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The 10 Most Powerful Food Lobbies and How They Decide What’s on Your Plate (and in Your Glass)

The 10 Most Powerful Food Lobbies and How They Decide What’s on Your Plate (and in Your Glass)

Anyone who was in grade school in the ‘90s remembers seeing the USDA’s food pyramid appear on the walls of health class, science rooms, and cafeterias. What the pyramid was supposed to represent was a healthy, balanced diet per the United States Department of Agriculture’s carefully planned and executed guidelines.

Click here for the 10 Most Powerful Food Lobbies and How They Decide What’s on Your Plate (and in Your Glass) slideshow.

The food pyramid introduced by the USDA in 1992 wasn’t a revolutionary idea — Sweden had introduced a similar food pyramid in 1974 (which placed meats at the top, narrow end of the pyramid, meaning don't eat much, and left sweets off entirely).

We don't know about Sweden's, but our own pyramid’s contents reflected our cultural food preferences, shaped in collusion with big food companies and their lobbyists to produce something that was mutually beneficial for them all — but not always for consumers. The successor to the old USDA food pyramid, after 19 years, is the MyPlate guide, introduced in mid-2011. It's a multi-colored plate with sections for grains (about 30 percent), vegetables (about 10 percent), protein (about 20 percent), and fruits (about 10 percent). Next to the plate, on the upper right, is a glass representing dairy. In 2012, the Harvard School of Public Health released its own version of the diagram, the Healthy Eating Plate, which refuted the idea that dairy was a necessary part of a balanced diet. Why was dairy still on the USDA's list? Well according to Daily Meal Council member Marion Nestle, the Paullette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, it’s as simple as “government collusion.” Nestle explains, “Dairy farmers are in every state, and every state has two senators.”

As it happens, dairy industry lobbyists are not among the most influential, though they obviously had enough power to shape the MyPlate guide. Representatives of other aspects of the massive food and drink industry influence what we eat and drink in other ways, perhaps ultimately more damaging.

Lobbyists themselves are not necessarily the problem. They are protecting the company they represent, and, as Nestle points out, “All food companies employ lobbyists or belong to trade associations that employ lobbyists. Some of the biggest [employers of lobbyists] are the National Restaurant Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola, and Monsanto, for example.”

But how do these lobbyists work? Nestle explains, “They follow the tobacco industry playbook: confuse the science, buy silence through contributions, distract attention [away from brand-negative language] to [terms like] physical activity and hydration.”

This year, food lobbyists have been agonizing over various food labeling measures. A large number of the reports filed by lobbies this year have dealt with proposed food labeling laws, including those covering GMOs, country-of-origin, health-issues, and nutrition, which affect everything from distributors to producers to grocery stores and restaurant chains.

Our list of the top 10 most powerful food lobbies was compiled based upon the number of their special filings either for or against food industry legislation presented in Congress. If there was a tie, we then sorted by how many separate food issues they were involved in lobbying, and finally, by the amount of money spent by the lobbies during 2015.


Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.


How to write the perfect mission statement

If you think mission statements are irrelevant mantras penned by overpriced consultants, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong lobbies. A good mission statement uses simple language to express a company’s essence, helps employees stay on target and lets clients know what to expect. Consider Walt Disney’s stated purpose: To make people happy.

“The mission statement should guide the culture,” says Luke Saucier, author of Cooking with Gas: The Official Guide to Restaurant Startups and Operations. “It should be posted all over the place so that employees can refer to it. They’re not idle words they need to affect you and your business every day.”

That means coming up with concise language that clearly describes your goals and what makes your company unique. If your mission statement could work for a lot of companies in various industries, you need to start over.

To develop a mission statement, gather people from all over the company. Saucier says it’s important for the founder to be involved, but don’t be surprised if others have differing ideas of what the mission is. “When that happens, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements from Top Companies. “The process can be the most important part.”

Look at sample mission statements online, then toss out a few of your own. As you get close, start refining the language.

We asked the experts to grade the mission statements of four restaurant companies.

Chicken Kitchen

Our Mission is to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious and great tasting food at reasonable prices in a clean, friendly and convenient environment.

Saucier: “Nice statement, but all I know is they serve healthy, fresh food. But what kind of food? Chinese? Hot or cold?” Grade: B

Abrahams: “It’s very clear. It’s quite successful.” Grade: A

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

What we want to be: An extraordinary restaurant company.
Who we are: Great people delivering genuine hospitality.
What is our role: To make ‘raving fans’ of our associates, guests, purveyors, partners and our communities.
What is our mission: To continue to thrive, driven by our culture and fiscal responsibilities.
What is our goal: To be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.

Abrahams: “This is about 80 percent there. Their mission doesn’t get specific enough—to ‘continue to thrive’ just isn’t enough.” Grade: B

Saucier: “This one looks good at first glance. But does it tell you anything at all about what they do?” Grade: C

Granite City Food and Brewery

Our mission at Granite City is to develop and operate highly successful restaurants by consistently exceeding our Guests’ expectations in product, service and overall dining experience. We are committed to consistent, long-term growth in unit and overall company earnings and to superior returns for our shareholders. We will be committed to the company’s vision and be guided by our stated values. We will be recognized as the leader in the casual dining industry.

Saucier: “It’s full of legalese. It could be shortened and also speak directly to the customer.” Grade: C

Legal Sea Foods

To define trends in our industry with our dedication to “Return of Guest” through our active passion in all endeavors to which we as an organization commit ourselves to continually teach and learn, and be driven by a humble but ambitious demand for operational excellence throughout our organization to be precedent-setting in our responsibility to sustainable fishing, the seafood industry, the environment, and the communities in which we do business.

Saucier: “If a child can’t understand it, you are missing the point. And there’s no way a child would understand this.” Grade: F

Abrahams: “This is the most perplexing statement I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling that they tried to put too much into one long rambling sentence it’s basically a fish stew with too many ingredients that don’t belong.” Grade: F.