FM Top 50 firm Metz Culinary Management, Inc. has announced the passing of its founder, John C. Metz, on May 8, 2023, at the age of 83. He is survived by his children John, Jeff, and Maureen, who are all active in the industry. Jeff Metz currently serves as president/CEO and Maureen as executive vice president of Metz Culinary Management and John, Jr. as CEO and executive chef of another FM Top 50 firm, Sterling Culinary Management, which he co-founded with his father, who also served as Sterling’s chairman of the board.
John Metz started his career in entry-level positions in the foodservice industry, then went on to serve as a cook in the U.S. Army. After leaving the Army in 1967, he saw a need for foodservice management in the market and founded Custom Management Corp., which eventually became one of the country's largest food service management companies. Metz sold the company to Morrison's Hospitality in 1987 and became chairman and CEO of the resultant Morrison’s Custom Management.
After several years with Custom Management, Metz turned to commercial restaurants, specifically T.G.I. Friday’s. He franchised his first Friday’s in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., which continues to be one of the most successful locations for the brand. He was awarded Friday’s Domestic Franchise Developer of the Year in 1995 and Franchisee Group of the Year in 2011 and 2016. At the time of his passing, Metz owned and operated nine Friday’s restaurants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Metz expanded his restaurant holding in 2008 to include Northeastern Pennsylvania’s first and only Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
Metz returned to the food service management industry in 1994 with the launch Metz Culinary Management, which has compiled a diversified portfolio of accounts in markets like healthcare, K-12, higher education and corporate dining. It posted revenues of nearly $500 million last year, a 23% increase from the previous year as the company made a highly successful rebound from the ravages of the COVID pandemic. He further expanded management services in 2000 to include custodial, housekeeping, and maintenance offerings with the addition of Metz Environmental Services. Following his time as CEO, Metz served as executive chairman of the board of directors, overseeing the growth of nearly 500 clients in 20 states on the East Coast and Midwest.
“Our father was passionate about the power of food to bring people together,” said John Metz, Jr. “He was a man of tremendous integrity who knew how to make people feel special by sharing his warmth, smile, and contagious laughter.”
Throughout his career, Metz served on many food industry, general leadership, and community-focused boards and was recognized with numerous awards as an industry and community leader, most notably the IFMA Silver Plate Award in 1979, which honors outstanding and innovative talents in the hospitality industry. Metz was extremely proud that both of his sons also received the same Silver Plate honor, with John Jr. also receiving the Gold Plate in 2013. Notably, the Marriott family was the only other family to have three members win this award. Metz was also awarded the Nations Restaurant News Golden Chain Award and, through this, was voted by his peers for the prestigious MUFSO (Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators) Operator of the Year Award in 2002.
During his distinguished career, Metz served on many boards of directors, including the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation, the Leadership Roundtable, and Misericordia University, where he served as a past chairman of the board.
“Even in light of his many accomplishments, Dad was always humble and down-to-earth,” said Maureen Metz. “He was a mentor, friend, and role model to so many, and his legacy will continue to inspire and guide us.”
“We are comforted by the knowledge that his spirit will live on in the company he created and in the hearts of all who knew him,” added Jeff Metz. “We will honor his memory and life’s work by continuing to uphold the values he held dear and working together to build on the foundation that he laid.”