January 21, 2022

National Restaurant Association Launches People Behind the Plate Initiative

Initiative highlights the positive impacts restaurants have in their local communities
Washington, D.C. – The National Restaurant Association today announced the launch of “People Behind the Plate,” an initiative that highlights the stories of people who have chosen to make a difference in the world by being a part of the restaurant industry. The industry is a collection of millions of owners, operators, and people who choose to make restaurants their careers. They are committed to being the cornerstones on which their community can build and support each other through adversity, like the recent pandemic. People Behind the Plate initially features the personal stories of six restaurant owners, operators and chefs from Michigan, Oregon, and Texas who persevered to keep their doors open.

Restaurant owners, operators, and the people who work in the industry have been uniquely harmed by recent economic challenges. The devastating reach of the pandemic, labor shortages, rising costs, and supply chain delays have pushed them to the brink.  Many operators have struggled but ultimately succeeded in keeping employees on payroll and their customers fed. The People Behind the Plate initiative brings to light the many ways these small business owners have addressed their challenges while continuing to make a difference in their communities.

“When you hear the word community, you think of the people, places, and experiences that make your town feel like home. 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. The People Behind the Plate initiative puts names and faces to the restaurant owners, operators, and employees who serve their communities every day,” said Tia Mattson, Executive Vice President, Marketing + Communications, National Restaurant Association.

The first six videos in the People Behind the Plate series showcase the personal accounts by restaurant owners and operators and how their restaurants have a tangible impact on the people around them. From supporting deployed troops, to providing free meals for those in need, to serving meals to exhausted frontline workers during the pandemic, their stories provide a snapshot of what the people in the restaurant industry are doing to help others.

People Behind the Plate features:
  • Lance Trenary, President & CEO, Golden Corral
  • Chef Petro Drakopoulos, owner and chef of Republica Gastro Pub in Berkley, Michigan
  • Katherine Lam and Daniel Nguyen, owners of Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen in Portland, Oregon
  • Kelsey Yoho, co-owner of Weekend Beer Company in Grants Pass, Oregon
  • Jerry Maddox, owner of Fazoli’s in Pharr, Texas
  • CaSarah Pine, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force
Click here to view the videos and learn more about the people who make the industry so impactful. 

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.