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Do minority employees in Michigan restaurants face a glass ceiling?

Oct 28, 2014

Credit User: Consumerist Dot Com / Flickr

The restaurant industry is becoming more and more important to Michigan.

In fact, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in Metro Detroit. 

But many entry-level workers have trouble becoming managers and find it difficult to move up to a better position. And some say that this difficulty stems from racial and gender discrimination.  

Stateside’s Renee Gross reported on the story. 

Saru Jayaraman is the director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. She said there’s racial and gender discrimination and segregation related to lack of mobility and glass ceilings faced by these workers.

"The vast majority of workers of color are concentrated in lower-level segments, meaning fast food and casual, as opposed to fine dining and lower-level positions – like dishwasher versus server in a fine dining restaurant."

But not everybody sees mobility as a problem in restaurants.  

Brain Debano is the CEO of the Michigan Restaurant Association. He says minorities are doing really well in the restaurant field.    

"Minorities own about 33% of restaurants compared to only 21% of other businesses.  And about one in three restaurant managers are  minorities," says Debano.

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