Joe’s Crab Shack and its parent company Ignite Restaurant Group recognized three outstanding team members and outlined the company’s first employee ownership plan during its annual conference in Las Vegas this month.

Ignite CEO Ray Blanchette unveiled the new ownership plan, called “I LEAD,” or the Ignite Long-Term Equity Asset Distribution plan. The plan gives restaurant management ownership in the company through restricted stock awarded on a progressive five-year plan.

“The I LEAD program is an extension of our culture, which is truly a team environment,” says Joe’s Crab Shack president Jim Mazany. “Now, our management team members are also owners of the company, which instills pride and allows the team to benefit financially from their commitment and hard work.”

Mazany also recognized outstanding achievements by three Joe’s Crab Shack team members.

  • Mike Wright – director of the year. A 27-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Wright has been with Joe’s for four years and oversees operations for the Midwest region.
  • Jerry Gallegos – general manager of the year. Gallegos was also promoted to Director of Operations as a result of his strong leadership.
  • Christine King – awarded the annual PRIDE Award, given to the team member who best exemplifies the brand’s pillars of PRIDE – Passion, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Excellence. King is the general manager of Joe’s Crab Shack in Amherst, New York.

“Each of these outstanding team members not only exceeded goals for operations and sales, they acted with respect, integrity and matchless determination,” says Mazany.

More than 500 team members were present to congratulate their peers. With the theme of “Uniting Brands, Igniting Leaders,” this was the first conference held to involve all three Ignite brands, which also include Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Brick House Tavern + Tap.


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