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Brinker International Mourns the Loss of Restaurant Industry Pioneer and Chairman Emeritus, Norman Brinker


DALLAS, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today we mourn the loss of our company namesake, Norman Brinker. Norman's legacy to the foodservice industry will live on through the brands he helped grow and expand across the globe. Norman Brinker died Tuesday morning at the age of 78.


Norman was remarkable for the breadth and depth of his contributions to the restaurant industry. He created the places where the world comes to eat, and over the past 26 years, has been the heart of Brinker International. Back in 1983, he joined a small company called Chili's and built it into the portfolio restaurant organization we now called Brinker International.

"The world lost a true pioneer this morning. Norman changed our industry, and by changing our industry, he provided opportunities for many. He was personally involved in teaching, mentoring and passing on his experience and skills on how to be a great leader to me and countless others. From CEOs and Directors to servers, dishwashers and cooks, Norman was an inspiration to many, many people throughout the restaurant industry," said Doug Brooks, president and CEO of Brinker International. "All 125,000 BrinkerHeads are mourning the loss of our beloved leader and friend."

Norman Brinker single-handedly created the niche now known as casual dining with the creation of Steak and Ale in 1965. Under Norman's mentorship, opportunities for advancement and growth were created for thousands of food servers, bartenders, chefs and bussers who later became managers and leaders in the industry.

Many CEOs of major restaurant companies across the United States started their careers working for Norman and have now gone on to create their own legacies after learning from the most respected name in the industry.

Norman was very involved in giving back to the community and encouraged everyone he worked with to give back through a variety of different activities. He liked to say, "To whom much is given, much is required." He was instrumental in the launch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation (now Susan G. Komen for the Cure), and was involved with the organization for the remainder of his life. He also supported Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the Salvation Army. He served on the boards of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Museum of Art.

"Norman always wanted to be successful and he was very competitive. He had a passion for winning stemming back from his days as an Olympic equestrian athlete. And he always won with integrity, which is why Norman is universally admired by everyone in the restaurant industry," said Brooks.

Throughout his career, Norman was honored with several industry's and community's awards. In 1985, he received the Horatio Alger Award, given to outstanding Americans who have succeeded in spite of adversity. He also received the Elliot Mentor Award from the Elliot Leadership Conference in 2005. In April of 2007, Norman was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Hall of Fame, and received its Augie Award, recognizing his many achievements in the foodservice industry. And in May of 2009, Norman was awarded the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from Methodist Health System Foundation in Dallas for his entrepreneurial spirit, business accomplishments and generous community support.

Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies, serving more than 1 million guests daily. Founded in 1975 and based in Dallas, Texas, Brinker owns or franchises nearly 1,700 restaurants in 29 countries and two territories and employs more than 125,000. Brinker restaurant brands include Chili's(R) Grill & Bar, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina(R), and Maggiano's Little Italy(R). Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano's Macaroni Grill(R). The company was named one of FORTUNE Magazine's Most Admired Food Service Companies in 2009 and was honored by the magazine as one of the Top 50 Employers for Minorities and the Top 50 Employers for Women. For more information, visit

SOURCE Brinker International, Inc.

Stacey Sullivan
Media Relations of Brinker International Inc.
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