Like most in the fast-food industry, Sam Richard started working at Chick-fil-A as a teenager.
"I have been working at this Chick-fil-a location for 7 years,” Richard says.
But teens should watch out, because employees like 74-year-old Wanda Williams are taking over more fast food jobs.
Like more than half of seniors in America, Williams, who’s a former event planner, can't afford to fully retire.
“I wanted something that I felt like I wouldn't take home with me, and it would just be more relaxing for me,” Williams says. “That’s why I applied for the hostess job."
Increasingly, fast-food chains, like the Chick-fil-A in Leesburg, Virginia where Williams works, are seeking to hire seniors employees.
“She is punctual, she makes sure she shows up for her shift, she always looks really presentable,” says Manager Danielle O’Dell of Williams.
O'Dell says older employees are typically:
- More reliable
- Better communicators
- Usually easier to work with than their millennial counterparts
"The stability you get from an older team member really is nice to have,” O’Dell says.
Quality is one reason to hire elder employees, she says. Quantity is another.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2024, the number of 65 to 74-year-olds in the workforce is expected to increase almost 5 percent, while those aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink.
It’s why groups like AARP are advertising jobs like this to older Americans.