The Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, a Red Robin franchise covering eastern and central Pennsylvania, promoted Mike Axiotis to president.
His leadership the past seven years has guided the organization’s team to accomplish the successful opening of four restaurants, 16 brand transformation projects, the launch of the LVRG catering platform and many other initiatives, according to the restaurant group. He previously was executive vice president of operations.
In addition to the effort spent on the development of his team, Axiotis put considerable effort into his personal development. He said he recently earned a certification from Georgetown University in franchise management and operations and is pursuing his franchise executive certification with plans to graduate this fall.
“I love the restaurant business,” Axiotis said. “I grew up in the industry. I used to own my own restaurant prior to joining Red Robin.”
Axiotis owned Diner 248 near Easton before joining the Red Robin franchise.
Headquartered on Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group opened its first restaurant in 1993 in the Tilghman Square shopping center in South Whitehall Township.
Axiotis now heads an organization that employs 2,000 team people, including in the Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Lancaster, Harrisburg and the Philadelphia markets.
The jobs the franchise creates and opportunities it gives employees are reasons why Axiotis enjoys his work.
Employees who start off as line cooks and servers often go on to become managers, district managers and general managers, he said.
“It’s afforded me the opportunity to move up the corporate ladder,” Axiotis said. “That’s my favorite part of the job, watching people grow and develop into professionals. This industry offers a pathway to the middle class.”
The organization also does a lot for the community, he said.
Axiotis serves on the Light the Night Walk executive committee and chaired the Light the Night Walk in 2016, as his efforts have helped to raise more than $600,000 the past eight years for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
He is treasurer of the board for the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, serves on the state board for PRLA and recently was nominated for a position on the board of the National Restaurant Association.