In 1995, Black Bear Diner co-founders Bruce Dean and Bob Manley wanted to open a restaurant at the base of Mount Shasta in California to offer great food for their friends.
The restaurant began to enter new states in 2002, when Jerry’s Restaurants – with locations in Arizona, California and Northern Nevada – wanted Dean and Manley to convert their family restaurants into Black Bear Diners.
Restaurant Dive spoke with Dean about how Black Bear Diner got started, what led it to its expansion beyond the West and how it is differentiating itself in an the crowded family and casual dining space.
Really that’s been our model from the start – to take second-generation restaurants and convert them to Black Bear Diner.
Dean: We’re kind of in the blended spot between family dining and casual dining.
How is Black Bear Diner ideally positioned to overcome some of these ongoing challenges?
Dean: I’m hoping Black Bear Diner will look like it has the last 25 years.