Kevin Brown President and CEO Lettuce Entertain You
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Kevin Brown brings over 30 years of experience and leadership in the restaurant industry to his position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Lettuce Entertain You® Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE). LEYE is one of the most highly regarded multi-concept restaurant companies with over 85 restaurants compromised of 37 individual concepts in 12 states.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Lettuce, Kevin’s emphasis is on continuing the trend of innovation and creating new concepts while strategically growing existing successful concepts. Kevin works with Chairman and Founder, Richard Melman, and other key members of the Lettuce senior management team to continue to grow and develop the company.
According to Kevin, “Great food, satisfied employees, and taking care of our guests while creating growth opportunities are my priorities in the years ahead. Lettuce is a great environment of entrepreneurial spirit while operating with a strong stable team and a richly developed culture. When you put the right people with the right concepts you can create the excitement that has been the standard at Lettuce, and I am proud to help continue the culture of the innovation of food and service that is Lettuce’s reputation.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kevin has always been a very dedicated and hard worker. His first restaurant job was in college working at Phillip’s Crab House in Ocean City, Maryland. Kevin quickly fell in love with the restaurant business where he excelled and quickly progressed through the ranks; he decided that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his career. He researched and found that Michigan State had a hospitality program, enrolled and was accepted into the program. During the school year, Kevin worked at a restaurant near campus and each summer he would return to work at Phillip’s Crab House.
Restaurant companies were recruiting from Michigan State’s hospitality program and, as fate would have it, Kevin was the first candidate Rich Melman ever interviewed on a college campus. He was offered a position in the Management Training Program during the course of the interview; he accepted that same day. This was the start of Kevin’s journey with Lettuce Entertain You®Enterprises.
Upon graduating in 1977, Kevin began his career at LEYE working at R.J. Grunts, Lettuce’s original restaurant. In his early years at Lettuce, Kevin also held positions as Manager at The Pump Room, the company’s first fine dining concept, and in 1981 was awarded his first partnership opportunity with the opening of Un Grand Café.
Kevin is fueled by a passion for creating new restaurant concepts. He has worked to develop some of Lettuce’s most popular restaurant concepts including Shaw’s Crab House and Mity Nice Grill.
Kevin’s creative drive also led to the creation and growth of the highly successful Big Bowl, which opened May 1992, and was followed by several additional stores in Chicago as well as locations in Minnesota and Virginia. Kevin spearheaded the entire process from concept, creation, execution, growth and building a management team. The concept was purchased in February, 2001 by Brinker International.
Throughout his career at LEYE, Kevin’s successes were rewarded with increased responsibilities. He was made President of Lettuce in 2001 where the effects of his natural leadership instincts were expanding within the company. In 2003, Kevin was officially named President and CEO of all of Lettuce Entertain You. Kevin’s leadership style is more of a supportive coach who leads by example and has the ability to yield loyalty and instill a desire to succeed within his team. Kevin’s philosophy is driving success by being “better, not bigger” as an organization and to continue to enhance and foster Lettuce’s reputation.
While a restaurateur at heart, Kevin is a highly successful business executive with a keen understanding for consumer trends. His very strong analytical skills, coupled with strong financial skills and fanatical attention to detail have helped to more than double the size of the business and elevate the professionalism within the organization.
He enjoys time with his family and friends as he and his wife like entertaining in their home. Kevin enjoys being quite active and spending time outdoors. He is a committed participant in the community and dedicates time to civic duties as a Board Member of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University and is on the Executive Committee of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
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