FOOD FOR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Author:

​JOHN D. BARKER

John is President & CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association. His parents and family operated the Rustic Lounge restaurant and bar in the 1970s, He was an executive at Wendy’s for nearly 20 years and teaches at The Ohio State University. He writes about the foodservice industry, inspiring restaurateurs, important issues and thought leadership. If you have an idea or comment, contact him at 614. 246.0203 or at 

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Author:

​JOHN D. BARKER

John is President & CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association. His parents and family operated the Rustic Lounge restaurant and bar in the 1970s, He was an executive at Wendy’s for nearly 20 years and teaches at The Ohio State University. He writes about the foodservice industry, inspiring restaurateurs, important issues and thought leadership. If you have an idea or comment, contact him at 614. 246.0203 or at 

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Dec
14
Oct
31
Great news – New health plan solution for smaller ORA members

One of the challenges of managing a restaurant or food service operation is offering benefits to employees. ORA members tell me regularly they are searching for an affordable solution, because taking care of their team members is critically important.Offering a comprehensive compensation approach that includes health, dental and vision insurance is becoming table stakes in the competitive marketplace. And, it’s also the right thing to do.That’s why we are thrilled about a new Association Health Plan that is available to small restaurant and hotel employer members through the National Restaurant Association, Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and UnitedHealthcare®Small restaurant and hotel member employers with 2-99 full-ti...


Sep
24
ORA evolution continues with Website 1.0 and new Premier Vendor– MoPro

The next step in the ORA’s brand transformation is right before your eyes. Just log into our new website at ohiorestaurant.org and scroll through the resources and content designed for restaurant professionals.


The ORA site represents the future of our industry – it’s visually stunning, highlights culinary and food images, and is responsive and mobile-friendly. It showcases the diversity of the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality business. It features our logos and color palette of blueberry, watermelon and quinoa – for those of you who love design as much as our Managing Director of Marketing and Communications, Maureen O’Rourke.

Maureen is the orchestrator of our brand and led the transformation starting...


Aug
14
Shifting the ORA to “step-change” ideas and solutions for members

You might think as we approach our 100th anniversary in less than two years, the ORA would look back in time. While we stand on the shoulders of many great leaders and honor our past, the best way to operate is to look forward.

The opportunity to support the foodservice and hospitality industry is immense with the rapid growth of restaurants in our state – more than 22,000 locations in Ohio and growing. When you add in the rapid change we see with trends and consumer expectations, you can’t help but be excited about promoting and protecting this industry. As partners with our members, we are constantly studying and working on workforce development, technology issues, healthcare, food safety and challenges from special interes...


Jul
09
Innovation in Foodservice Keeps Coming, Are You Ready for Ghosts?

Innovation in Foodservice Keeps Coming, Are You Ready for Ghosts?
The pace of change is accelerating in most industries:

  • Have you been in an emergency room lately? – Technological breakthroughs are enabling doctors, physician assistants and nurses to better care for patients.

  • Been on the floor of an auto manufacturing plant? – Filled with robotics.

  • Taken a ride in a driver-less vehicle? – Soon you will be able to in central Ohio thanks to the Smart Columbus initiative.

  • The computer/network server in our office at the ORA fits in a small closet. A decade ago servers filled entire floors in climate-controlled offices.


In foodservice, innovation is racing forward. Have you eaten a fresh, antioxidant-packed açaí bowl topped with granola and fruit? Do you like Poke? How about dinner, wine and dancing at Whole Foods?

How about these innovations – automated hamburger-cooking kitchens, kiosks at thousands of fast-food restaurants, cashless restaurants and mobile ordering through an emoji?

How about the reinvention of the food court we used to enjoy at shopping malls? Today this looks like the West Side Market in Cleveland, Findlay Market in Cincinnati and the North Market in Columbus. It also looks like the Short North Foo...


Jun
26
ORA/NRA Golf Classic Tees Up to be Great Success

The 21st annual ORA/NRA Golf Classic was held at the New Albany Country Club on June 26. In addition to a beautiful course and amazing food, approximately 100 industry leaders gathered to celebrate a worthy cause with net proceeds from the event benefiting the ORA’s political advocacy efforts and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant Advocacy Fund (RAF).

During the luncheon, John Barker, ORA President & CEO, thanked all those in attendance. He reminded them of the great efforts the ORA and the NRA undertake on a daily basis to protect Ohio’s foodservice industry and small businesses from threats against them bot at the Statehouse and Washington D.C.

Thank You to the 2018 Event Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor: White Ca...


Jun
19
Jun
15
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...


Jun
12
2017: Year in Review

Workers' Compensation Managed Care

2017: Year in Review

In 2017, the Columbus Local Restaurant Alliance met several times for dynamic meetings discussing various topics impacting the industry and community.

​Read a few highlights below:

  • Columbus City Councilman Shannon Hardin discussed small and minority business development, public service and transportation matters.

  • Mayor Andrew Ginther discussed neighborhood development.

  • Local Restaurant Alliance members attended a Smart City update at the Idea Foundry in Franklintown.


Jun
12
2017: Year in Review

In 2017, the Columbus Local Restaurant Alliance met several times for dynamic meetings discussing various topics impacting the industry and community.

​Read a few highlights below:

  • Columbus City Councilman Shannon Hardin discussed small and minority business development, public service and transportation matters.