The National Restaurant Association has formed an Executive Study Group to address the many complex issues surrounding Supply Chain Management.

Part of the Association’s Executive Study Group conference series, the Supply Chain Management group aims to facilitate dialog and best practice exchange around issues such as increasing commodity and wholesale food prices, sourcing of ingredients, and traceability of products.

Food and beverage purchases alone by the restaurant industry are expected to exceed $200 billion this year, underscoring the importance of addressing supply chain management.

The group will address the full spectrum of the field, including purchasing, distribution, logistics, quality assurance, freight, and inventory management, and provide perspective applicable to restaurant operations of all sizes.

The group’s first conference will be held in Chicago in May 2012, preceding the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, which will be held at its new dates May 5-8 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“We are excited to bring industry leaders together to discuss solutions to critical supply chain issues that face every restaurant operator today,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO for the National Restaurant Association.

“The National Restaurant Association is committed to helping restaurateurs navigate the complex issues of safely and efficiently getting supplies to our nation’s nearly one million restaurant and foodservice locations.”

The Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group will be led by a steering committee comprised of leading restaurant company executives and representatives from the former Hospitality Supply Management, which until recently was part of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM).

The steering committee convenes today to set the agenda for the inaugural meeting, including discussions around the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, food prices, and supply chain management technology.

“Supply chain matters are at the heart of any foodservice operation, so a focus on quality, safety and efficiency is crucial to success,” says David Parsley, SVP Supply Chain Management for Brinker International, Inc., and one of the initiators and current chair of the new Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group.

“Working together to share perspectives and peer-to-peer education will greatly benefit our industry as a whole. The National Restaurant Association is well positioned to serve as the facilitator for this collaboration.”

“The National Restaurant Association’s focus on industry best-practices and solutions made it a natural fit for organizing the new Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group,” says Don Miller, Regional Director Supply Management, Florida & Americas International, for Hilton Hotels and former chair of the Hospitality Supply Management group.

“Supply chain issues are a top priority for the restaurant and hospitality industry, and we hope to foster a robust discussion around these issues through the National Restaurant Association’s new Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group.”

In addition to Parsley as chair of the Association’s Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group, leadership includes: Janet Erickson, Del Taco, as Vice Chair; Wade Winters, Au Bon Pain, as Treasurer; and Charlie Lousignont, Aramark, as Secretary.

The group’s steering committee also includes: Ron Burks, YUM’s UFPC; David Cox, Arby’s ARCOP; Mark Eganhouse, Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-op; Wayne Goldman, Extendicare Health Services; Dean Gordon, Jack in the Box; Stan Harvey, The Cheesecake Factory; George Hoffman, Burger King’s RSI; Mike Leikam, Dine Equity’s CSCS; Don Miller, Hilton Worldwide; Evan Nash, Johnson & Wales University; and Rif Wiguna, Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

Members of the National Restaurant Association receive a substantial savings on registration fees for all Executive Study Group conferences. The meetings explore best practices and hot topics that help restaurant operators position their businesses for success, including profitability, and legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees.

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