WASHINGTON The National Restaurant Association has named industry veteran David Gilbert to the newly created posts of chief operating officer of the NRA and executive director of NRA Solutions.
Gilbert, who had been serving as interim executive vice president, products and services in NRA Solutions for the past several months, will be instrumental in helping the association implement its new five-year strategic plan, said Dawn Sweeney, NRA president and chief executive.
In his new capacity, Gilbert will be responsible for all of the NRA’s existing products, including ServSafe and ProStart, as well as all future product development. Previously, Mary Adolf, who left during a recent staff restructuring, had served as executive vice president of NRA Solutions. As the NRA’s chief operating officer as well, Gilbert also will oversee information technology, membership and the association’s annual convention in Chicago.
“He is an operator’s operator,” Sweeney said. “He has a deep knowledge and understanding of the industry and will be instrumental in creating products and services that will be valuable and will help members and operators improve their profitability.”
Calling Gilbert’s appointment an important step in facilitating the NRA’s five-year strategic plan, Sweeney said the association had been looking for an industry leader with “real first-hand experience and knowledge of the challenges facing the industry.”
With 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry, Gilbert previously had served as chief administrative officer of Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Shoney’s, and executive director of development for Applebee’s International.
Among his new responsibilities, Gilbert will help the NRA grow its membership by a projected 50 percent over the next five years, create a technology platform to connect the national and state restaurant organizations, and help to expand ServSafe as well as develop new products and services for the NRA.
“Our strategic plan is focused on providing products and services to help make things better for members,” Gilbert said. “We want to provide effective solutions with regard to training, food safety, alcohol training and other areas.”
Gilbert will report directly to Sweeney.