Our History The restaurant trade association movement in America traces its roots to Kansas City. The forerunner of it all was the Kansas City Business Men’s Association. In 1916, local operators banded together to resist encroachment on their own businesses.
In this group were early industry leaders such as Myron Green and George Fowler, father-in-law of Joseph Gilbert, Sr. of Gilbert/Robinson, who went on to establish both the Missouri and the National Restaurant Associations. In 1919, on a "heatless Monday” during World War I, these same individuals gathered other restaurateurs from around the nation to form the National Restaurant Association. The NRA was headquartered in Kansas City until 1926, when the office was moved to Chicago.
In 1935, charters were granted to both the Missouri Restaurant Association and the St. Louis Restaurant Association. The late Clarence M. Hayman, Sr., founder of the Forum Cafeterias, signed the incorporation papers. His son, C.M. Hayman, Jr., became MRA President in 1974.
Several city association entities continued to exist until 1958, when efforts began to amalgamate into one statewide organization. This objective became a reality in 1962 when the Kansas City and St. Louis associations agreed to affiliate as chapters of the Missouri Restaurant Association. This marks the true “birth” of today’s Missouri Restaurant Association.
Today’s MRA The common thread between the organization as it exists today and that of early years is the same indomitable spirit to serve that is still reflected in a large and effective group of volunteers who work along side MRA's staff members.
Our Focus MRA’s activity and philosophy still focus on its members. MRA is unique among trade associations, with the high level of member involvement in the Association’s activities. The local chapters across the state provide a chance to be involved. MRA’s effectiveness derives from its unity and the effectiveness of its members.
An effective Government Relations program is one of the most significant services MRA provides for its members. Combining a contract lobbyist with effective grassroots activity, the Association effectively protects the interests of the industry.
A continued emphasis on member benefits and services, plus a commitment to the chapter organizations and a high level of member involvement, has made MRA a well-respected trade association.
Our Structure Missouri Restaurant Association is a statewide trade association. Presently, it has five active chapters each with its own own officers, directors, and operating budget. The state association is governed by a board of directors, including four officers and the presidents of the five affiliated chapters.
MRA has two basic categories of membership:
Regular Membership, for companies and organizations engaged in commercial and institutional foodservice, as well as foodservice educators, and,
Allied Membership, for firms selling goods and services to the restaurant and hospitality industry.
MRA’s membership is diverse, and includes all segments of the industry.
With origins tracing back to 1916, the Missouri Restaurant Association is dedicated to serving the needs of the foodservice and hospitality industry, enhancing and improving its growth and development, assisting and educating its members in operating more effectively, improving the political, economic, and social environment in which the industry conducts business, for the benefit of its members, patrons, employees, and the well-being of the community.
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