(BPT) - One in three Americans get their first jobs in restaurants, and half of all American adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their careers. Restaurants are the nation's second-largest private sector employer, offering skills and career opportunities to millions.
A majority of employees who work in the restaurant industry are proud to do so, and while not everyone stays in foodservice forever, the industry still prepares them to succeed in any career path they choose. Teamwork, professional behavior, time management and communication are all skills learned in the restaurant industry. These skills are applicable to any industry, and serve to prepare students and young people for their careers.
It is not only possible, but common, for employees to move from entry-level positions to those of management, and even ownership. Nine of 10 restaurant managers, supervisors and chefs, and eight of 10 restaurant owners' first restaurant job was in an entry-level position, according to 'Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry? A Nationwide Survey of the Restaurant Workforce.' The upward mobility offered to employees in the restaurant industry allows for growth and fosters a belief that it is a place where people of all backgrounds can open their own business.
'The opportunities available in the restaurant industry are endless,' says Steve Kramer, vice president of communications and external affairs, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. 'Few industries offer the upward mobility found in restaurants and foodservice careers, and those who start in an entry-level position have the means to achieve a long-lasting and fulfilling career.'
Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor published the first-ever Food and Beverage Service Competency Model, officially codifying the skills learned at each level of a restaurant career, and profiling the employability and technical skills essential to achieving life-long career success in the industry. The model is made up of nine tiers. The first two include personal effectiveness and academic competencies measured in any industry. Skills include motivation, critical thinking and dependability.
Because these base skills learned in a restaurant are so important for any job, the industry is effectively training America's workforce. Data, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggests that no matter what career they end up in, people who have worked in the restaurant industry never stop using the skills they've learned there.
With the opportunity for upward mobility, skills-building and a fulfilling, long-term career, the restaurant industry offers a unique blend of opportunities not usually found in other industries. These traits make it a good choice for your first job, a second career or a life-long commitment.