Restaurant Ready™


The NRAEF’s Restaurant Ready™ program is a national program to engage and empower disengaged opportunity youth (OY), reentry adults and underserved populations that need work readiness skills to pursue a path to employment and life-long success.

Launched in 2017, and starting with a focus on OY, the Foundation has expanded its work to also reach reentry adults and additional populations. The Foundation currently operates 18 Restaurant Ready programs across the country.

The NRAEF’s program provides training in six work-ready competency areas defined by the restaurant industry — competencies which are critical for them to gain work-readiness skills and be successful throughout their careers, no matter what path they choose.

How the program works

The NRAEF brings together community-based organizations (CBOs), industry and State Restaurant Associations (SRAs) to:

  • Set industry standards for a nationally-calibrated soft-skills training and skill assessment for opportunity youth;

  • Enable industry employers to define the key skills opportunity youth need; and

  • Improve employers’ understanding of value in hiring, supporting and retaining opportunity youth

Program Goals

  • Establish the restaurant industry as a model of a supportive, welcoming environment for opportunity youth

  • Bridge the gap between CBOs and employers

  • Substantiate the restaurant industry as a model of employment, development and advancement

  • Secure additional funding and resources to support opportunity youth in the industry

  • Foster ongoing collaboration among participants (CBOs, employers, NRAEF, SRAs)

  • Provide a national standard assessment 

See below to learn more about our community partners currently receiving training and resources from the NRAEF’s RR program.
Washington, DC – DC Central KitchenA nationally recognized "community kitchen" that recycles food from around Washington DC and uses it as a tool to train unemployed adults to develop work skills while providing thousands of meals for local service agencies in the process.

Dallas, TX – Café Momentum - Teaching restaurant that provides culinary, job, and life-skill training for at-risk and formerly incarcerated young adults.

New Orleans, LA – Café ReconcileOffers a life skills and hospitality job training program for at-risk youth aged 16-24.

New Orleans, LA – Liberty’s KitchenProvides pathways for New Orleans young people to create and achieve their vision of success. Food–at the heart of our city’s economy, culture, and future–is our chosen vehicle for change.

Fort Collins, CO – The Matthews House - Provides various programs to help local youth and their family transition to self-sufficiency focusing on five areas to help youth build and maintain necessary attributes for independence: Safe and Affordable Housing; Physical & Mental Health; Employment; Education; and Independent Living & Social Skills.

Salinas, CA – Rancho Cielo - Dedicated to providing at-risk youth with an opportunity to gain classroom training, work experience and transferrable skills that help them become employable in the culinary and hospitality industry.

Detroit, MI – Operation ABLE - Helps adults find employment via personalized searches, job placement, occupational training and career transition services.

Chicago, IL – Impact Culinary - A collaboration between ICNC, Frontera Foods, The Hatchery, Accion, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, and Conagra Brands.

Albuquerque, NM – New Day - New Day is singularly focused on meeting the needs of young people in trouble. To accomplish the mission, New Day works toward a vision that every youth has safe refuge for the present, adult allies for the future, and the basic skills needed to carve a healthy and positive path forward.

Salem, MA – ROOT - Provides youth, ages 16 to 24, with a pathway to employment and financial independence. Through developing life and work readiness skills, youth leave Root prepared for success in the workplace.

Nashville, TN – Oasis TransitionsDedicated to supporting and improving the lives of youth in Middle Tennessee.

St. Louis, MO – Urban League of St. Louis - The Urban League of St. Louis serves around 100,000 youth per year across Southern Illinois and half of Missouri. It aims to empower all people in attaining economic self-sufficiency through job training, good jobs, home ownership, entrepreneurship and wealth accumulation.

Are you with an organization that currently serves opportunity youth?  

Click here to submit an inquiry to get your organization involved in the program.

To learn more about how you can support the work of the Foundation’s Restaurant Ready program, contact:

NRAEF Restaurant Ready team at