The Iowa Restaurant Association has four Initiative Committees who work various Association interests. These committees are chaired by IRA Board members, however, any active member may serve on a committee. The goals and objectives of each committee is to work on issues of concern to Iowa’s restaurant and retail beverage industry, as well as to leverage the resources and initiatives of the National Restaurant Association.
Food and Healthy Living – The IRA is working with the Governor’s “Make Iowa the Healthiest State” Task Force and the Blue Zone initiative to help create healthy menu choices in a variety of categories in restaurants across the state. The Association has an Iowa program called Dine Iowa DineWell Program—making the healthy choice, the easy choice and also promotes the NRA’s Kids Live Well program.
Profitability and Entrepreneurship – The IRA launched a consumer-branded product called “Dine Iowa” which includes an online restaurant locator, mobile application, social media marketing, and dining events across the state, driving consumers to MEMBER restaurants. This initiative group is focusing on marketing the new consumer-awareness program. The group also serves as the Association’s working group for DRAM insurance and property tax reform — two of the biggest profitability impact issues in Iowa.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility – The Iowa Restaurant Association Sustainability and Social Responsibility Initiative Committee works on three things: Helping members to take advantage of the NRA’s Conserve Sustainability program Supporting a statewide charity each year. In 2012, this year’s charity is Wildwood Hills Ranch Nominating IRA members for philanthropy awards.
Jobs and Careers – ProStart, implemented in Iowa by the IRA Educational Foundation, is a comprehensive curriculum that teaches both culinary and hospitality management skills., and develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and hospitality industry leaders. This committee recruits school districts and junior colleges into the program and offers training opportunities for educators who have adopted the program. The group also hosts an annual student culinary and restaurant management program each year.