Women are stirring up the restaurant industry: They now own approximately one of every three restaurants. According to the Census Bureau, the number of eating-and-drinking establishments owned by women increased 41 percent between 1987 and 1992. In the same period, the number of restaurants owned by men decreased 6 percent.
Women restaurateurs also outpaced men in total sales, doubling receipts over that five-year period, while men's establishments grew by 29 percent. Where women restaurateurs lag behind men is in average sales, which were $215,400, almost 40 percent lower than the $343,100 average earned by men.
The National Restaurant Association confirms women entering the industry is a long-term trend. "There aren't as many barriers to entry in this business. You can start a small restaurant, which may attract women who traditionally haven't been able to get large loans," says the asso-ciation's Caitlin Storhaug. "It's one of the last industries where you can really fulfill the American dream."