Frank Steed can certainly make at least two claims to fame in the foodservice industry. The first is that he began his industry career as the doorman at Friday’s unit #2 and having risen to very top management over an 18-year period. And second, he probably has more experience developing and rolling out franchise development programs both domestically and internationally than anyone else in the casual dining segment of the foodservice industry.
Frank’s passion and energy for casual dining was recognized immediately as he rose from doorman to his first management role in less than a year. His career with Friday’s continued, as the fledging chain grew, to become the first multi-unit manager. From there, he grew to a regional manager, then director of operations, VP of operations and EVP operations. From operations, Frank broadened his management experience by becoming EVP Ventures Management, looking for ways to expand the concept beyond its then current boundaries, which led to his next role as EVP Franchise Operations and Development. In that final capacity, Frank took Friday’s from a domestic company owned and operated restaurant chain to a major domestic and international casual dining franchisor. From joining Friday’s at the second unit, to when Steed left in 1989, Friday’s grew from 2 units to over 150 units worldwide.
Recognized again for his vision and talent organizing people, Frank was asked to step into a unique role with another Carlson Hospitality Group company, Country Hospitality Corporation. As CEO and President, he inherited Country Kitchen, which was a decades old regional coffee shop franchise desperately in need of a new direction, and Country Lodging by Carlson, a single unit prototype mid scale lodging concept. Both concepts shared the common need to grow, primarily through franchising, and Steed knew exactly how to do it.
Country Kitchen was repositioned from coffee shop to family casual dining with a complete overhaul of the concept from building and décor, through uniforms and menu. The model developed under his leadership is still in place today.
The Country Lodging by Carlson concept was finalized and rolled out both domestically and internationally. Today, the chain has over 300 units worldwide and not a single concept element has changed.
Leading franchisees of an indirect competitor foodservice chain, Bonanza Restaurants recognized his work with Country. They specifically asked the franchise parent company, Metromedia Restaurant Group to recruit Steed as their new leader.