National Restaurant Association launches a celebration of restaurants' community contributions

A new publicity campaign highlights the efforts of selected operators to economically and socially support the communities they serve.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The National Restaurant Association is launching a publicity campaign that highlights the assistance restaurants are providing economically and socially to their host communities.

The People Behind the Plate program is kicking off with six short videos, each featuring a restaurateur or management team that mixed social aims into their strategies for business success.

The highlighted operators include Kelsey Yoho, co-proprietor of Weekend Beer Co. in Grisham, Ore., and a veteran of two military tours in Afghanistan, who’s sponsoring a deployed member of the Oregon National Guard; and Petro Drakopoulos, chef-proprietor of Republica in Brooklyn, Mich., who led his staff in feeding 3,000 frontline workers during the worst of the pandemic.

Behind the Plate with Kelsey Yoho

The subjects range from a single-unit operator—Jerry Maddox, owner of a Fazoli’s in Pharr, Texas—to a big-chain CEO, Lance Trenary of Golden Corral.

By creating good jobs, welcoming customers, and helping to feed the less fortunate, community is at the heart of the people in the restaurant industry,” Tia Mattson, EVP of marketing and communications for the association, said in a statement. “The People Behind the Plate initiative puts names and faces to the restaurant owners, operators, and employees who serve their communities every day.”

The kickoff comes as the industry is experiencing an unprecedented wave of departures by workers and seeming deafness on the part of federal lawmakers on the plight of the industry. The initiative underscores the association’s assertions that restaurants are the economic and social cornerstones of the markets they serve.

The National Restaurant Association is the majority owner of Restaurant Business.

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