Until just recently, the largest private employer in Texas was healthcare. Not anymore. Any guesses on who has taken the lead? It's not oil. It's not gas. It's not farming...

It's food service.


The food service industry reigns supreme in the Lone Star State. It's now the largest private employer with a whopping 1.5 million Texans (11% of our population) working in the service industry in roughly 57,000 restaurants across the state.


So, why is this important? Who cares?

1.5 million Texans care! Especially when it comes to their paychecks.

Can you believe the minimum wage is still only $7.25 an hour here?

Of course, not everyone working in food service is making the minimum wage, but a lot of them are. With more people working in the restaurant industry than ever, you'd think we would have raised that wage just a teensy bit by now. It hasn't changed since 2009, and that's a real shame. Restaurant work is rough and Texans deserve better.

I hate hearing the arguments against raising the minimum wage, especially when it comes to fast food workers and people in the service industry.

"Those jobs are for teenagers."

"If they want more money, they should go to college."

"I only make $$$ an hour. They don't deserve as much as me."

What a load of crap. Have you ever met a teenager? Your favorite restaurant would be on fire without adults running the joint. Don't even get me started on the weird things I've seen teenagers do in restaurants. When I was a kitchen manager, I walked in on a teen sitting on the FLOOR while he chopped onions...

And the college argument? Silly. Not everyone dreams big, or the same way you do, and not everyone is cut out to be a doctor. I said it. Some of us are cooks. Some of us are lawyers. It takes all kinds, and there's no shame in the food service game. Zero.

Saying that food service workers don't deserve more money because it makes your salary feel small, is another issue entirely. It's not a contest. Your employer should probably be paying you more, too. There are plenty of jobs out there that aren't paying what they should. We don't have to compare and contrast between them all to know that nobody can live off of $7.25 without government assistance. It just doesn't compute.

The point is, there are FAR more people working in the service industry in Texas than you think. It's a hard job. It's not just teenage bs. It requires skills, patience, and drive to get up each day, for very little money, and greet customers with a smile.

Let's work on it, Texas. We can do better.

The next time you dine out or grab fast food, be sure to tell the workers how much you appreciate them.

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