Crashing the C-suite ceiling: How female restaurant leaders are pushing for more diversity

Crashing the C-suite ceiling: How female restaurant leaders are pushing for more diversity

Even though more women work in the restaurant industry than men, fewer are represented at the executive level. Brands like Auntie Anne's, Red Lobster, Starbucks and McDonald's are making changes.

The #MeToo movement has forced the restaurant industry to reckon with the sexual harassment that has long plagued female kitchen staff, but another issue, gender inequality, is coming into focus.

Women make up more than 52% of the restaurant and foodservice industry, but that number shrinks substantially the further up the corporate ladder, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, women represent only 18% of C-suite positions in the segment, the Women's Foodservice Forum reports.

"Corner offices in the restaurant industry — like most industries — have traditionally been occupied by white men with resumes that look remarkably similar: Ivy League, a stint on Wall Street, prestigious business school, consulting gig, C-suite," Auntie Anne's president Heather Neary told Restaurant Dive in an email. "It's incumbent upon all of us, men and women, to change this repetitive narrative."