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Update Regarding the 2021 NPSI

To Our ProStart Community: 

2020 has been a challenging year for the ProStart Program nationwide. With the impact of the pandemic projected to continue this year and into 2021, we are continuing to seek the best ways to support our ProStart students, teachers, key stakeholders, and SRAs. After careful reflection, the NRAEF has determined the best course of action is to cancel next spring’s NPSI, and to use funds otherwise spent on NPSI to support ProStart programmatically via additional ProStart Program funds in each state. 

In a year when many schools are struggling to implement ProStart and many state restaurant associations are seeing reduced funds from supporters, we do not feel conducting NPSI is advisable or that we could execute a national competition safely and equitably. As you know, many schools are virtual for the foreseeable future which makes fielding teams difficult; many have prohibited any form of travel for the year; and a number are struggling to maintain their commitment to offer ProStart at all due to budget cuts. We believe the best use of our funds is to redirect them to support this incredible program and all its Students and Educators, and to help see them through a challenging year. We recognize that this decision will disappoint some of our Students, Educators and Coordinators. We understand and are just as disappointed we will not be able to see the teams shine on the national competition floor this year. 

We will outline for our State Restaurant Association partners the acceptable uses of the additional funds as well as the exact amount each state will receive. We are also exploring alternative ways to support our ProStart Students and Educators during these challenging times, whether that’s via scholarships, special training opportunities, virtual events and/or ongoing support as needed. Should you have questions about the process or funds, please reach out to us at We know these are difficult times for everyone, but we are confident we will see this school year through and come back stronger than ever, celebrating together at the National ProStart Invitational in 2022. 

Thank you for your dedication and continued support in empowering the next generation of restaurant leaders.



Rob Gifford
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

Watch NPSI Live from June 4th!

The COVID-19 crisis forced the 2020 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) to be canceled, but NRAEF is still recognizing and celebrating the program’s talented culinary arts and restaurant management ProStart students. We hosted a special virtual celebration, NPSI Live, on June 4th, featuring guest appearances by celebrity chefs and some of the Foundation’s biggest supporters. The event was held live on the ProStart Facebook page and you can watch the full recording here.

Get all of the details from our press release

The National ProStart Invitational® (NPSI) is the country's premier secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Annually, nearly 400 student competitors put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, NRAEF Trustees, state restaurant associations, and family and friends - all with hopes of earning coveted scholarships from the nation's best culinary and restaurant management programs.

How The Competition Works

Students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges and universities with skills they've developed through ProStart. The National ProStart Invitational is composed of two distinct competitions - management and culinary.


Management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Their problem solving skills are tested as they quickly solve challenges faced by managers daily.


The culinary competition highlights each team's creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. Students are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

What Do You Win?

The top five teams from the culinary and managment competitions are awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. In 2019, almost $200,000 in scholarships were awarded to winning students.

All competitors are encouraged to take full advantage of competing at the National ProStart Invitational by networking with other students and industry professionals in attendance.

See 2019 Winners & Highlights Here
See 2018 Winners Here

NPSI 2021 Sponsorship Opportunities

Elevate your brand, company mission, and organizational goals to an audience of fellow industry executives and the best of the restaurant industry’s next generation. Email us:

Have Questions?

If you are an educator, mentor, chaperone, parent or school administrator, please contact your
ProStart State Coordinator with questions.


If you are a judge, development guest, board member, exhibitor, post-secondary school, or SRA rep, please direct questions to your NRAEF contact or to

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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