Restaurant Group Cooks Up First-Ever Industry Competency Model

With guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation developed a tool to help restaurant and foodservice industry professionals find success.

Workers in the food and beverage industry have a new tool at their disposal to help them chart a successful, life-long career.

It’s not too bold to say that this is really a game changer for our industry. As a major employer in the economy, we needed to have this.

Last week, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the debut of the Food and Beverage Service Competency Model. Hosted on the CareerOneStop website of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) alongside 22 other industry competency models, is the first of its kind for the restaurant and foodservice industry.

“It’s not too bold to say that this is really a game changer for our industry. As a major employer in the economy, we needed to have this,” said Steve Kramer, vice president of communications for NRAEF. “We’re now among dozens of American industries with a systematic and cohesive way of looking at our workforce and helping those who are either already in the workforce or who are looking to join us find ways to advance their careers.”

The model provides a framework for understanding the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in the industry and is based on a tiered model recommended by DOL, Kramer explained. The tiers range from skills needed at the entry level all the way up through management- and occupation-specific competencies.

“Curriculum designers can use this when developing training programs or educational programs at different levels,” he said. “It allows industry HR professionals to measure a worker’s abilities on the job or [evaluate] would-be candidates for a particular position that’s open. And it allows [DOL’s Office of Workforce Investment] to know what skill sets are needed for the industry and how they can counsel their clientele on which industries they’re best suited for.”

To develop the model, NRAEF collaborated with National Restaurant Association members, state restaurant association representatives, key industry stakeholders, and DOL. An advisory panel gathered input and validated the final competency model.

“Engaging and having the entire restaurant and foodservice industry involved was crucial, whether it was members of the association or other vested parties,” said Kramer. “We applied our industry’s knowledge of what’s needed to be successful in a career in our industry and used that model to guide the process.”

And though the model is complete, Kramer said work will continue into the future.

“We’ll continue to go back and look it over to validate it and make sure it’s current,” he said. “A new technology may enter the marketplace that requires a particular competency, so we’ll work to ensure this tool stay relevant.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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