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National Restaurant Association - Industry’s women fire up success

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Industry’s women fire up success

A once-famous pop tune declared, “Sisters are doing it for themselves!” That sentiment is truer today than ever before.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, witness the work of Nashville’s Susan Richardson, Little Rock’s Renee Smith and Portland, Ore.’s Maya Lovelace. Each is creating a recipe for success, infused with smarts, profitability and empathy.

Susan Richardson

Richardson founded Millar Rich LLC in 2007 to provide employment support to individuals with intellectual disabilities. So far, they’ve planted an organic farm and built The Old School Farm to Table restaurant. It is completely staffed and operated by women – from the general manager to the culinary staff.

“Women are some of the strongest, hardest-working people on the planet. They juggle multiple tasks, balance different responsibilities and do it all with grace,” she says. “That is a beautiful thing.”

Renee Smith

Smith, assistant director of the University of Arkansas’ Pulaski Tech Culinary Institute, is helping to educate our next generation of industry stars. The recipient of the Arkansas Hospitality Association’s 2017 Culinary Trailblazer Award says she can’t imagine the restaurant industry without women in it.

“Women are its heart, head and body. We care. We serve. We perform. We provide comfort and understanding.”

Maya Lovelace

Lovelace, chef-owner of Mae in Portland, Ore., mixes southern Appalachian flavors with the indigenous ingredients of the Pacific Northwest. She opened the restaurant in honor of her grandmother who influenced her cooking style and love of food.

Lovelace offers this advice to other women restaurateurs: remember the women who came before and try to make them proud. Next, know what you want your restaurant to be about. Third, think about the entire experience, not just a few menu items. Words to live by.

March is Women’s History Month. Visit our partner, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, to learn more about diversity in the restaurant industry.

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