Bob Campbell, CEO of Tappan Street Restaurant Group, Restaurateur of the Year
Bob Campbell, CEO of Tappan Street Restaurant Group, Inc., was honored at the 2010 Georgia Restaurant Associationâ€™s Crystal of Excellence Awards (GRACE) with the Restaurateur of the Year Award.
Campbell has spent most of his restaurant career building Taco Mac from just one location into a regional concept. Born in Tallahassee but raised in Germantown, Tenn., outside of Memphis, Bob received his business degree from Auburn University. He got his first job in the restaurant industry while in Auburn, working the counter at â€œMomma Goldbergâ€™s Deli.â€
While in school, Campbell started traveling to Atlanta on weekends and breaks to serve and bartend at Taco Mac. After graduation, he was appointed manager of Taco Mac and promoted to general manager in 1992.
Over the next five years, Campbell helped open and manage multiple Taco Mac locations, and in 1999 co-founded Tappan Street Restaurant Group, Inc. and assumed rights to the Taco Mac name. Today, he currently manages 25 Taco Mac restaurants in three states, and there are plans for continued regional growth. A new concept in Atlanta, Deckardâ€™s Kitchen & Kegs, also launched in September 2010.
Campbell is a board member of the GRA, chair of its marketing committee, and board member of its political action committee as well as a board member for Camp Twin Lakes.
What restaurant industry means to Georgia: Jobs, jobs and more jobs. Where else can someone with a Ph.D. work next to someone with barely a high school education? In good economic times and bad, people look to restaurants to fulfill or supplement his or her income through some form of service job within a restaurant.
Industryâ€™s most pressing challenges: Besides weathering the economy, legislative action at the local, state and federal level becomes the most daunting issue of the future. First, as tax revenues fall in a souring economy, government will continue to find new ways to tax businesses. With the restaurant industry being one of the largest industries in Georgia, we are certain to draw the attention from taxing authorities. Secondly, with the current trend towards combating Americaâ€™s growing waistline, the restaurant industry as a whole will be the focus of much legislative attention.
Advice to those just starting out: Stick it out. There are a great number of opportunities in this industry if someone is willing to work. It is also an industry that very much allows someone to create his or her own opportunities. There are countless stories of restaurateurs who have worked his or her way up from the bottom. Anyone from any walk of life can be a success in the restaurant business. In a sense the restaurant business gives many people the chance at the American dream.
Key to success: Taco Mac caters to such a variety of people with diverse backgrounds. Someone in a suit can be sitting next to someone in shorts and a T-shirt and still feel comfortable in our restaurants. With our price point and product quality, customers also feel they are getting good value for his or her dollar. The sports we show on TV also create a sometimes much-needed diversion from the stresses of a troubled economy.