July 18, 2008 // Franchising.com // Raleigh, N.C. - Two prestigious North Carolina restaurant industry awards were given to franchisees of Raleigh-based Golden Corral Buffet and Grill chain.
Billy Sewell was named North Carolina Restaurateur of the Year by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), and David Gronewoller was named Chairman of the Board of that organization.
Mr. Sewell began his company, Platinum Corral, in 1996 with the purchase of two
Golden Corral restaurants. He now owns 22 restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, employing more than 1,500, with combined annual sales topping $70 million.
Mr. Sewell said, "My career with Golden Corral has given me the opportunity to help many others besides our employees and our guests. For example, last year at our Platinum Corral restaurants we raised $80,000 for the Children's Miracle Network to benefit local children's hospitals," he said.
"We also raised $40,000 and fed for free more than 18,000 active duty and retired military during Golden Corral's nationwide Military Appreciation Night. And we gave 75,000 free meals to elementary school children for awards and achievements," he said.
Mr. Gronewoller owns 12 Golden Corral restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. He had been with Golden Corral for 13 years as a corporate employee, including as district manager, and then 16 years as a franchisee. He said he plans to build 12 to 14 more Golden Corral restaurants.
Mr. Gronewoller said, "Billy is following in the footsteps of Golden Corral founder James Maynard and President and CEO Ted Fowler, who are among the NCRLA's 33 past Restaurateurs of the Year. I'm fortunate enough to count myself in that number as well."
NCRLA represents more than 16,000 member businesses in the $17.5-billion-sales-per-year industry, employing 10 percent of North Carolina's workforce.
Larry Tate, Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales for Golden Corral, said, "Restaurant industry recognition like this confirms the hospitality, customer-service focus and professionalism of our franchisees. They are highly regarded by their peers as leaders of our industry."
NCRLA gives its Restaurateur of the Year award to an operator considered highly successful by other restaurateurs. Also considered are the level of involvement and participation in industry programs and contributions made to enhance the food-service industry.
Golden Corral, now in its 35th year, has expanded in the past decade, led by its growth of franchised restaurants. There are 482 restaurants in 40 states, with 376 franchised and 106 company owned. Systemwide sales in 2007 were $1.530 billion.
ICED-TEA TOAST TO GOLDEN CORRAL -- Two franchisees of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Golden Corral Buffet and Grill restaurant chain have been honored by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Billy Sewell (left) was named Restaurateur of the Year. David Gronewoller was named Chairman of the organization, representing more than 16,000 members in the hospitality industry with sales of $17.5 billion per year, employing 10 percent of North Carolina's workforce.