Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Job Growth & the Restaurant Industry

by Megan Considine

We placed an ad on Facebook early this spring in search of new employees. As we approached our busiest time of year, we knew we needed to be fully staffed for the tourist season while also covering the shifts of employees who would be taking trips and vacations of their own.

We received an overwhelming response of applicants. In the last two months, we have had over two dozen applications turned in. In the last month alone, we have hired ten new employees. I started to wonder, was this because everyone wanted some extra money this summer? Or were there other forces to consider...

  • Is the Illinois economy making it harder to survive? 
  • Did people just love our food so much they wanted to be part of the behind-the-scenes action? 
  • Was it simply because of an ad on Facebook versus the local newspapers? 
  • Or was everyone just dying to be a chef in the making? 

I started to do my homework. As of July 2, 2015, restaurants have added 30,000 jobs to the economy this year! According to the National Restaurant Association, the overall economy is “on track to post its strongest annual employment gain since 1999.”

For eating and drinking places, the 3.7 percent year-to-date growth puts the restaurant industry on track to register its fourth consecutive year with job growth of at least 3.5 percent. This would also be the 16th year in a row that the restaurant industry job growth outpaced the overall economy.

Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars - including coffee, donut and ice cream shops - were the leaders of the restaurant group with a whopping 6.4 percent employment gain. Quick service restaurants are the runner up in the category with a 3.8 percent gain. Coming in close are table service restaurants (like us) at a 3.5 percent employment gain.

This started to make more sense to me. Those looking for a job know that restaurants are always looking. With perks such as flexible hours, accommodating schedules, tips and room for growth on the chain of command, what's not to love about working in a restaurant?!

Here at the Uptown, we currently employ 69 individuals in 10 different departments. We have those who rely on this as their full time job; we have those who teach or have full time jobs elsewhere and work here on the weekends; we have stay-at-home parents who need a break from their darlings a few days each week; and we have college graduates who come back for Christmas, Spring and Summer breaks.

We have high school students who fit us into their busy academic and athletic schedules, and we have managers who have mastered every department in this industry, worked their way to the top and now run the place. It takes a diverse population to run this restaurant. Day in and day out, it's a constant team effort (especially as we remodel).

In a society riddled with unemployment and economic lows, it's nice to know that our industry continues to be the leader of change! We always welcome new employees and look forward to watching them grow and make their second home with us. Because we are a well-known, respected (30 years on our side) restaurant with wonderful and loyal customers, we are always able to make room for new employees.

As we get ready to transition from the summer to fall, our search for new employees is on again! If you know of someone who would make an awesome addition to our staff, send them our way.

Your support of our day-to-day operations is not only supporting Uptown Grill, but it is also lowering our local unemployment rates... now THAT is teamwork!


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