“Who is Mary Brown? Is she a real person?”
We hear that a lot. So right here, right now, the mystery is solved. Mary Brown is 100% real. In fact, she was a lovely lady from Virginia, USA – a lady with an incredible recipe for southern fried chicken. After serving it to her family for years, her husband decided that the rest of the world deserved to eat as well as he did. He met with two wise gents from Newfoundland, Canada, who immediately fell in love with Mary’s chicken (and likely Mary too, but that’s another story). They bought the recipe, made their way back to Canada and started a chicken revolution. (Dramatic yes, but we take our chicken very seriously.)
Originally named Golden Skillet, the restaurant was re-named Mary Brown’s in the 1970s in honour of the woman behind the recipe.
Did Mary actually look like this? We’ll leave that to your imagination.
It’s 1969. The launch of Apollo 11. And the launch of Mary Brown’s.
We told you we took our Chicken seriously. While the rest of the world watched the first man walk on the moon, we watched the first Guest walk through our doors in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Needless to say, it was a giant leap for chicken. Word quickly spread and stores opened across the province. It soon became the chicken of choice. Part of the culture. Iconic even. Mary had found her home. But soon, very soon, she would, pardon the pun, spread her wings.
1972. Mary Brown’s reaches
Ontario – and beyond.
By 1972, the secret of Mary Brown’s tantalizing chicken was out. Two stores opened in Ontario that year in Oshawa and Mississauga. From there, growth expanded west to Alberta, back east to the Maritimes, out to the Prairies and more recently, all the way to British Columbia. When the food is this good and the service is this welcoming, we just keep on growing! Sit tight, we’ll be in your area soon!
Today, Mary Brown’s Famous
Chicken & Taters is Canada’s
There are well over 130 Mary Brown’s locations across Canada, and that number keeps climbing each and every year. What’s more, we’re growing in every direction, coast-to-coast, as more and more people discover just how delicious Made Fresh from Scratch™ chicken can be. Have a look at some of our stats. (Pardon us while we crow about our success.)
All Canadian and proud of it!
Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters is 100% Canadian owned and operated.
Our way of doing things is decidedly Canadian – be polite, keep your promises and put people first. No matter how many stores we open across this great country, we’ll stick by those values. We promise.
Meet Greg Roberts:
the man behind the magic of Mary Brown’s
Passion for the Brand
Greg Roberts, the CEO and sole owner of Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, is soft spoken and easy to talk to – the kind of person you’d enjoy chatting with over dinner. Especially if you’re serving Mary Brown’s. He’s incredibly passionate about this brand – how far it’s come and where he plans to take it in the future.
Greg was born and raised on Triton Island in Green Bay, central Newfoundland; he is one of 11 children. His father died when Greg was a young boy, but not before instilling in him the importance of working hard, putting customers first and always giving back. His father operated a small service station where going the extra mile to help a customer was simply how they did business. Greg’s grandfather and great-grandfather were also small business owners. He credits their legacy for his work ethic and entrepreneurship.
Accolades and Achievements
Roberts was named one of 'Canada's Top 40 under 40' in 2011 and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008. He's been the recipient of the 'Chartered Accountants Early Achievement Award' and numerous others.
Committed to personal excellence and continuous development for himself and his people, Greg is a member of the exclusive Young Presidents Organization. Each year he joins other leading CEOs from around the world at Harvard Business School for study and seminars. These sessions help form the foundation of Mary Brown's strategy, operational tactics and brand evolution.
Education and Early Years
Greg has a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a Chartered Accountant and CPA.
Roberts decided public accounting wasn’t his calling early in his career, so in 1998 he bought a tiny gas station on Pilley’s Island in rural Newfoundland with $20,000 he borrowed from his brother. With tenacity and diligence, he also managed to buy a pharmacy and other retail businesses in the area, including several pizza parlours. Shortly after he discovered Mary Brown’s – the start of a beautiful and successful relationship. In all his business ventures, Greg has been hands-on, working all the roles, understanding the importance of every person, every job, every contribution to success.
Roberts’ first Mary Brown’s franchise was in Springdale, NL; from there he picked up three more. In 2007, Greg Roberts bought the Mary Brown’s brand and company. He saw Mary Brown’s tremendous potential. He had a big picture strategy. Under his leadership, it’s becoming a reality.
Respect, Devotion and Excellence
Greg believes strongly in community engagement and getting involved in the towns where Mary Brown's stores are located. Delivering hospitality to every Guest and high store standards are his driving force. He invests heavily in training, people development and building a culture of respect, always leading by example.
With over 130 stores across Canada and 20 opening in the next year, clearly Greg's approach is working. Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters is Canada’s fastest-growing franchise. “The brand is really taking off. It’s a great product, with a recipe that’s Made Fresh from Scratch™. The others simply can’t touch us on this,” says Roberts.
Undercover Boss Canada
A few years back, Roberts appeared on “Undercover Boss Canada,” a reality television show. “I met loyal, hardworking staff working in Mary Brown's across Canada. It was a humbling experience,” he says. Roberts' generosity was evident on the show and continues today. Greg believes strongly in community support. In fact, he insists that Mary Brown’s Franchisees get involved in their neighbourhoods and towns, helping worthwhile causes and becoming entrenched in their communities. Greg’s father would be proud.
“So far, so good,” says the always modest Roberts.
Frankly, we think Greg Roberts and Mary Brown’s are just getting started!