Thursday, April 19, 2012

Louisiana's restaurant industry to add jobs in coming years

Food is big business in Louisiana. Restaurants in Louisiana are projected to top $6.5 billion in annual sales and that number has been on the upswing in the last three years. While we’ll see a modest increase of three percent over 2011 sales, the number of jobs, and careers for that matter, is expected to increase by 17,000 by the year 2022.

“The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation administers the ProStart program in 50 high schools statewide to help meet the demand,” said James Blanchard, ProStart Coordinator. “The two year dynamic curriculum focuses on culinary arts and restaurant management and gives young people an opportunity to see what the industry is all about.”

As the largest private sector employer in Louisiana with nearly 200,000 employees, there are many advantages to working in restaurants. Those advantages include upward mobility into management positions for those who want it and want to work for it, provides flexible schedules for students, working parents and those who have a passion for the industry and have made it their career choice.

Currently, there are nearly 17,000 restaurant locations in Louisiana and 80 percent of those establishments are small independently owned businesses. The restaurant business is enticing to many individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and wish to be their own boss.

With the influx of leisure and business travelers to New Orleans, the hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and attractions, is projected to add 33,000 new positions by 2018—the 300th tri-centennial of the city.

“The jobs within our industry are many and extend beyond the physical restaurant establishments,” said Stan Harris, LRA President/CEO and former restaurateur. “The need for accountants, marketers, trainers, web and graphic designers, distributors, social media specialists, lawyers, events planners and many others is certainly increasing.”
Restaurants provide jobs in every community across the country. Nearly 13 million Americans are employed in the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association launched a campaign called, “America Works Here,”  to promote the industry as a career choice and also raise awareness of the industry as the second largest source of U.S. jobs—and it’s growing.

During the last decade, the restaurant industry has created 1.5 million jobs and had a $1.7 trillion economic impact in 2011. Despite a sluggish economy, America’s restaurants are growing opportunities. In the past five years, women owners have increased by 28 percent, Hispanic owners by 30 percent and African-American owners by 77 percent.
Have you held a restaurant position during your career growth? Did those skills gained in the industry transfer to other positions in other industries?

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