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National Restaurant Association - Study: Employees see career potential, mobility in industry

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Study: Employees see career potential, mobility in industry

Eighty-eight percent of employees say they are proud to work in the restaurant industry, with 75 percent of them indicating those jobs are a gateway to a strong career path and upward mobility within the industry, according to a new report from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The report, “Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry,” looks at data collected from nearly 5,100 adult Americans who either currently work or formerly worked in the industry as well as those who own or operate restaurants. It is the most extensive research of the restaurant workforce in years, the NRA said.

“This landmark research found that employees as well as restaurant owners and operators have a decidedly positive perception of our industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “They believe extensive career choices and advancement opportunities are readily available.”

Regarding employment and opportunity in restaurants, the study found that:

  • The restaurant industry historically has served as a first job for nearly one in three Americans.
  • More than nine of 10 employees believe restaurants are a good place for a first job.
  • Eight of 10 employees said the restaurant industry provides opportunity for those who want to succeed based on hard work.
  • Seven of 10 employees said they likely would continue working in the industry until they retire.
  • The median industry tenure of employees in restaurant manager and business-operations positions was 20 years; that number extended to more than 30 years for employees over age 55.
  • Eight of 10 restaurant owners said they believed people of all backgrounds could open their own restaurants.

“This study offers fresh and compelling insight into why so many Americans choose to start their careers in restaurants, how they advance into other positions and why so many say they plan to work in our industry until they retire,” Sweeney said.

The online survey, which was commissioned by the NRAEF and conducted online and in mall intercepts in late 2013, polled 4,465 individuals who currently work in the restaurant industry, including 3,309 employed in restaurant and foodservice positions, 442 in business-operations positions and 714 restaurant owners and operators. Additionally, 628 former restaurant employees completed the questionnaire. Of the 628 former employees, 393– more than half – said their first jobs were in restaurants.

Download the full report here.

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