Welcome to “A Taste of Tomorrow,” the food and job mixer designed to elevate lives and rock your taste buds. Not too long ago, access to restaurant industry job opportunities were freely open to teens around America. The essence of this rite of passage has been captured in classic film and television. Like Judge Reinhold¹s Brad Hamilton in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Jason Priestley¹s Brandon Walsh in "Beverly Hills, 90210," and countless others on the screen, young people in real life around the country have gained invaluable life and work experience through restaurant industry jobs.

Over the years, in Los Angeles and many other cities around the U.S., the doors to teen job opportunities have begun to close and, in some markets, are on the verge of being shut. With the lowest rate of teen employment in the U.S., according to a 2014 Brookings Institute report, there is no metropolitan area in the country where a teen job is tougher to get than in Los Angeles and its surrounding communities. At the same time, while teen jobs shrink, Americans both young and old continue to grow physically larger, and health care costs continue to skyrocket. Despite foods bans, regulations, educational programs, and other efforts at all levels of business and government, the progress toward creating a healthier America has been slow.

We can move faster.

On behalf of exceptional restaurateurs around the country who serve real and delicious food, we can EAT our way to a better tomorrow.

"E" stands for education‹ensuring that all children have access to a safe and quality educational environment and, equally important, that children and their families have readily accessible and truthful information about the food they eat.

"A" stands for access to teen job opportunities and to real and delicious food for all. Teen job access is fundamentally important for obvious reasons, and accelerating consumer access to real and delicious food will facilitate the transformation of poor eating habits into good, improving health, business, and communities.

"T" stands for teamwork, the most critical component to a brighter future. Lawmakers and businesses need to set politics aside and collaborate to create policies and incentives that inspire teen hiring and reduce the cost of real and delicious food to the consumer. Food bans have proven ineffective in battling eating-induced health problems because bans do not provide consumers with an alternative. Good food needs to be readily accessible by proximity and price, so that all can access and enjoy.

"A Taste of Tomorrow" will showcase teamwork, as hundreds of businesses join forces with leaders, students, teachers, and stars for a fun afternoon of tasting what life could be like if we worked together to teach, encourage, inspire, and motivate each other to create a more productive and delicious future. Now, let¹s EAT!


Riley Lagesen
National Restaurant Industry Group Chair
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP