First Job

The restaurant industry provides the perfect place for stepping into the working world. In fact, one in three Americans' first job is working at a restaurant.

Training Ground for America’s Workers

Half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives. In fact, nearly one in three Americans had their first job at a restaurant.

Restaurants teach vital professional skills such as teamwork, multi-tasking, customer service and time management. These skills stay with people throughout their careers, whether they stay in the industry or move into other professions. Restaurant team members who enter the workforce with little or no experience are provided a career path where they can receive fundamental on-the-job training and are given the opportunity to learn trades that lead to careers as chefs or in management in restaurants or other industries.

Opportunities for all Education Levels, Backgrounds

  • Part-time, entry-level work is important and fills a critical need in our nation’s workforce — providing additional income and flexibility for employees trying to balance their careers with family responsibilities, or as a way to remain involved in their communities. 
  • Most hourly employees are students with irregular schedules, teenagers saving for school, or parents and caregivers who need a job with flexible hours that fit their busy lives.
  • Overall in the restaurant industry, 28 percent of employees are students.
  • Whether it’s supporting a local athletic team, hosting fundraisers and food drives, or acting as a central gathering place, restaurants are the cornerstones of our communities. They are found in every city across the U.S. and the jobs they provide can't be outsourced.

Room to Grow

  • Most restaurant employees advance from their entry-level positions — nine out of 10 salaried restaurant employees started in hourly positions.
  • 80 percent of restaurant owners/managers started in entry-level positions

To learn more about the opportunity, flexibility and skills young people find in the restaurant industry, click here.