Talk:National Restaurant Association

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Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest U.S. trade association for the restaurant industry. In an industry that has 945,000 restaurants and 13.1 million employees, the association represents over 380,000 restaurants. Members also include food suppliers and distributors. The association itself is a member of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association which represents over 8 million restaurants and 300,000 hotels in over 150 countries worldwide.


Opposition to Paid Sick Days and Minimum Wage

NRA has actively opposed paid sick leave initiatives in Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Washington, DC; and it points to the failure of these measures to advance in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Philadelphia and North Carolina as a source of encouragement. Its staff strategically tracks this issue on a real time basis. [2]

The Colorado Restaurant Association contributed nearly $1.5 million to defeat the 2006 state minimum wage measure in Colorado, while that year NRA gave over $600,000 to defeat minimum wage initiatives across the country, including $223,000 in Colorado.[3]

In March 2013, the Philadelphia City Council passed, by an 11 to 6 vote, a paid sick days bill that would have allowed employees without sick leave to earn up to four paid sick days per year.[4] Over 180,000 workers in Philadelphia do not have access to paid sick days and would have benefited from this measure. [5] However, major opponents of the paid sick leave bill, special interest groups aligned with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), successfully lobbied Mayor Nutter to veto it[5]. The bill died when the council was unable to sway enough nay votes to override the mayoral veto; they needed just one more.[4] These groups, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) are all tied to ALEC.[5] The case of Philadelphia was unique in "the participation of telecommunications giant Comcast, Philadelphia's highest grossing company and an ALEC member."[5] The corporation spent over $108,000 on lobbying, most of which went towards opposition to the paid sick days bill.[5]

More than 40 percent of the work force in the United States cannot take sick days without losing wages or possibly their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major cities such as Washington DC, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, as well as the state of Connecticut, have put paid sick day laws on the books; New York City will soon follow suit.[5] The initiative is quickly moving to cities across the country "and in each case, the state and local branches of the National Restaurant Association, the NFIB, and the Chamber are actively opposing it" as they did in Philadelphia.[5] Philadelphia was not the first instance where these special interest groups came together to thwart this legislation. City of Milwaukee voters passed a paid sick days referendum with over 70 percent of the vote in 2008 but when Scott Walker became Wisconsin's governor in 2011, the state affiliate of the National Restaurant Association and the local Chamber lobbied Walker to back "a bill to overturn this expression of local democratic will and preempt any local paid sick day ordinance."[5]

Opposition to Nutrition Labeling

On a typical day, 130 million Americans eat outside the home, spending $1.5 billion[6] in food that is often high in what many Americans should be eating less of--saturated fats, trans fat, salt and calories.[7] Unlike packaged foods which are required to display a "Nutrition Facts" label, restaurants are under no similar legal obligation. The National Restaurant Association has fought the numerous efforts to introduce calorie and fat content labeling on restaurant menus, defeating thirteen nutrition-labeling bills introduced in eleven states and two cities (Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia).[7]

Ties to ALEC

The National Restaurant Association is a member of the conservative trade association ALEC. [8]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Industry Shield Laws

The National Restaurant Association has been a key player convincing willing legislators to sponsor legislation to protect industry.[9] The NRA website tracks legislative progress in each state on a page titled "State Frivolous-Lawsuit Legislation," and offers an entire "Obesity Issue Kit" that inclides model legislation, op-ed articles, talking points and other resources designed to assist states in passing legislation and to shield the industry from liability. [10]


Minimum wage increase:

"Policymakers made few efforts in 2012 to increase minimum wage rates at either the federal or state levels, recognizing the ongoing economic challenges businesses face as they fight to emerge from the recession.

Restaurateurs face cost pressures from all sides, including uncertainty about the impact of the health care law, rising food costs and higher energy costs. Policymakers need to focus on expanding payrolls; they should not take steps that hurt employers' ability to hire. Restaurants are a labor-intensive industry. Labor costs account for about a third of restaurant sales, pretax profit margins are around 3 to 5 percent, and profits per employee are low. Additional labor costs immediately affect an employer's ability to maintain current jobs and hire new employees.

Most employees in the restaurant industry earn in excess of the minimum wage. Just 5 percent of restaurant employees earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Eighty percent of those who earn the starting wage in restaurants work part-time; 70 percent are under age 25; and 46 percent are teenagers.." [11]

Political contributions

National Restaurant Association gave $1,459,434 to candidates in the 2006 U.S. election through its political action committee. A strong majority were Republican. [12]

Public relations

National Restaurant Association operates the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), which is set up as the 'educational arm' of the main Association.[13] One of the industry's best advocates is Rick Berman who runs the Employment Policies Institute.


Association leadership: [14]

  • Richard E. Rivera, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Also a Principal at Rubicon Enterprises LLC
  • Michael S. Kaufman, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Former President of Dallas-based Metromedia Restaurant Group, which operates the Bennigan’s Steak and Ale, Bonanza and Ponderosa brands
  • Michael Gibbons, Treasurer, Also CEO of Mainstreet Ventures Inc. which has diverse restaurant concepts operating in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia
  • Dawn Sweeney, Chief Executive Officer, Former CEO of AARP Services, the wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP


The NRA spent approximately 23.2 million dollars on salaries, benefits, and other compensation for its staff in 2009. 1.2 million of that compensation went to CEO Dawn Sweeney. The NRA spent 1.2 million on lobbying in 2009. They clear 50 million dollars in revenue annually, spend millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions through their PAC. [15]

Contact details

1200 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-331-5900
Fax: 202-331-2429

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. About page, 'National Restaurant Association, accessed November 2007.
  2. Brendan Flanagan, "Issues Update", Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, October 14, 2011.
  3. Linda Casey, "Voters Give Workers a Raise: Money Raised Around The Minimum Wage Ballot Measures In Six States in 2006", National Institute on Money in State Politics, October 11, 2007, pp. 7-8
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dan Stamm, "Paid Sick Leave Veto Override Falls 1 Vote Short", NBC Philadelphia, April 11, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Brendan Fischer, "Paid Sick Days Defeat in Philadelphia Followed Familiar Script", PRWatch, April 17, 2013
  6. NRA "Restaurant Industry Facts at a Glance"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Underminds Our Health and How to Fight Back, (paperback) (Nation Books, 2006), 196.
  8. ALEC trade groups
  9. Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit, p. 286.
  10. Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit, p. 287.
  11. [1]Minimum wage - Overview
  12. [2], Open Secrets, accessed April 2013.
  13. "NRAEF Purpose, Vision, and Mission Statements", National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation website, accessed October 2008.
  14. Association Leadership, National Restaurant Association, accessed November 2007.
  15. National Restaurant Association, 2009 IRS Form 990, p. 1


a lot of outdated info and dead or not functioning links. trust me, I'm not trying to sanitize anything but we should be fair and not say thing that can't be sourced. If I held this page to wikepedia standards a lot of it would have to go. Personaly, I love to have facts on my side so a little advise on out to deal with this outdated page would be apreciated. Jackhammer111 (talk) 16:42, 4 April 2013 (EDT)