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Paul Brown: “We Need More Purpose-Driven Businesses”

By Raj Prashad

Representing Inspire Brands, Paul Brown traveled to Dallas, Texas, to receive the 2018 Norman Award.

The award, named in memory of the late Norman Brinker, recognizes one industry executive whose leadership and actions have had a significant impact on the industry and have also inspired future industry leaders.

“Norman Brinker was a pioneer and a visionary – the brands he built and leaders he mentored have transformed our industry.


It’s very humbling to receive an award with Norman’s name on it… It certainly isn’t something I set out to accomplish, but I am sincerely grateful.”

Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Inspire Brands

During his acceptance remarks, Paul reflected on his time as Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s.

“One of the very first things we did at Arby’s was establish a purpose,” said Paul.

That purpose was instrumental in the turnaround of Arby’s and played a large role in the organization being named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials, Women, and Diversity.

That same commitment to purpose that was established at Arby’s has been ever-present in the creation of Inspire. The reason, Paul says, is simple: “Organizations are stronger when they are driven by purpose.” Inspire’s purpose – the Ignite and Nourish Flavorful Experience – is at the core of how Inspire team members work together, serve guests and strengthen communities.

“We need more purpose-driven businesses in our industry – businesses that put values first and guests at the center of everything they do.”

Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Inspire Brands

Paul also spoke about the importance of people and the opportunity the industry provides for the nearly 15 million restaurant employees across the country.

“I’ve never met more people with stronger passion, smarts, and grit than I have seen in this industry,” said Paul. “I love that we bring together people from all walks of life with different experiences and skill sets. That’s what makes the restaurant industry so special.”

Paul Brown Norman Award onstage

Joining Paul onstage were the Presidents and Chief Executives of LongHorn Steakhouse, Del Taco, Red Robin, and Smoothie King.

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