Michael Snyder has been involved in developing the Red Robin franchise since its inception, leading the company to great success and expansion. Anxious to create his own business and emerge from his family-owned wholesale bakery, Mr. Snyder became the first Red Robin franchisee in 1979, opening a restaurant in Yakima, Washington. He then went on to open several restaurants in Colorado and then more across the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Mr. Snyder built a total of 13 restaurants, which brought in a combined $40 million annually. In running his own franchises as CEO of The Snyder Group Company, he had a vision of the family-friendly, customer-focused, high-quality gourmet burger chain the company could be. He was able to realize this dream on the corporate level when he took control over the franchise in 1996, after Japanese food-service company Skylark had little luck running it. He merged it with his own franchise to create Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. Since taking over the company, Mr. Snyder has led it to great success. In 2005, after the franchise hit one billion dollars in sales, Restaurant Hospitality magazine named it “Chain of the Year.” In 2008, the chain opened its 400th location in Covington, Washington. In 2010, in the spirit of excellent customer service, the company launched its first iPhone application, encouraging its clients to customize meal orders based on dietary and taste preference through their mobile devices. In addition to taking care of customers, Mr. Snyder ensures that the company also keeps its employees in mind. Its staff "Giving Fund" provides financial assistance to employees in need. With the help of this program, a server can pay his rent even if an injury temporarily prevents him from working, or a busser can afford plane tickets to visit a sick relative. In addition to his professional work, Mr. Snyder spends his time mentoring young entrepreneurs and engaging in outdoor activities. He also supports many charitable organizations, such as Make A Wish and Denver Kids.