As millions of high school students prepare to head back to the classroom in just a few weeks, many may reflect on their summer jobs serving tables, operating cash registers, tracking inventory and assisting customers.
To most, those summer jobs were solely for the purpose of having a little extra cash, or maybe to build a college résumé. But students should consider the long-term knowledge gained in such a short span of time. These hourly positions often provide the building blocks for something bigger to come in the future: a career.
The restaurant industry hires hundreds of thousands of seasonal employees every summer, including high school students getting their first taste of the working world. One-half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives and one out of three adults got their first job experience in a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.
But can summer jobs in restaurants lead to bigger and better things? Research shows that nine out of 10 salaried restaurant employees started in hourly positions, and 80 percent of restaurant owners began their industry careers as hourly workers. Nearly all restaurant employees say the industry is a good place to get a first job and learn basic working skills.
Even if you didn’t have a summer job in a restaurant, it’s still a hot spot for career opportunities. This year is the 14th consecutive year that the restaurant industry is posting stronger job growth than the overall economy, with employment now totaling more than 13 million. Eighty-eight percent of restaurant employees say restaurants often provide the opportunity to start at the bottom and move up to management.