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National Restaurant Association - Restaurants help veterans start industry careers

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Restaurants help veterans start industry careers

Restaurants, as one of the country’s top service industries, aim to give back to those who truly serve: military veterans. One way they’re doing that is by helping them find career opportunities or own and operate their own businesses.

Veterans are majority owners of nearly 34,000 restaurant businesses and half-owners of almost 32,000, according to U.S. Census data. National Restaurant Association research reports some 250,000 veterans work in the restaurant industry, with 19 percent in management positions and 14 percent working as supervisors.

As Veteran’s Day approaches, here’s how three of the industry’s top brands are working to make a difference for the military:

McDonald’s: The quickservice chain is participating in the White House’s Joining Forces Coalition to create more than 100,000 career opportunities for veterans over the next three years. It’s building up its training, education and development programs to help veterans integrate faster into management positions. McDonald’s is also launching a spouse recruitment program to connect veterans’ spouses with human resources managers and potential employers.

Steve Hilton, McDonald’s Corp. vice president of government relations, says serving in the military and working at the company both require dedication and discipline.

“In the military, you have to learn to interact and deal with people, and you have to work as a team and be very goal- and mission-oriented,” he said. “All of those skills translate naturally to the work anyone does at McDonald’s.” (See video of Hilton talking about veterans’ opportunities.)

Dunkin’ Brands: The company’s Baskin-Robbins ice-cream chain offers veterans discounts on royalties and initial franchise fees to help them open stores in potential growth markets. The company has been offering special incentives to veterans, including waiving the 20-year initial franchise fee on the first restaurant – a $25,000 value. It also will reduce the royalty rates veterans pay the parent company for the first five years. Veterans who franchise more than one location receive a 20 percent discount on the 20-year initial franchise fee for up to four more shops as well as a 10-year payment plan.

Subway: The quickservice sandwich chain offers veterans a number of incentives to help kickstart business opportunities. Since 2010, Subway has waived its $15,000 franchise fee for honorably discharged vets seeking to open stores of their own on government or military installations. It also reduces the franchise fee by 50 percent for veterans opening stores at any nonmilitary or nongovernmental locations as long as they have government-sponsored financing under a program designed exclusively for veterans.

“We hope this makes it easier for veterans to adjust to civilian life or help them follow their dream of owning and operating their own business,” said Don Fertman, Subway’s chief development officer.

Learn more about the National Restaurant Association’s Military Foundation.

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