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Teens in restaurants.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
What are everyones thoughts on Generation Y.
http://www.restaurantbiz.com/index.p...=view&id=13299

This article doesn't make them out to be great.
The book that is mentioned in the article "Getting them to give a ****" said pretty much the same thing as the article just stretched to 250pgs.

Personally I think that both the article and the book completely missed the boat.
In my experience the quality of employee has nothing to do with age. It is more based on the system they work under.

Did you hire well, are you training well, do you explain there job (actual job description), do you give opportunity to advance, do you give opportunity to learn, do you treat them with respect, do you show them you care about them, shoot, do you even listen to them?

If one day no managers showed to work, aside from maybe getting cash out of the safe, the restaurant would be able to continue running, if no hourly employees show up to work nothing happens. That is how important my staff is to me.

I personally believe that if you strive to make your restaurant the best place in town to work you end up with a hard working & loyal staff, regardless of age, and a profitable restaurant.

I have been called crazy before, and they're right.
:roll:
Be careful to call it art, what is art today is in the toilet tomorrow.
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Be careful to call it art, what is art today is in the toilet tomorrow.
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post #2 of 22
It's not just the restaurant business. Today's youth display these attitudinal problems in all walks of life.

Before becoming a chef I was a psychologist. I'm a baby boomer so I've worked first hand with people from all the generations since, both as patients, and as psychology students that I've trained.

There is no doubt in my mind that each generation is becoming more entitled, more egocentric, less respectful, and with a decreasing work ethic. Yes I'm sure we can find plenty of exceptions. I'm speaking to general trends in our society.

Unfortunately there are a number of sociocultural and psychological forces in our society that are eroding good ole fashioned values, work ethics, respect for fellow men, and in general, human decency.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #3 of 22
I've found some teenagers that care about the quality of work. Though I'm less into training than hiring experience and then paying for it.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 22
I find it interesting that most of the teenage criticism is probably coming from the very parents who enabled them. I refuse to blame this situation on society. The FULL blame rests on the parents.
What the heck do I know? I do know if you bring children into thisw world and have society babysit them, and you don't teach them, it will never end.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #5 of 22
When I say "society" I am not only referring to cultural forces in our nation but the individuals who make up society. That's why I said there are a number of sociocultural AND PSYCHOLOGICAL forces that play a role. (by "psychological" I'm referring to the individuals). Clearly parents play the biggest role in shaping behavior but nobody operates in a vacum. There are numerous influences outside of the home of origin which also exert an effect on shaping behavior and attitudes:

TV, peers, the internet, schools, religion, environment, socio-economic status, prejudice, the media, laws and government, etc. etc. etc.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #6 of 22
This is unbelievable. MarkV, I swear, I did not see you. I was at work and just skimmed my way through and was responding more to the article.
I would get a restraining order against me:D
MarkV, I totally agree with you. When I mention parents, I'm really refering to the gen x ers. I just can't agree that they we so abandoned. And I agree that the gen y ers are the most supervised. Only not by their parents. They took the easy path and let society supervise them.Schools,churchs, tv etc.
I'm not buying into the loyalty thing. This is a very selfish and lazy gen. It will be a cold day in ancorage before I bring myself down to a 19 yr old level for respect. I think it just strengthens the road to a let down and reality check.
Remember, I'm an old goat. ;)
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 22
I think the "loyalty" concept is also a bit different for this lot (and I'm only a GenX)... I have the unfortunate pleasure of occasionally having to read blogs by 18-30 yos. Particularly in the early 20s, the authors do display lots of talk about loyalty (sort of the "posse" idea, but without the connotations) and friendship. They are surprisingly open about their emotions (something males of my peer group certainly weren't). Unfortunately, it is very self-focused stuff, with little thought about/consideration for others, and the loyalty thing seems as superficial as everything else. Loyalty only extends as far as you're useful or you see perfectly eye-to-eye on things. The emotions seem pretty stunted (even for early 20yos:rolleyes: ) Ok, my reading of this is limited to the blogs and a small number of early-20s that I know, but...
post #8 of 22

My daughter is 14...

While she is still deciding what kind of career she wants to pursue, she still is focused and brilliant at creating all kinds of egg dishes. She just does the 'egg' thing. I'm truely impressed with her thin 'chinese style' eggs, her omelettes, her french toast is to die for...

I really don't think its' being a teenager or just a teenager that has the talent.

It's picking teenagers that really care about food. Not just presentation but all the other aspects of what we do. You can't inspire a kid that only cares about getting the latest CD or a skateboard and is just doing it for the money. There are plenty of jobs at MacD's flipping burgers to "just get money".

