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Winner Video 

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Presents the 66th Annual Gold Plate Award to Phil Hickey, Chairman of Miller’s Ale House Restaurants

CHICAGO, November 3, 2020—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 an impressive slate of this year’s Silver Plate Winners.

Over the course of his 47-year career, Hickey has helped build best-in-class teams and best-in-class companies. At 29, he co-founded the Cooker Bar & Grille concept, taking the company public five years later. Over the course of the next four decades, he has led several full-service restaurant chains to unprecedented growth. In addition to his business prowess, Hickey has taken on critical 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 Phil 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.”

Watch the 2020 Awards >>



Live Conversation

Watch IFMA's live conversation with Phil Hickey, Chairman of Miller’s Ale House Restaurants. Hear Phil's story and learn what drives one of the nation’s top foodservice operators.  


Interview: What Drives the Nation's Top Foodservice Operators?

We asked the 2020 Silver Plate Class to share some perspectives and words of wisdom with the industry. Find out what they have to say about their passion for foodservice, career accomplishments and what it means to be part of a legendary group of operators.

How did you get your start in the foodservice industry?

I started out washing dishes at age 14 in a Big Boy restaurant in Detroit, Michigan.

What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice?

What I enjoy most is the ability to make such a positive impact on the lives of so many people, including team members, guests, company leaders, and members of our community.

Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment.

Leading the elevation of RARE Hospitality (LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille concepts) would probably be my biggest career accomplishment. I worked with Gene Lee and other talented partners to take a struggling, underachieving company in 1997 to a high performing company ten years later that has given birth to a number of restaurant industry leaders.

What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry?

We have UNLIMITED opportunity in every area of our industry; whatever your passion, we have a place for you. If you are willing to dedicate yourself, you can enjoy unimaginable rewards of every variety.

What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you?

I’m deeply honored to be awarded the IFMA Silver Plate. The list of past winners reads like a list of industry all-stars, and I cherish being mentioned in the same breath with them.

What is your favorite meal?

Lunch on a hillside in Tuscany, Italy prepared by locals, with fresh-baked bread and freshly crushed olive oil, bountiful fresh-grilled vegetables, handmade pasta with pesto and crushed local tomatoes, a great glass of local Brunello, finished with handmade gelato and a perfect espresso. All sitting across from my wife Reedy!

Celebrate Phil and the rest of the Silver Plate Class on Monday, Nov 2 at IFMA’s 66th Annual Gold & Silver Plate Awards celebration online. 


Watch the 2020 Awards >>