Dallas restaurant giant Norman Brinker is this year’s recipient of the Oak Cliff-based Methodist Health System Foundation’s Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award and will be honored at a charity dinner Friday night at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.
The award, in its fifth year, is named after the former Dallas mayor and Oak Cliff resident and recognizes commitment and excellence in community leadership.
“Mr. Brinker truly embodies the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award with his business accomplishments, community leadership and philanthropic ventures, and we are proud to honor him,” Methodist Health System Foundation President and CEO April Box Chamberlain said in a press release.
Brinker’s involvement in the food service industry began as a partner with Jack in the Box, when the chain expanded from five locations to national prominence. Later, he earned the distinction of being credited with popularizing the salad bar when he founded the now-defunct Steak and Ale restaurant concept in 1965.
In 1983, Brinker invested in and became chairman and CEO of Chili’s, then a fledgling Dallas-based chain of 28 restaurants. In 1991, the company was renamed Brinker International, and currently is the parent company of Chili’s, On the Border and Maggiano’s, with more than 1,700 restaurants it owns, operates or franchises across the three concepts.
Brinker’s philanthropic ventures include support for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, and the Salvation Army, as well as serving on the boards of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Museum of Art.