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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Business Bio: Burtons Grill of Nashua

Type of business: Restaurant.

Main location: 310 Daniel Webster Highway, (Pheasant Lane Mall).

Other locations: Hingham, Mass., North Andover, Mass., Boston, Peabody, Mass., South Windsor, Conn., Virginia Beach, Va.

Company Web site address:

Date began doing business in southern New Hampshire: Aug. 8.

Date opened at this location: Aug. 8.

Is this a franchise? No

Owner: Kevin Harron.

Manager: Charles Kozmits.

Days/Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday, noon-9 p.m.

Number of full-time employees: 50 plus.

Highlights of products and services: Burtons is built on a flexible format where change is part of the culture and accepted. Because the concept is not based on any particular food group or theme, the business can change or respond quickly to changes in consumer behavior or product cost and availability. The “polished casual” segment in which Burtons operates still has room for expansion and is not overbuilt like other segments of the restaurant industry. Burtons places a premium on healthy ingredients and flexibility in preparing special meals for special diets. Allergy training is mandatory for all staff members. Lastly, Burtons has a positive culture guided by a set of “defining principles” that helps keep turnover low and morale high.

Names and backgrounds of the key leaders: Kevin Harron is president and Chief Executive Officer of Burtons Grill. Most recently, Kevin was the Chief Operating Officer of Kelly’s Roast Beef, a privately held fast casual restaurant company with six locations in Massachusetts.

Harron served as regional director for Carrabba’s Italian Grill where he was responsible for restaurant operations at all locations from Virginia to Massachusetts. Prior to this, Harron was managing partner of Tedesco-KPH Partnership, a franchisee of Outback Steakhouse. Between 1994 and 2000, he developed 22 restaurant locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire with annual sales of $70 million dollars. The franchise was sold to Outback Steakhouse Inc. in November 1999.

Harron was the vice president of restaurant and retail operations for Legal Sea Foods from 1988-94 where he was responsible for the operations of 10 restaurants and five retail markets with annual sales of $50 million dollars. Between 1982 and 1988, he was regional manager for Bennigan’s Tavern in South Florida. He began his restaurant career in 1979 as a manager for Victoria’s Station.

Harron has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts Boston and more than 30 years of full service restaurant experience.

Kevin Rowell is Chief Operating Officer of Burtons Grill. He has spent the last 20 years in the casual segment of the restaurant industry. He was regional vice president of operations for Outback Steakhouse from 2000-03. In this position, he was responsible for the operations of the Northeast region with annual sales of more than $500 million dollars.

Prior to this, Rowell was joint venture partner for Outback Steakhouse from 1993-2000. He developed 17 restaurant locations with sales in excess of $52 million dollars.

Rowell began his restaurant career in 1982 with S&A Restaurant Group. He held the position of regional vice president of Bennigan’s Tavern from 1989-92.

Rowell is currently on the board of directors of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association.

Pat Gordon is Vice President of Burtons Grill. Most recently, he was a joint venture partner for Outback Steakhouse. He is responsible for the operations of five locations in New York City with annual sales of $24 million dollars. Prior to this, Gordon was a joint venture partner for Outback Steakhouse International from 1999-2001. He opened locations in Central America and the Caribbean. He began his career with Outback as a managing partner responsible for $4.5 million dollars in sales at his location. Gordon was twice awarded Partner of the Year by Outback Steakhouse.

Gordon was food and beverage director in the hotel industry from 1989-93. He was responsible for a $3 million dollar operation. Prior to that, he spent four years with Bennigan’s Tavern. Gordon completed his studies at Florida State University.

Denise Baron is the Culinary Director for Burtons Grill. She received an AOS in Culinary Arts in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in foodservice management in 1998 from Johnson & Wales University. While attending, Baron spent three years as a teaching assistant and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Baron is currently an active member of the Boston Chapter of the Les Dames d’Escoffier. Baron was also one of 16 people recently selected to participate in the inaugural Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program, a culinary leadership program from the Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your type of business, and how are you approaching it? Shrinking discretionary income and the consumers lack of confidence in the recovery. We will from time to time offer special incentives to our customers (senior citizen day, 50 percent promo, etc.) in addition to our happy hour that runs daily.

What’s the biggest change would you like to see in the business climate in this area? Simple, we need more jobs. We feel good that we created 70 new positions, but there needs to be a whole lot more.

What else should the readers know about your business? We believe that we are in the relationship business and we will succeed based on the quality of the relationships we build with our customers, employees, vendors and investors. Great results will come from a collective effort with all team members working together. Burtons hiring strategy is to employ passionate, driven people and train them to deliver consistent, considerate service. Burtons provides ongoing education for all levels of employees. Burtons’ 7 Defining Principles guide what we do, why we do it and how we do it. These principles are introduced to all individuals and organizations involved in the overall growth of Burtons Grill to provide guidance about practices, and for consideration of financial growth and improvement.