Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group of Upper Macungie Township, a Red Robin Franchise that operates 21 locations in the Greater Lehigh Valley and surrounding area, has a new leader.
Mike Axiotis has been named as the company’s new CEO. He is taking over for Jim Ryan, who has announced his retirement.
“It is with distinct pleasure and great pride that I pass the baton to Mike Axiotis,” said Ryan in a statement. “… Mike’s special influence touches all the greatest aspects and values of our company.”
Axiotis has been with the restaurant group for the past two decades. He started as manager of the company's first Red Robin Restaurant off of Tilghman Street in Allentown and then worked up through various levels of management. Most recently, he was president of the company.
He said watching the company grow over the years has been one of the highlights of working for the restaurant group. He noted that he oversaw 11 restaurant openings.
He said his biggest goal is simply to carry on the legacy of the Ryan and his predecessors. His biggest challenge is one that is a common concern in the restaurant industry.
"Staying ahead of the competition in our industry and retaining top talent in this low unemployment environment," he said.
In the past year, Axiotis was elected to the board of directors of the National Restaurant Association, where he serves on the advocacy committee. He also serves on the executive committee of the state board of directors of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.
LVRG was formed in 1991 by founder and former CEO Stephen J. Hanzlik and a group of his friends. They opened their first Red Robin restaurant in 1993 at Tilghman Square in Allentown.