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From the editor: Time to take the lead on diversity issues

The amount of competition in the meal and restaurant space has been well documented here at Nation’s Restaurant News.  With a saturated market, it’s a time when the industry can’t just keep doing what it has been doing. Restaurants don’t need to just think outside the box, they need to flatten the box.

To find a fresh perspective, it’s time to make room for new voices in restaurant leadership. Women and people of color should be among those voices.

McKinsey & Co. found that at top-performing companies, women are much more likely to be promoted to a managerial roles than average-performing companies.

“Companies with more gender diversity perform better,” a McKinsey report stated.

Read more: Quantifying the restaurant C-suite gender gap

Not promoting women equally is bad for business.

In partnership with the Women’s Foodservice Forum and Lean In, McKinsey & Co. has recently focused its research on the foodservice sector with the Women in the Food Industry report. It’s the first time we have a food-focused benchmark.

As you might imagine, the results show that restaurants have some work to do. Men occupy two-thirds of the C-suite and vice president roles. Women only occupy 21 percent of senior vice president roles. Women of color are even more underrepresented.

In this issue, NRN also looks at the challenges for promoting minority executives to top roles. In 2014, the industry had six African-American CEOs leading NRN Top 100 ranked companies. Now there is only one.

Read more: Diversity remains a struggle in restaurant leadership 

Now, many of these statistics aren’t great, but the fact that we have a benchmark fills me with hope. The fact that we as a country have been discussing difficult topics also gives me hope. The next step is action.

I don’t mean to suggest there aren’t many wonderful programs working to bring diverse voices and backgrounds into the restaurant space. There are. But the industry needs to decide that it is going to lead.

“In taking the lead, the food industry will also stand to benefit economically. A more equitable workplace continues to show itself as a way to meet the triple bottom line of a socially responsible business: good for business, good for individuals and good for the world at large,” the McKinsey report says.

It’s time to show the world what we already know — that restaurants are the industry of opportunity.

Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca

TAGS: Workforce
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