Changing the narrative regarding restaurants 

In 2015, the Missouri Restaurant Association, in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, launched in St. Louis and three other U.S. cities an initiative designed to highlight the positive impact restaurants have in their communities.  The program, known as the Missouri Kitchen Cabinet, proved so successful in St. Louis that a second Missouri chapter was initiated in Kansas City in the summer of 2016.  Based on the enthusiasm and early success in KC, the initiative will be expanding throughout the Show-Me State in early 2017.  Watch for information about Kitchen Cabinet events in your area.

“We are excited about a stronger partnership with the Missouri Restaurant Association to support and augment our advocacy efforts, as we expect 2017 and 2018 to have legislative threats on the local, state and national levels,” said Jon Simons, Director of Political Advocacy and Grassroots at NRA.

Members of the Kitchen Cabinet understand the real story of the importance of restaurants in Missouri and the nation.  Legislators, the media, and the public need to understand the actual narrative of the industry, not just the cherry-picked claims of special interests attempting to advance a misguided, self-serving agenda.  Frankly, the story of the restaurant industry is amazing.

In Missouri, restaurants employ 12% of the state’s workforce.  We are an industry where a person can begin with no experience, and no formal education, and reach the middle class –   and beyond.  When you visit a restaurant, note what you see there.  Our people and our foods are a direct reflection of the melting pot that makes this nation so great.  We are a diverse and inclusive industry – perhaps more so than any other.

130 million Americans will dine in a restaurant today.  The industry is the second largest private sector employer in the nation and our state.  In 2015, the industry created an average of 1,000 jobs a day, each and every day.  Historical data informs us that from this group that begins in an entry-level, hourly position will come 90% of tomorrow’s restaurant managers, and 80% of future owners.  That is an extraordinary measure of upward mobility.

Over the last five years, when the overall number of restaurants in the nation increased by 12%, the number of minority-owned restaurants grew at a rate over four times greater.  The growth in middle-class jobs in the restaurant industry over the last five years has been four times that of the economy as a whole. 

The Kitchen Cabinet is a grassroots movement of restaurant operators, employees, and enthusiasts.  We are committed to growing and preserving opportunity in the restaurant industry and strengthening the communities in which we live and work.  We work in close collaboration with non-profit organizations and government officials to ensure that restaurants remain a strong pillar in our economy and continue to create opportunities for all Americans.

NRA’s Jennifer Fox, a Senior Coordinator of Political Advocacy and Grassroots, got it right in an article she recently penned for The Missouri Restaurant Magazine, “Restaurateurs should be seen as the solution to the problem, not the problem.”

Interested in becoming a part of the Missouri Kitchen Cabinet?  Contact MRA CEO Bob Bonney at bbonney@morestaurants.org.  You can stand with the other Cabinet members and begin to shine the light on the positive impact of restaurants in your community.

Author: MRA


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