Seminoles in the Spotlight

John Rivers of 4Rivers BBQ

John Rivers is a 1989 graduate of Florida State University. He currently resides in Orlando and is the owner of 4Rivers BBQ that has 14 locations in two states. We caught up with John to discuss his time at FSU and how he found success in the difficult restaurant business.

1) When were you at FSU and did you live in a dorm, where did he live?

I was at FSU '85-'89 and lived in a frat house. No dorms.

2) When on campus, what were your hopes career-wise after college?

I wanted a leadership role in the business side of healthcare primarily pharmaceuticals.

3) BBQ business - from the first small location that everyone waited in line for on Fairbanks, to multiple locations (NOT FRANCHISED). What's the secret to growing the BBQ empire?

Consistency in delivery, invoking brand passion from not only guests, but our team members.

4) Being a Noles fan isn't always easy, what's your favorite moment as a fan?

Being a Noles fan is always easy! My favorite moment was definitely Pasadena.

5) 100 years from now, what do you want people to remember about John Rivers?

I want people to remember me for community contributions, leadership style, and darn good BBQ!

6) 4R has done several events to support the local communities - even opened twice on a Sunday (usually closed). Why is it important to connect to the community?

People buy from people - this is the basis. The community involvement grows our relationship with guests. Our relationship is built on trust like any other relationship (it goes both ways). This trust builds our business.

7) What do you miss the most about days at FSU and what would you tell a young John Rivers that he didn't know then?

I miss Friday afternoons at Phirst. I would tell a young John to relax and be patient because it all works out in time (not that he would listen).

8) What question have you always wanted to answer but never been asked?

This one!

Thank you so much to John! If you have any Noles that are making news around the Orlando area and want us to focus on them, please email the club!