Restaurants are recruiting members of the military community

Photo credit NRAEF

The armed forces aren’t the only ones recruiting these days. So is the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The non-profit has launched a new initiative, Restaurants Recruit, which seeks to help the military community connect directly with restaurant and foodservice careers.

“The focus is on transitioning service members, veterans and their spouses, creating pathways for them to follow in order to work in the restaurant industry,” explained Ed Walden, director of military programs for the NRAEF. 

For one Army chef, service is the perfect recipe

Walden, a retired Air Force command master chief with nearly 28 years of military experience, connected with the group more than 10 years ago.

The recruiting initiative was born out of a request Walden received last year from a Louisiana business that was looking to hire 20 culinary specialists with a connection to the military.

“The question was how to get hold of them,” said Walden. “I didn’t have a good quality answer. I thought it was a sad situation that in an industry that wanted to hire the military, there was no connection there.”

Chad White went from serving in the Navy to serving dishes on Top Chef

The initiative asks all transitioning military, serving Guard/Reserve members, military spouses, and veterans who are interested to sign up for the free service. Walden said the form only takes less than minutes to complete.

“There are no guarantees for an interview,” he stressed. “There are no guarantees for a job. What we want is to be able to spotlight these individuals.”

 Walden said the initiative will also assist hiring managers in understanding how the skills learned as the result of military experience translate into the civilian workforce.

“The military is part of the community we are trying to serve,” he said.

 Reach Julia LeDoux at
Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.