"Everybody Has to Eat" - 1 in 3 Iowans Hold First Job in a Restaurant

Jul 6, 2015

Last year in Iowa the foodservice sector added 2,600 jobs. It’s projected the state will see an additional 12,300 new food service jobs in the coming decade, according to a forecast released recently by the National Restaurant Association.

One in three Iowans found their first job in the restaurant industry according to the Iowa Restaurant Association, and during this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a behind the scenes look at what it takes to create a standard of excellent service in a restaurant.

Michael LaValle, general manager and culinary director of the Des Moines Embassy Club, says that in order to provide top quality service, it makes sense for higher end restaurants and clubs to provide health benefits and retirement plans in order to keep servers on staff.

“You can’t achieve excellence with people who are only in it part time,” he explains. “We have many people who are with us who have been with us for decades. We were early adopters of health insurance for our servers and give them a lot of respect for the professionals that they are.”

Carolyn Elbert, who has 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and is a lecturer and internship coordinator for the hospitality management program at Iowa State University, and Patricia Tice, owner of Etiquette Iowa and author of Agri-Manners: Tips for Professional Success also join the conversation to talk about restaurant etiquette. Their biggest tip? Put your phone away.

“How do you interact with a table who isn’t even interacting with each other? We see it all the time where there’s a group of people on their phones, or there are parents talking to each other and the kids are on their phones,” says Elbert.