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This is a very special edition of the Nation’s Restaurant News Power List.
Here we celebrate 50 leaders who are changing the restaurant world.
Each is innovating in her own way — from upending financing traditions to revolutionizing tech to reaching new culinary heights. There is so much changing in the restaurant landscape and the 50 people on this list are behind that change.
The 2019 Power List also includes people at different stages in their careers. You’ll notice 30-year industry veterans next to newer upstarts. You’ll see CEOs of 1,000-unit chains next to chef/restaurateurs with a relatively small footprint.
There are, after all, many ways to shake up the restaurant industry.
Our hope is that through this issue you become acquainted with influencers you might not have known about.
Yes, all 50 of the people on this year’s Power List are women. And yes, that is a statement.
Only 10 percent of the people who run the Top 100 restaurant companies are women. One in 10. Yet, when the NRN editors researched this issue, we found hundreds of women doing amazing work in the hospitality industry. The 50 women here are just a small portion of the women we wanted to include. I wish we could highlight more. It was a pleasure to learn about these influencers.
Without much representation of women in the upper ranks of the business, we leave young people starved for leadership models. The executives on this list have had to carve their own paths.
Thankfully, that is slowly changing.
At Red Robin, for example, CEO Denny Marie Post has built a senior leadership team that is 60 percent women, including 50-percent representation both at the executive level and on the board.
“I think we attract women because they can look up and see that there’s a track for them here,” she said.
While the NRN 2019 Power List is intended to be a model for young people out there, it’s also intended for the not so young. Young people: Learn from these 50 women on the list. Apply for jobs before you are ready for them. Not-so-young people: Promote people like these women. Mentor them. Do your part. The success of the industry depends on it.
Gentle readers, as you learn about these smart, resourceful executives, remember that this isn’t a women’s list. This is the Power List. No qualifiers needed.
Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca