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National Restaurant Association - NRA beefs up board; taps Arby’s franchisee as chair

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NRA beefs up board; taps Arby’s franchisee as chair

For Jeff Davis, chairman of United States Beef Corporation, the restaurant business is about people – those he employs and those he serves at his Arby’s and Taco Bueno franchises around the country.

Davis, chairman of United States Beef Corporation (US Beef), headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., is the largest franchisee of Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group, now operating more than 340 restaurants in eight states. His company also owns six Taco Bueno restaurants in northwest Arkansas. The 2017 chairman of the National Restaurant Association credits his success to hiring great employees who are dedicated to his company’s core values and standards. He says that is the case for many restaurant operators.

“As employers, we provide career opportunities, not just jobs. This industry is a place where hardworking, dedicated employees can climb a career ladder and go from being hourly employees to managers to owning their own restaurant one day.”

Facing adversity and winning

Davis has lived and breathed the restaurant business his entire life. He joined his father, Bob, mother, Connie, and siblings in the family business, an Arby’s restaurant they’d managed to buy in Tulsa, Okla., in 1969. He emphasizes that the family was not rich or privileged, and faced many adversities. But they worked hard and eventually opened a second unit in 1972. Today, at 63, Davis owns and operates more than 340 restaurants in eight states. He says that same work ethic still serves him and his people well.

“I got my start in the back of the house, working as a dishwasher and making 60 cents an hour. I worked my way to the front counter by junior high school, where my mother taught me the hospitality side of our business. It was hard times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It made me who I am today and made me love this industry.”

Sharing our contributions

As NRA chairman, Davis says he will challenge operators to tell their stories. “It starts with us,” he says. “We are an industry of self-starters, risk-takers and caring employers who reward dedication, hard work and commitment. We’ve helped millions of Americans through high school and college, and millions more have stayed with us to make careers in this industry.”

Davis says he’ll focus on getting restaurateurs to help Congress better understand how the industry’s businesses operate.

“Our voice needs to be loud,” he says. “With a new Congress and Administration, there’s a real opportunity for us to seize the moment.”

Davis also outlined some of his top priorities for 2017. They include:

  • Ensuring that restaurants aren’t weighed down by damaging regulations. He said the NRA will promote common-sense overtime rules, reforms to the Affordable Care Act and a return to the National Labor Relations Board’s long-time joint employer standard.
  • Engaging in discussions on tax reform, immigration reform and other emerging issues.
  • Ramping up the NRA’s grassroots efforts, working side by side with state restaurant association partners to fight legislative and regulatory threats at all levels.

“Our country’s motto is E Pluribus Unum, meaning ‘Out of Many, One.’ As diverse as we are, we must stick together. Each one of us needs to engage, educate, innovate and advocate so we make a maximum impact on issues affecting us.

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