Whipping up successful business ventures is nothing new to Creed Ford III. One can probably attest to that if he or she has ever dined at, say, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Rudy’s Texas Bar BQ or Carino’s Country Italian.
Soon after graduating in 1975 from Texas A&M with a B.S. in agricultural economics, Mr. Ford joined the management team at the first Chili’s Grill and Bar restaurant in 1976. While honing his management style, he worked his way up with Brinker’s International, with stops as director of operations in 1980, senior vice president in 1984, and eventually becoming chief operating officer and director from 1995 to 1997. As COO, he oversaw all operations at Brinker and was responsible for all of its restaurant concepts.
In 1997, Mr. Ford formed the Ford Restaurant Group with his wife, Lynn, and he co-founded Fired Up Inc. Today, the Ford Restaurant Group supports franchised Chili’s Grill and Bar, Rudy’s Texas Bar BQ, Ozona Grill and Bar, Kona Steak House and Elite Circle Grille, while Fired Up is the parent company for Carino’s Country Italian. Downstream in the food marketing chain and upscale in product quality and service, Fired Up’s Carino’s Italian Grill has 160 restaurants. Beginning only in 1997, this company has added substantial wealth to the entire agribusiness industry of the United States.
Mr. Ford served as co-chief executive officer for Fired Up, Inc. and president of Ford Restaurant Group. In addition, he served on the Boards of Directors for the following:
- Rudy’s BBQ,
- Fired Up, Inc.,
- The Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation,
- Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and
- Cosi, Inc.
Mr. Ford was an ardent supporter of Texas A&M University. He visited Agricultural Economics 340 classes several different times over the years. In his position as founder and chairman of Fired Up Inc., he was also instrumental in the founding of the Texas A&M Restaurant and Hospitality Management Club. His company has, in every single year since this club’s beginning, sponsored club field trips, restaurant tours, informational sessions, and class speakers. As a platinum level club sponsor, they have also hired a large number of Texas A&M graduates.
“Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone for all successful businesses,” said Creed Ford, who with Lynn, have two Aggie children, Harper ’00 and Creed IV ’02, and a daughter-in-law Cassie ’01.