In America, no other industry is as diverse as the restaurant business, our President and CEO, Dawn Sweeney, says.

Sweeney, the National Restaurant Association’s leader since 2007, adds that female leadership within the industry continues to grow. That’s big news, especially as we celebrate Women’s History Month.

On the menu: Gender diversity

Sweeney, who recently was honored as the 2017 Association TRENDS Executive of the Year, shared her ideas about diversity in America, the restaurant industry and her own life.

At the event, she talked about the “collective genius” of different points of view and life experiences and about how different values and priorities often lead us to the best and highest outcomes. “I am pleased to be part of an industry that truly values and promotes diversity and inclusion as a core business and social value each and every day,” she said.

According to our research:

  • 33 percent of restaurant businesses are majority-owned by women.
  • Another 15 percent are equally-owned by women and men.
  • Women represent 56 percent of first-line supervisors, food-prep managers and service workers.

Who run the world? Girls!

Besides her duties here, Sweeney serves as a board member and mentor for the Women’s Foodservice Forum. A huge supporter of gender diversity, she says women play an integral role in the growth of the restaurant industry and hopes more of them will emerge as leaders in the future.

“I’m looking forward to the day when half of all company CEOs are women so the industry reflects the demographics of our nation.”

March is Women’s History Month. Visit our partner, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, to learn more about diversity in the restaurant industry.