The National Restaurant Association has formed an Executive Study Group to address the many issues surrounding supply chain management.

As part of the NRA's Executive Study Group conference series, the Supply Chain Management group aims to facilitate dialog and best-practice exchange around issues such as increasing commodity and wholesale food prices, sourcing of ingredients and traceability of products.

Food and beverage purchases alone by the restaurant industry are expected to exceed $200 billion this year. The group will address the full spectrum of the field, including purchasing, distribution, logistics, quality assurance, freight and inventory management, and provide perspective applicable to restaurant operations of all sizes.

The group's first conference will be held in Chicago in May 2012, preceding the 2012 NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show May 5-8 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

"We are excited to bring industry leaders together to discuss solutions to critical supply chain issues that face every restaurant operator today," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. "The National Restaurant Association is committed to helping restaurateurs navigate the complex issues of safely and efficiently getting supplies to our nation's nearly one million restaurant and foodservice locations."

The Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group will be led by a steering committee comprised of leading restaurant company executives and representatives from the former Hospitality Supply Management, which until recently was part of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM).

"Supply chain matters are at the heart of any foodservice operation, so a focus on quality, safety and efficiency is crucial to success," said David Parsley, SVP Supply Chain Management for Brinker International, Inc., and one of the initiators and current chair of the new group. "Working together to share perspectives and peer-to-peer education will greatly benefit our industry as a whole."

In addition to Parsley as chair of the group, leadership includes: Janet Erickson, Del Taco, vice chair; Wade Winters, Au Bon Pain, treasurer; and Charlie Lousignont, Aramark, secretary.

The group's steering committee also includes: Ron Burks, YUM's UFPC; David Cox, Arby's ARCOP; Mark Eganhouse, Wendy's Quality Supply Chain Co-op; Wayne Goldman, Extendicare Health Services; Dean Gordon, Jack in the Box; Stan Harvey, The Cheesecake Factory; George Hoffman, Burger King's RSI; Mike Leikam, Dine Equity's CSCS; Don Miller, Hilton Worldwide; Evan Nash, Johnson & Wales University; and Rif Wiguna, Panda Restaurant Group Inc.

Read more about the supply chain.

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