you may soon find yourself facing as many as five different generations at your bar or restaurant! Employees who were born in different times can have different communication styles and attitudes. And when you add new technologies into the mix, things can get even trickier.

Even if it’s difficult, it’s still your job to effectively manage everyone in your restaurant. First, it’s important to keep in mind the general trends and beliefs of each generation. Out of the three generations you’re most likely to encounter right now, you’ve probably heard the most lately about Millennials, or people born after 1978. Millennials are creative thinkers with big ideas, and they enjoy multi-tasking and using new technology. However, they also tend to have big expectations for their employers.

People who belong to Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1977) tend to be a bit more skeptical of authority and, along with Millennials, they don’t care as much about formality as older generations do. They don’t like being micromanaged. It’s also worth noting that Gen Xers are the most likely to be dealing with both children and aging parents, and they may need to take more time off to deal with their lives outside of work.

Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, tend to be more competitive. They’re financially driven and view long hours as just another part of the job, which makes them extremely reliable. However, they may have a hard time taking direction from younger employees, and they didn’t grow up with the technology that Millennials and Gen Xers did.

So what can you do to manage every generation effectively? First, you may find it helpful to tailor your training. Baby boomers might prefer more traditional methods, while Millennials may enjoy more interactive training.

You should also encourage all employees to work together and learn from each other. Older employees shouldn’t disregard the opinions of younger employees just because they have less experience, and younger employees shouldn’t assume that older employees aren’t up to date on new technologies and practices. By scheduling employees of different generations on the same shift, hopefully the younger employees will learn from the older employees’ experience while the older employees will pick up some new ideas.

It’s also important to make sure you’re communicating with all employees in ways that they understand. Millennials may need more frequent feedback, and they may have more questions, while older generations may have a more hands off work style.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that you shouldn’t base your management entirely around generational differences. Yes, these trends can help you deal with employees of different ages, but remember that all of your employees are individual people with individual personalities. None of these generational traits are set in stone and personality traits will vary from person to person.

Although managing multiple generations can be a challenge, by keeping this information in mind you’ll be well on your way to managing people of all ages.

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