Nation’s Restaurant News each year recognizes the best in industry leadership with the Golden Chain and Norman Awards.
For more than four decades, the Golden Chain Award has recognized multi-unit restaurant brand executives who exhibit key leadership qualities, including a commitment to excellence, the ability to build strong teams and the foresight to see where the industry is headed.
This year’s class of Golden Chain winners is made up of five exceptional restaurant company executives: Todd Burrowes, president of Darden Restaurants Inc.’s LongHorn Steakhouse division; John Cappasola, president and CEO of Del Taco Holdings Inc.; Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s Corp.; Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King Franchises Inc.; and Denny Marie Post, president and CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.
The honorees will be celebrated at an awards gala Oct. 2 during the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference in Dallas.
John D. Cappasola, CEO of Del Taco
Todd Burrowes, president of Darden Restaurant Inc.’s LongHorn Steakhouse division
Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald's
Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King
Denny Marie Post, CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.
The Norman Award, now in its ninth year, is named for late industry icon Norman Brinker, who founded Brinker International Inc. and was a pioneer in casual dining, and it honors a restaurant executive who consistently mentors and inspires, as Brinker did, future restaurant brand leaders.
The 2018 Norman Award honoree is Paul Brown, CEO of Inspire Brands, the parent company to Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco. Brown also will be honored at the MUFSO awards gala. The recipient is selected annually by an advisory board comprised of previous Norman Award winners.