David W. Anderson is an author, speaker, civic leader, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the founder and former CEO of Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que family of restaurants.
Before launching Famous Dave's, Anderson enjoyed a successful sales career with Fortune 500 companies and founded a gaming management/investment firm. He helped found three publicly traded companies, and in 1986, he earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University.
In 1994, Anderson helped form Rainforest Café, a themed family-restaurant group. In October of that same year, he opened Famous Dave's BBQ Shack in Hayward, Wisconsin. Soon, the restaurant was serving up to 8,000 customers a week, and was voted the "hottest restaurant concept in America." The company grew quickly, adding locations throughout the Midwest and beyond, and in 1996, Famous Dave's went public (NASDAQ). Two years later, Anderson began franchising Famous Dave's of America. Today, the company has 53 locations and 133 franchises in 33 states and one Canadian province, and continues to grow, with earnings of almost $40 million.
A Native American, Anderson has served two presidents and three governors in advisory positions and has helped turn around struggling Indian reservations and Native American businesses. Dedicated to "making a difference in the world," Anderson and his family founded the LifeSkills Center for Leadership, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk and underprivileged Native American youth. "Never work for today's paycheck, always work for tomorrow's opportunity." — David W. Anderson