The National Restaurant Association reports that their restaurant performance index hit a six-year high in December. The number "represented the third time in the last four months that the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators."
Restaurants are not a particularly high value-added sector of the economy, but they're significant in a labor market downturn because this is one of the areas where the marginal worker is most likely to be able to get "a job." If restaurants in your town are hiring people, then job opportunities exist. It's hard work, but it's work that's broadly accessible to a wide array of people.