ABOUT DEBO’S DINERS

Over the years, Debo’s Diners has become a well-respected, award-winning business. We measure our success not by the revenues we earn, but by the purpose we serve: to improve the lives of our guests, employees, and the members of the communities we serve. We accomplish our purpose by allowing everything we say and do to be guided by six core values:

Character
Above all else, we have the courage and discipline to do what is right based on the principles of honesty, integrity, and professionalism.
SERVICE
We sacrifice personally to create "WOW" experiences for team members, guests, and the community.
TEAMWORK
We succeed through servant leadership, and respectful, fun, and selfless cooperation.
GRATITUDE
We recognize and point out the best in people, things, and situations.
GROWTH
We battle the status quo by consistently improving every day.
EXCELLENCE
We despise mediocrity and always do our best.

OUR Core Purpose TO MAKE PEOPLE’S LIVES BETTER

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MEET OUR LEADERS

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Debbie Richman

Debbie “Debo” Richman began her professional career as a 15-year-old waitress at a Steak ‘n Shake in Indianapolis. Debbie’s family was poor, her home life was difficult, and she dropped out of high school and struck out on her own when she was only 16. In the years following, she earned her GED, married, had children, and continued her work in the restaurant industry.

In 1995, Debbie and her husband moved to Chattanooga to open the Steak ‘n Shake on Gunbarrel Road, which immediately became one of the country’s top-five busiest Steak ‘n Shakes. Buoyed by the success of their first business venture, the two opened four more Steak ‘n Shakes in the Chattanooga area.

When the couple divorced in 2000, Debbie was faced with a life-altering decision: sell her share of the restaurants to her ex-husband, or buy his share. She courageously chose the latter, becoming the sole owner and president of one of the country’s busiest Steak ‘n Shake franchises.

From day one, Debbie conducted business differently. She valued people before profit and always worked to make people’s lives better. When the Great Recession hit she had a difficult, but seemingly necessary, choice to make: keep her employee’s benefits or keep her business? Instead of giving up on her 350 employees and their families, she found a way to keep her business and benefits by taking out loans and getting a second mortgage on her home.

Debbie’s unique approach to business is working. Her company, Debo’s Diners, was recognized as Chattanooga’s “Small Business of the Year” in 2000, and Steak ‘n Shake’s “Franchise of the Year” in 2012. She owns two of the top five busiest Steak ‘n Shakes in the world, and in October of 2014 acquired two more Steak ‘n Shakes in Knoxville, with the rights to build three more. Debbie attributes her success to loyal team members and guests, and a corporate culture that values people before profit.

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Matt Richman

Debbie’s oldest son, Matt, grew up working in her restaurants with the single-minded goal of acquiring significant wealth. His purpose changed when he became a Christian and realized that there was more to life than money. He instead began searching for a profession that would allow him to positively impact the lives of others.

Matt pursued careers in education and Christian ministry, all the while observing his mother’s unique people-centered approach to business. Debbie’s work sparked his realization that a for-profit company could be driven by something greater than money: doing good, and empowering people.

He joined Debo’s Diners in 2012, and currently serves as Vice President of the Chattanooga market and President of the Knoxville market. Matt is also the founder of Billboards for Education, which is a unique outdoor advertising company that donates 10% of every dollar, from every billboard, to local schools.

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Mike Richman

Mike, Debbie’s younger son, always knew he wanted to join Debo’s Diners. To prepare him to manage the financial side of the company, Mike worked as an auditor for Joseph Decosimo and Company PLLC (presently Elliott Davis Decosimo), where he completed audits and provided reviews and compilations for privately owned businesses, public corporations and nonprofits.

As a certified public accountant(CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and a financial industry veteran, Mike provides informed, financial leadership that allows Debo’s Diners to thrive and fulfill it’s core purpose of making people’s lives better.

He joined Debo's Diners in 2014, and currently serves as Vice President of the Chattanooga and Knoxville markets.

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DISTRICT MANAGERS

Liz Silvey

Matt Eller

OFFICE STAFF

Joreen Gainer

Laura Clarke