Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen announced its philanthropic arm, The Popeyes Foundation, Inc., and its franchisees will partner with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart program. The two-year high school program unites industry and the classroom to introduce students nationwide to career opportunities available in the industry.

By partnering with ProStart, the Popeyes Foundation will further its mission to develop the next generation of passionate, food-zealot Popeyes restaurateurs while providing mentoring, internship, and training opportunities for ProStart students and teachers.

According to the NRA, the restaurant industry accounts for 12.8 million jobs, or 10 percent of the nation’s total work base. This figure is projected to increase by 1.8 million jobs in the next decade. Despite the significant job opportunity represented by restaurant and foodservice management, the industry has experienced a recent decline in new entrants.

“The viability of the restaurant industry depends on the development, commitment, and skill of the next generation of restaurant professionals,” says Cheryl Bachelder, president and CEO for Popeyes. “To this end, we reinvigorated the Popeyes Foundation around a mission that reflects our brand’s strong heritage of entrepreneurship. Our hope is that this partnership will help advance the next generation of dedicated, passionate leaders—not only for our brand, but for our entire industry.”

By bringing industry and the classroom together, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents and opens doors for fulfilling careers. It all happens through a curriculum that teaches all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed, and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF, and state restaurant associations, ProStart reaches 90,000 students in 1,700 schools nationwide.

As part of the Popeyes Foundation partnership, Popeyes will offer restaurant training for ProStart educators, as well as mentored work opportunities and internships with franchisees for ProStart students. Through ProStart’s curriculum and hands-on experience with Popeyes, students will develop the culinary and management skills needed to become successful business owners and restaurant professionals.

“Real-world experience with the industry’s best-known companies is an exciting and effective way to strengthen the caliber of the future leaders of the restaurant industry,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA and NRAEF. “Through strategic partnerships with established and well-respected foodservice brands, our ProStart students gain practical skills that help shape their futures. Further, our partners have the opportunity to connect students’ present performance with their future potential and recruit long-term employees who are already committed to pursuing a rewarding career in the restaurant industry. ” 

News, Popeyes