National Award
National Award

Three restaurant operations were honored by America’s beef producers February 3, 2006, in a presentation of the National Beef Backer Awards during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in Denver, Colo. The Beef Backer Awards, funded by the national Beef Checkoff Program, recognize outstanding operations that set the highest standards in menuing and marketing beef – America’s number one protein. The three national winners were The Branding Iron Restaurant of Merced, Calif., for the Independent Restaurant category, Golden Corral of Raleigh, N.C., in the Restaurant Chain category, and Trostel’s Greenbriar of Johnston, Iowa, as the Innovator of the Year.

The National Beef Backer Contest, established in 1988, solicits restaurant entries submitted via state beef councils nationwide. The Branding Iron Restaurant was the 2004 California Beef Council Beef Backer restaurant and was nominated by the organization for the 2005 national contest. The selection criteria are based on menu creativity, use of new beef cuts, quality of beef products, menu share of beef, marketing communications and waitstaff training programs.

“As people eat out more frequently as part of their daily regimen, it’s important that we, as an industry, recognize those restaurant partners that continue to delight their customers with great beef-eating experiences,” said Joint Foodservice Committee Chairman Laurie Bryant. “Last year, more than 11 billion beef meals were served in America’s commercial restaurants, and we expect to see that number increase as more restaurants capitalize on beef’s menu versatility and the consumers’ passion for the king of proteins.”

Established in 1952, The Branding Iron Restaurant has collected numerous awards over the years for its extensive beef-focused menu and dedication to the local ranching industry. “We’re overwhelmed by this national honor and share it with all of the local ranchers and regular customers who have supported us over the years,” said Greg Parle, who along with his wife Kara, owns and operates the restaurant. Their son, Justin, is also a key player in the business. “Over ninety percent of our sales come from beef, and we’ve seen our business continue to grow year after year.”

“We are thrilled to see The Branding Iron Restaurant named Independent Restaurant of the Year in the National Beef Backer Contest,” said Bill Jackson, 2006 chair of the California Beef Council (CBC) and a cattle producer from Oakdale.

“Not only do the Parles and their staff do a great job of selling our product, but they are extremely supportive of our industry.” When the Branding Iron Restaurant was honored with the 2004 California Beef Backer Award, it was in recognition of its beef marketing programs and support of the California cattle industry. The restaurant celebrates California’s ranching history with its décor and gets its name from the approximately 200 cattle brands that are displayed throughout the dining area. The neon sign has been designated a historical landmark by the City of Merced.

The California Beef Backer Award was established in 2000 and recognizes restaurants that promote beef and the beef industry through innovative menuing, promotions, and delicious beef entrées that draw customers back time after time. To compete in the California Beef Backer contest, a restaurant has to be nominated by a California beef producer. A committee of beef industry leaders that serve on the CBC reviewed the entries and based their selection on restaurants’ beef promotion programs, beef menu applications and overall quality. Winners receive cash prizes to be used toward future beef purchases.

For past winners, or more information about California Beef Backer restaurants, visit, and click on the Beef Backer Restaurants tab.

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