2024 Alumni Honour Award


Dr. Greg Roberts (B.Comm.’96, LLD’23)

MBI Brands
Dr. Greg Roberts is from Triton Island, located on the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.  He grew up with 10 siblings and after high school, left home to pursue his education at Memorial University. He graduated with a bachelor of commerce (co-operative) and went on to become a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School after graduating from the President’s Program in Leadership.

In 1998, he started his first business, Pilley’s Island Enterprises Limited, with a $20,000 loan from his brother. His first business was a small gas station and seasonal restaurant. Over the years, the company became involved in health care, real estate, retailing and restaurants. However, it was in restaurants and hospitality where Greg found his passion. 

Today, the company is involved in every restaurant type from quick serve to fine dining, including the Mary Brown’s Chicken brand. Mary Brown’s is currently Canada’s fastest growing restaurant chain. Together, the restaurants and brands employ over 6,000 people.

The company also owns the Fat Bastard Burrito brand. The brands open a restaurant every five-to-seven days and is now opening sites in international markets including Ireland, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Mexico and other countries.

The company, under MBI Brands, was recently named Canada’s Hospitality Company of the Year. It also has the Canada’s Best Managed (Gold Member) designation and has received many other awards including CFA’s Franchisee Satisfaction Award (2012-2023).

Dr. Roberts has won many awards over the years including: Canada’s Top 40 Under 40; BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Chartered Accountants Early Achievement Award; Restaurants Canada Leadership Award and others.  

In 2019, he was inducted into the Newfoundland & Labrador Business Hall of Fame. In 2023, Memorial University awarded him the doctorate of laws for his commitment to rural Newfoundland and Labrador, entrepreneurial spirit, philanthropy and leadership. 

To this day, Dr. Roberts devotes a lot of his time to studying and working on people development and change management. He believes the key to success in any organization is developing your people through the pillars of devotion. This includes using a fair rewards system; providing opportunities for advancement through training; having a bonding culture; and by defining and making every position important.

His ultimate career goal is to have an impact on improving the quality of life for people working in the restaurant industry by setting an example in his own organization and through advocacy.