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The Restaurant Brokers interview NRA - Operator Innovations Awards 2014 finalists! - April 9, 2014
Restaurant Brokers Interview Restaurant Association Operator Innovations Award Finalists

ATLANTA, GA - According to the National Restaurant Association, “Every day, restaurant operators worldwide transform the industry through innovation, combining imagination and hard work to find new and better ways to do business.”  That’s why they developed an award program called the Operator Innovations Awards.  These prestigious awards are judged by foodservice operator peers.

In this week’s radio show, the restaurant brokers gathered some of the 2014 finalists and game changers for an in depth interview.  Eric and Robin Gagnon are joined by Jenifer Duggan, Director of Culinary and Hospitality Services at Kennesaw State University, Bill Cheek, Executive Director of Food and Beverage at Chumash Casino Resort and Joe Snell, C.E.O & Founder of Viableware.

Listeners can tune in on Saturday at noon EST to Atlanta’s AM Talk 920 and Sunday at 1 p.m., on Biz 1190 to find out how these Operator Innovations Award Finalists have changed the field of restaurant operations. 

Jenifer Duggan, Director of Culinary and Hospitality Services at Kennesaw State University reports on their “Farm-to-Fit” Program and describes the concept of “re-mineralization” and how KSU integrated this into their ground-breaking program. She tells the audience that the food of today has 60% less nutrients than that consumed by our grandparents. 

Bill Cheek, Executive Director of Food and Beverage at Chumash Casino Resort describes how their casino which previously generated 4.6 million pounds of waste per year now donates most of this to a pig farm diverting 59% of their waste. 

Joe Snell, C.E.O & Founder of Viableware shares how their technology helped to land Dickie Brennan Restaurants into this illustrious group. 

Restaurant Reality

On the heels of this show focused on innovation, the restaurant brokers discuss the reality of constantly staying current and being original while making the business work.  According to the restaurant brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon, restaurant people are “highly creative.”  They often create amazing menus and “start with tons of energy and innovation.”  What happens over time? The reality may be, according to Robin, that “once business owners get immersed in the business they become complacent and are unable to bring that creative energy back to the table.”

This Week’s Guests

Jenifer Duggan

Jenifer Duggan, Director of Culinary & Hospitality Services for Kennesaw State University, oversees all campus food service operations, including the dining hall, The Commons, the student meal plan program, six quick-service restaurants, KSU Catering (the exclusive caterer for all campus events), and the Farm-to-Campus program. Jenifer has produced national and international events and conferences and performed marketing and PR services for clients such as Intel, JCB, Comcast, Southern Company, Coca-Cola, the WNBA, Atlanta Dream, The National Peanut Board, and the Chick-Fil-A Foundation. Jenifer is an active member of the Georgia Restaurant Association, and serves as a student mentor for the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia.

Bill Cheek

Bill Cheek has been the Executive Director of Food & Beverage for Chumash Casino Resort since 2011. In his previous experience, he was the Corporate Director of Hotels for ACE Parking Management (2008-2011), Director of Operations for W Hotels in San Diego (2007-2008), Director of Operations for Omni Hotels (2003-2007), and he’s held past Director of Food & Beverage roles for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Hotels. Under Mr. Cheek’s direction, the Chumash Casino Resort’s fine dining restaurant – The Willows – has been honored with the AAA Four Diamond Award and Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence for its superior wine list.

Joe Snell

Joe Snell is the CEO & Founder of Viableware, a Seattle-area company that is currently making news by rolling out an innovative digital bill folder at full-service restaurants around the country, like Tableau restaurant in New Orleans and Ethan Stowell restaurants in Seattle.  Joe has also served as CEO & Founder of Seattle-based Tamarac - an investment management solutions company that was bought by Envestnet for $54 million in 2012.

About We Sell Restaurants

We Sell Restaurants is the nation’s largest restaurant brokerage firm specializing in restaurants wanted (restaurants for sale), leasing a restaurant and franchise restaurant resales.  The We Sell Restaurants brand is known nationwide for professionalism, industry knowledge and unmatched service. They can be found online at www.wesellrestaurants.com.  The firm is franchising their brand nationwide and has offices in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee and South Carolina.