Committees: Programs Committee
Chairman/Partner - Classic Restaurant Concepts
Burton "Skip" Sack is a Past Chairman of the National Restaurant Association; a former franchisee of Applebee's; a former Executive Vice President of Applebee's; a past Board Member of Applebee's International, and presently a Partner and Chairman of Classic Restaurant Concepts, the operator of a fine dining Steak House and two Irish Pubs and Restaurants.
"Skip" began his career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher for Howard Johnson's when he was 13 years old.
At 17 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he served 3 years (18 months overseas) and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
Immediately upon his discharge, he enrolled in the School of Hotel & Restaurant Administration at Cornell University, where he graduated in three and a half years and earned his B.S. degree "with distinction". "Skip worked his way through school as a full-time deputy sheriff of Thompkin's County, NY assigned to the Cornell Campus Police.
Upon graduation in 1961, "Skip" joined the Howard Johnson Company as an Advertising Assistant; soon becoming Assistant Director of Marketing and then Vice President of Public Relations, all within 3 years. In 1967, the company sent him to the Harvard Business School where he was enrolled in the Program for Management Development, an intensive 16 week course for middle management.
Upon his graduation, he became General Manager of the company's Fast Food Service Division. In 1969 he developed the Ground Round restaurant chain ( a division of Howard Johnson's ) and soon thereafter he was promoted to Vice President Specialty Restaurants, then Group VP of Real Estate & Corporate Development and then Sr. VP - Real Estate, Corporate Development, Architecture, Design and Construction.
In 1983 he did a leveraged buyout acquiring 15 Red Coach Grill dinnerhouse restaurants which he then sold for their real estate and leasehold value.
In 1984 he became the second franchisee of Applebee's, acquiring the rights to develop the New England territory.
At the time, Applebee's had only two restaurants. His first restaurant opened in 1986 and by 1994 he had 16 restaurants operating in 4 New England states employing over 1300 people. That year he sold his restaurants to Applebee's International, agreeing to work for three years as an Executive Vice President of the company and as a member of their Board of Directors. He retired from Applebee's in 1997 but is still a member of the Board.
"Skip" is currently a private investor in 18 start-up companies and serves on the boards of five of them.
He maintains an active involvement in the NRA board as well as with Cornell University's Hotel School and is one of the founding members of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum. In the fall of 2007 he was one of two National Restaurant Association Board members selected as part of its inaugural relationship with the Marines Corps foodservice to join two civilian/military sector traveler teams touring Marine Corps Messes worldwide and determine winners of the Corps’ prestigious annual Major General W.P.T. Hill Awards.
"Skip" and his wife Gail reside in Longboat Key, Florida and spend the summers on Cape Cod.