Norman Brinker and Brinker International

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Norman Brinker began his career in the restaurant business in 1950 as a partner in the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant chain. As a result of Mr. Brinker’s passion for the restaurant industry, he created the casual dining concept. Opening the first Steak and Ale in 1966 allowed him to bring this concept to life. Later, he developed the Bennigans chain, sold both chains to Pillsbury Corporation, and took over as vice president of Pillsbury. Brinker International was formed in 1984 after Brinker left Pillsbury to purchase 40% interest in Chili’s restaurant chain (Nelson & Quick, 2006). With the forming of Brinker International, Brinker was now able to pursue his vision of casual dinning more progressively.

According to the Brinker International website, the Company has over 1600 restaurants worldwide that generates approximately $4 billion in sales annually ( Some of these restaurants include, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, and Maggiano’s Little Italy. During 2000 to 2003, these restaurant chains were recognized among the 400 best companies in America by Forbes magazine (Nelson & Quick, 2006). Much of Brinker International’s success is due to the management, leadership, and followership of Norman Brinker.

Mr. Brinker is well known for his leadership abilities; however, he first became a winner through his management skills. Being able to plan, budget, organize, and hire the right staff to get the job done led to his success with Steak and Ale. Moreover, Brinker’s vision was a key aspect that led him to become an accomplished leader. The leadership process he incorporated allowed him to set goals and directions for his Company. His charismatic style empowers and motivates people within his Company to work toward these goals and incorporate change within the organization when necessary. Through his powerful leadership style, Brinker molded many followers ultimately...
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