Phil Hickey Wins IFMA Gold Plate Award

Phil Hickey, chairman of Miller’s Ale House Restaurants, was named the 2020 Gold Plate Award recipient by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).

Hickey, representing the Chain Full-Service category, was nominated by the Coca-Cola Company and was selected from this year’s Silver Plate Winners.

A 47-year industry veteran of the industry, Hickey co-founded the Cooker Bar & Grille concept when he was 29 years old and took the company public five years later. Miller’s Ale House Restaurants is an Orlando, Fla.-based casual dining chain with 55 locations in the U.S. Hickey has taken on industry leadership roles, including co-founding the Georgia Restaurant Association and acting as chairman of the National Restaurant Association.

“It is an honor and one that I will treasure the rest of my life,” said Hickey. “The restaurant business is amazing. We’ve had a rough bit of sledding these past seven months or so—but we touch lives, we elevate lives, and make it better. Let’s keep doing that together.”

The Gold & Silver Plate Awards, now in its 66th year, are selected by a jury of trade press editors and previous award winners “weigh the merits of candidates who best represent IFMA’s vision, mission and values.” Winners are honored with the Silver Plate Award, while a single operator is chosen by secret ballot by a jury of past Silver Plate winners, national trade press editors and foodservice experts for overall industry excellence.


Independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept:
Joe Essa, President & CEO | Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Nominated by Ecolab and Nestlé Professional

Chain Full Service:
Phil Hickey, Chairman | Miller’s Ale House Restaurants
Nominated by The Coca-Cola Company

Chain Limited Service:
Scott Redler, COO/Co-Founder | Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Nominated by Conagra Foodservice

Health Care:
Eric Eisenberg, Director of Dining Services | Rogue Valley Manor
Nominated by Hobart

Elementary & Secondary Schools:
Bertrand Weber, Director, Culinary & Wellness Services | Minneapolis Public Schools
Nominated by Basic American Foods, Cargill, General Mills, and Jennie-O Turkey Store

Colleges & Universities:
Zia Ahmed, Senior Director of Dining Services | The Ohio State University
Nominated by Basic American Foods, Ecolab, Hobart, Hormel, and Sysco

Business & Industry/Foodservice Management:
Victoria Vega, Senior Vice President, Specialty Group | Unidine Corporation
Nominated by Hobart

Retail & Specialty Foodservice:
Brandon Chrostowski, Founder/President/CEO | EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
Nominated by Nestlé Professional

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