Outback Steakhouse Co-Founder to Receive Prestigious Award
Sacramento, Calif. – The California Restaurant Association (CRA) today announced Chris T. Sullivan, Chairman of the Board of OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. (formerly Outback Steakhouse, Inc.), as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The CRA Lifetime Achievement Award was established by both the CRA Board of Directors and Educational Foundation (CRAEF) Board to honor extraordinary individuals who have greatly influenced, made outstanding contributions to, and provided exceptional leadership for the California restaurant and hospitality industry.
Sullivan began his restaurant career in 1972 as a manager trainee with the Steak & Ale restaurant group. Sullivan rose through the ranks of the industry and became founding stockholder, director and Vice President of Sunstate Restaurant Corporation from 1982 to 1987, which developed 17 franchised Chili’s Grill and Bar Restaurants throughout Florida and Georgia. Sullivan and his partners opened the first Outback Steakhouse in 1988. He became the Chairman & CEO and they took the company public in 1991. Since then, the company has grown to more than $4 billion in revenues and operates more than 1,400 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad.
Sullivan was chosen as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient because of his constant drive, innovation and direction that helped grow a number of well-known restaurant brands, the most notable being Outback Steakhouse, which started as a single restaurant and is now a global name. Also for his involvement in generously giving back to society and the industry through projects ranging from paper drives to fund raising for victims and families of tragic events, to leadership in civic and charitable organizations.
Sullivan will be honored at the CRA Chairman’s Ball, a black-tie event that will bring together the leaders in the restaurant and hospitality industry on Sunday, August 19 in Los Angeles. Sullivan will also be recognized later that evening at the CRA’s CRAVE event, an elaborate celebration of cuisine, culture and creativity, also in Los Angeles. Both events take place in conjunction with the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Exposition www.westernfoodexpo.com