National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Hosts 2010 SPIRIT Awards

Chicago, IL – (Chicago)  The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), along with Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), recently honored the winners of the 2010 SPIRIT Awards at the 51st Annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Convention (MUFSO) in Orlando, Florida.  The SPIRIT Awards celebrate restaurant and foodservice companies that have excelled in recruiting, retaining and recognizing a qualified and satisfied workforce.  The program, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, recognizes organizations in four categories: Fine Dining, Full Service, On Site and Quick Service. 

The 2010 SPIRIT Awards were presented to the following organizations:

  • Fine Dining: B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore, Md.
  • Full Service: Red Lobster, Orlando, Fla.
  • On Site: St. John’s Medical Center, Tulsa, Okla.
  • Quick Service: Ivar’s Seafood Bars, Seattle, Wash.

“It was an honor to recognize such inspiring industry leaders,” said Sharon Tiknis, Interim Executive Director of the NRAEF. “Finding and retaining engaged employees is perhaps more critical today than ever and is at the heart of our mission at the NRAEF. We are pleased to partner with Nation’s Restaurant News and The Coca-Cola Company to celebrate those companies that show exceptional skill at nurturing and growing their most critical resource – their people.”

“In today’s environment, a restaurant’s workforce is the ultimate key to success within our industry,” said Randall Friedman, publisher, NRN. “Nation’s Restaurant News is honored to partner with the NRAEF and The Coca-Cola Company in recognizing outstanding company initiatives that help qualified and passionate people enter and stay in the restaurant and foodservice industry.”

This year’s SPIRIT Award winners have demonstrated their commitment to achieving and enhancing employee satisfaction and proving the results of their satisfaction through greater guest satisfaction.  The winners were chosen based on the innovation and creativity of their program, the level of professionalism in their program presentation, the in-unit communication they demonstrated, and the measured effectiveness of the program.

During the awards presentation at the MUFSO 2010 event on October 5, winners participated in a panel session and received a plaque to display in their operation.

Past SPIRIT Awards winners include: The Cheesecake Factory, Bambara, Boston College, Bruegger’s Enterprises Inc., Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Carino’s Italian, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Famous Dave’s of America, Golden Corral Corp., Guest Services, Hot Dog on a Stick, Jack in the Box, Inc., Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ohio State University Medical Center, Panzano, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Royal Caribbean International, The Signature Room at the 95th, Sodexo, and Union Square Hospitality Group. 

To download photos of the presentation and winners and to learn more about the SPIRIT Awards and what previous SPIRIT Award winners have done to improve employee recruitment, retention and morale, please visit

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) enhances the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement, and promotion of career opportunities. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees, making it the nation’s second largest private-sector employer. The NRAEF is focused on working with the Association to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation by providing the valuable tools and resources needed to educate our current and incoming employees. For more information on the NRAEF, visit