A Tulsan is the first Oklahoman to lead the National Restaurant Association.
Jeff Davis opened his first Arby’s restaurant in Tulsa in August 1969 with his father, Bob. Today, U.S. Beef Corp. is the largest national Arby’s franchisee, with more than 340 restaurants, along with six Taco Bueno locations.
For more than 45 years, Davis has been active in the National Restaurant Association, the leading business association for the restaurant industry. This year, he will serve as the association’s chairman.
“Next to building the infrastructure of U.S. Beef Corp and the opportunity it has created for so many of our people, being elected chair of the NRA is both an honor and a highlight of my entire career,” Davis says.
“Being the first Oklahoman to be elected chairman of the NRA, I feel a deep responsibility to represent my state, my company and the country’s 1 million restaurants with my total commitment to upholding the highest ideals of our industry.”
With at least 40 bills or regulatory actions pending on Capitol Hill that could have major impacts on restaurant owners, Davis has his work cut out for him. His responsibilities will include leading the association’s board of directors, facilitating good governance and directing the oversight of management.
Davis says most people aren’t aware that the restaurant industry is the nation’s second-largest private sector employer of 14.4 million Americans, generating 4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. He says its middle-class job growth is four times stronger than the overall economy. “We want to continue to improve on those numbers,” he says.
Although he’ll be busy lending his expertise to Washington and will spend most of his time as chairman traveling across the country, one thing remains certain: Davis has a heart for Tulsa.
“I’ve had the good fortune to travel to most of America’s great cities, but there’s something about touching down in Tulsa that always makes me feel grateful that this is the city I have the privilege to call home,” he says.