Awards Gala

Regional Awards

Celebrate our industry's accomplishments! The WRA is proud to present the second annual regional awards.

  • Deadline for applications is November 25, 2019 at 11:59 pm.
  • Public voting is open from December 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm.
  • WRA members are encouraged to nominate themselves, a peer or employees for these awards.
  • Three finalists from each category (in each of the five regions in the state—see map below) will be chosen by popular vote using an online public ballot. One additional nominee selected as a wild card pick may also be considered.
  • As of December 1, award nominees can use social media to encourage customers, friends and families to vote for them by sharing the link to the online public ballot (only one vote per person).
  • A selection committee will determine the regional winners (one in each award category, from each of the five regions).
  • Nominees may be an individual or in a partnership with one or more foodservice business operations.
  • All regional winners are strongly encouraged to attend the Awards Gala on March 10, 2020 in Milwaukee to receive their award and be recognized by their peers in the Wisconsin foodservice industry.
Katie Reiser

For more information, contact:

Katie Reiser | Member Services Director



Award Criteria

Champion of Restaurant Entrepreneurship (Wisconsin Regional CORE Award)

An owner/operator will be recognized for their contributions to Wisconsin’s restaurant industry in the following areas: demonstrated passion for and success in their business, committed community involvement and support of WRA through membership. Nominees should show strong leadership skills, business acumen, a knack for moving the industry forward as innovators and be well-respected employers.


  • Demonstrates consistent standards of excellence
  • Serve as an inspiration to other foodservice professionals
  • Promotes a positive industry image
  • Contributes to the advancement and prestige of the foodservice industry
  • Is a current member of the WRA
  • Implements innovative ideas
  • Demonstrates passion for the industry
  • Significant professional, operational and community achievements
  • Demonstrates contributions of leadership, service, and involvement in community
  • Exemplifies excellence in the workplace such as high standards in customer service and employee relations
  • Nominee may be working or recently retired (within 2 years)



Award Criteria

Best of the House Awards

Nominees in these categories should be inspiring examples of employees who demonstrate professionalism in their jobs and help to further the positive image of the foodservice industry in Wisconsin.

Best of the Front of the House

Eligible employees include staff who have regular contact with customers. The award recognizes front of the house staff who exhibit outstanding customer service, strong work ethic, leadership skills and have earned the respect of their colleagues and employer.


  • An employee who is a leader in a WRA member restaurant
  • Serves as a leader to employees and staff, making sound decisions and demonstrating excellent guidance to others
  • Displays advanced knowledge in customer relations and service standards, while ensuring the restaurant is adhering to all guidelines and regulations of the industry
  • Enhances the staff to create a positive work environment, while increasing the productivity and the success of the establishment
  • Exemplifies outstanding leadership skills including team building, customer service and facilitation of a positive dining experience



Award Criteria

Best of the House Awards

Nominees in these categories should be inspiring examples of employees who demonstrate professionalism in their jobs and help to further the positive image of the foodservice industry in Wisconsin.

Best of the Back of the House

Eligible employees include staff from the back of the house. The award recognizes staff who exhibit attention to detail, calm under pressure, strong work ethic and leadership skills.


  • A leader who is an employee in a WRA member restaurant
  • Serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image
  • Demonstrates leadership, creativity, and culinary excellence in their workplace
  • Contributes to exceptional guest service, mentorship, and quality of the restaurant as a whole

Breakdown of Five Regions by County:

  1. Awards Wisconsin Regions MapAshland, Barron, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Pepin, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon, Washburn
  2. Brown, Door, Forest, Florence, Iron, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Price, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas
  3. Adams, Calumet,  Dodge, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Juneau, Manitowoc, Marathon, Outagamie, Portage, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Wood
  4. Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha
  5. Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Marquette, Richland, Rock, Sauk

Nomination Form

Nominees must be owner of, or employed by current WRA member restaurants .

If you are having trouble with the online form, download the Word version here.

Select Award Category

If not a self nomination, please complete the following:


May we share the name of the nominator with the nominee?

Answers to the following questions are required—incomplete applications won’t be considered:


Attach supporting documents (limit to three per application) that would help the selection committee get a better understanding of this nominee’s qualifications. For example: letter or comment card from customer, news article, letter of support from a non-profit that nominee supports, relevant photo, etc.

If available, upload a nominee photo:

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Warning: After clicking submit if you don’t get a new screen with a message thanking you for your submission, please make sure all of the required fields have been completed or try again. If this message doesn’t appear—your nomination form wasn’t successfully submitted. WRA staff will send you a confirmation email within 1-2 business days. If you don't receive an email from WRA or if you have other questions, please email Katie