Pursuing a Culinary Career: The Time is Now!

Restaurant Sales on the Rise

The $122.5 billion in more sales projected by the end of 2015 compared with 2010 has been examined by the National Restaurant Association's "Restaurant Industry Forecast." Restaurant industry sales are expected to hit a record high of $709.2 billion by the end of this year. That's a healthy increase!

Job Growth

What does that mean for the student looking to get into a culinary career? "The restaurant industry remains the nation's second-largest private-sector employer," according to the National Restaurant Association. That translates into roughly 14 million jobs in an industry that sees continued growth for the foreseeable future. In other terms, that's approximately 1.7 million more restaurant jobs within the next 10 years. This is a remarkable employment recovery from the recession that hit the U.S. in 2007. The National Restaurant Association says the restaurant industry has been one of the economy's best and strongest job creators, particularly within the last five years, post-recession. It adds that "wage growth in the restaurant industry outpaced the economy and many of the other top job-creating sectors during the economic recovery." Arizona and Florida show the largest growth potential at this point, with a projected increase of 23.8 percent and 22.4 percent respectively in restaurant and food-service jobs within the next 10 years.

Eating Out Equals More Jobs

For the first time in American history, according to Bloomberg, citing the U.S. Commerce Department, sales at restaurants and bars overtook grocery-store spending. This stat, released earlier this year, represents a new trend in how Americans choose to consume food — they'd rather have a doggy bag than a grocery bag. With millennials' view of dining out as social, and preferable in many instances, their buying power will soon overtake the older generation's approach of being more conservative with dining dollars. A recent Gallup survey backs this up with its finding that consumers 51 to 69 years old spend more on groceries. It seems the younger generation is more curious about experiencing new flavors outside the home and are interested in the latest food trends in restaurants, bars and cafes.

Global Goes Local

Environmental sustainability in produce, meat and seafood is a big deal to a younger generation of diners who are putting their money where their ethics lie. A recent Reuters-Thomson-NPR Health Poll, as Americas Best Organics reports, revealed that 63 percent of consumers under 35 years of age will pick organic products if available, possibly in an effort to support local farmers and markets. They will even pay more for it. They also expressed a concern about toxic pesticide residues found in conventionally grown non-organic foods. About a third of these people said they actively seek out organic when dining out, as the NPR poll reports.

As most chefs say, "people always have to eat," and, with stats to back up that, they're choosing to eat out more in the not-so-distant future. That means the choice of a culinary career is a promising option.

Photo credit: Le Cordon Bleu