The Importance of Food Jobs for Youth

tablesChances are high that you or somebody you know got their first job in a restaurant. The food industry is well known for being a place where young people can go to get meaningful employment, and many places offer opportunities for people who have never worked before to break into the job market.

Whether you’re a fry cook at McDonald’s, a cashier at Tim Horton’s, a dishwasher at Moxie’s, or a busser/waitress at your local diner, you can always point to the food industry as the place that started it all.

It is because of this fact that we need to be encouraging and supporting food jobs here in Canada. With the government focusing on jobs and the economy, it is vital that they protect this sector by keeping regulatory waters wave-free, and ensuring that restaurants and regulatory bodies are hiring the proper amount of staff right here at home.

Promotion

There are things we can do to promote food jobs and ensure that young people are continuing to look to our sector for their first or second meaningful place of employment. We all know that turn around can be high and that it is good for our businesses to have people we can train correctly, but there is also something great about helping someone start their working life that will lead them to bigger and better things.

We should be supporting resources about food, cooking and job training programs, local businesses, chamber’s of commerce, activist campaigns, healthy lifestyle groups, and anything else that we can to ensure that these jobs are recognized as important and vital to our economy.

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As someone who has been in the restaurant business for nearly 2 decades, I know that I love this business partly because you are always the host and can facilitate someone’s relaxation and time away from their busy and hectic life. Though perhaps unbelievable, it really is rewarding to influence people’s life in this way, even if they never attribute it directly to you, the restaurateur. Without good people to fill the jobs and steady economic and regulatory waters to ensure we can hire people and know we will still make money, fewer places will exist for people to escape to for relaxation and a get away.

Clearly this can lead to more significant societal problems. A long term thought, perhaps, but a necessary one all the same. We ought be able to run our businesses and sector as we know we must, but with that desire for power over our destinies comes a great responsibility to give back and help grow our communities.

Finding The Right Youth

With our promotional activities as mentioned briefly above, we need to be actively recruiting the best and most promising people and help them grow into an important position. We should offer a good job and make sure we are very easy to find and apply to, but we must also ensure that the barrier to entry is not totally non-existent. It must be easy, but we should be in a two-way relationship where we have reached out, but expect the young people to reach back to ensure they’re serious about it.

Good promotion and outreach and a quality atmosphere will allow us to hire those kids who love being at home cooking with their parents, or who love serving people, or who generally bring a strong work ethic. They don’t necessarily need to have invented the next greatest deep fried turkey recipe, but our outreach can help target the best and brightest, and in turn we can help make them even brighter.

I encourage you all to think about this deeply and work together to ensure food jobs stay right here in Canada.

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