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State of the Industry: Diversity

State of the Industry: Diversity

“State of the Industry: Diversity,” is a special report brought to you by Nation’s Restaurant News in partnership with business intelligence firm TDn2K and diversity advocate Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance.

Sarah E. Lockyer, editor in chief, Nation's Restaurant News

When leading business intelligence firm TDn2K and top diversity and inclusion advocate Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance approached NRN with an exclusive opportunity to be part of a restaurant industry survey on the state of workforce diversity, there was not a moment of pause.

There are few restaurant-specific measurements of diversity and inclusion, yet they are imperative if any industry wants to benchmark today’s employee makeup and create goals for future progress in developing a multicultural workforce.

Why is this important? Let’s be honest, the restaurant industry has a reputation problem. Aggressive discussions on minimum wage, immigration reform, the quality and scope of jobs, and the sources of food served are taking place each day. Building diverse and inclusive workforces can help change that perception. The industry can become a job of choice and a job of opportunity — for everyone.

Add to that macro data showing continued growth in multicultural populations, it becomes clear the industry needs to embrace wide arrays of color, gender, sexual orientation and age at every job level, to not only mirror their customers, but also win their buying decisions. If still not sold, let’s throw in a few of today’s buzzwords: Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Research shows these generations, which will be history’s most multicultural in nature, prefer to work in environments that are diverse, and spend money with companies that promote diversity and inclusion.

This report and its data are not exhaustive. The survey presents self-reported responses from 60 companies that operate 90 brands. It is an impressive group, however, with participants including Brinker International, Darden Restaurants, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and White Castle.

In finishing this report, it is clear TDn2K and MFHA have presented a data-based wake-up call for the restaurant industry, showing where it stands on diversity and how much progress can be made. NRN did not approach this as an investigative piece, nor did we want to slap the industry on the wrist. Our job is to inform and provide intelligence that will help drive business decisions and results. We believe building multicultural workforces helps any business, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.

About the survey

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Data was collected through an online survey from November 2013 through April 2014. Questions were provided to qualify respondents before being included in the results. For a survey response to be valid, the person responding to the survey had to be employed by a restaurant company.

The sample representing the industry for this study was made up of all restaurant companies that responded to the survey, which totaled 60 companies operating 90 brands. A non-probability sampling method was used for acquiring the data for the study.

A response represents aggregate data at the individual company level. This means only one response was received per company and all of these responses were weighted equally when calculating the results.

Each question in the survey was treated separately and all valid responses to each question were used when calculating results. Not all participants supplied valid responses to every question; as a consequence, the companies represented in each question may vary.

Simple average methodology was used when calculating averages for the results. Responses are not weighted in any form.

Results were segmented and calculated based on two criteria: service style and company size based on systemwide sales.

Limited Service includes restaurants with counter service, including
both quick-service and fast-casual brands. Full service includes restaurants that offer table service, including casual-dining, family-dining, and fine-dining concepts.

Classifications based on size include Small Companies with $50 million or less in annual systemwide sales; Medium Companies with annual systemwide sales between $51 million and $500 million; and Large Companies with annual systemwide sales over $500 million.


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