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Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute

About Robert Howell Brooks

Robert Howell Brooks is a man whose philanthropy and love of Clemson University inspired him to give generously to his alma mater. Born in 1937, Robert Brooks grew up on a farm in Loris, South Carolina. He developed a strong work ethic as a result of his rural background and earned a degree in dairy science at Clemson in 1960. After an internship in Gastonia, North Carolina, Brooks moved on to a sales job at a dairy plant in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

As a child working on the family farm, he never envisioned that he would become a revolutionary in the food-service industry; however, he eventually founded Naturally Fresh, Inc. and became the chairman of Hooters of America, Inc., when he purchased the franchise rights to the restaurant chain. Both companies are highly successful Atlanta-based corporations well known for innovation.

In 1961, he joined a food processing company in Atlanta as a sales engineer before serving active duty in the U.S. Army. After his military service, Brooks joined a food formula company in Philadelphia and saved to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

Brooks formed Eastern Foods in 1966 and combined his dairy background and entrepreneurial drive to develop the first non-dairy creamer in 1967, which primarily served the airline industry. Over time, Eastern Foods began to focus on a more diverse food business. Now known as Naturally Fresh, the company boasts such brands as Jackaroo Meat Sauces and Naturally Fresh dressings, sauces and dips.

In 1984, he began an association with Hooters, a nationwide restaurant chain. Brooks’ division of Hooters of America, Inc. controlled the developmental rights to the concept and quadrupled sales from 1990 through 1995. In April 2001, he consolidated the Hooters concept with the purchase of the trademark from its founders, enabling him to have full control over all business decisions. Today, there are more than 420 Hooters restaurants in 42 states and 29 countries.

Robert H. Brooks poses beside an airplane
Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute
Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute |