Jack Crawford, President, CEO Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative
If you remember the days of the Ground Round and popcorn on the floor along with many popular family-type meals, thanks to Jack Crawford and his franchise owners, the concept is alive and doing quite well.
In 2004, when the parent company of Ground Round closed its company restaurants and filed for bankruptcy, Mr. Crawford led the franchisees to author their own business plan, raise the cash and plan for the financing necessary to buy their own brand.
He was named president and chief executive officer of the new company, Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative (IOC), in July 2004. In 2007, he left to pursue a new opportunity as senior vice president of franchising for Uno Chicago Grill, leading the overall operations for 85 U.S. and international restaurants.
But with more experience, a different perspective and a new atmosphere among franchise owners, he returned to Ground Round in 2010 to serve again as president and chief executive officer and lead the brand out from its former acquisition debt and onto its current unit growth and financial stability.
Today, the Ground Round IOC represents a group of independent franchise owners who purchased the Ground Round franchise rights and trademarks. After recently opening three new restaurants and reemerging in familiar markets in Philadelphia and Cleveland, the Ground Round has signed deals to open nine more restaurants and return again to known markets in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.