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Number of employees in the restaurant industry in the United States from 2010 to 2026 (in millions)

This statistic shows the number of employees in the restaurant industry in the United States from 2010 to 2026. The number of people employed in the U.S. restaurant industry was forecasted to rise to 16.11 million by 2026.


Employment in the U.S. restaurant industry – additional information

Workers in the restaurant and food service industries are often stereotyped as being high school or college kids looking to make some extra cash or as adults who have failed to gain a successful career in a more respectable industry. This stereotype may be a result of the low skill, low paid, entry level jobs the industry offers such as a bus person or dishwasher.
A nationwide survey among current and former restaurant industry employees in late 2013, helped to determine the number of years employees had worked in the restaurant industry, according to their occupation. The survey revealed that the median number of years for someone to hold a restaurant manager position was 20 years. This was in stark contrast to the 3 years of a crew person at a fast food restaurant.
In the same survey, respondents were asked about the reasons to take a break from the restaurant industry. The number one response, with 31 percent of respondents, was to pursue another job. A further 15 percent took a break in order to attend school and 14 percent of respondents had taken a break for better pay and benefits.
In order to find out what restaurant employees think of the stereotypes which surround their job, they were asked, in October and November 2013, if they were proud to work in the restaurant industry. During the survey, 54 percent said they strongly agreed that they were proud to work in the restaurant industry. Only three percent stated that they strongly disagreed.

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 Number of employees in millions
2010 -
2011 -
2012 -
2013 -
2014 -
2015 -
2016* -
2026* -
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