JOHN BEAN, PRESIDENT/CEO
John began working in his family’s fine-dining restaurant business in 1982. From 1982 to 1997, John, his mother Myrrl Bean, and brother Bernard Bean successfully opened four additional restaurants, before forming a new company, Columbus Deli, Inc. (CDI). CDI opened the first Sweet Peppers Deli in Columbus, MS, in November 1997, and the second unit in Tupelo, MS, in February 2000. As President of CDI, John oversees the continued development of the Sweet Peppers concept. In addition, he serves as President and CEO of University Management, Inc., which is the management company for the 14 corporate locations within the restaurant group. In July 2002, the owners of the restaurant group formed Sweet Peppers Franchise Systems, LLC (SPFS) in order to franchise the Sweet Peppers concept. John serves as the managing member of SPFS and is responsible for the executive supervision of the franchise company. He describes his job as “making sure everyone is doing his or her job.”
John attended Mississippi State University and enjoys following his alma mater’s sports teams and playing golf. His favorite Peppers sandwich is the Chicken Club.
ROBIN FANT, VICE PRESIDENT
Robin Fant has owned and operated the Bulldog Deli, in Starkville, MS, since April 1984. The Bulldog Deli has served as the inspiration and prototype model for the development of the Sweet Peppers Deli concept. Robin became Vice President of Columbus Deli, Inc. in 1997, while continuing to own and manage his restaurant, and has been a member of SPFS since its formation in July 2002. Robin and Bernard Bean are jointly responsible for the training, operations and field support of the franchisees of SPFS.
BERNARD BEAN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
Bernard began working for his family’s restaurant business in 1982 and became Secretary of Columbus Deli, Inc. (CDI) in 1997. He continues to supervise the daily management operations of the Sweet Peppers Deli units owned by CDI and has also been a member of the SPFS franchise management team since July 2002. Bernard and Robin Fant coordinate franchise services for SPFS franchise owners.
Bernard enjoys running and following Mississippi State sports, his alma mater. His favorite Sweet Peppers Deli sandwich is the Goat Cheese and Fire Roasted Pepper Sub.
PAT CAMPEAU, PARTNER/AREA MANAGER OF FULL SERVICE
Pat began his career at the Eat With Us Group in 1983. He manages systems, specifications and quality compliance for the full-service restaurants within the organization. He enjoys the challenges of the restaurant business and the sense of accomplishment in seeing guests repeatedly enjoying their time spent in Eat With Us restaurants.
Pat attended Mississippi State University and graduated from the University of South Alabama. Pat enjoys following Bulldog sports as well as his family’s activities, tennis and tinkering with and restoring BMWs. At Peppers, he is most likely to order the Waldorf Salad.
ROBERT FORT, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Robert began working with University Management, Inc., in 1985, in accounting and financial planning. He has been the Treasurer and a Director of Columbus Deli, Inc. since November 1997. He is a founding member of SPFS, responsible for financial planning for the franchise company and SPFS’s franchisees, as well as the entire Eat With Us Group.
Hunting, fishing, gardening and sporting events are among his favorite pastimes. He is a 1990 graduate of Mississippi State University. His Sweet Peppers recommendation is the Cuban Panini.
MYRRL BEAN, MOM
Ms. Bean founded the Harveys fine dining restaurants in 1982, restaurants which are still an important part of the family restaurant management group. Myrrl is the mother of both John and Bernard Bean and brought them into the restaurant development business. Myrrl serves as an officer and Director of both University Management, Inc., and Columbus Deli, Inc (CDI) and is a founding member of SPFS. Ms. Bean serves as an advisor to the SPFS management team.
CORY FREEMONT, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Cory spent the first three years of his career as manager of a successful fast food restaurant in the Tupelo, MS. In 1999, he joined the University Management team as the Assistant Manager of the Sweet Peppers Deli in Tupelo, MS. He worked in that location until January 2004, at which time he was promoted to his current position in the Sweet Peppers Franchise Systems, LLC. Cory is currently responsible for opening franchise locations, including new store set up, crew training, manager training and all fieldwork associated with existing corporate and franchise owned locations currently in operation.
Cory obtained his Bachelors of Science degree from Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho. His Peppers favorites are the Big Greek Hummus Salad and the Royale Cookie.
MEREDITH FRASER, ACCOUNTING CLERK
A vital part of the Eat With Us Group and Sweet Peppers Franchise Systems, Meredith keeps business running smoothly. She began working with the restaurant in 2005. Her self-moniker, “Gal Monday through Friday,” is appropriate for her work in processing daily sales packets, coding and inputting invoices, supply requisitioning, overseeing the guest recovery program and managing online gift card orders.
Meredith spends her leisure time gardening, cooking and spending time with family and friends. She attended Heritage Academy and Mississippi State University. When asked her top choice on the Peppers menu, she’ll tell you the Shrimp Salad Scoop.
PHILLIP SISTRUNK, HUMAN RESOURCES COORDINATOR
Phillip started with Eat With Us in 2010 at Harveys in Starkville. He managed the restaurant for two years before starting his current job handling all payroll, recruiting and direct billing functions. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelors Degree in Financial Planning and Risk Management. He’s currently attending MSU and working to obtain his Masters of Business degree.
Phillip enjoys golf, running, triathlons and keeping up with Bulldog athletics.
CHARLOTTE PHILLIPS, CONTROLLER
A member of the team since 2000, Charlotte’s responsibilities include financial reporting, budgeting, accounts payable, tax compliance, asset management and maintenance and vendor management. One of her favorite aspects of working at the Eat With Us Group and Columbus Deli Inc. is that it is a “small but large” company that has provided her with many challenges and rewards throughout the years.
Charlotte holds an accounting degree from Mississippi University for Women and an MBA from Mississippi State University. She enjoys traveling the U.S., golf, reading, puzzles, camping and searching for wildlife. Chili is her Sweet Peppers Deli meal of choice.
MATT BRONSKI, CORPORATE CHEF
Corporate Chef, Matt Bronski, is originally from Detroit. He attributes his inspiration for cooking to his mother who insisted the family eat together every night and enjoy home cooked meals. With that habit instilled from home and curiosity from a high school culinary class, Bronski developed his chef skills. He worked and trained under a European chef through the American Culinary Federation apprenticeship program and graduated with a Certified Cook Certificate and Associates Degree in 1992 from the Oakland Community College in Farmington, Michigan.
In order to balance out his creative side, Bronski pursued a bachelor’s degree in business at the Detroit College of Business. During this time, he continued to cook by competing in the Culinary Olympics in Europe. He competed against 35 different countries and won gold in 1992 and silver in 1996 and 2000. Other accomplishments include achieving his Certified Executive Chef Certification.
Bronski has held various chef positions. Industries of experience include private clubs, hotel/conference centers, and casual and upscale restaurants as well as large volume feeding houses and off site catering. A move to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2003 resulted in the opening of Dry Aged Steakhouse followed by working in the kitchen as Executive Chef with Chops Steakhouse. Further expanding his experience and diversity, Bronski delved into the sales industry working for Sysco Food Services, Live Nation and Reinhart Food Service.
Experience in the kitchen, along with working with national manufacturing representatives, regional brokerage firms, allows Bronski to Eat With Us Group and Sweet Peppers Franchise Systems with excellent food while enhancing business practices.