Female Employee

If you ask people you know in the restaurant industry how they found themselves in their current jobs, you’ll find that for some, it was a lucky accident.

But for others, there’s a lot of planning involved. Our industry is rich with opportunities for people with tax and finance savvy, human resources degrees, nutrition backgrounds, food safety science, and supply chain management, but many younger adults and students aren’t as aware that these disciplines have great career tracks awaiting them in the restaurant industry.

Dr. Cynthia Mejia HeadshotAt the National Restaurant Association’s recent Supply Chain Management conference, Dr. Cynthia Mejia of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management in Orlando, spoke about how she generates excitement as her Gen Z students begin to understand what supply chain management careers in the restaurant industry look like. Here is some of what she shared with attendees:


What are your Gen Z students looking for in a job?

This new generation of students is a very special group of people. They're passionate about their futures and hungry to learn. They want to continue their learning trajectory after graduating. They welcome mentors and look for career advice. It's really important to provide them with a path or plan for success so they know the directions they can go. Older generations in the workforce who have so much intellectual capital must transfer this to the next generation.

What will supply chain education for the foodservice industry look like in 10 years?

Supply chain management is a hot job now, exemplified by the number of degree programs at the undergraduate and master's levels. We see that continuing to expand. At UCF, we plan to launch a master's certificate in supply chain management next fall. It’s an online program and it will be accessible not only to full-time college students, but also to students already in the workforce.

Why does an educator like you come to industry conferences?

We come to the Association’s Supply Chain Management conference because participating in it is invaluable. Understanding the trends and looking for partners who might share data with us are so useful. It's important for educators to stay connected to the industry and to understand what potential employers will look for in our graduates. Our goal is to prepare students to meet the industry’s needs.

Registration is open for the Association’s Supply Chain Management spring conference, May 14-15, Chicago.