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2008 SPIRIT Award winners to be honored at MUFSO confab

NATIONAL HARBOR MD. Carino’s Italian Grill, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Sodexo have been named winners of the 2008 SPIRIT Awards, recognizing innovative workforce programs that lead to high employee satisfaction. —

The winning companies will be honored during the 49th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference Oct. 12-15 at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel & Convention Center in this city, just outside Washington, D.C. The awards are presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and are sponsored by the Coca-Cola Co. —

Winners were selected for their human resources programs that demonstrate excellence in recruitment, hiring, retention, education and training in four foodservice categories: fine dining, full service, on-site and quick service. The honorees were selected by the SPIRIT Advisory Board and NRN’s editorial staff for their innovation, creativity, program presentation, in-unit communications and measured results. —

The winners in their respective categories are: —

Fine dining: Morton’s The Steakhouse, part of the Chicago-based Morton’s Restaurant Group, is celebrating its 30th anniversary and operates 80 units worldwide. —

Full service: Carino’s Italian, a Fired-Up Inc. company, is a full-service concept based in Austin, Texas, with 150 restaurants in 26 states and 10 more in the Middle East. —

On-site: Sodexo of Gaithersburg, Md., is a leading foodservice management company in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with $7.3 billion in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. —

Quick service: Qdoba Mexican Grill of Wheat Ridge, Colo., operates 446 fast-casual units in more than 40 states and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jack in the Box Inc. —

The SPIRIT Advisory Board members this year were Dina Berta, human resources editor of Nation’s Restaurant News; Paul BollesBeaven, chief people officer for the Union Square Hospitality Group in New York; Tara Davey, executive director of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers in Westfield, N.J.; Marty Calcagno, director of human resources for Famous Dave’s of America in Minnetonka, Minn.; Mary Gratzer, executive director, Distinguished Restaurants of North America in Louisville, Ky.; Jessica Maggio Wion, director of corporate communications for National Restaurant Association Solutions in Chicago; Matt Riley, director of human resources for Bruegger’s Enterprises in Burlington, Vt.; NRN columnist Jim Sullivan, chief executive of in Appleton, Wis.; and Frank Weber, vice present of food and beverage operations for Royal Caribbean International in Miami. —

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