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PRESS & MEDIA
Cumberland Resident and Restaurateur Appointed to National Restaurant Association Board of DirectorsMonika
The RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is proud to announce that fellow board member and Cumberland resident and restaurateur Bahjat Shariff has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The NRA board consists of roughly 100 voting directors from across the country, representing every facet of the restaurant industry.
Shariff brings an extensive background of restaurant knowledge and management skills to his new role. He is currently an Operating Partner and Sr. Vice President of Operations for Howley Bread Group, a Panera Bread franchise. Shariff helped form Howley Bread Group in 2000, which now owns and operates more than 20 bakery-cafes in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and southeastern Massachusetts with plans to expand to 35 bakery-cafes by 2015.
“This is an incredible accomplishment for Bahjat and I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to be elected to this board,” said Dale J. Venturini, President and CEO of RIHA. “His experience will be an invaluable asset and I am proud to have him representing Rhode Island and the industry at the national level.”
Shariff began his career in the hospitality industry in 1985 at Kentucky Fried Chicken after his family moved to Los Angeles from worn-torn Lebanon. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to Market Manager, managing 22 stores with a sales volume of more than $22 million. Shariff continued to climb the corporate ladder, later working for Au Bon Pain as an Operation Service Manager and at Bertucci’s as a Regional Manager in northern New England managing the company’s most successful franchise with a sales volume of over $25 million.
Shariff has been on the RIHA board of directors since 2011 and is also a current member of the Economic Development Committee for the City of Cranston and Past Chairman of the Board of the Cranston (RI) Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers his time as a member of the Early Childhood Council for Children’s Friend & Services in Providence, spending his time to better the lives of underprivileged children in Rhode Island. He resides in Cumberland with his wife and four children.