You have to sift through them and find the ones that really have that feeling in their gut.

To seriously get into Food Arts is all about passion and it can't be faked.

April
post #9 of 22
My 3 older kids have worked for me. My 16 year old son washes dishes and busses part time, along with a little prepping. Out of my own dislike of nepotism I am probably (actually I know I do) have higher expectations on him than I have for a usual employee. The only concession I make for him is he gets flexibility to work around his sports and academic schedule... My 2 older kids are in their 20s now and have thanked me for teaching them a work ethic.:smiles: My 16 year old thinks I spoil his fun and never let him do anything.:roll: And I still have 2 more kids to go!:lol:
What I tell my kids when they work for me that this is the time in your life to learn how to work while the consequences of a screw-up are a little less dire. Better to pi$$ off Dad and have to deal with me than being out on your own and pi$$ off someone who really doesn't care about you and lose a job and not be able to pay your bills.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #10 of 22
I'm currently 24, so I suppose that means I'm a Gen-Y byproduct. While I am currently not working in any kitchens, I worked through kitchens all during my high school years and part of college. I started washing dishes at a high volume tourist trap that could seat nearly 250 at one time. I worked for over a year washing dishes. I remember one time lifting up a big trash bag of scraps and having it fall through my hands and then looking down and seeing pieces of my skin stuck to the bag because my hands were so saturated with water from the steam and rinsing plates. I credit those experiences with who I am today. Doing that stuff for what was like 5 bucks an hour seemed like slave labor, and when I'd get my check for like 80 bucks, I'd be psyched. I didn't go out and blow the money on junk I really didn't need. (Although now days I'll go out and buy a piece of cookware... but thats different... right?) Would I have taken the job had my parents not forced me? No... Will I force my kids one day to do it... you bet! My younger siblings where not forced to obtain jobs, and they have no concept of self relliance. I bought and saved for my first car... my own insurance... my own gas money. They got theirs as a birthday gift. Am I jealous? No. Because learning the value of a hard days work made me appreciate things all the more. I think washing dishes and then being a line cook made me appreciate everything I have so much more, because I had to work for it.
post #11 of 22
Good on you ghost! Your direction and commitment is what makes you the exception to the generalisations we've been making. Focused, driven, interested people of any age are always more willing to stick to things:)
post #12 of 22
I have read Eric Chester's book, Getting them to give a D a m n and it is wonderfully insightful. The blurb from the article, above, really doesn't do it justice. It is NOT a book on how bad the new generation is. Rather, it discusses methods for working with this group, as well as tactics (techniques?) to cull the most talented employees and keeping them motivated. As a teacher, it has impacted my teaching style in class as well as my professional expectations of the students when they run our business. Well worth the investment of a few dollars and the time it takes to read it. I suppose the choice is yours; hire a younger person and be frustrated or adapt and get the lates entry into the work force to work for you rather than against.

Pannini... I do not know that I can agree with you on this one. Is this a first?! I am witness to 14-17 year olds in the educational process every day. Do they require more coaxing? Perhaps. Do they understand loyalty? Probably not... but then again, how many folks work for the same business for 5, 10, 15 years, anymore? Do they understand hard work? I believe they do. Are they different from your work ethic? Sure. As am I. As will my children be different from me. I don't know that there is a 'blame' attached. Rather, times change.

I remember spending hours and hours going through encyclopedias when I had a project to submit. Now? Internet, baby. Is that a bad thing? Well, if you look at the end product, then by all means 'no,' it is a wonderful thing. My point is this - our society, our culture, our technology is in a constant state of flux, of evolution. Our children are a mirror image of that change. Whether that reflects positively or negatively in work ethic, or charity, or family values, our children are our product.

So, do they want your respect? I am not sure that is what they want. I think they want to be treated fairly. I think they want to be recognized for accomplishments. I think they, ultimately, want to impress you. They just may not know how to do that. Yet.

