The Reason for the Season with John Rivers, CEO of 4R Restaurant Group

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Show Notes:  Originally aired on December 22nd, 2020


Now, you know this show is driven by industry technology topics, today is a little step out of the ordinary as we begin to finish out this year. When I started planning a few months ago about who I wanted on the show for my Christmas Episode, I couldn’t think of any person I would rather join me more that John Rivers, the Founder and CEO of 4R Restaurant group, more well known under the 4Rivers BBQ name.  Just by coincidence he also happens to be my boss and fearless leader.

You have all heard me talk, multiple times, about this amazing company and this electric brand.  I am hoping that after today, you will begin to understand the passion and success behind what it is today.  And make sure you stick to the end of the interview as John has a very special holiday recipe to share with you.

John Rivers, CEO and Founder of 4R Restaurant Group

Retiring as president of a $1.5 billion dollar company, John Rivers left a career of twenty years in Healthcare to pursue a lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. In 2009 John created his first concept, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which quickly became one of the fastest growing restaurants in the southeast. With seventeen locations in Florida and Georgia, the success and popularity of his 4 Rivers Smokehouse and his second and third concepts, the Southern-inspired COOP, and Latin influenced Cantina Barbacoa at Disney Springs have garnered national recognition. MSN named 4 Rivers as the #1 BBQ restaurant chain in the country, Southern Living dubbed 4 Rivers as the top BBQ in the South, and Nation’s Restaurant News recognized 4 Rivers as a top five breakout brands.  Restaurant Business named John as one of the Power 20 Leaders in the restaurant industry, Orlando Magazine included him among Orlando’s “50 Most Powerful, 15 to Watch”, the OBJ named John the Philanthropist of the Year, and John has twice been named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

John has twice been invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and has enjoyed participating in Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival for the last 8 consecutive years.  He has appeared on numerous television shows and has been featured in national publications including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, USA Today, Business Insider and Cooking Light Magazine.  John authored his first book, “The Southern Cowboy Cookbook” and launched a line of retail and manufactured products currently enjoying shelf space at Publix & Costco and being distributed nationally by partners such as Sysco & US Foods.

A graduate of Florida State University College of Business, where he serves on the Board of Governors, John chairs both the 4R Foundation and the 4Roots Farm and is co-founder of Winter Park’s largest culinary festival; “Cows ‘n Cabs”.  John lives in Winter Park with his wife Monica and two children, Jared and Cameron where he serves on the boards of numerous school, church, and charity organizations. 

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Next Week’s Show…

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever holiday you are currently celebrating.  I will talk to you one last time this year, next Tuesday to say farewell to 2020 and open the door with great glee to 2021… a year that will turn all things around in our industry.  I am positive of it.

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