Shakey’s USA Employees First to Complete National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Apprenticeship Program

Through The Nationwide Program, Shakey’s Pizza & NRAEF Empower People To Transform Their Lives

WASHINGTON, DC – May 16, 2019 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Shakey’s USA, Inc. proudly announced two restaurant employees who have successfully advanced to become restaurant managers through the nation’s first hospitality sector registered apprenticeship program.

Odette Marin and Samuel Portillo, employees of Shakey’s Pizza, now serve as General Managers for their respective restaurants in Anaheim and Burbank, CA.
Through apprenticeship, the NRAEF provides both new and current restaurant and foodservice employees with the opportunity to advance their careers and move into higher paying management positions. Launched in 2016 and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), the hospitality apprenticeship program places select employees on a fast track towards restaurant or hotel management through a combination of classroom and on-the-job training in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

“The program boosted my confidence. It clarified things and made me believe in myself," said Marin, who now runs her own Shakey’s restaurant in Anaheim, California. “Everyone develops their own style. Going through this program makes you more well-rounded and more capable in your position.”
Recruiting and retaining employees is one of the top challenges faced by restaurant operators in 2019, according to the latest State of the Industry Report from the National Restaurant Association. In partnering with companies like Shakey’s, the NRAEF’s apprenticeship program looks to promote restaurant careers as viable options—and offer pathways for advancement.
“Odette and Samuel’s promotions are incredible accomplishments for the work of the Foundation and the progress we have made through our apprenticeship program,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “We are thrilled to hear the program is not only changing lives, but also a powerful example of the opportunities our industry offers for career growth.”
We are exceedingly proud of Odette’s and Samuel’s accomplishments.” Said Nick Mayer, CEO of Shakey’s USA, “They are both first-rate individuals who exemplify the high standards and core values of Shakey’s USA and the restaurant industry at large. We are grateful for having the ability to grant this opportunity, in partnership with the NRAEF, to upcoming restaurant leaders with the desire to learn more and develop a career path as restaurant professionals. The program is well designed, providing strong curriculum, while requiring participants to exhibit a high level of self-motivation.”
The earn-while-you-learn program now has over 56 employers onboard for the program and over 1,200 committed apprentices across the country, all on track to follow in Odette and Samuel’s footsteps towards being promoted to restaurant managers.
Visit to learn how to get involved with the NRAEF and its work to build pathways to meaningful jobs and careers in restaurants and foodservice.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include:  ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a  hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit
About Shakey’s USA, Inc.
Originally established in 1954, Shakey’s Pizza is America’s first pizza franchise. For over six decades, Shakey’s has been serving its original thin crust pizza, crispy fried chicken and craveable Mojo® potatoes along with its signature frosty pints in a fun, relaxed atmosphere that attracts customers for a variety of occasions. Bunch of Lunch® allows time-pressed guests to build their own meal, helping themselves to an endless assortment of freshly made pizzas, chicken, Mojos, and salads, all for one low price. Shakey’s classic game rooms, big screen TVs, and community tables continue to make Shakey’s a favorite celebration spot for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and team parties.
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Jasmine Jones
Cindy Staats
Shakey’s USA

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