The National Restaurant Association formed in 1919, following a successful effort to protest the price of eggs. Today, a century later, the Association is raising its glass to 100 years of helping protect and advance what is today the nation’s second-largest, private sector employer.
Restaurants are a cornerstone of communities across the country. More than half of the population has worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives. Today, more than 15.3 million people are employed in more than one million restaurants. And the industry continues to grow. By 2029, it is projected that the industry will add another 1.6 million new jobs.
“Since 1919, the goal of the National Restaurant Association has been to advocate for our members and provide them with the necessary tools and resources to continue growing and serving customers,” says Dawn Sweeney, president & CEO of the Association. “As we move into the next century, we are positioning ourselves and our members for ongoing success. We are focused on developing a workforce that can grow and thrive. We are engaging with customers to better understand their desires so that our members remain competitive in an ever-changing business landscape. And, we are embracing emerging technologies that improve operations and enhance the dining experience.”
As part of the centennial celebration, the Association is visiting communities across the country to discuss issues critical to the future of the industry. In partnership with Unilever Food Solutions, the Association will bring together noteworthy leaders to facilitate conversations about the greatest challenges in the host regions, and provide tangible resources that could make a difference for operators. The first event, hosted at the Unilever Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, will focus on one of the most pressing issues operators identified in the Association’s State of the Restaurant Industry Report: workforce development. The education event will include a panel discussion, followed by small group, expert-led discussions on workforce development as well as sustainability in the kitchen, global flavors and plant forward eating.
In May the celebration continues at the Restaurant Show, which is also celebrating its centennial this year. The annual trade show provides the industry an opportunity to come together and learn from leaders and business owners, and experience cutting-edge business technologies and products.
“Restaurants are where we explore cultures, build careers, and strengthen character, both around the table and on the line,” Sweeney adds. “Using our combined voices, the restaurant industry is making a difference in the lives of people across the country. We hope our focus on diversity, training and certification, education, and advocacy will inspire the industry in the next 100 years.”