Senior Citizens Are Replacing Teenagers as Fast-Food Workers


The sullen teenager grinding through a restaurant shift after school was once a pop culture cliche—as American as curly fries.

Nowadays, Brad Hamilton, the teen played by Judge Reinhold in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” would probably be too young to work at the fictional Captain Hook Fish and Chips. That’s because senior citizens are taking his place—donning polyester, flipping patties and taking orders. They’re showing up at casual dining chains such as Bob Evans and fast-food operators like McDonald’s Corp., which says it plans to make senior citizens one hiring focus in the coming year.  

Restaurants are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the website of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.

Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement often-meager retirement savings. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of working Americans aged 65 to 74 is expected to grow 4.5 percent, while those aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink 1.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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2 thoughts on “Senior Citizens Are Replacing Teenagers as Fast-Food Workers

  1. I see a lot of this up here
    It’s due to failed pension plans ( which should be prosecuted)
    And devaluation of our dollar

    These folks should have been able to live out their twilight years comfortable, being grand parents secure in what’s left of their futures

    The greed of this government, corporate government and the lack of holding up contracts is deplorable
    These people gave their time , paid their dues and were made signatory to contracts that no one is being held responsible for
    It’s criminal

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