I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was a kid and, basically, I never left. In my more than 30 years in the quick-service space, I worked my way up to become COO at Whataburger and then moved on to become CEO at Bojangles Restaurants, COO at Jacks Family Restaurants, and now, CEO at Shipley. 

What I love about Shipley is its rich history as an iconic Texas brand that is so beloved. Shipley is a part of their lives—it’s where they went with their grandparents, parents and now their kids, making memories while enjoying The World’s Greatest Do-Nut together. Shipley was family owned until 2021, and under our new ownership, we are focusing on growth and innovation for our next 85 years. We are unifying and updating the company’s systems and processes so we can scale for rapid growth and support franchisees while still providing excellent customer experience. For example, we’re currently rolling out online ordering, which is being very well received by our guests and raising our average ticket for our franchisees. Later this year, we’ll be launching a loyalty program and gift cards that can be redeemed at any Shipley Do-Nuts.  

We’ve also launched a new coffee program to provide a consistent, high-quality coffee experience across our entire system. Can you believe we were serving something like 35 different kinds of coffee across our system until just recently? The new coffee, which includes a new hot coffee and two flavors of cold brew, will not only improve guest experience but also drive sales as people realize that Shipley is not only the best do-nut around but that we also offer great coffee to go with it. But growth is the biggest story for us right now. 

We have agreements in place to expand our footprint into Georgia and Maryland and increase our presence in existing markets. We’re still building out Dallas-Fort Worth and expanding across north, south, and central Texas. We believe we will double in size over the next five years. We’ve also entered our largest community partnership to date as the Official Coffee, Cold Brew, and Do-Nut of the Houston Cougars. This multi-year partnership with University of Houston Athletics will help them build their new stadium and bring awareness of our brand to new visiting teams and fans as they enter the Big 12.

What was your first job?
I was a busboy at Bonanza Family Steak House at the age of 14.

What’s your favorite menu item at Shipley Do-Nuts?
This may be a controversial pick, but I just love our kolaches. I know, we have the World’s Greatest Do-Nut and I pick the kolache, but I stand by my choice.

What’s your favorite cuisine aside from Shipley Do-Nuts?
I enjoy fine dining, and I love a good meal at Bludorn, a locally owned restaurant in Houston. It’s very rooted in the flavors of the Gulf Coast with French inspiration.

Who inspires you as a leader?
My grandfather.  He was a wonderful man of integrity with an impeccable work ethic. He was a World War II hero who led by example and his great actions versus just his words. He was definitely a man’s man who portrayed great strength, but also had a kind, gentle heart.

What’s the best piece of advice that other restaurant executives should hear?
Understand that leadership is a privilege and do not take it for granted.

What are some of your interests outside of work?
Hunting, fishing, and golf. I love to be outdoors.

Fast Food, Operations, Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs, Story, Shipley Do-Nuts