The board of directors of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille has announced that Robert J. Barry has been named president/CEO of the 33-unit chain.
The announcement reflects a restructuring of the roles of the company’s two most senior executives that was set in motion earlier this year. J. Michael “Mike” Sanford, who has been with the organization for more than 20 years, most recently as president/CEO, has been named vice chairman of the board, responsible for strategic development.
In this capacity, he will focus on enhancing the long-term value of the casual dining/sports bar concept, facilitating the sale of franchises and overall business development.
Barry will oversee all day-to-day business activities at the chain. This includes managing teams dedicated to: expanding The Greene Turtle to 150 franchise and company-owned restaurants throughout the east; driving menu innovation to keep the chain’s core customers satisfied while broadening its appeal; securing alliances with professional sports entities to elevate the chain’s brand; training and motivating employees and franchisees to be the best-possible representatives of the brand; and delivering the greatest possible value to the bottom line for individual units and the corporation as a whole.
Barry joined The Greene Turtle as COO in 2007, by which time he had already enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the foodservice and hospitality field. He began working for Marriott Corp. in Miami in 1980, and then relocated to Washington, D.C., to serve as general manager of several concepts.
In 1987, he moved to W.R. Grace & Co.’s American Café division, and later became director of marketing for the company’s culinary division. Ensuing roles included COO of retail chain The Great Cookie, Ltd., and CEO of Bakery Resources Group - Ms. Desserts in Baltimore.
Just before joining The Greene Turtle, he had been CEO of BMCKJ, LLC, a custom food manufacturing company based in Laurel, Maryland. Barry also was on the board of the American Heart Association in 1999 and 2000, and is about to complete a three-year term as a board member of the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
During his term as The Greene Turtle’s COO, Barry endeavored to build and refine a team focused on leadership, positive coaching, operating perfection, effective communication and overall improved results, in addition to helping to implement initiatives and realize the visions introduced by Mike Sanford. He also oversaw the rollout of a revised menu each spring and numerous limited-time offers throughout the year.
Since he joined the company, the chain has doubled in size, entered Virginia and gone on to open seven locations in that state to date, launched an overhaul of its brand marketing, and made several key appointments, including two new positions – vice president of marketing, filled by Chris Janush; and director of franchise sales, filled by Marty Welch—and an expanded role for vice president of franchise sales, Tom Finn, to oversee more of the franchise enterprise as vice president of franchise business.
The staff realignments come as The Greene Turtle is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth in its 36-year history. So far this year, the chain has opened three franchise locations and one company-operated restaurant and signed franchise for nearly a dozen new locations, including deals that will push it into new markets beyond its mid-Atlantic base. Additional openings are expected later this year.
Greg Carey, a member of The Greene Turtle’s board and senior vice president of JPB Partners, whose private equity arm is the majority stakeholder in The Greene Turtle Franchising Corp., says the changes reflect both executives’ many accomplishments and those of the chain as a whole, as well as the board’s optimism for the future.
“The board is very confident that we have paved the way for continued growth and value maximization,” says Carey. “Bob and Mike have done a great deal to move the company closer to our goal of being a major regional casual dining brand, and we feel we are now well-positioned to draw on Bob and Mike’s respective strengths as we enter this new phase in the life of The Greene Turtle.”