And, Pannini, I REALLY, really hope this doesn't sound like I am lashing out or anything of the sort. Seriously. The trouble with the written word is that it does not always carry the intent of the spoken word in a dialog. I just want to offer my thoughts.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #13 of 22
Jim,
I am as thick skinned as they get and to blurred to even realize when someone is lashing out at me.:D
I just wanted to clarify some things. I have my opinions about this generation, but I certainly never let it get to them. I must have 30 nephews and nieces all in this catagory and a son 14.
I have a part time pool of 8-12 young persons that work for us on the holidays when out of school and in the summer. If they are 16,17. I insist that they interview with their parents. The older ones we spend a 1/2 day around the shop to see if this is even something they want to do. I lay everything out on the table. We understand each other that they are here to make some spending money and so forth. I never expect loyalty. I expect them to obey the rules, and one of them is have fun, and they are to cover there shift or shifts themselves. I look forward to seeing them each year,I love the music,views,opinions, etc. I would never say that I don't like this generation but I have my opinions about them in general.
When I say I will never bring myself down to that level to get respect, I'm saying that they will have to accept me as I am. They are all crossed train and they are responsible. If an opportunity arises, let's say questionable customer service. I take them to the Chinese place for lunch and we have a little come to Jesus chat. I will not coddle them.
If someone is interested in the profession, I change my posture. My star right now, came to me at 19 fresh out of culinary school. She is now 23 and is really on her way. I don't even take the mentor role, I take more of a paternal role. She lives the life and learns.
I parent different. My son has always worked for extra money.I will provide him with everything except the luxuries like games, computers and thngs like that. I pray that he never thinks about getting into this business. I have taught him to cook, but not create. He is now able to cook for himself including some lessons on the hot plate and a pantry. He'll get by in college.
He has made all his educational decisions since 5th grade. He prefers to be in a Cistercian Prepatory school. All male, small class, a little old fashioned. Rise when someone enters the room or addresses you and things of that nature. Anyway, rambling. I hope this clears up the loyalty thing.
pan
Jim, I also understand that your are in a unique situation of having to teach and mentor. I would never think that you cow-town to people to get respect. You must keep the conduit of experience flowing. I highly praise you, for I think it is harder now, to educate, then ever before. Kudos to you and people like CC for accepting the chalenge.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #14 of 22
...well as long as I was clear! :lol:

Now that I read your post and your added insight, I undestand more of what you were saying. Again, when we "talk" with posts, rather than in conversation, the waters get muddied.

It's funny you mentioned the "stand when someone enters the room" piece. When I was in school, we did that as well. This year, I asked my Sophomores to do that. You know, they took to it instantly. I explained honor and respect, as best I could. And you know, they never, ever once complained about it. Some teachers who have heard that my students will rise when they enter, pop into my classroom just to see that. My juniors, which meet at a different time of the day, got wind to Sophomores standing, actually asked me why I did not ask that of them!! Funny as it may sound, all I had to do was ask! And if somebody isn't paying attention and fails to rise right away, you ought to hear the others!

Now, don't make me lash out at you again!! :p

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #15 of 22
Something we must take in account is that, teenagers vs an adult is different in many ways. Most teenagers don't have to worry about bills, and other needs. Most don't need to worry about being fired, being that anyone would take them under min. wage. Young legs are best. Adults work up this so called ladder, and gain better pay to in turn pay off bills. They cannot risk the loss of a job, and thus missing roughly a pay check. Teenagers on the other hand have parents and a house.

Some teenagers working in the culinary field do it just for the money and thus slack it, because they really don't care for it.

Personally, as myself being a teenager I work to learn, the money is nothing to me, I could care less. Key term I learned at the age of 14, attitude, that should be the reason you hire someone. Every teenager is enthusiast about something new. They will run and not walk. Its all about that thing called attitude.
post #16 of 22
Kevin:

You obviously do not apply to what I'm about to say because as you state later in your post: you work to learn and acknowledge the importance of attitude.

But, if what you are saying in your first paragraph is true of other teens, then you are supporting my previous post.

If one is purposely performing an inadequate job because they have a safety net, this clearly speaks to their character. Some people, whether they have a cushion or not, would do their best out of pride, a sense of loyalty, or just simple fairness to their employer. They are being paid to perform at a certain level. Purposely slacking off and taking someone's money simply because you don't "need" them, (beyond the normal amount of cutting corners that all humans do), is simply irresponsible.

I'm speaking in broad generalizations. There are definitely exceptions.

But I'll bet you if you threw a dart out of a window in 1930 and one today, there's a significantly better chance of hitting a "F-you attitude, I-live-at-home-with-my-parents-teen" today, than 75 years ago.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #17 of 22
Kevin Oliver,
Thanks for joining in. There is a lot of pressure put on parents to create that cushion or safety net. I'm not at all clear on why they do this, maybe compensating for the so called abandonment. I'm sure someone like MarkV knows. I don't think this is a trend, this is going to continue. I see it as trying to become the new native Americans. Immigrant customs and beliefs are dissapearing, the family structure is disintagrating, the younger generations are very motivated to move on, but I don't think they know where they are going. There is no cultural model, a lot of them have been severely pushed since infancy to try and become their own little corp. entity.
Anyway,
Kevin, I enjoyed hearing that you work to learn. I find that very interesting, and being older, I view is as your learning to work. Attitude is the key, and I don't think a lot of your peers realize that most wear it on their sleeves.
Keep at it,
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #18 of 22
Well, as a 21 year old I think I fit into the Gen "Y" group. Now certainly theres enough lazy kids out there, but at the same time I've worked with cooks who are 30 years old and just as lazy as those '**** kids'. I've also worked with kids who make Gen-Xers look like slackers.

