Following a 20-year career in healthcare, John Rivers retired as President of a billion company to pursue a dream of owning a restaurant. Opening in 2009, 4 Rivers Smokehouse quickly grew to a portfolio that includes 23 restaurants, and a national retail and wholesale presence. 4 Rivers went on to be named “The South’s Best BBQ” by Southern Living and ranked the “#1 BBQ Restaurant Chain” by MSN.
Born out of John’s garage, the “Barbeque Ministry” remains at the heart of the company’s mission to lift up those in need and help build better communities. The culmination of the 4R Foundation’s work, the Orlando based 4Roots Farm serves as an Orlando icon to inspire revolutionary change in Florida’s food system through education in sustainable farming practices, advancements in agriculture technology, and research in culinary health.
John has been named one of the Restaurant Industry’s Power 20 Leaders by Restaurant Business & News, Restauranter of the Year by Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful, 15 to Watch”. John had the honor of cooking at the prestigious James Beard House and was twice named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
John serves on the Boards of Florida State University and the Rosen School of Hospitality at UCF and is a member the Florida Governor’s Council of 100. A recipient of the FSU College of Business, and Rosen College Hospitality Hall of Fame Awards, John lives in Winter Park with his wife and two children and is involved in numerous school, church, and local charity organizations.