Diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords anymore. They’re integral to the way businesses hire, and that’s particularly true of the restaurant industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that currently, more than one out of 10, or 1.2 million, of all eating-and-drinking-place employees in the United States are African American, and that number is expected to grow.
Restaurant companies are more intentional and better at recruiting minorities into their corporate ranks as the U.S. workforce is becoming more multicultural, says Kevin Williams, director of people excellence at casual-dining company Brinker International. But, he notes, there’s room for improvement.
Williams suggests companies do the following to increase diversity:
It’s important to look deeper, peel back a layer of the onion, and develop stars with potential to move up, he says.
The 35-year-old, who’s been with Brinker for four years and promoted twice, says his path to the executive suite has been easy, but as a black man, he’s felt there’ve been times when he’s had to work harder at being heard. The results, however, have been worth it.
“I’ve had a successful career,” he says, but I think, as a person of color and because of my culture and what folks of my culture have gone through, it makes me interpret things a little differently.”
Williams shared some thoughts on how people of color can make success easier to achieve:
Pictured at top: African-American chef; above: Brinker’s Kevin Williams