Are Your Older Clients Looking for Work?

A part-time job in a restaurant should be on the menu. Restaurants need seniors to save their businesses, says this consultant.

By Izzy Kharasch

In 2022, inflation took a toll on retirees’ finances. Gas, food (eggs! yikes!) – everything seemed to shoot up in price. Although there’s a hefty cost-of-living increase coming in 2023 for those who receive Social Security, some of your clients will still be feeling the pinch.

As a restaurant consultant, I have a suggestion: If they’re thinking they need to find a part-time job, ask your clients whether they’ve considered the restaurant/hospitality industry.

Why?

Lots of reasons. They can join a fun team. Be friendly and outgoing to guests. Learn some new skills. And their local restaurant owner will welcome them with open arms because there’s a labor crisis in the restaurant industry.

Not only that, many owners have been let down time and again by younger staff. They are scheduled for interviews and don’t show up. They get hired and never come to work. They work one shift and are never heard from again.

We people “of a certain age” know what it’s like to show up on time, work hard and then do it all again the next day.

If they don’t want to work full-time, that’s great. The restaurant/hospitality business is built on part-time staff. They might be thinking, “I don’t have any experience.” Fantastic! Hospitality is an industry that lives to train great people.

Let’s look at a few things an inexperienced but mature restaurant employee can do.

Be a host

The host is the “face” of the restaurant. A guest may actually leave without dining if they don’t have a good experience from the moment they walk in the door. It’s not about greeting the guest; it is about making the guest welcome, comfortable and excited about the dining experience they are about to enjoy. Customers will even come back because they love the host.

Be a prep cook

This is a job of instant gratification. Prep cooks get to turn vegetables and fruit into art, as well as support everyone in the kitchen with the products that they have prepared. Plus, they learn professional knife skills! Most kitchens are thrilled to have someone in this key support role on a part-time basis. They could come in at 7 a.m. and be out by 11 so they have the rest of the day to enjoy themselves.

Learn garde manger

Imagine getting paid to learn garde manger and then showing off new skills! “Garde manger” actually means Keeper of the Food, which means that they would be the main person who everyone in the kitchen comes to for the cold food that the team has prepared. Again, a great part-time position where you get to use those new skills at work and at home.

I know several seniors who are working in restaurants now and are having a great time on a full- or part-time basis, and as in the case of a 60-year-old woman who was hired as a dishwasher. It gets her out of the house and away from her husband who just retired.

They get to do artistic work, hone those knife skills, and at the end of the day, they’re done! No work to take home, no stress, and the only thing you will be thinking about is what you want to learn tomorrow.

Restaurants need seniors to step in and step up and save their businesses. If you have a client who’s casting about for something to do in their spare time to earn a little extra cash, think about the restaurant industry.

Izzy Kharasch is president and founder of Hospitality Works, Inc., a bar and restaurant consulting company based in Chicago. Over the last 30 years, Izzy has helped more than 700 food service operations worldwide improve their operations and profits. He can be reached at 224-688-3512 and Izzy@hospitalityworks.com.

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