Michael Mabry | Crain's Pittsburgh

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Michael Mabry


MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes opened its first restaurant in Plano in 2007 and has grown to 100 locations in 18 states and eight countries. The fast casual burger restaurant has 23 locations in North Texas alone. The restaurant will add 15 to 20 new locations in 2017.

The Mistake:

In the 1990s, I worked at Macaroni Grill as I was finishing culinary school. They took a huge leap of faith and promoted me to the director of franchise operations.

As a member of the corporate team at Brinker International, the parent company of Macaroni Grill, I had amazing opportunities available to me.

I could take ongoing education classes, business courses and Spanish language classes. I could take a week-long course at Harvard University.

And I didn’t take any of that seriously.

I focused on my career because I thought I knew everything when I was in my late 20s. I was wrong. I didn’t get all the knowledge I could have.  

I chalk it up to the ignorance of youth.

I focused on my career because I thought I knew everything.

The Lesson:

Now that I’m in my 50s, I regret not taking full advantage of those opportunities to advance my education. Brinker wanted to invest in my future and I regret that I didn’t immerse myself in those classes.  

Now, as the COO of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, I lead a team of my own and I encourage them to jump on any opportunity that comes along.

Whether it’s a trade show or a conference, I tell them to go. The things they learn and the people they meet will help them to become better leaders.

I think I owe it to this industry that’s given me so much to give back and not let future leaders make the same mistakes I did. 

Follow MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes on Twitter at @MOOYAHBurgers.

Photo courtesy of MOOYAH.

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