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Meet Brian Schultz of Studio Movie Grill in North Dallas/DFW

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Schultz.

Brian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In the early days, I was in politics and convinced I could change the world by heading to Washington. During my tenure as an aide to the late United States Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, I attended a film at the Bethesda Draft House in Maryland and immediately fell in love with the concept of serving food while watching a movie. This experience planted the seed for what would become the Studio Movie Grill (“SMG”).
After much research and traveling across the country, the first movie theater I took on was The Granada, in Dallas, TX in 1993. I then petitioned the movie studios and fought hard for and won the ability to show first-run movies for the “Movie Grill” concept. The public enthusiastically responded. I opened the original Studio Movie Grill in Addison, TX in 1998. With box office success, my focus turned to set a new standard in cinema dining. Today in-theater dining has become the largest growing segment of the movie exhibition industry.

Currently, SMG has theaters in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. SMG offers state-of-the-art sound and projection capabilities, 100% reserved seating and an eclectic American Grill menu featuring its own signature STUDIO wines from Central California. We attract more than 11 million patrons annually and host thousands of corporate and special events. As part of our conscious business initiative and mission to open hearts and minds, one story at a time, SMG hosts special needs screenings, outreach, and fundraising events and offers a Chefs for Children program that donates a percentage of proceeds from the purchase of specific menu items.

I started my journey by earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from California State University, Chico, and became a founding member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. In 2013, I became a grateful recipient of the Regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year®. I am currently a member of YPO as well as Conscious Capitalism and was privileged to be singled out as a leader who has used the pillars of this movement to drive top-team alignment in John Mackey and Raj Sisodia’s book on the subject, “Conscious Capitalism.” For the third consecutive year, I’m proud to say Inc. magazine has ranked Studio Movie Grill on its annual Inc. 5000 for 2018, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies in America.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were definitely struggles along the way. I think those struggles not only help us appreciate our successes, but they also make our successes happen. One of those milestone struggles was the realization, early on, that second run movies would not keep the cinema-eatery profitable and it’s the reason I fought so hard for the ability to show first-run movies for the “Movie Grill” concept. Accomplishing this milestone has allowed SMG and in-theater dining to become the fastest growing segment in the movie exhibition industry.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Studio Movie Grill – what should we know?
I am most proud of building an exemplary team and making an impact in every community we serve. We focus on being purpose driven. We hire people who live with purpose. Our mission to Open Hearts and Minds One Story at a Time is on our headquarters’ lobby wall, on our website, and in our locations to remind us that we are not just pouring drinks, selling tickets, and updating spreadsheets. Everything we do is for the hearts and minds of our stakeholders, our guests, team members, vendors, investors, and community partners.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Early on in my professional life, I learned a great deal from the late Senator Arlen Specter, mainly about the importance of time management, and that my dream of changing the world would have a more positive impact through realizing my vision for creating a cinema eatery than in pursuing a political career. Also, my original business partner, Martin Massman provided me the wherewithal/funding to realize that dream.

I am also grateful to my strongest sounding boards and support systems: YPO, Conscious Capitalism and my family. I have built a strong support system around me because I cannot make decisions in a vacuum and I know where to go to get myself centered, focused and thinking big picture.

In fact, my entire team deserves credit. From our summer staff runners to our tenured leadership team, everyone in the SMG family is invited on board because they already live our mission to open hearts and minds one story at a time. I am really lucky to have a team that truly embraces our desire to leave a positive wake.

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Image Credit:
(C) Studio Movie Grill

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