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Dan Cathy
President and chief operating officer, Chick-fil-A

As head of one of the nation's largest family-owned businesses, Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based quick-service chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy.

Cathy has served as the president and chief operating officer since 2001. In his quest to provide customers with “second-mile” service, he has defined a special role for himself: "I work in customer service."

Chick-fil-A had U.S. systemwide sales of $4.56 billion for the fiscal year ended in December 2012, marking a 14.2-percent increase over the preceding year’s sales. The privately held chain ended its fiscal 2012, with 1,669 locations, all of which were franchised.

Cathy previously won a Golden Chain Award in 2005.

Peter Cancro
Chief executive, Jersey Mike’s Subs

In 1972, Peter Cancro was a 14-year-old high school student in Point Pleasant, N.J. when he began working at Mike's Subs. He loved it, and three years later, at age 17, he became the owner and proprietor of that restaurant. He eventually opened more stores and began franchising in 1987. He changed the name from Mike's Subs to Jersey Mike's Subs to capture the authenticity of where the sub sandwich was born.

Today, he is chief executive of Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems in Manasquan, N.J., where he oversees more than 600 units that are either open or under development. Last year the chain continued its steady growth by opening 92 new restaurants throughout the country, a 33-percent increase in new store growth over 2011. The chain had 584 United States locations at the end of fiscal 2012, including 18 company and 566 franchised sites.

Jersey Mike's Subs had U.S.-systemwide sales of $334.1 million for the fiscal year ended in December 2012, which marked a 25.3-percent increase in sales compared to a year earlier.

Michael Hislop
Chief executive, Corner Bakery Café

Mike Hislop joined Dallas -based Corner Bakery Café as chief executive in 2006. Since then, he and his team have transformed the brand from a company-owned and -operated neighborhood gathering spot to a franchised industry leader.

The chain had $296.4 million in U.S.-systemwide sales for the fiscal year ended in Dec. 2012, an increase of 13.6 percent from the preceding year. Corner Bakery opened 20 new units in 2012 and signed another 125, raising its total to 147 open cafes and 288 under development. The company’s strategy to double its U.S. footprint by the end of 2015 includes significant expansion in the Boston and New York City markets.

Before Corner Bakery, Hislop was president and chief operating officer of Il Fornaio from 1995 until he became chief executive and chairman in 2001. Previously, he held key positions at Chevys Mexican Restaurants, El Torito Mexican Restaurants and T.G.I. Friday’s.

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