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National Restaurant Association - National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Announces 2008 SPIRIT Awards Winners

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National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Announces 2008 SPIRIT Awards Winners

(Chicago, Ill) The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), along with Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), today announced the winners of the 2008 SPIRIT Awards. The SPIRIT Awards honor those restaurant and foodservice companies that have a proven dedication to recruiting, retaining and recognizing a qualified and satisfied workforce. The program, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, awards organizations in four categories: Fine Dining, Full Service, On Site and Quick Service.

The 2008 SPIRIT Awards were presented to the following organizations:

  • Fine Dining: Morton’s The Steakhouse
  • Full Service: Fired Up, Inc./Carino’s Italian Grill
  • On Site: Sodexo
  • Quick Service: Qdoba Mexican Grill

“We are proud to announce the winners of the 2008 SPIRIT Awards – companies who understand the importance their workforce plays towards the success of their business and the industry as a whole,” stated Linda Bacin, chairman, NRAEF Board of Trustees. “These four outstanding companies have gone above and beyond in ensuring their workforce is hired effectively, trained efficiently and recognized properly, creating a mutually beneficial relationship and ensuring the overall success of their organization. We are honored to once again partner with NRN and The Coca-Cola Company in this valuable awards program.”

“The restaurant and foodservice industry employs more than 13 million people, with an expected addition of two million people over the next ten years. It is vital that we secure our workforce for the future,” said Tom Larranaga, publisher, NRN. “We join with the NRAEF and The Coca-Cola Company in saluting the outstanding efforts of these operators to ensure their teams have the tools they need to succeed, which in turn creates a better environment for the customer and a better bottom line for the company.”

These outstanding SPIRIT Award winners join past award recipients as the premier companies dedicated to advanced employee recognition and retention programs in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This year’s winners have demonstrated the importance of employee satisfaction, how they achieve this and how it results in greater guest satisfaction. The winners were chosen based on the innovation and creativity of their program, the professionalism of their program presentation, the in-unit communication they demonstrated and the measured effectiveness of the program.

The 2008 SPIRIT Awards winners will be honored at the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) conference, to be held October 12-15 in Washington, D.C., where they will participate in a panel session and receive a prestigious plaque to display in their restaurant. The winners’ exemplary practices will also be featured in The Spirit of the Industry 2008, a booklet highlighting the Awards program and the 2008 winners. Past SPIRIT Awards winners include: Bambara, Boston College, Bruegger’s Enterprises Inc., Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Famous Dave’s of America, Golden Corral Corp., Jack in the Box, Inc., Ohio State University Medical Center, Panzano, Royal Caribbean International, and Union Square Hospitality Group.


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 14.7 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 20-23, 2017, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRA Educational Foundation's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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