A summer job in the restaurant industry is like training for the Olympics. The great athletes who will be competing this summer in Paris cross-trained on skills that not only improved their game but also made their minds and bodies stronger.

For people who work in the restaurant industry, the skills they pick up in summer jobs advance their careers. For others, they’ll have cross-trained in customer service, teamwork, and communication skills that they can rely on forever.

The Stats

According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual Eating and Drinking Place Summer Employment Forecast, restaurant operators will add 525,000 jobs for the summer season. This is the first time on record that demand has reached this level two summers in a row, a news release revealed.

“Restaurant jobs are particularly valuable because employees can learn a host of skills in a short time that are investments for both their business and everyday life,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “According to our survey, among adults who have worked in the industry, a majority (63%) think working in the industry is extremely or very beneficial for skill development. Additionally, 79% of adults agree working in the restaurant industry is valuable for professional development and that they still use skills like teamwork, prioritization, communication, adaptability, and attention to detail.”

Often teenagers and young adults return to summer restaurant jobs to hone their skills and save up a good amount of money in a short period. Juan Martinez, owner of Martinez Hospitality, runs five Don Juan Mex Grill restaurants in northeast Pennsylvania. Every summer he receives emails from college students who worked for him in high school, asking if they can come back to work for the summer. He says it’s a win for the students and a win for his full-time staff.

“The biggest impact our summer employees have is giving our full-time employees time with their families,” Martinez said. “It provides flexibility for them to take a vacation and spend time with their kids who are out of school. At the same time, it helps the college kids who are eager to make money over the summer and want to work as many hours as they can.”

Training Ground

The restaurant industry is the nation’s training ground. Sixty-three percent of adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives. One in 10 people currently work in food service, making it the nation’s second-largest private employer.

Read the full Summer Employment Forecast, which includes a state-by-state forecast of summer jobs, here.

Source: National Restaurant Association