Penned Bon Appétit Restaurants and Drinks Editor Andrew Knowlton: “I’ve been doing this professionally for several years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a concentration of exciting and invigorating restaurants in a single year, in a single season. Not even in New York.”
That’s a pretty big statement.
Here’s another big statement, this one from the National Restaurant Association:
Restaurant-industry employment is now 14 million employees strong, and expected to increase eight percent to 15.7 million by 2025. One in three adults in America got their first job experience in a restaurant. And while total U.S. employment grew only 1.9 percent in 2014, restaurant industry employment grew 3.5 percent, marking 2014 as the 15th consecutive year that the restaurant industry has outperformed overall U.S. employment growth.
Looking to meet the demand of their own projected growth, 20+ companies were part of MEDA’s culinary career fair that was held yesterday at Valencia Gardens in the Mission. Businesses included 20th Century Cafe, Bi-Rite Market, Blue Bottle Coffee, Bon Appétit Management Company, Hilton Hotels, Tartine Bakery & Cafe and more.
With resumes in hand, shoes shined and an optimistic attitude, enthusiastic jobseekers showed up to give their uplifting elevator pitches and land that new job. From bakers to servers, front of house to back of house, skill sets varied among the prospective employees.
MEDA’s Workforce Development staff had done outreach for the event. The team had also been busily prepping all clients with restaurant experience, knowing that today was the perfect day to make connections in the industry.
One jobseeker, Maria from the Mission, was excited to see so many employers. She explained, “I just gave my resumes to a few companies that made sense as places I could work. Some said they had jobs now, while others will be hiring soon.”
“Creating a pipeline for potential employment is key,” concurs Workforce Development Program Manager Orrian Willis. “You never know when there will be a match, but our job is to prepare clients for when that time shows itself. Today is a step in that direction.”