Mr. Chris Gannon
CEO, Bolay Restaurants
Chris Gannon, CEO of Bolay Restaurants, lives his life with a focus on all things large and small that makes the seemingly ordinary, extraordinary. “Make it craveable” says Gannon, quoting his father and Outback Steakhouse Restaurateur, Tim Gannon, who is a legend in the industry, in part, for inventing Outback’s highly popular and ubiquitous Bloomin' Onion. But what makes a dish, a meal and a location craveable starts well before the first plate hits the table.
In Gannon’s world, meals are part battle cry and part revelry. They’re staging grounds and competition fields. They are celebrations, bon voyages and welcome homes. They’re sensory delights that uplift on impact as well as tonics, remedies and antidotes meant to fuel, heal and sustain. The result is Bolay, whose mission to make people’s lives better one bowl at a time is rooted in Gannon’s own long and multifaceted relationship with food.
Throughout his youth, he traveled the world with his father, visited restaurants and tried foods of every style and in every setting. He learned the art of pairing flavors throughout Europe, Argentina and Thailand. He learned the fierce competition involved in making a crawfish boil during his time in New Orleans, where inviting people over for food was a challenge for you, the host, to “bring it”. But, beyond the dishes and flavors, he has always understood that the experiences around food are what make the meal memorable.
A competitor by nature, Chris is also one by design. He spent years as a professional polo player, becoming the second youngest polo player to win the US Open Polo Championship. In college at Florida State University, he rode Renegade as Chief Osceola at all of FSU’s home games. He studied hard, both in and out of school, learning from legends in the field. He learned passion, hard work and the importance of offering you a drink and smile when you enter his home. Chris is an athlete and a leader in his field, always eager to make an impact either through his hospitality or through meticulous attention to detail, service, quality and flavor that is at the center of making Bolay the biggest and boldest restaurant chain to hit the fast casual scene in a decade.
If you don’t find Gannon working on how to make things better, more flavorful, more nutritious or more inviting at one of his restaurants, you’re sure to find him on the field running a race and bracing to be number one. Rest assured, he’ll always have a smile, take that extra step to walk you to the door, make sure you’ve had a great time while you were there, and certainly, that you’re somehow the better for having known him.