Food Glorious Food

by Shawna Sykes

December 7, 2017

Everybody has to eat, right? We have some great food service and drinking places within Northwest Oregon – full service restaurants, buffets, brew-pubs and bars, fast food, mobile food carts and coffee stands, caterers, and food service contractors. From regional and national fast-food chains to locally owned eateries catering to “locavores,” the food services sector has grown significantly in the past 10 years.
With more than $193 million in payroll in the Northwest Oregon area, the food service and drinking places sector provided an average of nearly 11,000 jobs in 2016, up 26 percent in the past 10 years. This industry makes up nearly 12 percent of jobs within the region. The number of establishments has grown from 714 to 783 in the same period, a growth rate of 10 percent. Benton County has the largest number of food service jobs within NW Oregon with 43 percent, followed by Clatsop (21%), Lincoln (20%), Columbia (9%), and Tillamook (7%). Food services employment is sensitive to seasonal fluctuations, peaking in the summer months with the influx of tourists and experiencing its lowest employment in December and January.

Smaller businesses with no employees also contribute to this industry’s success. Non-employers in the food services and drinking places sector had sales receipts of over $10.5 million in 2015 within the five-county area including Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties.

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