The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) celebrates a new chapter as Stephanie Fischer brings new leadership, a new culture of collaboration and a strategic plan for growth. As president and CEO, her immediate focus is on building relationships within the restaurant industry by traveling the state to meet and connect with stakeholders outside the major cities.

“The best way to get to know the Georgia restaurant industry is to get out and dine with them,” says Fischer. “Every community has its own local flavors and faces its own challenges. It’s so important to understand what is happening throughout the state and not just here in Atlanta.”

During her statewide travels, Fischer will meet with restaurant operators, local officials and industry leaders to learn about their businesses firsthand and discover the barriers that are impacting their operations. “Many of our members are not part of large restaurant groups, rather they are independent restaurateurs. It’s my goal to make sure that all our members feel supported,” says Fischer.

In her first days as president and CEO, Fischer will connect with state lawmakers to advocate for the needs of the restaurant industry. At the same time, she is connecting with the GRA team and meeting with each board member to understand their roles and expectations.

“I look forward to continuing the great work of the GRA Advocacy Team,” says Fischer. “During the legislative session and year-round, we will promote policies at both the state and local levels that ensure our members have a healthy business environment. We are excited to advocate in support of the state’s second-largest employer and promote all the things Georgia restaurateurs do to give back to their communities.”

The GRA will continue to engage with its members through educational offerings, networking opportunities and signature events like the Taste of Georgia legislative reception, Kitchen Cabinet roundtable discussions throughout the state, Wine Down by the River/PAC Fundraiser, the annual GRA Golf Tournament and the Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards.

“Our industry has faced some challenging times over the past four years, especially around staffing and rising food costs. Through it all, the industry has been incredibly resilient,” says Fischer. “As we grow our membership, we will develop new and innovative ways to support our members and make their jobs easier. Enhancing the value of GRA membership remains a top priority.”

Fischer is no stranger to the GRA or the restaurant business. She has spent her entire career in hospitality, from her first job at KFC to her previous role as vice president of corporate operations of Paradies Lagardère Travel Retail Dining Division. In 2017, she joined the GRA board of directors and served as chairman in 2022, representing the industry on the national level to advocate for important issues like the Credit Card Competition Act and preserving the tip credit. With decades of leadership and advocacy experience under her belt, Fischer is ready to lead the GRA into this next chapter.

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