The National Restaurant Association named John Zimmermann, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at First Watch Restaurants, as the 2021 Outstanding Food Safety Leader.
The award recognizes an individual’s dedication to food safety through personal and career accomplishments such as improving food safety systems or processes, introducing innovations to manage food supplies or foodservice operations, or mentoring other foodservice professionals. This year, the award also acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of food safety leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Food safety is a critical hallmark of the restaurant industry and over the last 18 months, FSQA professionals and leaders have stepped up to proactively keep their employees and customers safe,” says Jeffrey Clark, Expert Exchange director for the National Restaurant Association. “But this award isn’t just about how they’ve responded to the pandemic, it’s about the hard work, dedication, and integrity these individuals put into protecting people and jobs that make up the restaurant industry each day.”
Zimmermann has more than 30 years of experience in QA and food safety that spans food processing, distribution, and the foodservice industry. At First Watch, he is responsible for establishing standards and developing, implementing, and leading programs that directly impact food safety, quality, customer satisfaction, and innovation to ensure that only high-quality and safe food is served to all First Watch customers.
“We all have an important role to play when it comes to food safety,” Zimmermann says. “The opportunity to put competition aside and collaborate with industry peers to benchmark or share best practices, particularly when faced with a global health crisis this past year, has helped ensure consumer trust for all those we serve.”