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Founders

Founders

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.

Co-Founder

Bruce Dean

Recognized for his relentless focus on operational management and business savvy, Dean also acts as the brand’s Chief Operating 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 as Chairman of the Board of the California Restaurant Association.

Co-Founder

Bob Manley

In addition to his historic position as co-founder of Black Bear Diner, Bob Manley also serves as the company’s Chief Brand Officer. A visionary, dreamer, and storyteller, Manley is the heart, soul, and creator of the Black Bear Diner brand concept. Manley is intimately involved in the franchisee development process, ensuring that all franchisees share and live by the brand’s values of human kindness, a win/win philosophy, and sense of humor. He also invests heavily in the look, feel, design and hominess of each Black Bear Diner restaurant, making sure it’s a welcoming place to all guests.

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.