Homestyle Dining LLC, which operates and franchises the Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse concepts, announced the recipients of its annual franchise and brand support awards. The awards, which recognize excellence in operations on both the franchise and supplier level, were given at the company’s 2013 Franchise Conference in Nashville in October.
“This year’s winners represent what makes our brands so enduring and endearing with our loyal customers for the past five decades,” says Tom Sacco, president and CEO, Homestyle Dining LLC. “Each of these brand leaders embrace and fully understand that quality and service are our calling cards, and that innovation added into that mix will propel our growth during the next 50 years. We applaud their success and are grateful for their support and leadership.”
This year, Bonanza Steakhouse celebrates 50 years. Sister-concept Ponderosa Steakhouse will celebrate its golden anniversary in 2015. Together the two iconic restaurant concepts include hundreds of units in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, and Taiwan. In early 2014, Ponderosa Steakhouse will expand into Egypt with the first opening in suburban Cairo.
Under the stewardship of Sacco, the two concepts are undergoing a brand refresh, a concept makeover, and a culinary revitalization. Beginning in 2014, both Bonanza and Ponderosa will offer expanded menu offerings on the food bar, as well as across their entrée line-up. A new menu board meets the changing needs of guests.
The award winners this year included U.S. Franchise Operator of the Year Mike Everhart, who has been involved with Ponderosa Steakhouses for 20 years; the International Franchise Operator of the Year Wayne Chan, who is the chairman of NOEC in Taiwan; and the Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mitch Lazeren, who has been with Bonanza for 46 years.
Ervin Campbell, who owns Ponderosa Steakhouses in Columbus, Athens, Jackson, South Point and Wheelersburg, Ohio, won the Outstanding Community Service Award for franchisees based on his demonstrated and outstanding devotion to his community. Among the organizations and efforts he has supported for many years are Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, the Early Learning Center, Kids Connect, and local resources such as the library, YMCA, schools and churches, first responders, parks, and veterans and military personnel.
The Supplier of the Year award went to PepsiCo, which has been Homestyle Dining’s beverage supplier since 2005. Recently PepsiCo’s Eric Harrison and Chrystal Gibbs were instrumental in making Homestyle Dining’s “Front Flip” smartphone initiative a resounding success by adding value, creativity, and industry insight.