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January event celebrates inauguration of new board with awards Bart Hickey and US Foods as restaurateur and company of the year

Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association’s President’s Inaugural Ball kicks off the association’s 99th year with honorees and installation of new officers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 11, 2014) – The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association celebrates the contribution of its members to the hospitality industry at the annual GKCRA President’s Inaugural Ball, January 10 at Bartle Hall. The association installs its new board of directors and officers carrying the association into its centennial year. The event also awards the GKCRA’s annual restaurateur and company of the year awards. Bart Hickey of Seasons 52 is honored as the restaurateur of the year and allied member company US Foods is the recipient of the company of the year award.Each year, the GKCRA President’s Inaugural Ball recognizes the restaurateur and company of the year award winners for their continued contributions to restaurant and the hospitality community. The 2015 inaugural event also serves as the kickoff for the association’s 99th year of working for area restaurants and the beginning of the association’s centennial celebration in 2016.

The inaugural ball is also the primary fundraising event for the GKCRA Educational Foundation.  Proceeds from the event fund scholarships and grants for students pursuing careers within the hospitality industry and the culinary arts. For nearly 100 years, GKCRA members have proudly and successfully supported career advancements of the future generations of the hospitality and restaurant industry in the greater Kansas City area.

2014 GKCRA Restaurateur of the Year – Bart Hickey, Seasons 52

Bart Hickey has managed restaurants in Kansas City area since 1996. He began his career in the area with Rio Bravo Cantina and followed by Pierpont’s at Union Station. Hickey joined The Capital Grille in 2001, and in 2005 became the managing partner of The Country Club Plaza location.

Identifying a need for leadership at The Capital Grille’s sister concept Seasons 52, Hickey transitioned to its general manager in September 2014. Since joining the team, Kansas City’s Seasons 52 continues to improve in guest satisfaction, guest counts, sales, food quality and overall performance.

Hickey’s true passion lies in mentoring and developing people, helping them grow, advance and become excellent in their hospitality carriers. Hickey works to advance the local restaurant community as a GKCRA board member since 2007, serving as president in 2014. In addition, he serves on the Kansas City Restaurant Week steering committee and the advisory board of the hospitality management program in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies School at the University of Central Missouri. Outside Kansas City, he is frequently an advocate for issues concerning local restaurateurs, lobbying on behalf of the industry in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C.

2014 GKCRA Company of the Year –  US Foods

As one of America’s leading food distributors, US Foods works with a range of hospitality providers including independent and multi-unit restaurants, health care and hospitality entities, government and educational institutions. US Foods-Kansas City Division is 1 of 61 Broad-Line distribution centers across the U.S. Locally, the company employs 479 associates in Topeka, Lenexa and drivers residing throughout Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.  In 2014, US Foods employees will drive an estimated 3,224,000 miles to more than 4,500 customers and ship, on average, 325,000+ cases per week in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Colorado.

The company proudly supports the area culinary industry through activity in the Missouri Restaurant Association, Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association, Greater Kansas City Chefs’ Association, Nebraska Restaurant Association, Kansas City Restaurant Week, Forks and Corks, Harvesters, and ServSafe classes.

About Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association

The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA) is a trade association with more than 600 members consisting of restaurants, caterers, hospitals, schools, institutions, clubs and in-plant cafeterias as well as vendors serving the local restaurant industry. Members work together to represent, educate and promote the restaurant and hospitality industries in the Missouri counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte and Kansas counties of Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte. For more information on the GKCRA, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GKCRA or follow GKCRA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GKCRA.