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With the unemployment rate as low as it is and a lack of Gen Z employees on the horizon, the food-service industry is finding a new crop of workers: senior citizens. So much so, Bloomberg reports, chains and restaurants are recruiting at senior centers and churches, trying to attract this older work force.


Thanks to a labor shortage amid “the tightest job market in five decades,” as well as longer life spans, many seniors are signing up for part-time work to help pad their retirement income. A remarkable graph in the Bloomberg article shows that teens’ growth rate in the labor force is in negative numbers (down 2 percent) while 65 to 74 year olds saw a 4-percent increase, while 75 and up increased to 6 percent. Not only do the seniors have the downtime and likely considerable work experience, Bloomberg notes that the also maintain the “soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.”

This surge has led AARP to become a “veritable recruiting hub” for casual restaurants like Bakers Square, Village Inn, and Bob Evans, as well as fast-food chains. So don’t be surprised if you notice some older servers at your local eating establishments, and be sure to tip them well.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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