IRA Press Information

IRA Press Information
/
April 24, 2017

Iowa Restaurant Association Issues Position on Immigration Reform

POST DETAILS
DATE
April 24, 2017
AUTHOR

Monday, April 24, 2017 – West Des Moines, IA – Given the recently proposed revisions to temporary work and other VISAs, as well as the restaurant industry’s reliance on, and strong support for, the immigrant populations of the United States, the leadership of the Iowa Restaurant Association (IRA) today released a position statement on immigration. The IRA fully supports their national organization’s work with the H-2B Workforce Coalition’s efforts to exempt returning H-2B workers who worked in the United State during the previous fiscal year from being counted in the annual 66,000 cap.

The Association’s immigration statement can be found here: www.restaurantiowa.com, and is also available in video form in both English and Spanish on the IRA’s Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/IowaRestaurantAssoc. The videos were created for restaurant employers to circulate to their employees.

The Association has published its most recent statewide publication featuring stories of immigrants working in the hospitality industry. The publication can be found online at www.restaurantiowa.com.

“The importance of the immigrant workforce in Iowa’s hospitality industry cannot be overstated,” said Jessica Dunker, President & CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “We are the state’s second largest private sector employer and one of the largest employers of immigrant workforce. If we won’t speak up for them, then who will?”

For more information or a copy of the Association’s immigration materials, visit www.restaurantiowa.com.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association

The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s hospitality industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.  www.restaurantiowa.com.

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
Work: 515-276-1454
Cell: 515-988-5102
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
March 1, 2017

“Three-Peat” State Culinary Champions, Waterloo West High School

POST DETAILS
DATE
March 1, 2017
AUTHOR

March 1, 2017 – Waterloo, IA – The self-proclaimed “Dream Team” from Waterloo West High School was crowned the state’s culinary champion yesterday at the 2017 Iowa ProStart® Invitational hosted at the Iowa Events Center by the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation. This is the third year in a row that Waterloo West has won the state culinary championship. The team of five students will represent Iowa at the National ProStart Invitational in Charleston, SC, April 28-30, where 400 students from across the country will be competing for millions of scholarship dollars.

“Top Chef” Style Culinary Competition
Culinary teams were given 60 minutes to prepare a three-course meal using only two butane burners. Teams then presented their dishes to a panel of industry professional judges from across the state to taste and critique. Their cooking techniques, knife skills, sanitation, and teamwork were also evaluated.

Runners-up in the culinary competition included:
2nd place – Waukee High School
3rd place – Burlington High School

ProStart – Equal Parts Hands-On Culinary Training and Entrepreneurial Education
ProStart® is a nationwide, two-year, career and technical education program that develops high school students into tomorrow’s leaders and workforce. Similar to the AP model in other academic areas, it includes national certification exams, grants post-secondary credits and an industry-recognized credential. It’s equal parts entrepreneurial/management education and hands-on culinary arts training. ProStart students learn practical skills, build business savvy, and develop leadership abilities in the classroom so they can walk into the real world ready to make an impact in the hospitality industry and beyond.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation (IRAEF)
The IRAEF is the leading education resource for the development of a professional and highly-skilled hospitality workforce in the state of Iowa, building connections between educational entities and industry employers seeking trained, qualified students and job candidates.

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
Work: 515-276-1454
Cell: 515-988-5102
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
March 1, 2017

Sergeant Bluff-Luton HS Students Win “Shark Tank” Style State Championships

POST DETAILS
DATE
March 1, 2017
AUTHOR

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – Sergeant Bluff, IA – A team of students from Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School were crowned Restaurant Management Champions of the 2017 Iowa ProStart Invitational hosted by the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation. The event was held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines and showcased the managerial skills and business saavy the students have learned over the course of the school year. The team will represent Iowa at the National ProStart Invitational in Charleston, SC, April 28-30, where 400 students from across the country will be competing for millions of scholarship dollars.

“Shark Tank” Style Management Competition
Students were challenged to create an original restaurant concept from scratch. They created business proposals and then pitched their concept to a panel of Iowa restaurant industry professionals who judged their concept, teamwork, presentation skills and critical thinking abilities.

Runners-up in the management competition included:
2nd place – Davenport Community Schools
3rd place – Hampton-Dumont High School

 

ProStart – Equal Parts Hands-On Culinary Training and Entrepreneurial Education
ProStart® is a nationwide, two-year, career and technical education program that develops high school students into tomorrow’s leaders and workforce. Similar to the AP model in other academic areas, it includes national certification exams, grants post-secondary credits and an industry-recognized credential. It’s equal parts entrepreneurial/management education and hands-on culinary arts training. ProStart students learn practical skills, build business savvy, and develop leadership abilities in the classroom so they can walk into the real world ready to make an impact in the hospitality industry and beyond.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation (IRAEF)
The IRAEF is the leading education resource for the development of a professional and highly-skilled hospitality workforce in the state of Iowa, building connections between educational entities and industry employers seeking trained, qualified students and job candidates.

