Skip to main content
WVU has announced plans for on-campus classes this fall, with base tuition and fees unchanged. Visit the Return to Campus website for the latest.

J. Michael Bodnar

2011 Inductee

Mike is actively involved as a real estate developer/investor and equity capitalist in start-up restaurants as well as the more established restaurant brands such as Jim & Nick's BBQ (28 unit, $3M+ AUV).

J. Michael Bodnar has had a highly successful career in the hospitality industry. He graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in 1970. Upon graduation, he spent 5 years as CFO and CAO of Shoney's, Inc. (averaging more than $100 million annually). Mike became an early franchisee of Wendy's International with operations in Alabama and Georgia. In addition, he founded a software company that became the Back Office Software provided for the Wendy's System. Over a decade, he built a very successful business and took the company public (Restaurant Systems Incorporated - ticker symbol 'RSI') with more than $50 million in revenue. Mike ultimately merged RSI with the parent company and remained in the Wendy's system as a franchisee in multiple markets, including 40 units in New York City, and a contract manager for troubled franchisees and/or lenders. These markets included metropolitan New York and Long Island, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Ft. Lauderdale, Knoxville, Austin, Pacific Northwest and Hilton Head South Carolina. During this period, Mike developed many additional Wendy's restaurants and these operations had annual company-wide revenue of $60 million dollars. He was recognized as one of the most influential innovators in the Wendy's system and won numerous awards for his operations, as well as serving on the prestigious Franchise Advisory Council and National Advertising Council.

After selling his Wendy's operations, Mike became involved in a variety of operating businesses and philanthropic activities including:

  • Developing a 20 unit chain of double drive thru restaurants called Maxie's, in the panhandle of Florida, selling the chain to Rally's in 1994.
  • He and a partner purchased Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, CO a gem of the Rockies Ski Area with 550 skiable acres and he remains active in that venture.
  • Operating a Dairy Queen Territorial Agreement in Alabama and North Florida consisting of 3 Company and 68 Franchised Stores and then successfully selling the company to International Dairy Queen.
  • Founding Bodnar Investment Group to develop real estate, provide start-up equity, back office systems, and consulting for new restaurants.
  • Creating the Bodnar Foundation which provides generous support for numerous causes including Save the Children, the Congressional Medal of Honor Initiative, and various school and church organizations.

In 1999 Mike was recruited to Shoney's, Inc. to serve as CEO. He helped build the annual sales revenue to more than $1 billion and repositioned the business to spin off Captain D's, Pargo's and COI.

Mike is an active Board Member in the business. His primary focus has been on developing and growing restaurants in the fast casual segment, which currently include Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe (14 unit, $1.4M AUV), Riff Burgers (2 unit, $1.2M), Tellini's Italian Café (3 unit, $1.4M) and Martins BBQ Joint (1 unit, $1.8M). In all of the restaurant concepts, Mike emphasizes brand identification, fresh high quality food, systems/standards and operational excellence. He is building the concepts by attracting and retaining outstanding partners and operators in the industry and supporting them with world class operating support systems and training.

Mike currently serves as an active advisor to WVU in helping to establish a Hospitality Program in the School of Business and Economics. He and Doug Van Scoy recently built and donated a Taziki's Mediterranean Café to the College of B&E in support of that program.