Restaurant workforce expected to boom in Ohio and USA

The number of restaurant and foodservice jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow from 14.7 million today to 16.3 million by 2027 – that’s a total of 1.6 million new jobs over the next 10 years.

The projected growth in Ohio is equally impressive, according to our research experts at the National Restaurant Association. Total foodservice jobs in the Buckeye state are expected to expand 9.3% from 574,000 today to 627,500 by 2027.

What’s driving this incredible growth? It’s the insatiable demand by consumers (especially millennials) for food away from home and the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans who want to own their own business. They have a passion for hospitality and often dream about culinary genius, no doubt inspired by a family member or maybe a celebrity chef. It’s a great combination.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either good or bad news.

- For employees and people excited about a career in foodservice, the explosion of new restaurants and jobs is GREAT news. People have the opportunity to enter the workforce and grow in their career. Our #OhioWorksHere series spotlights many people in Ohio who started out washing dishes or busing tables, and today they are general managers, chefs and restaurant owners. Or, perhaps they work for a large restaurant chain in operations or marketing. It’s truly the American dream.

- For restaurant owners, who are already struggling to acquire talent and retain great people, the job growth news presents a challenge. How do you keep a core staff at a restaurant so that customers consistently get A+ service and food? The NRA says in their “2017 State of the Industry” report that about 30% of operators currently have job openings that are difficult to fill. And, as I talk to owners and operators around Ohio, workforce is one of the top three challenges they face.


To address this, the ORA is tackling workforce issues in many ways:

- Our Idea Factory event on Aug. 23 in Dublin, Ohio will feature Hudson Riehle from the NRA. He will provide attendees with a restaurant industry outlook, including some discussion about workforce issues. As SVP of the NRA's Research and Knowledge Group, Hudson directs consumer, economic, market, human resources, tourism and operations research. ORA members are welcome to join us by registering here.

- Our next ORA Restaurant Trends survey will focus on emerging and existing labor trends that have impact on the restaurant industry. We partner with Cleveland Research Company on our industry surveys and I encourage you to fill it out and return with your input. We will tabulate the most important labor information and share it with our members. You can find the survey by clicking here.

- The ORA's Local Restaurant Alliances in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati have already tackled some local labor issues and we will continue to help our members.

- We intend to initiate our next special committee at the ORA, one that will focus on HR & People. The ORA currently has committees of restaurant board members and professionals focused on ProStart, Technology, Government Affairs, our Mid-America Restaurant Expo and more. The new HR & People committee will be dedicated to helping our members tackle workforce challenges. We are currently recruiting members for the new committee – let me know if you are interested by emailing me at