A goal to serve the community grows into the diners of today

Born from a desire to bring classic, home-style comfort food and unparalleled service back to American diners, today’s Black Bear Diner delivers on that original goal, and then some.

We are a family diner unlike anything in the market.

Representing the best of the American dream, Bruce Dean and Bob Manley grew their idea of a welcoming place for friends to gather into a prospering, family-focused restaurant that has its sights set on dominating the category. Take a look at where we began and where we’re going.


1st Diner opens in Mt. Shasta, CA


Franchising is offered for 1st time


30th Diner opens, sales exceed $50M


Opened 100th location, named a “disruptor” in family dining by NRN


25th Anniversary,
143 Locations in 14 States


156 Diners in

  14 States

Two friends, a dream and bears

Double rainbow over Black Bear

Born in the small mountain town of Mount Shasta, CA, founders Bruce Dean and Bob Manley created their first diner with a black bear theme. They wanted it to be a place where family and friends could be served home-cooked meals with a focus on providing guests with exceptional service. Their vision also included a community-centered atmosphere, where small-town values like honesty, integrity and hard work were honored. Over 25 years later, Black Bear Diner is thriving and still serving the same genuine experience.

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Bear Statue holding Welcome sign

Bears that care on a mission to give back

Our Franchise Partners are highly involved in supporting the communities in which they do business. Our giving mission is to support philanthropic efforts — we do this as a company on a national level and within the local community through sponsorship and fundraising events.

Bears Brew Back Nicaragua logo

Started in 2018, Bears Brew Back supports the Nicaraguan families that grow the single-origin coffee we serve in our restaurants. The program provides support for infrastructure, medical and educational-focused activities. Beginning as an internal program, it quickly gained momentum. Today, our guests can support this important endeavor by purchasing bags of the 100% Nicaraguan coffee at our Diners, with all profits going to fund Bears Brew Back initiatives.

Our first project is well pump improvement and piping construction. This new system will bring easily accessible running water to the homes in Mancotal, a community where many of our beans are grown. Bears Brew Back is also funding a medical care van to visit this relatively remote village where routine medical care is not available and providing school supplies to the children.

Make-A-Wish logo

Save Room For A Wish® is our annual fundraiser to help grant the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses. Held each December, funds are raised through limited-time-only dessert offerings and the sale of $1 and $5 Wish Stars. We have currently raised over $1 million dollars for Make-A-Wish®.

Gold Country Wildlife Rescue logo

3Bears is a fundraiser in partnership with Gold Country Wildlife Rescue focusing on providing rehabilitative care to three bears rescued during the 2021 Dixie Fire. Since we announced our support of these three cubs, the Black Bear Community has raised $17,300 which will go toward enclosures and facility improvements. If you’d like to learn more about this project visit goldcountrywildliferescue.org

Dine and Donate logo

We love to give back to the communities that support our local Black Bear Diners. Our Dine & Donate is a community/grassroots fundraising program that allows us to partner up with local organizations, schools or churches looking for an idea to raise funds for their cause or purpose.

Meet some of the bears that head up our den

Bruce Dean

Bruce Dean

Executive Chairman & Co-Founder

  • Co-founded Black Bear Diner in 1995
  • 40+ years of restaurant industry experience
  • Former Chair of the Board of the California Restaurant Association
Anita Adams

Anita Adams

Chief Executive Officer

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2017 and served as CFO & President
  • Formerly CFO for American Blue Ribbon Holdings and part of the executive team that grew the business to $1.2B of revenue across 4 brands
  • Previously Controller for VICORP Restaurants
  • Prior experience at First Data and PricewatershouseCoopers
Jeff Guido`

Jeff Guido

Chief Operating Officer

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2019
  • Formerly President of Family Dining for American Blue Ribbon Holdings
  • Previously President of Village Inn – Restaurants for VICORP Restaurants
Steve Sparks

Steve Sparks

Chief Financial Officer

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2019
  • Formerly CFO for American Blue Ribbon Holdings, managing 4 restaurant brands
  • Previous FP&A experience with O’Charley’s, Inc.
  • Prior retail and public accounting experience
Tammy Johns

Tammy Johns

Chief People Officer

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2019
  • Formerly Chief People Officer for Farmer Boys Foods
  • Previously VP of Human Resources for Lemonade Restaurant Group
  • Formerly VP of Human Resources Strategic Acquisition Company
Chad Corrigan

Chad Corrigan

VP of Franchise Sales & Development

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2021
  • 14+ years of franchise development strategy experience with well-known restaurant franchises, including Jack in the Box, Qdoba, Tokyo Joe’s and Quiznos
  • Previously VP of Real Estate and Franchise Development for Nashville-based Restaurant Growth Services, LLC
  • Restaurant industry veteran
  • Bachelor’s, Texas A&M University and MBA, University of Colorado
Joanna Dean

Joanna Dean

VP IT & Culinary

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2008
  • 25+ years industry veteran
  • Key roles of increased responsibility in IT, operations, culinary, training & restaurant management
Jolisa Johnson

Jolisa Johnson

VP of Marketing & Communications

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2011
  • Formerly Vice President for Engelbrecht Advertising
  • Prior full-service advertising experience

Camille Chavez

Camille Chavez

VP of Training & Development

  • Joined Black Bear Diner in 2019
  • Formerly Director of Training at Farmer Boys Foods
  • Previously Implementation and Project Management at Custom Business Solutions
  • Previously Director of Training at Sweet Life Enterprises
  • Previously Director of Training at Carrows Restaurants
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