Roger Kaplan has over 40 years’ experience in the hospitality industry as a nationally acclaimed chef, owner, operator, entrepreneur, concept developer, manufacturing liaison and consultant.
Kaplan earned his chops through a varied career path that took him through some of the premier restaurants, hotels and restaurant companies in America. From his initial start in hotels at the world-famous Jockey Club restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, DC to the Conservatory and Beau Nash restaurants at the Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas TX. As a nationally acclaimed chef/owner of the City Grill Restaurant and corporate chef of the Peasants restaurant and Mick’s group in Atlanta GA to Vice President of Operations for Ruth’s Chris Steak House worldwide, Roger has always taken the lead in concept evolution, menu engineering, maximizing profitability, and leadership development. In a quest to gain the knowledge of manufacturing in the QSR segment of the industry, he joined Boston Market as director of new product development and concept evolution. Roger’s background in both operations, culinary and manufacturing affords him a global perspective that encapsulates the total restaurant dining experience and its many facets.
As a culinarian, he earned a reputation as a nationally acclaimed chef being featured in Great Chefs-Great Cities, Great Chefs of the South, and Great Chefs of America on The Discovery Channel. He has been featured in national magazines like Food and Wine and Fitness magazine where he was selected as one of the 16 Healthiest Chefs in America. At Ruth’s Chris during his tenure the group earned the Platinum Choice in Chains Awards, Rob Reports best restaurant in America, and Consumer Reports best restaurants in America. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the City of New Orleans and Ruth’s Chris moved their headquarters to Tampa, chef Kaplan moved to Dallas.
15 Years ago, Kaplan’s entrepreneurial spirit guided him to depart the corporate world to found RK iNNOVATION; A collaborative consulting practice that allow him to fuel his passion for creating Zagat Rated, profitable concept creation, R&D, menu development, manufacturing, operations, developing emerging growth brands and licensing utilizing all of his experience.
Kaplan, a former Society of Fellows member of the Culinary Institute of America, is a board member of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the past Chairman of the TRAEF, TRA Executive Board Member, on the advisory board for El Centro College and Medical City for Kids Teaching Kids.