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National Restaurant Association. Adriana DiSimone. “We will lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve.”. Information.

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“We will lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve.”

  • The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world*—supporting nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses
  • The association was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C
  • There are individual state restaurant association that it is in partnership with
  • The NRA offers kinds of networking, education and research resources that are only possible because of its vast, and active, membership base.

The National Restaurant Association is governed by a volunteer board of directors and led in Washington, D.C., by a president and chief executive officer. On average, the board consists of 90 to 95 directors from across the country who represent every facet of the restaurant industry.

Dawn SweeneyPresident and

Chief Executive Officer

Phil Hickey


Ken Conrad

Vice Chair


Membership Categories








Advocacy & Representation

Education & Networking

Research & Insights

Tools & Solutions

**You can join right through the website after answering a few questions, but in order to join you must have some affiliation with the food industry**



RestaurantRestaurant members represent tableservice, quickservice, on-site foodservice, cafeterias, and more.

*For multi-state, multi-unit restaurant companies, receive our personalized membership presentation by calling the National Restaurant Association at (855) 514-8115.

AlliedFor any company, including industry suppliers, distributors, and consultants, that supplies goods and services to the industry

FacultyFor full-time educators in an accredited program in the restaurant/hospitality field

StudentFull-time students in a 2 or 4 year restaurant/hospitality program who are 18 years or older

NonprofitOpen to any government-funded or subsidized foodservice facility, such as state hospitals, state health care facilities, state schools, state prisons, military foodservice establishments, etc.

InternationalAny firm that operates facilities and/or supplies meal service on a regular basis for others and has no foodservice outlets in the United States

  • The National Restaurant association was officially founded in 1919 in Kansas City.
  • It was launched by city restaurateurs
  • The first meeting was held on March 13th
  • Important Dates
  • 1927: The growing National Restaurant Association moves its headquarters from Kansas City to Chicago.
  • 1981: National Restaurant Association launches Restaurants USA magazine and the Washington Weekly newsletter to keep members abreast of industry news.
  • 1999:Fortune magazine names the National Restaurant Association the 10th most powerful lobbying organization in the country, up from #15 in 1998 and #24 in 1997.
  • And today.. With 13 million employees, the restaurant industry is now the nation's largest private-sector employer.
food safety
Food Safety

The National Restaurant Association is preparing for the Food and Drug Administration's release of a new Food Code in 2013. The code, updated every four years, is the model most states and localities use to regulate safety and sanitation in restaurants. The NRA works to ensure that the Food Code reflects the latest scientific findings and best practices in restaurant food safety.

packaging regulations
Packaging Regulations

A growing number of localities are considering bans or restrictions on foodservice packaging. Many of the bans target polystyrene food and beverage containers. The NRA, its members and packaging suppliers are looking for ways to lower the cost of sustainable packaging and keep more packaging out of landfills without costly and complex mandates.

The NRA is working to help policymakers understand the process of packaging recovery, recycling infrastructure, and the difficulties in navigating a patchwork of local mandates. The NRA and the Foodservice Packaging Institute in November 2012 held the first Foodservice Packaging Summit to address issues that currently affect packaging recovery, waste reduction and advancing sustainability goals.

court case
Court Case

NRA responds to appeal of beverage ban ruling

April 29, 2013

The National Restaurant Association has filed a response to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appeal of the court ruling that overturned a city regulation banning the sale of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and many other foodservice establishments.

In the response, the NRA, American Beverage Association and other respondents maintained their position that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene did not have the authority to enact the ban, and that the ban was arbitrarily applied to restaurants, concession stands and other establishments while excluding convenience stores and other businesses.