"High-end selling items are dropping off," he said. "[If] someone has an option of buying something of similar value at less cost, they're going to choose that."
Joining Jason's Deli, he said, made sense because it's a growing company.
Smith isn't the only one switching industries to stay employed.
The health care industry has seen consistent job growth throughout the recession and that's something that helped Kristina Beatty, 27, make up her mind: The Pennsylvania woman left her job at a YWCA earlier this year to become a human resources coordinator at Providence Point, a new retirement community in Scott Township, Pa.
"I had a feeling it'd be pretty secure right now compared to other fields affected by the crazy economy," Beatty said.
Providence Point held a job fair late last month to fill some 200 vacant positions.
"Residents are beginning to move in, so we needed to staff it," said Maryclare Poprik, the director of public relations for Baptist Home Society, which owns the retirement community.
Meeting the needs of the country's aging population is a large part of what's driving growth in the health care industry, experts agree.
The economy, of course, has taken a toll -- hospitals, for instance, are seeing fewer elective surgeries and tighter budgets -- but not enough to stop the sector's expansion, Challenger said. Americans will continue to spend on health care, he added.
"It is one of those core things: If you're sick, you're sick," he said. "You spend your money when times are tight on those things you can't do without."
Sometimes a company can be expanding even if its sector is flagging. For instance, while the publishing industry continues to lose jobs, digital publisher Zinio -- which produces digital versions of magazines like Cosmopolitan and Billboard -- recently added 10 new employees.
After Jason Desmarais, 23, of South Salem, N.Y., got a pink slip from his job in finance, he found work as an account manager at Zinio.
"I wanted to be with an industry that's growing, not declining," said Desmarais. "Digital publishing obviously is a growing opportunity. That's one of the reasons I took the job."
Desmarais' new job is very different from the one he once held, he said, but his organizational and management skills helped him make the transition.
Jason Seiden, the author of the upcoming book, "Super Staying Power," said that if you're considering switching industries, it's important to get a firm grasp of what job you want and what skills you can apply to it.
If you're not sure what industry would suit you, Seiden said, it's worth consulting former bosses, colleagues, friends and family to get their take on what your talents are and where you could apply them.
"Ask them directly, 'What am I good at, what am I not so good at?'" he said.
Once you're actually interviewing for a job in a different industry, Seiden said, be sure not to turn off prospective employers by spending too much time lamenting your last job loss. Frame your industry switch as an opportunity that you're eager to take, he said.
"As an employer, I don't want victims," Seiden said. "I don't want people who don't want to be here, but I do want people who are adaptable and resilient."
Sometimes it's skills gained outside the workplace, Seiden said, that will help you land that next job.