The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) announced Justin Triplett, president and CEO of MBC Concessions, as the 2023 chair of the GRA Board of Directors.

As chairman, Triplett will act as the chief spokesperson for the industry and lead the GRA Board of Directors and staff in their efforts to protect operator needs and interests.

Triplett has been in and around the restaurant business his entire life. He leads MBC’s strategy, business development and day-to-day operations. He previously served as the director of finance and logistics where he was responsible for financial strategy, loss prevention, human resources and procurement for operations. Triplett is a key factor behind MBC Concessions’ growth as an emerging leader in airport concessions. Under his leadership, he grew the company from a single unit in the “World’s Busiest Airport” Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to eight units in six of the nation’s busiest airports, including Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Reagan National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Orlando International Airport. The concepts in these locations include full-service bars, coffee shops, delis, burgers and ethnic cuisine.

Triplett holds a dual bachelor’s degree in international business and economics from the University of Nevada and a Master of Science in finance from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. He currently serves on the board of directors for the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the Morris Brown College School of Business – Hospitality Management.

 “I am both humbled and honored to serve as board chair for the Georgia Restaurant Association. The men and women who have held this position have led this organization to greater heights. I hope to continue their legacy of service to the Georgia Restaurant community,” said Triplett.

Outgoing Board Chair Stephanie Fischer, vice president of operations for Paradies Lagardère Travel Retail, Dining Division, will continue to serve on the GRA’s executive committee as immediate past chair. Joseph Hsiao, founder of H Restaurant Group, also was appointed to the executive committee to serve as secretary of the board.  

The GRA also welcomes five new board members for 2023, consisting of restaurateurs and industry leaders: Camila Knowles, director of government relations of Chick-fil-A, Inc.; Wayne Martin, Jr., regional head of government & external affairs (Mid-Atlantic & Southeast) of Starbucks Coffee Company; Susie Oddo, president of Unsukay; Bradley Saxe, chief executive officer of Mainline Foods; and Bud Whitmire, external affairs of Waffle House, Inc.

The GRA also has appointed longtime GRA board member Julie Kritz, regulatory, legal department of Chick-fil-A, Inc., to the advisory board.

“Justin brings a wealth of knowledge generated from his career-long commitment to the hospitality industry. With Justin’s leadership, our new board members and current board roster, we will continue to carry out the mission of the Georgia Restaurant Association to protect and promote Georgia’s second-largest private sector employer,” said Karen Bremer, president + CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “With the addition of our newest board members, the combined experiences and expertise in the foodservice industry will help strengthen the GRA’s impact and awareness to elected officials and restaurateurs around the state.” 

The GRA’s board consists of up to 36 directors representing restaurants, foodservice operations and allied members. These volunteer leaders provide strategic guidance to the GRA in its efforts to advance and protect Georgia’s hospitality industry.

2023 Georgia Restaurant Association Leadership

Advisory Board

  • Patrick Cuccaro, Affairs to Remember Caterers
  • Phil Hickey, Miller’s Ale House
  • Pano Karatassos, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group
  • Julie Kritz, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  • Alan LeBlanc, Brewed to Serve Restaurant Group
  • George McKerrow, Jr., Ted’s Montana Grill
  • John C. Metz, Sterling Culinary Management | Marlow’s Tavern
  • Mick Miklos, National Restaurant Association (retired)
  • Nancy Oswald, Sizzling Steak Concepts
  • Jim Squire, Franchise Marketing Advisors

Board of Directors Executive Committee

  • Justin Triplett, Chair, MBC Concessions
  • Stephanie Fischer, Past Chair, Paradies Lagardère
  • Alexis Kinsey, Vice Chair, Fork U Concepts
  • Perry McGuire, Treasurer, Rinnai
  • Joseph Hsiao, Secretary, H Restaurant Group

Board of Directors

  • Tal Baum, Oliva Restaurant Group
  • Juan Calle, Buena Vida Tapas
  • Dr. Debby Cannon, Georgia State University
  • Wade Chancellor, Southern Proper Hospitality
  • Reggie Coachman, RCD Business Consultants
  • Shannayl Deckard, Legacy Ventures
  • Mike Dixon, Focus Brands
  • Tray Doster, ServiceMaster
  • Stuart Fierman, Fifth Group Restaurants
  • Bill Goudey, Copeland’s of New Orleans
  • LeMonica Hakeem, Conekt Hospitality
  • Thomas Hallford, TSC Associates
  • Taylor Harper, TFH Legal
  • Ellen Hartman, Hartman Public Relations
  • Matt Hene, IRONWOOD, a Marsh & McLennan Agency
  • Sean Hyslop, Sysco Atlanta
  • Topher Jensen, Gas South
  • Camila Knowles, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  • Wayne Martin, Jr., Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Susie Oddo, Unsukay
  • Wilson Oswald, Sizzling Steak Concepts
  • Vipul Patel, US Café
  • Bill Ray, US Foods
  • Brian Renshaw, Moore Colson CPAs and Advisors
  • Bradley Saxe, Goldbergs Group/Mainline Foods
  • Jessica Smith, Ted’s Montana Grill
  • Richard Tang, Tang Hospitality
  • Mike Torino, Amici
  • Heather Trotter, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Hav Usry, Fat Man’s Hospitality
  • Bud Whitmire, Waffle House, Inc.
Industry News, Non-Commercial