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A service for food industry professionals · Thursday, March 4, 2021 · 536,305,793 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Nation’s Restaurant News names the 50 most influential restaurant leaders with 2021 Power List

The 8th annual NRN Power List honors restaurant professionals who demonstrated innovative and inclusive leadership during an unprecedented year for the foodservice industry

/EIN News/ -- NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), the leading media brand in the foodservice industry, has revealed its 2021 NRN Power List, a list of 50 influential people who represent the best in restaurant leadership.

Selected by the editors of Nation’s Restaurant News, the 8th annual Power List is the definitive list of people who have demonstrated excellence in leading teams and communities, giving back during the unprecedented challenges of 2020, and actively committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The 2021 Power List also reflects Nation’s Restaurant News’ ongoing commitment to reflecting the rich diversity of the industry and telling stories that are often overlooked. The report showcases leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives who model inclusive leadership that expands opportunity and access for both employees and customers.

Among those on this year’s NRN Power List:

  • Paul Brown, CEO, Inspire Brands
  • Brian Niccol, CEO, Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Chip Wade, president, Union Square Hospitality Group
  • Charlie Morrison, CEO, Wingstop
  • JJ Johnson, chef/owner, FieldTrip
  • Lisa Ingram, CEO, White Castle
  • Pinky Cole, founder, Slutty Vegan ATL
  • Niren Chaudhary, CEO, Panera
  • José Andrés, founder, World Central Kitchen
  • David Deno, CEO, Bloomin’ Brands
  • Karim Webb, Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee and CEO, 4thMVMT
  • Scott and Ally Svenson, co-founders, MOD Pizza

The complete Power List report can be found here.

“This year, we looked at businesses that survived — even thrived — over the past year and saw a common thread of strong leadership and unshakeable company culture,” Nation’s Restaurant News executive editor Lisa Jennings said. “But true leadership is never just about one person. It ripples throughout companies and the communities they serve. So we put the spotlight on 25 notable restaurant leaders, and then we asked each of those leaders to point to a Power Player on their team who embodies the mission and values of the organization.”

The result is a Power List that features not only some of the biggest names in the restaurant industry, but also the people within their organizations who those leaders admire and draw inspiration from. The list celebrates leaders at all levels of these companies, including franchisees, chefs, regional directors, and store-level leaders including a standout 20-year-old restaurant manager for fast-casual chain &Pizza.

“We are using our annual Power List program not only to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential leaders in our business, but also to ask those leaders to join us in widening that spotlight,” said Sarah Lockyer, group director of the Restaurant & Food Group by Informa Connect. “We believe it is past time to build a more inclusive leadership pipeline in the restaurant industry. The executives on this 2021 Power List agree, and they have readily selected power players within their own organizations with an emphasis on identifying people of color, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

The full Power List report is featured on and in the January issue of Nation’s Restaurant News magazine. In the coming weeks, an exclusive Nation’s Restaurant News video series will feature candid conversations on leadership and innovation with the 2021 Power List leaders. Throughout the year, Nation’s Restaurant News will continue to follow these leaders with videos, webinars, and toward the end of the year, a special gathering at its CREATE conference and festival.

For advertising opportunities in Nation’s Restaurant News print magazine or on, contact RFG’s director of business development, Susan Szymanski at


Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) is the No. 1 source of business information for the foodservice industry. For more than 50 years, NRN has served the information and engagement needs of foodservice professionals, offering award-winning content across all mediums with the goal of driving businesses forward. NRN was named Best Media Brand by the Jesse H. Neal Awards in 2019. NRN is part of the Restaurant & Food Group by Informa Connect.


The Restaurant & Food Group by Informa Connect is the leading B2B integrated media group connecting products, solutions and thought leadership with the largest, most engaged and highly-qualified audience in foodservice and food retail. The group connects the entire food and foodservice ecosystem of operators, chefs, retailers, manufacturers, vendors and solutions providers through traditional, digital, social and custom media as well as digital and live events. Learn more at


Informa Connect, a division of Informa plc, is a specialist in content-driven events and digital communities that allow professionals to meet, connect, learn and share knowledge. We operate major branded events in Global Finance, Life Sciences, Construction & Real Estate, Restaurant & Hospitality, and in a number of other specialist markets and connect communities online year-round. Learn more at


Jesse Yeung
Marketing Director, Media
The Restaurant & Food Group by Informa Connect

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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