The Big Business of Small Business
Given my ongoing exposure to many of the larger restaurant chains (through hand-shaking at industry networking events, executive interviews, and general news-combing) I often think of the foodservice industry as being largely comprised of name-brand establishments, employing a significant chunk of the industry's workforce, with mom-and-pop restaurants scattered here and there across the landscape.
Here's the real picture: On a typical day in America the foodservice industry employs more than 12.7 million people (9 percent of the workforce). The kicker is that 91 percent of those eating-and-drinking establishments have fewer than 50 employees. Whether they're mom-and-pop restaurants or franchisees carrying a name brand, the reality is that the vast majority of restaurant operations are small businesses.
Restaurants are expected to bring in $580.1 billion in sales this year, with an overall economic impact of more than $1.5 trillion, making these small businesses a very big part of the U.S. economy. To consider that small business owners in a single industry have such a significant impact on the U.S. economy overall has given me a greater appreciation for the importance of each individual restaurant unit, and as a champion for IT pros in the hospitality industry, of the critical role that information technology can play in helping them succeed.