Shanon Morgan, president of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association, is the Daytonian of the Week.
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

RESTAURANT WHISPERER: Shanon Morgan makes good things happen for local eateries

Daytonian of the Week is president of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association

Shanon Morgan’s job is to help restaurants be successful — no easy task in today’s ultra-competitive dining landscape. 

Morgan operates mostly under the radar as president of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association (MVRA), the member organization for local eateries that may be best known to diners as the force behind the twice-a-year Restaurant Week promotions. 

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Morgan does much more, and that’s why she is the Daytonian of the Week this week. Let’s hear from her in her own words.

Tell us your background and your duties as president of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association.

I’ve been involved with the MVRA since 2006 in some capacity. It is crazy to look back at all the people and places that have come and gone during my time with the association. I’ve been very fortunate to have formed a ton of friendships during this time and have learned A LOT!! 

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MVRA Executive Director Amy Zahora is like a sister to me, and we have had a lot of fun over the years and really been able to help local restaurant owners in the process. The MVRA is stronger than ever and successfully helping local restaurants get more involved in our community and build sales. 

>> Daytonian of the Week: Amy Zahora 

My role with the MVRA has changed drastically over the last several years and I am much more “behind the scenes” (due to our expanding family) and not involved with a lot of the events and festivals. My key focus is more as a restaurant consultant. I help business owners navigate through the complexities of their day-to-day operations. My success is measured by helping them streamline their processes, grow sales and cut costs. 

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What’s your take on the Dayton-area dining scene right now? 

Phenomenal! Despite having some wonderful independents close their doors, we are seeing an astonishing number of new openings. Breweries and casual dining spots are soaring in the Miami Valley. 

What's been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge? 

My biggest challenge is helping restaurateurs decipher through the never-ending changes that occur in the industry. So many independent restaurants are so busy working “in their business” that they cannot focus “on their business,” which can lead to bad deals, putting the wrong systems in place or missing important new regulations and deadlines.

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I stay vigilant and on top of the latest and greatest trends, so I can serve as a resource as much as possible. 

What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area? 

WOW, that’s not really a fair question. LOL. Dayton is so incredibly lucky to have so many fantastic independent restaurants! Every single one is my favorite for different reasons. 

What's your guilty pleasure? 

Of course, good food! It’s a blessing and a curse to work with so many wonderful chefs and restaurants. 

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There’s always some new creation or special that needs to be tasted — and it would be rude of me to decline. 

What do you see in the future of the local dining scene? 

I see continued growth! More and more “old neighborhoods” are being revitalized, and downtown is a hotbed of activity. It’s very refreshing and encouraging, and I’m honored to play a part in it! 

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What inspires you about Dayton? 

The people! I love the diversity that Dayton has and that we find ways to work together to help one another and support our community.