The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) received an unprecedented collection of iconic restaurant memorabilia on April 29, during a celebration of "The Elliot Collection" at Gotham Hall in New York City. The collection is a legacy representation of the restaurant and foodservice industry, paying homage to the industry's pivotal role in helping to shape the culture, communities and economic vitality of our nation.
Gifted to the NRAEF by The Elliot Group, a retained executive search firm specializing in the hospitality industry, this unique collection includes highly nostalgic items from numerous national restaurant brands. Alice Elliot, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, along with her colleagues, spearheaded this initiative to showcase the positive and significant impact of the nation's vibrant restaurant and foodservice sector. Elliot began by asking companies to donate unique iconography and memorabilia that memorialized and highlighted the infancy of their companies. The goal was to memorialize and celebrate the story of how the restaurant and foodservice industry has grown in influence and stature, demonstrating the determination and tenacity of brands to become business icons through trial and innovation.
The NRAEF is grateful to be given stewardship of this inaugural collection and plans to promote and expand it in keeping with the foundation's mission to amplify the story of opportunity in the restaurant and foodservice sector. The unique memorabilia includes donations from over 200 companies and features original items from such popular restaurants as P.F. Chang's, Outback Steakhouse®, Starbucks, California Pizza Kitchen, The Habit Burger, Red Robin, Mellow Mushroom, Zoe's Kitchen, Friendly's, The Sardine Factory and Tony Roma's. Donated memorabilia included a 1968 Red Lobster menu, an original Ruby Tuesday's stained glass logo and an original Logan's Roadhouse Jukebox.
"The genesis of the idea was years ago when we realized that companies representing today's iconic restaurant and foodservice sector all started with a passionate entrepreneur with a bold idea," said Elliot. "The Elliot Collection serves as affirmation of what the restaurant industry is all about. It's a place where you can start with a goal and a dream and build something formidable."
"We are honored and proud to continue our commitment and work beside and collaborate with the leadership of the NRAEF to ensure the future success of the Elliot Collection."
"Many of the restaurant brands represented in the collection started small, but through their leaders' entrepreneurial courage and determination, have grown to be national, if not global, companies. This collection is tangible evidence of the restaurant and foodservice sector's unparalleled influence in society, telling the story of opportunity, promise and achievement of the American dream," said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President, Strategic Operations and Philanthropy, National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
"We are deeply humbled by the trust Alice and The Elliot Group are placing in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in handing over the reins to this groundbreaking collection," said Gifford. "We believe this collection is truly emblematic of the inherent entrepreneurial spirit and enduring legacy of the hospitality sector and will serve to inspire future culinarians business leaders."