MRA To Have First Two-Term Chairman: Mansour Ghalibaf

To continue a smooth transition with new CEO Bob Luz, the Mass Restaurant Assn. has decided to have chairman Mansour Ghalibaf of The Hotel Northampton remain as chairman for another year, marking the first time the chairman will repeat a one-year term.

The new MRA board members include: Chris Anderson, director of food for Clover Fast Food of Cambridge; John Creedon of Creedon & Co. Catering Co. of Worcester; Jim Fisher, owner of Triumph Revenue Advisors of Needham; Michael Halpern of Texas Roadhouse of Holliston; Andy Husbands, chef and owner of Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel of Boston; and Jenny Johnson of Dining Playbook and NESN of Boston.

Other new board members are Alan Marcus, chief financial officer of Big Night Entertainment; Michael Minichello, director of operations of Tavern In The Square of Somerville; Erin Romaine, owner of Romaine’s Wood Bar & Grill of Northboro and Smokestack Urban BBQ of Worcester; Brad Schiff, chief marketing officer for Papa Gino’s and D’Angelos of Dedham; Leanne Smith, director of human resources of Howley Bread Group, Panera Group of Cumberland, R.I.; and Anthony Valletta, general manager of Del Frisco’s of Boston. John Diskes, owner of The Century House in Peabody, and Peter Christie, former president and chief executive officer of the MRA, have been named Honorary Lifetime Members of the Board.

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NRA Releases Sustainability Report & Money Saving Tips For Operators

The National Restaurant Assn.’s Sustainability Program has released a report of advice and tips from industry experts who appeared at the NRA Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. Scott DeFife, NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs, said, “Practicing sustainability is more popular than ever before so it is important to us that we provide tools and education on how to do it in as cost-effective a manner as possible. This report is one more way we can help make sustainability accessible to everyone.”

The report features information culled from eight environmentally-focused education sessions at the 2014 NRA Show and features input from Starbucks and White Castle as well as restaurateur Dan Simons of the Farmers Restaurant Group in Washington, D.C.; Christi Cook of contract foodservice provider Sodexo Inc.; environmentalist and Ted’s Montana Grill co-owner Laura Turner Seydel; and Tim Trefzer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in Atlanta.

The report is free to download. The NRA Sustainability program also has released its free subscription-only “Bright Ideas” sustainability newsletter, which offers tips and tools to restaurant and foodservice operators on eco-friendly practices that save money, resources and help protect the environment.

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Olive Garden Sets New National Remodel & Online To Go Programs

Olive Garden is rolling out a new national restaurant remodel design and launching an updated web experience and online To Go platform, all of which feature a new Olive Garden logo.

The new design includes the removal of walls to create a more open and inviting atmosphere; distinctive decor in each dining area for a more homelike feel; a striking, more modern lobby and bar area which encourages guests to gather; flexible seating that better accommodates large parties; and more vibrant colors, fabrics and textures that bring new energy to guests' dining experience. Remodeled restaurants also will feature updated plate ware featuring a more modern, all-white look that simplifies and enhances food presentation. Olive Garden also is introducing a redesigned web experience for its guests, including the national launch of online To Go, where guests can order meals online via desktop or mobile for car-side pickup in designated parking spots at all Olive Garden restaurants nationwide. Guests also have the option to save their favorite orders for future transactions and order meals days in advance. To Go online orders can be placed by going to wwwOliveGarden.com and clicking Find A Location.

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Latest Word in Food Service...

Performance Food Group (PFG) has named Jim Hope to the new role of executive vice president of operations. Mr. Hope will focus on PFG operations and procurement and oversee the company’s internal initiative to strengthen operational best practices. Mr. Hope joins PFG after serving in various exective leadership roles during his 26-year career with Sysco Corporation.

• King & Prince Seafood has announced its Gourmet Lobster & Seafood Crab Cakes products were selected as a recipient of the NACUFS (National Association of College and University Food Service) Industry Innovation and Creative Excellence Award.

• The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director. The group’s objective is to increase awareness and demand for whole live Maine lobster as well as value-added Maine lobster products.

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