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Just a Couple of Hungry Guys with a Big Dream

Every business has a history, and we’d like to introduce the two men who made Black Bear Diner’s incredible story possible. Watch the videos below to hear the Black Bear Diner Story directly from the two founders, Bob Manley and Bruce Dean.


Bruce Dean

Recognized for his relentless focus on operational management and business savvy, Dean is Black Bear Diner’s Chief Executive Officer. A restaurant industry veteran with 40+ years of experience, he oversees all facets of Black Bear Diner’s business, franchise and menu development, helping drive the brand’s strategic expansion and its promise to deliver “great food, great service and great atmosphere.”

Before helping establish Black Bear Diner as a power player in the family dining restaurant segment, Dean contributed to the brand’s early success by leveraging his early beginnings in the restaurant business. He created the recipes for some of the brand’s most popular and best-selling food items on the Black Bear Diner menu to date. He was also the visionary behind “bear-sized” portions, a brand commitment to deliver unrivaled comfort food value and portions to its guests. Dean remains passionately engaged in Black Bear Diner’s food operations and menu economics, ensuring that Black Bear Diner guests continue receiving the best value in the family-dining arena.

Dean earned a B.S. in business administration from the University of California, Davis and currently serves on the Board for the California Restaurant Association.


Bob Manley

A visionary, dreamer, and storyteller, Bob Manley is co-founder of Black Bear Diner. He has been instrumental in the brand’s development of atmosphere and environment. Manley currently serves on the Board of Directors and continues to share his passion for the brand with everyone he comes in contact. His commitment to human kindness and his never-ending sense of humor have left their indelible mark on each Black Bear Diner you enter.

Prior to co-founding Black Bear Diner, Manley was the owner of the Black Bear Gallery, an educator, and wilderness guide. To this day, he wears a lucky bear claw around his neck.

Manley graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in speech pathology.