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Fountain of Youth

Young employees add spunk to your startup--if you manage them right.

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This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Start Up.

For more than 20 years, Jim Kalatschan has found success in the competitive restaurant market of Orange County, California. Kalatschan, founder of TK Burgers, attributes much of this success to his staff, more than half of which is composed of teen workers. "Working with teens is a lot of fun," says Kalatschan, 44. "They teach you how to think young."

At TK Burgers, where photos of the local beach cover each wall and surf movies play in constant rotation, thinking young is the only option. According to Leif H. Smith, president of Personal Best Consulting, a fun work environment is key in motivating teens. "No matter what the job is," says Smith, "when you make it fun, [teens] will stick with it."

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