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
Work: 515-276-1454
Cell:515-988-5102
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
January 10, 2017

Lt. Governor to Keynote Iowa Restaurant Association Legislative Luncheon

POST DETAILS
DATE
January 10, 2017
AUTHOR

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 – West Des Moines, IA – Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will be the keynote speaker at a legislative luncheon hosted by the Iowa Restaurant Association on January 24 at Vivian’s Diner & Drinks in Des Moines. The luncheon will be attended by hospitality industry leaders and will also include a briefing from the Association on the group’s key legislative issues including state pre-emption on wage and employment issues and DRAM (liquor liability) insurance reform. Following lunch, attendees will make visits at the Capitol with their legislators to discuss industry concerns. Those invested in the hospitality industry who wish to attend may register at www.restaurantiowa.com or 515-276-1454.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s hospitality industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.  www.restaurantiowa.com.

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
515-276-1454
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
August 16, 2016

Hy-Vee Market Café Chef in West Des Moines Wins Healthiest Competition at 2016 Iowa State Fair

POST DETAILS
DATE
August 16, 2016
AUTHOR

August 16, 2016 – West Des Moines, IA – Fried food wasn’t the only foodie favorite at the 2016 Iowa State Fair. On Monday, hundreds of fair-goers sampled original soft silken tofu-based salad dressing creations from four local, professional chefs including this year’s champion Chef Alex Strauss from Hy-Vee Market Café. The competition, which was hosted by The Soyfoods Council and the Iowa Restaurant Association, took place in the Agriculture Building where crowds watched each chef make and discuss their dressings in front of a panel of professional judges.

Top Chefs Wow the Crowd
The competing chefs were challenged to make salad dressing recipes which used Mori-nu Soft Silken Tofu as the base of the dressing, were consumer friendly, and were delicious enough to put on a restaurant menu. Each chef demonstrated the process of making the dressing and then served six judges as well as a crowd of fair-goers.

Strauss Wins
Chef Strauss took home the gold with a sweet and spicy Creamy Mango Habanero dressing over a mixed local greens salad with avocados, hearts of palm, red peppers and Jamaican jerk pork. Other competing chefs included:
2nd Place: Chef Kerri Rush, Fresh Café & Market, Clive – Avotziki Salad dressing
3rd Place: Chef Hassan Atarmal, Fresh Mediterranean Express, Waukee -Tofu Soy Ginger dressing
4th Place: Chef Patrick Cashman, Guru BBQ, Des Moines – Tofu Roasted Raspberry Chipotle dressing
All participants received cash prizes.

Contest judges included Tom and Susanne Oswald of the Iowa Soybean Association, Angela Ten Clay, a Communication Manager for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Zones Project, Table 128 Bistro + Bar Owners/Operators Chef Lynn and Sarah Pritchard, and 2015 Soy Salad Dressing Competition Champion Chef Scott Stroud from College Chefs.

CLICK HERE or visit www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com to find all four competition recipes and recreate them in your own kitchen.

###

The Soyfoods Council
The Soyfoods Council is an affiliate of the Iowa Soybean Association. The mission of The Soyfoods Council is to serve as a catalyst, leader and facilitator to mainstream soy-based foods into the global marketplace-America and beyond. www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. www.restraurantiowa.com

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com
515-276-1454

Industry News
, IRA Press Information
/
June 20, 2016

Study Finds Majority of Iowans Believe Minimum Wage Should be Set by State Legislature

POST DETAILS
DATE
June 20, 2016
AUTHOR

For Immediate Release

Study Finds Majority of Iowans Believe Minimum Wage Should be Set by State Legislature

June 20, 2016, (Des Moines, IA) — When given the choice between the state legislators or local leaders, 60 percent of Iowa residents say the state legislature is the best place to decide minimum wage policy for Iowa. Forty percent say local leaders should be allowed to set minimum wage policy for their own community, that according to a study conducted by ORC International.

The survey was fielded as part of an online omnibus study conducted the week of June 7th among a demographically representative sample of 501 adults ages 18 or older, comprising of 251 males and 250 females living in the state of Iowa.

“The results are not surprising,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, a non-profit trade association which works with restaurants across the state. “People understand the potential complications created by a piecemeal wage strategy. If 99 counties set 99 wages and then municipalities opt out or set their own, no one—employees or employers— are well served.”

