Mikki Stevens now works as the Director of Operations for HNH Companies – a franchising group which owns a number of IHOP, Pinkberry and Johnny Rocket’s locations. And her story of moving from an entry-level position to a successful career in the industry was a common narrative heard throughout California classrooms during the first-ever Force-in-Training (FIT™) Day put on by the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (CRAEF).
On Tuesday, October 28, 70 leaders from the restaurant industry gave back to their local communities by walking more than 2,000 students at 33 different high schools through a curriculum designed to teach the skills needed to succeed in the restaurant industry and business world in general.
“It’s really important to know that there are opportunities out there for you,” said local restaurateur and California Restaurant Association (CRA) Sacramento chapter President, Chris Jarosz, to a room full of ProStart students.
“You need to figure out what your passions are. If your passion is food, then go after it. I think that’s more why we are here than anything else…to tell you to pursue your passions.” Jarosz held a number of jobs in various industries before opening his Broderick Roadhouse in West Sacramento.
Employing nearly 10% of the state’s workforce, the restaurant industry has long been a provider of first jobs for teenagers and young adults looking to gain work experience or searching for a launch point for a career. In fact, 80% of restaurant owners started in entry-level positions.
“FIT™ Day is all about preparing for students for that first job, which is going to set you up for future success,” CRAEF Executive Director, Alycia Harshfield said. “The best part about working in a restaurant is that you are learning very transferable skills. We want to make sure young people have those experiences.”
With the industry expected to add almost 150,000 jobs in the next decade, the restaurant industry has the potential to continue to play a major role in inspiring and training tomorrow’s workforce.