News Release: Restaurants Win Big at Smart 50 Awards

DUBLIN, Ohio (June 15, 2018) – Last night, hundreds of business professionals and industry leaders gathered to celebrate the Smart 50 Awards Columbus Class of 2018 at Cameron Mitchell's The Exchange at Bridge Park in Dublin.

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) President & CEO John Barker was one of the honorees of the evening. He was highlighted in a video interview regarding his role in leading the organization through a major brand transformation, as well as an increased focus on innovation and technology.

"This is a great opportunity to highlight the accomplishments and brand transformation the ORA staff has achieved over the last couple of years on behalf of our members and restaurants across Ohio. It's an honor to be a part of this incredible process as we transition the ORA into a consulting organization for the hospitality industry, " said Barker.

Since 2014, the Smart 50 Awards recognizes the top executives of the 50 smartest companies in Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations. All 50 winners were honored at the special celebration, and three organizations received specialty awards for their achievements in three category areas – innovation, impact and sustainability.

In addition to Barker, the restaurant and foodservice industry was well-represented throughout the evening. ORA Vice Chair Sheila Trautner of Taste Hospitality Group, Joe Kahn of Condado Tacos, Chris Doody of Piada Italian Street Food and Rick Malir of City Barbeque were each recognized with a Smart 50 award for their accomplishments and success as a "smart" leader. Other organizations awarded include Abercrombie & Fitch Co., HOMAGE, Safelite Group, The MacIntosh Company, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Lutheran Social Services and The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.


From left to right: Chris Doody of Piada Italian Street Food, ORA President & CEO John Barker, ORA Board Member Sheila Trautner of Taste Hospitality Group and Joe Kahn of Condado Tacos.

For a full list of 2018 Smart 50 Columbus award winners, click here

About the Ohio Restaurant Association

For nearly 100 years, The Ohio Restaurant Association is the leading business trade association promoting, protecting and partnering with Ohio’s $20.9 billion restaurant and foodservice industry. The ORA represents the third-largest private sector employer in the state, including 22,000 locations and more than 575,000 employees, and helps members build customer loyalty, rewarding careers and financial success with a range of services and thought leadership. For more information, visit