Lectures took place at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Students who attended benefitted from the advice of a successful restauranteur who has more than 35 years of experience in the business.
In 1986, Carrabba opened The Original Carrabba’s in Houston. A second location in the city opened its doors in 1988. In 1993, Outback Steakhouse created a joint venture partnership, consequently opening over 230 Carrabba’s Italian Grill Restaurants nationwide, with ten locations in Brazil, and future locations in Mexico.
Carrabba and his family continue to own and operate the two original Carrabba’s locations. In 2012, the family’s new fast-casual concept, Mia’s Table, opened one block behind the Original Carrabba’s. Grace’s, affectionately named after Carrabba’s grandmother, Grace Mandola, opened its doors in 2014, forging the fourth family-owned and operated restaurant for the family.
This successful restauranteur shared insights about how to lead and succeed in the hospitality industry. Foremost among his words of wisdom were these, “Treat everyone the way you want to be treated!” Carrabba lives by these words both personally and professionally.
Carrabba passed along this personal advice as well. “Give for the sake of giving,” he said. In business and in life, Carrabba gives back through relationships with his employees and his work with philanthropic organizations and charities in his community, especially those benefiting children.
Family is also a priority for Carrabba who speaks proudly of his children. His son, Johnny IV, attends The University of Alabama, and his daughter, Mia, is a student at Southern Methodist University.
The lecture series has a strong foundation in a family-owned Alabama business. Named in honor of Bill Bowron’s mother, the Shila Bowron Leadership Lectures began in 2002 to introduce students to a variety of hospitality leaders and their perspectives of the hospitality industry.