Now, I know that I average 50 hours per week (sometimes as high as 70 hours in a week), as do most of my friends (of similar age) in the industry. That's 10+ hour shifts, no breaks, no overtime pay, not to mention a pretty weak salary. Yet we're called 'lazy'.

As far as us being the most supervised generation, I have doubts. I would stay out on the streets playing until past midnight when I was still in elementary school, I learned to cook because I HAD to, parents weren't around. At 15 I was working close to full-time, as were all my friends (many dropped out of school to work their jobs). By the time I was 18 I was living away from the parents. Many of my friends were living on their own at 16 or 17. Keep in mind all of us were born after 1980.

Now, as far as workplace performance goes, I'll tell you this. With the right motivation, it's unreal what some kids will do. We don't walk, we run. We do give a **** (if theres reason for us to).

I've worked with bosses who will abuse us hard. You show a little motivation, and suddenly you're running the line, calling out tickets, ordering produce, butchering, etc...(while the chef has gone home after a rough 6 hour day), yet only making 10 dollars per hour. You think I'm going to continue at that pace? No, the boss gets a @#$% #$% and I'm out the door. This isn't a bad work ethic, or attitude problem, this is standing up for yourself. My buddy is a kitchen manager at a busy restaurant, working 60 hour weeks, making 10 dollars per hour... You think this kind of treatment produces 'loyalty'?

Heres a thought to restauranteurs out there, pay cooks what they're worth, regardless of age.

One last thought. The place I work has 4 cooks 25 years or younger (out of 7 total). 3 servers 25 years or younger (out of 5). We've won the most awards of any fine dining place in the city.
post #19 of 22
MikeB
I don't know about the others, but you and your friends do not fit the mold of people I was referring to. Your out there busting your hump to make a living. You have nothing but respect from me.
I'm referring to the high school graduate age. Taking 2 art classes at a community college and living at home. Working just enough to see the concerts he or she want to see. Or at college still living with all the comforts of home. Maybe getting a 600.summer job to satisfy the family because thier shelling out 40 grand a year.
MikeB, I really think we are talking about the high percentage of lazy kids, not people like you. Kudos for steppin up and defending your generation though. I'm not so sure your the norm, I always try to read your posts and I'm a little surprized that your only 21.
Pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #20 of 22
I'm 19 turning 20 next month and have been in restaurants since I was 14... cooking since I was 16... I am alot like Mike in that I was working full time and going to high school being a kitchen manager at a local restaurant making a lousy 7 dollars per hour! While my friends were out partying I was serving 150-300 guests their Veal Marsalas and completely was abused by my ownership and when I started to realize it, I quit and was replaced by another 16 year old who wanted a car. Owners today are shrewd businessmen and love to see a 16 year old kid who needs some money for a car because they will run you into the ground.

Now a days, I work at the best restaurant in town as a Saute Cook and enjoy every minute of it. I feel like I make an honest living and I get to put out great food and get respect at the workplace. I think the restaurant business is the best and worst business to get into. Your family life will suck but if you love it like I do there is no other choice.
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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post #21 of 22
Funny. A thread on "the kids today". I'm sure there are similar rants written on stone tablets.

Tony
post #22 of 22
Lukeygina and MikeB,

I'm glad to see you've both stood up for yourselfs and look where it has landed you. Personally being young and all, its best to move around if you wish to explorer the culinary world. You must also remember their are people that will take advantage of you, being that you are young and all. Whats great about this line of love (work) is that your free to move around. Its great to learn something, and get paid for it. Personally I would work for free now that I have the chance. This way I can move around the kitchen and act as a sou chef and not work my way up (time becomes a factor). The best thing to do is earn the respect of the chefs and the boss around you. They will show it back and will be willing to teach you. If not - take care. Everything I learned I wrote and write down on a notepad.

Back 20+ years ago kids where so much different, and sure I do believe modern kids tend to slack off a bit. But think about this, technology. Mordern adults don't bother to learn this new age stuff. Some do but the point I'm trying to come across is that everyone is different. I'm pretty sure some adults on here have children that know a computer better then them. Thats because they have bothered and grew up into learning it, just as you bothered to work hard for what you got and had back then. And even today. But notice, its not how fast you walk, its how you walk.

Thanks panini.

Cheers
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