Dunker, who sits on the Polk County Minimum Wage Task Force, has been a vocal proponent for having the state step in on the various local wage initiatives since the Johnson County Board of Supervisors created a county-specific minimum wage last year.

The survey also found that when given the choice between having a single minimum wage for Iowa or allowing the minimum wage to vary by community, 66 percent of residents say there should only be a single minimum wage for Iowa, while 34 percent think the minimum wage should be allowed to vary by community.

“Wage issues are complicated,” said Dunker. “We see a lot of information published about what people need if they’re the head of a household, but we can’t make wage decisions without thinking about first time job seekers, seasonal workers, tipped employees and more. Issues that impact this many people, must be looked at in a comprehensive way and the state level is the appropriate place to do it.”

The study found that the percentage of adults who felt that minimum wage should be determined at the state level varied very little among most demographic groups. For a detailed breakdown of the study, please contact the Iowa Restaurant Association at 515-276-1454.

# # #

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
515-276-1454
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
February 24, 2016

Iowa Restaurant Industry Growth Substantially Outpaces 2015 Revenue and Employment Projections

POST DETAILS
DATE
February 24, 2016
AUTHOR

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Iowa’s restaurant industry continues to outperform projections on both employment and revenue growth. The National and Iowa Restaurant Associations had projected that Iowa’s foodservice industry would add 1,230 jobs in 2015. However, the state quadrupled that projection posting a net increase of 5,200 industry positions last year.

“Nearly every restaurant in the state is seeking to increase its staff,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “From servers and managers, to kitchen staff and dishwashers, we simply cannot find the employees to fill the positions open in the state.” The coming year is projected to be strong as well — the Association expects a net increase of 1,600 foodservice jobs in Iowa in 2016.

Revenues Over Perform
Iowa restaurant revenues also exceeded expectation last year. Entering 2015, revenues had been projected to land just over $3.6 billion, however Iowa’s restaurant industry posted more than $4 billion in sales in 2015. 2016 restaurant sales are expected to exceed $4.2 billion.

“We are projecting a 4.2 percent increase in restaurant sales in 2016,” said Dunker. “Our projected and real growth has hovered right around 3 percent for years. This is a great sign that as the state’s economy strengthens, consumer interest and willingness to spend in Iowa restaurants will strengthen as well.”

In fact, the Association’s research found that 57% of adults said that if they had an extra $60 per month to spend each month they would be likely to spend it in restaurants. “If gas prices stay low and our consumer behavior models are accurate, it could be a banner year for Iowa hospitality operators,” said Dunker.

Association Hosting Career Fair March 1
Dunker pointed out that the strength of the industry is expanding employment opportunities for people interested in the flexibility and growing wages of the restaurant industry and related industries. To help match employers with potential employees, the Iowa Restaurant Association is hosting a career fair on Tuesday, March 1st , from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. There is no charge for job seekers. For more information visitwww.restaurantiowa.com.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s hospitality industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. www.restaurantiowa.com.
Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
515-276-1454
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com

IRA Press Information
/
September 25, 2015

Table 128 Owners Named Iowa Restaurant Association Restaurateurs of the Year

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 25, 2015
AUTHOR

September 25, 2015 – Des Moines, IA – Lynn and Sarah Pritchard, owners and operators of Table 128 Bistro + Bar in Clive, have been named the Iowa Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurateurs of the Year. The Pritchard’s accepted the award on September 24th at an awards ceremony at the Temple for Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines. This award honors the restaurant owners who inspire patrons, employees and the industry.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.

 

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com
515-276-1454

IRA Press Information
/
September 25, 2015

Two Rivers Hospitality Group Executive Chef Named Chef of the Year

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 25, 2015
AUTHOR

September 25, 2015 – Des Moines, IA – Two Rivers Hospitality Group Executive Chef Mike Holman has been named the Iowa Restaurant Association’s 2015 Chef of the Year. Holman was recognized at an award ceremony at The Temple for Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines on September 24th. This award honors a professional chef who exemplifies creativity, culinary excellence, and service to the profession and the industry.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.

 

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com
515-276-1454

IRA Press Information
/
September 25, 2015

Performance Foodservice TPC President named Purveyor Partner of the Year

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 25, 2015
AUTHOR

September 25, 2015 – Des Moines, IA – Performance Foodservice TPC President Charlie Campbell has been named the Iowa Restaurant Association’s 2015 Purveyor Partner of the Year. Campbell was recognized at an award ceremony at The Temple for Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines on September 24th. This award honors the purveyor employee whose performance exceeds expectations by going above and beyond the job, delivering outstanding customer service and making a positive impact on the business.

###

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.

 

Media Contact:
Katelyn Kostek
Public Relations Specialist
Iowa Restaurant Association
kkostek@restaurantiowa.com
515-276-1454