Commerce Department Reports Growth in Food Sales, Triggering Hiring on

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The Commerce Department reported Thursday that food industry sales rose 4.3 percent in May compared to a year ago. The improved food sector has pushed recruitment efforts on

Food industry employees need the experience and training to meet a very diverse set of customer needs.

Food and beverage sales were up in May, based on a Commerce Department report released Thursday. Food sales were up 4.3 percent from a year ago, spurring hiring by restaurant employers. Demand for food service employees was reflected in a spike in openings on

The Commerce Department reported increased sales in retail and food services for May. As sectors hit hard during the recession, the numbers offered hope of a turnaround. Sales in food services were up 4.3 percent from May 2012. The report showed marked improvement for a sector that has been beset by declining sales, as budget-conscious Americans chose to stay at home for their meals, rather than eat out. The improved economic outlook is bringing plenty of Americans out of their kitchens.

As business picks up, restaurants are again feeling confident enough to invest in hiring. Food sector recruitment has picked up on, a leading job site for restaurant and food sector employment. Demand was strongest for chefs and sous chefs, especially in Florida and Texas.

As the latest food trends are constantly changing, restaurants must be willing to adapt to meet customers’ expectations. With the organic and local food movement gaining momentum across the country, restaurants are being more conscious of the quality of their food sources, knowing that it might be a deal-breaker for some customers. Just like most restaurants will have at least a few vegetarian items to appease their non-meat-eating patrons, many eateries are offering at least one or two organic dishes on their menu, rather than risk having customers go elsewhere.

“The restaurant industry is constantly evolving to mirror current food and health trends,” said Harrison Barnes, CEO of “Employees need the experience and training to meet a very diverse set of customer needs.”

Known for low wages and long hours, the restaurant sector is an industry where employees must be willing to start at the bottom and work their way up. At the higher levels, and especially within the hotel and leisure industry, competition is fierce. Particularly for those involved in food preparation, workers at this level must be the very best at what they do. Increasingly, food industry employers are seeking cooks and chefs with a very specialized set of knowledge and skills. Those seeking to break into the sector are better off mastering a single area of expertise and truly excelling at it, rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades.

About is a job search site based in Pasadena, CA. It is a part of the Employment Research Institute and owned by A. Harrison Barnes.

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