Burton M. “Skip” Sack ’61 is partner and chairman of Classic Restaurant Concepts. He serves on the board of the National Restaurant Association, of which he is a past chairman. Sack began his career in the restaurant industry at the age of 13 as a dishwasher for Howard Johnson’s. At 17 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and rose to the rank of sergeant. Immediately upon his discharge three years later, he enrolled in Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Following his graduation in 1961, Sack joined the Howard Johnson’s as an advertising assistant and soon became assistant director of marketing and vice president of public relations.
In 1984, Sack became the second franchisee of Applebee’s, acquiring the right to develop the New England territory. At the time, Applebee’s had only two restaurants. His first restaurant opened in 1986, and by 1994 he had 16 restaurants operating in four New England states that employed more than 1,300 people. That year he sold his restaurant operations to Applebee’s International and continued to work as executive vice president. He served as a member of its Board of Directors until 2007 when the company was sold.
Sack has privately invested in more than 50 startup companies and serves on the boards of Tibersoft Corporation, Tempra Technologies, Evolucia Lighting, and Cambryn Biologics. He is a founding member of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum, a member of the Board of Governors of the Marine Corps Association, and a trustee of the Marine Corps Association Foundation.
Sack is a former president of the Cornell Hotel Society. In 2011, he was recognized as Cornell Hotel Society Southeast Regional Hotelie of the Year. He has served as a member of the School of Hotel Administration Dean’s Advisory Board and is a life member of Cornell University Council. Sack and his wife Gail live in Longboat Key, Florida and spend the summers on Cape Cod.