Wisconsin Restaurant Association
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) was incorporated as a not-for-profit trade association in 1933. WRA oversees the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is affiliated with the National Restaurant Association.
WRA is made up of thousands of diverse foodservice businesses throughout Wisconsin, representing virtually every size and style of restaurant and hospitality establishment in the state. A strong membership helps WRA pursue its mission to protect, promote and improve the foodservice industry.
The WRA membership includes independent restaurants, multi-units and franchise chains including fine dining, fast casual and quickservice; bar and lounge operations; institutions categorized as school/college, hospital/healthcare, correctional and office facilities; bakeries; public or private clubs; convenience stores (c-stores); groceries and delicatessens; casinos and hotel/motel/resort operations. Individual job titles of WRA members may include owner, manager, chef, corporate executive, dietitian, educator, bartender, waiter/waitress or server, catering executive, bakery operator or pastry chef.
Members of the state association are divided into 18 local chapters across Wisconsin.
WRA spearheads two programs to promote dining in Wisconsin foodservice establishments to state residents: the WRA Online Dining Guide and the WRA Gift Certificate program.
- The WRA Online Dining Guide is a searchable database of WRA member restaurants. Visitors to the WRA website may search thousands of Wisconsin restaurants by name, location, menu options or cuisine offered.
- WRA Gift Certificates are part of a statewide dining program, where a purchased gift certificate may be redeemed at any of thousands of participating restaurants across Wisconsin.
Since 1933, WRA has produced an annual foodservice trade show for the industry. Formerly known as Host Midwest, in 2005 the show was branded as the Wisconsin Restaurant Expo. It is the largest and most inclusive gathering of the industry in Wisconsin and offers exhibits, education and resources for professionals in foodservice.
WRA offers publications and business tools containing information impacting the industry, management advice and guidance on laws and regulations affecting foodservice businesses.
- Wisconsin Restaurateur (WR) magazine. A high-quality, quarterly business publication serving foodservice professionals in Wisconsin. WR is the only magazine in the state with an exclusive focus on the foodservice industry.
- Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations, or HERO Manual. It provides operational and regulatory information tailored specifically to the foodservice industry. (free to members)
- Model Employee Handbook. A WRA-created guide with information on employment law and employee handbook creation. (available for purchase)
- WRA News. The association’s newsletter containing current restaurant regulations and industry issues.
Grassroots and Legislative Activity
The association lobbies for the industry and works to educate its members, legislators and the public on issues challenging restaurants and foodservice establishments.
- Legislative Education Council (LEC). LEC helps WRA educate and inform on pending legislation, public hearings and legislative votes on the local, state and federal levels. LEC also helps generate grassroots contacts with elected officials, educate on candidates for public office, conduct surveys and support public policy education.
- WRA Political Action Committee (WRA-PAC). WRA-PAC supports policies and candidates for public office that work to protect the restaurant industry. It is a non-partisan fund supported by voluntary personal contributions from individuals. See more about political action committee.
- Culinary arts
- Food safety
- Most restaurants per capita in the United States
- National Restaurant Association
- Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation
- About WRA. Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
- Resources and Benefits. Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
- Useful Tools & Publications. Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Retrieved September 19, 2009.