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How does your restaurant promote diversity and charity? Tell Your Story and Apply for the NRAEF Restaurant Industry Awards Today!

October 8, 2018

The National Restaurant Association's research has found that 90 percent of restaurateurs in the United States participate in charitable work. Are you one of them?

If you are, you could win a 2019 Restaurant Neighbor, Faces of Diversity or Ambassador of Hospitality award – and maybe $10,000. The awards honor members of the restaurant industry that best represent the commitment to charitable giving, diversity and hospitality.

The Restaurant Neighbor award, sponsored by American Express, recognizes restaurants for their outstanding community service. The Faces of Diversity award, sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice, celebrates the diversity of our industry and honors three individuals who have overcome hardships to achieve both business and personal success. The Ambassador of Hospitality, sponsored by Ecolab, recognizes one individual’s lifetime achievement and service to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Rob Gifford, executive vice president of our Educational Foundation, talked about the awards and their significance to the industry and the winners’ individual communities:

Why should companies and individuals apply/nominate people for these awards?
These awards exist to recognize those people who powerfully demonstrate a commitment to their community, diversity, inclusion and the spirit of hospitality. We want to share those messagesand these awards allow us to do that.

What is the importance behind the Restaurant Neighbor award?
It really represents more than just an award. It tells a restaurant’s story, about how it became involved in a community project or activity that benefitted the people who live there ‑‑ and that includes restaurant owners, customers and employees. It signifies commitment, conviction and the determination to impact, give back and make a difference for others. That embodies the spirit of hospitality, the spirit of the restaurant industry. Not only that, we get to play a role in making that difference, too. The winners receive $10,000 each so they can continue those charitable efforts.

What about the Faces of Diversity awards?
We launched this award back in 2006 with the intention of raising awareness about diversity in the restaurant industry and about the important role restaurants play in providing opportunities for millions of Americans. The industry’s workforce is composed of people of all backgrounds, welcomes everyone and provides more opportunities to succeed. For example, our 2017 winner, Roshara Sanders, a young black woman who served in the Army, went on to compete on the TV show “Chopped,” and was recognized as a young trailblazer. Anil Yadav, an immigrant from India who came to San Francisco at age 17, landed his first job as fry cook at Jack-in-the-Box and now is the largest operator of that chain. Our industry is full of these kinds of stories and we’re dedicated to showcasing them and the industry’s many pathways to success.

Explain the significance of the Ambassador of Hospitality award.
This is an award named for Thad and Alice Eure, two great representatives of the restaurant industry. It recognizes an individual’s lifetime of achievement and exemplary leadership. This year’s recipient was celebrity chef Rick Bayless. Rick not only owns and operates great restaurants, but is also a champion of people, including the students in our ProStart program, the environment and the restaurant industry. He was so deserving of this honor, and we look forward to honoring another industry icon in 2019.

Have a look at 2018’s slate of award winners, and be one of next year’s recipients. Apply today.