Dan Evans, the former Bob Evans Inc. CEO who worked at the company for half a century and is credited with much of the chain’s growth, died at age 74 on Christmas Eve.
The Columbus-based company said Evans died at Riverside Methodist Hospital on Christmas Eve. Evans started at Bob Evans in a Xenia, Ohio, sausage production plant in 1956 and became chairman and CEO in 1971. He succeeded his father, Emerson Evans, the company’s founding leader. Dan Evans is the cousin of the company’s namesake, who died in 2007.
Evans retired as CEO in 2000 and chairman the following year before retiring from the board in 2006. In his three decades leading the company, Evans helped expand the restaurant chain’s nationwide footprint and its sausage-making operation, bringing Bob Evans past the $1 billion annual sales mark. The company recorded $1.73 billion in revenue in the year ended April 30.
CEO Steve Davis in a statement said Evans “leaves a tremendous legacy, which we are honored to continue each day.”
Bob Evans owns and operates 569 namesake restaurants in 18 states. The company also runs 145 restaurants under its upscale Mimi’s Cafe nameplate.
Bob Evans has a distribution facility in Clark County, Ohio, as well as multiple restaurants in the Dayton region.