Longtime political strategist will drive SARA’s influence and focus on expanding the local membership base
SAN ANTONIO, TX (November 14, 2019) -- The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) announces it has hired Dawn Ann Larios as Executive Director of the San Antonio Restaurant Association (SARA). The economic impact of San Antonio’s hospitality industry is more than $15.2 billion and employs more than 140,000 individuals, making it one of the most important industries in the seventh largest city in the nation.
Larios will be responsible for partnering with restaurant members on their ongoing business needs, collaborating with local educational partners, including St. Philip’s College and Culinary Institute of America San Antonio and growing membership by engaging foodservice businesses across the city. Larios will serve as the voice of the restaurant community and will lead advocacy efforts to protect and advance foodservice businesses in the area.
San Antonio has seen several issues arise recently that have an effect on local restaurant businesses, including mandatory paid sick leave, battles over airport concessions, and the upcoming proposed health grade placard placement.
Larios’ background with city government and political strategy will help protect San Antonio’s small and medium restaurant business owners from regulations that could cause harm.
“I am ready to help lawmakers and city officials better understand our industry’s needs and the ways they consistently give back to San Antonio. Our family of hospitality employees is more than 140,000 strong – that’s almost an entire city council district. Many families depend on us to keep them working to provide for their children and everyday needs,” said Larios. “Additionally, as a designated UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, San Antonio is full of restaurant owners I’m excited to recruit to join our efforts.”
Larios comes from a family that believes in public service and hospitality. While growing up and working at her family’s tortilla factory, Larios learned at a very early age the importance of hard work and the value of every dollar earned.
Larios has an extensive network of relationships with local, state, and national leaders. Her background includes working at City Hall under Mayor Phil Hardberger, Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, and State Representative Roland Gutierrez.
Most recently, Larios led fundraising for Norma Denham & Associates, whose client list included local and state judicial representatives, State Representatives, Bexar County Commissioners, and City of San Antonio council members.
“We are thrilled to have Dawn lead our very important San Antonio chapter. She is a talented professional with established relationships locally,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., TRA’s CEO. “She brings with her a background in service and hospitality and a commitment to excellence that will help restaurant owners in San Antonio and South Texas succeed.”
“San Antonio’s restaurant owners need a strong voice to represent our interests locally,” said Geoff Bezuidenhout, president of the San Antonio Restaurant Association board. “TRA and SARA work hard throughout the year to make restaurant businesses more successful. We are excited to work with Dawn in her new role.”
In July 2021, San Antonio will again host TRA Marketplace, the largest foodservice show and educational conference. The appointment of Larios will ensure this regional event is a success and provides significant a significant awareness and financial impact to San Antonio.
About the San Antonio Restaurant Association
The San Antonio Restaurant Association promotes the growth of the local restaurant industry through networking, education and local advocacy. They are active in our communities, offering members opportunities to get involved.
About the Texas Restaurant Association
The Texas Restaurant Association was formed in 1937 to serve as the advocate in Texas and the indispensable resource for the foodservice industry. Today, as a leading business association, TRA represents the state’s $66 billion restaurant industry, which is comprised of more than 48,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the Association represents, educates and, promotes the growing industry.