The 15 Highest-Paid CEOs of Public Full-Service Restaurants

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Applebee's
Applebee's steak and shrimp.

How much are full-service's biggest CEOs getting paid during the pandemic? 

FSR researched each brand's fiscal 2021 to compare salaries among the top chief executives in the industry, including base pay, bonuses, stock awards, and other compensation. 

Check out last year's list

The following slides break down the top 15 highest-paid CEOs among publicly traded casual-dining restaurants. 

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Applebee's
Applebee's restaurant at night.
1. John Peyton, Dine Brands (Applebee's and IHOP)

Base salary: $961,539

Bonus: $1,200,000

Stock awards: $4,251,545

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $2,000,000

All other compensation: $350,193

Total: $10,838,013

Applebee's COVID Confidence Isn't Wavering

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Olive Garden
A bowl of pasta held by an employee at Olive Garden.
2. Gene Lee, Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse)

Base salary: $1,000,000

Stock awards: $4,135,158

Option awards: $1,361,689

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: 2,840,000

All other compensation: $759,124

Total: $10,128,186

Darden CEO: M&A is Always on the Table

Note: Gene Lee retired as CEO at the end of 2021. 

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Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel
3. Sandy Cochran, Cracker Barrel

Base salary: $1,150,000

Restricted stock/restricted stock unit awards: $4,481,208

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $1,796,875

All other compensation: $152,969

Total: $7,581,052

Cracker Barrel Has Strategies for All its Guests, Young and Old

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Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse
4. David Deno, Bloomin' Brands (Outback)

Base salary: $900,000

Stock awards: $4,600,046

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $2,011,500

All other compensation: $6,732

Total: $7,518,278

Despite Inflation, Outback Doesn't Budge on Margin Goals

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Dave & Buster's
Dave & Buster's customers watching a game at the sports bar.
5. Brian Jenkins, Dave & Buster's

Base salary: $651,000

Stock awards: $2,796,975

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $780,000

All other compensation: : $3,191,890

Total: $7,419,865

Meet Dave & Buster's New, Futuristic Revenue Stream

Note: Brian Jenkins retired in the fall of 2021 

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The Cheesecake Factory
REESE’S Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.
6. David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory

Base salary: $1,010,308

Stock awards: $5,099,931

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $1,234,049

All other compensation: $30,916

Total: $7,375,204

CFO: Cheesecake Factory Primed to Take Market Share

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Chili's
Chili's restaurant exterior.
7. Wyman Roberts, Brinker International (Chili's, Maggiano's)

Base salary: $1,038,462

Stock awards: $4,349,982

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $1,541,229

All other compensation: $29,164

Total: $6,958,837

Chili's Has an Aggressive, Multi-Layered Plan to Build Margins

Note: Wyman Roberts retired in June 

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ONE Group
STK’s tomahawk steak
8. Manny Hilario, The ONE Group Hospitality (STK Steakhouse and Kona Grill)

Base salary: $622,742

Stock awards: $5,338,503

Non equity incentive plan compensation: $665,000

Other: $37,462

Total: $6,663,707

STK, Kona Grill Use Value to Drive Industry-Leading Results

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Denny’s
Denny’s
9. John Miller, Denny's

Base salary: $925,001

Stock awards: $4,451,217

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $1,001,221

All other compensation: $23,049

Total: $6,400,488

Denny's to Lift Keke's Breakfast Café into Unprecedented Growth

Note: John Miller retired in May 

French Onion Ringer burger at Red Robin, with drinks.
10. Paul Murphy, Red Robin

Base salary: $900,001

Stock awards: $4,067,922

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $372,924

All other compensation: $18,937

Total: $5,359,784

Red Robin Takes a Value Page from Fast Food's Playbook

Note: Paul Murphy will retire at the end of 2022

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Adobe Stock
Ruth's Chris Steak House sign.
11. Cheryl Henry, Ruth's Chris Steak House

Base salary: $750,000

Stock awards: $2,625,007

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $1,950,000

All other compensation: $12,810

Total: $5,337,817

Ruth's Chris Has Bigger Growth Dreams

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Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse sign.
12. Gerald Morgan, Texas Roadhouse

Base salary: $411,269

Grant date fair value of stock awards: $2,394,513

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $880,832

All other compensation: $83,151

Total: $3,769,765

Texas Roadhouse is Emerging Even Stronger than Before

Note: Gerald Morgan took over as CEO in spring 2021 after the passing of founder and former CEO Kent Taylor. 

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BJ’s Restaurants
BJ’s Restaurants
13. Greg Trojan, BJ's Restaurants

Base salary: $875,000

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $791,875

Stock awards: $1,333,370

Option awards: $666

All other compensation: $44,811

Total: $3,711,615

Inflation is High, But BJ's Guests Don't Seem to Mind

Note: Greg Trojan retired in August 2021 

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Chuy's
A plate of Mexican food at Chuy's restaurant.
14. Steve Hislop, Chuy's

Base salary: $689,255

Bonus: $1,000

Stock awards: $516,932

Non-equity incentive plan compensation: $689,255

All other compensation: $14,899

Total compensation: $1,911,341

Chuy's Replenishing Menu as Value Comes Back Into Focus

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