John Grady, Ninety Nine Restaurants, 2012 Recipient of Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers’ (CHART) Commitment to People Award

The Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) will present the 2012 Commitment to People Award to John Grady, President of Ninety Nine Restaurants. He will be honored at the Commitment to People Awards Gala on Monday evening, July 23, 2012, during CHART’s 84th semi-annual Hospitality Training Conference to be held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, IL.

“Created in 1993, this prestigious award is given annually to a CHART member’s CEO/president in the hospitality industry who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the development of his or her associates,” explained Jen Swan, CHART President and Director of Learning and Development for CSM Corporation. Jen added, “Beyond supporting training, development, and mentoring programs, and fostering a people focused strategy, John’s commitment to people can be seen in many small ways as well. John exemplifies this award.”

John Grady began his career at Ninety Nine as a bartender. He rose through restaurant management ranks, multi unit supervisor ranks, spent ten years leading the training department and in 2004 was named President. These experiences allowed John to set the example of what one can achieve through personal motivation and development. He is committed to recognizing the value of all team members.

“John counsels patience and looks at people for their potential, commitment and energy. He understands that mistakes will be made but that mistakes are things to learn and develop from,” said Greg Witmer, Senior Director of Training, Ninety Nine.

Ninety Nine employs more than 6,000 people, many of whom have worked for the organization for more than 15 years. Approximately 50 percent of Ninety Nine’s entire management staff started out as hourly team members. The company attributes its high employee retention figures to a structure that places great value on its team members and offers unlimited growth opportunities

The restaurant’s motto is “We Treat People Right with A Passion to Serve”, which has been a guiding principle for John.

John’s commitment to people goes well beyond the walls of the Ninety Nine restaurants. John has always encouraged active participation by all team members in supporting causes that benefit those less fortunate. Under John’s leadership the restaurant won the National Award of Merit from The Boys and Girls Club in 2008 and Health Partner of the Year Award from Boston Business Journal in 2007 for its contributions to Pine Street Inn, a Boston area homeless shelter. Ninety Nine, through the efforts of its team members, has contributed close to $3 million dollars to such worthy causes as the Pine Street Inn, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

CHART’s award selection committee reviewed and ranked the Commitment to People nominees in four categories:

  • Effective communication of the organization’s culture;
  • Programs that demonstrate a commitment to people;
  • Efforts to be involved in the development of people; and
  • Ability to break down barriers to create opportunities.

The past recipients of this prestigious CHART award are:

2011 David Scrivano, President and CEO, Little Caesars Pizza

2010 Mark Running, President, Roy’s Restaurant

2009 David Overton, Chairman and CEO, The Cheesecake Factory Inc.

2008 Skip Fox, President, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

2007 Cameron Mitchell, President and founder, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

2006 Colin V. Reed, Chairman, President and CEO, Gaylord Entertainment

2005 Julia Stewart, President and CEO, IHOP Corporation

2004 Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield, co-CEOs, California Pizza Kitchen

2003 Harry Bond, FMP, President, Monical Pizza Corporation

2002 Kerry Kramp, President, Buffets, Inc.

2001 Robert Dedman, Founder and Chairman of the Board, and Robert Dedman Jr., President and CEO, Club Corp. Inc.

2000 William Walton, Holiday Inn

1999 Molly Hancock, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Restaurants, Inc.

1998 David C. Novak, President and Vice Chairman, Yum! Brands, formerly Tricon Global Restaurants

1997 Wally Doolin, President and Chief Executive, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide

1996 Bob Jameson, President and General Manager, The Worthington Hotel

1995 Simon Cooper, President and CEO, Delta Hotel and Resorts

1994 Joe Byrum, President, Morrison’s Hospitality

1993 Donald N. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO, Friendly’s Ice Cream

Other awards to be presented during CHART’s hospitality training conference in Chicago include the Spirit of CHART award as well as the CHART/NRAEF Scholarship and CHART/AHLEF Scholarship awards.

For more information on the CHART conference and/or award presentation, please call 312-405-2634, email or visit

CHART, a non-profit professional association founded in 1970, is the leading resource for the development and advancement of hospitality training professional and their organizations. With more than 450 members from more than 300 multi-unit restaurant and hotel companies, CHART represents a workforce of almost five million. CHART includes all facets of hospitality training, learning and performance professionals; from entry level to senior executive. CHART’s mission is to develop hospitality training professionals to advance industry training practices and improve operational results by providing access to education, tools and resources.

With more than 20 million guests served each year, the Ninety Nine Restaurants is a friendly, comfortable place to gather and enjoy great American food and drink at a terrific price. Known for their signature hand-breaded Boneless Buffalo Wings, smothered with the Ninety Nine’s own special sauce, and Broiled Sirloin Tips in a special marinade, the Ninety Nine Restaurants menu has something for everyone and offers a wide selection of appetizers, entrees, delicious desserts and signature cocktails.

The Ninety Nine Restaurants is New England’s first locally-based casual restaurant chain, established in 1952 at 99 State Street in Boston. Headquartered in Woburn, Mass., Ninety Nine Restaurant currently operates 105 restaurants throughout New England and New York, and employs over 6,000 team members.