Craig Colby created his own computer consulting and programming business following his graduation from the University of Delaware. During the next 10 years he built a successful business but didn't enjoy it. Eventually, he hated going to work every day.
"It became just a job and I didn't like my life much then," says the 48-year-old today. Colby says he realized that loving his work was an important objective for both his career and his quality of life. "I believe in a person doing what they love to do. I love food and restaurants, so I made it my business."
His first "love affair" was with Burger King where he--along with his twin brother--built a system of 15 units before selling them. Today, he operates four Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and four Così restaurants in southern New Jersey and Delaware. The expansion-minded Colby recently signed a development agreement with Tio Juan's Margaritas Mexican restaurants for 5 restaurants in 5 years, with the first scheduled to open in Wilmington, Del.
Colby says he spends about 75 percent of his time in development these days, but still makes time to visit his restaurants when he can. You might even find him working the front counter. "I like to help once in a while to stay in touch with the team and guests. I actually enjoy running a register--and I'm very good at it since I do all the programming."
By the end of this year, Colby plans to have added three Margaritas and another Red Robin to his growing portfolio. "This should effectively double our company's revenues or better," he says.
Name: Craig William Colby
Company: The Colby Restaurant Group, Colby Brands, Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Concepts
No. of units: 4 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 4 Così; agreement for 5 Tio Juan's Margaritas
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