The National Restaurant Association announced it has selected Atour Eyvazian, owner of 107 Jack in the Box restaurants in the Houston and San Antonio, Texas area, to serve as its convention chair for the National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show 2017 (NRA Show). In this capacity, Eyvazian will advise the Association to ensure that the trade show—the most comprehensive event for restaurants, foodservice, and hospitality in the U.S. and abroad—represents the current industry landscape in a robust and dynamic way.
The NRA Show 2017 will take place May 20—23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place and BAR 17 will take place May 21—22 in the adjacent Lakeside Ballroom at McCormick Place.
“Atour Eyvazian’s perspective on the hospitality industry as an immigrant and successful restaurateur aligns with our programming goal to feature powerful messages on current day topics,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Eyvazian’s 25-year journey from his arrival to the United States, unable to read or speak in English, to now owning 107 Jack in the Box restaurants is a real life story about the achievement of the American dream and will serve as inspiration and provide insight for our attendees.”
After escaping war-torn Iran and 40 days in a Turkish prison, Eyvazian fled to the United States in 1984. Just two weeks after his arrival to Los Angeles, he secured his first job as a maintenance worker at Jack in the Box, where he quickly taught himself English. He applied his strong work ethic to the position and within two years became a Jack in the Box restaurant manager.
As Eyvazian continued to rise in the ranks at Jack in the Box, he used the company’s tuition-reimbursement program to attend night classes and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998 and an MBA in 2001. In 2005, Eyvazian became a franchisee of 10 Jack in the Box restaurants in Sacramento. Two years later he was invited to attend the National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress, and was also named the regional franchisee of the year.
As an individual from a diverse background who overcame hardship and adversity to become a successful restaurateur, Eyvazian received the first-ever American Dream Award in 2007. He was named National franchisee of the year in 2008. He was elected to Houston’s National Restaurant Association board of directors in 2009 and was elected to serve in National Franchise Advisory Council (NFAC) for Jack in the Box in 2010. Eyvazian was elected Chairman of the Board for H.E.A.R.T. (a locally-based non-profit organization that assists adults in learning disabilities) from 2014-2015. Eyvazian attributes his achievement of the American dream to the opportunity afforded him by the restaurant industry and Jack in the Box in particular. His goal is to continue the tradition by providing the same opportunity to his employees by finding their strengths and honing them to fulfill their American dreams.
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest annual gathering of restaurant, foodservice, and lodging professionals in the world. NRA Show 2017 will be held May 20-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and BAR 17, held in conjunction with NRA Show, will take place May 2—22. The events attract 67,000-plus attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100-plus countries, and showcase the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues, and growth opportunities.