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Franchise pioneer Norman Brinker dies.

An entrepreneur who led the development of casual-style dining with the creation of the Steak and Ale chain in 1965, Norman Brinker actively developed many leading franchise brands during his lifetime. He died in Dallas June 9 at age 78.


Under his mentorship, opportunities for advancement and growth were created for thousands who later became managers and leaders in the industry, according to a Brinker International Inc. statement announcing his passing. For the past 26 years, Brinker had been the heart of Chili's, which he joined in 1983 and built it into the portfolio restaurant organization. "The world lost a true pioneer this morning. Norman changed our industry, and by changing our industry, he provided opportunities for many. He was personally involved in teaching, mentoring and passing on his experience and skills on how to be a great leader tome and countless others. From CEOs and directors to servers, dishwashers and cooks, Norman was an inspiration to many, many people throughout the restaurant industry," said Doug Brooks, president and CEO of Brinker International. All 125,000 BrinkerHeads are mourning the loss of our beloved leader and friend."

Brinker was very involved in giving back to the community and encouraged everyone he worked with to give back through a variety of different activities. He liked to say, "To whom much is given, much is required." He was instrumental in the launch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation (now Susan G. Komen for the Cure), and was involved with the organization for the remainder of his life. He also supported Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the Salvation Army. He served on the boards of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Museum of Art.

Throughout his career, he was honored with several industry's and community's awards. In 1985, he received the Horatio Alger Award, given to outstanding Americans who have succeeded in spite of adversity. He also received

the Elliot Mentor Award from the Elliot Leadership Conference in 2005. In April of 2007, Brinker was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Hall of Fame, and received its Augie Award, recognizing his many achievements in the foodservice industry. And in May of 2009, he was awarded the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from Methodist Health System Foundation in Dallas for his entrepreneurial spirit, business accomplishments and generous community support

Brinker International, Inc. is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies, serving more than 1 million guests daily. Founded in 1975 and based in Dallas, Texas, Brinker owns or franchises nearly 1,700 restaurants in 29 countries and two territories and employs more than 125,000. Brinker restaurant brands include Chilis Grill & Bar, On lithe Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, and Maggiano's Little Italy. Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano's Macaroni Grill.
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Title Annotation:In Memoriam
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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