Vol. 5, No. 12 | December 2014
When you visit a restaurant and talk with the restaurant owner or manager, chances are that they will tell you their first job was in the restaurant industry. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 80 percent of restaurant owners and/or managers started in entry-level positions, while nine out of 10 salaried restaurant employees started in hourly positions. Whether it was bussing tables, washing dishes or serving tables, many individuals began their careers in the restaurant industry.
"I think it's unlimited what somebody can accomplish in this industry because it is growing so much," said Hal Nowak, owner of Hal's on Old Ivy in Atlanta and the recipient of the 2014 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Lifetime Achievement award. "[In] the restaurant industry, you can go in with no experience and if you have a feel for it and a love for it, there’s no stopping you. I have seen people at the bottom move up and open their own restaurants. It’s a lot of opportunity.”
The restaurant industry employs more than 405,000 in Georgia and is the second largest industry in the state of Georgia, offering many paths to career success, no matter a person’s age or position. With nearly one in three Americans starting their careers in the restaurant industry, and as industry employment continues to grow, the restaurant sector will continue to offer a wide range of opportunities for individuals.
In fact, the restaurant industry job growth is project outpace the overall economy for the 15th executive year in 2014 and is expected to add 1.3 million jobs over the next decade, with employment reaching 14.8 million by 2024, according to the NRA’s 2014 Factbook. As jobs continue to grow in the restaurant sector, it is important to keep in mind the pertinent skills and great experiences that are gained from working in a restaurant.
The restaurant industry takes pride in serving others and bringing the best possible experience to customers and that is reflected with their employees as well. Restaurant owners and managers dedicate time to make sure that their employees are receiving a great opportunity while working for their restaurants because it helps both their employees and restaurants grow and prosper. Restaurants are a driving force for the economy and will continue to serve as a great opportunity for growth and rewarding careers.
Karen Bremer is Executive Director of the Georgia Restaurant Assocaiton. The GRA can be reached at 404.467.9000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.