Women-owned and minority-owned restaurant businesses grew at rates well above their cohorts in the overall economy in recent years, according to the NRA’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.
In addition to providing employment opportunities for both first-time and experienced workers, the restaurant industry offers a path to entrepreneurship that no other industry can match. In fact, eight in 10 restaurant owners say their first job in the restaurant industry was an entry-level position, according to research by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
With few barriers to entry, the restaurant industry provides ownership opportunities to people of all backgrounds. This was on full display during the challenging economic environment in recent years, when women-owned and minority-owned restaurant businesses grew at rates well above their cohorts in the overall economy.
Between 2007 and 2012 (most recent data available), the number of women-owned restaurant businesses jumped 40 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same 5-year period, the number of women-owned businesses in the overall economy rose 27 percent.
As a result of these strong gains, 33 percent of restaurant businesses are majority-owned by women – up from 26 percent in 2007. Another 15 percent of restaurant businesses are equally-owned by women and men.
Minority-owned restaurant businesses also rose sharply in recent years. The number of Hispanic-owned restaurant businesses soared 51 percent between 2007 and 2012, while black- or African-American-owned restaurants jumped 49 percent. Both were above their corresponding growth rates in the overall economy.
The number of Asian-owned restaurant businesses increased 18 percent between 2007 and 2012, which was slightly below the 24 percent increase in the overall economy.
As a result of the steady growth in recent years, fully four in 10 restaurant businesses are majority-owned by minorities. In the overall economy, 29 percent of businesses are owned by minorities.