Chef & Owner
4R Restaurant Group
John Rivers’ diverse career experience spans two decades and ranges from managing a billion-dollar pharmaceutical distribution operation to opening one of fastest-growing new restaurants in the southeast with his Texas-inspired 4Rivers Smokehouses in Winter Park, Winter Garden and Longwood, Jacksonville, and Gainesville, Florida.
Rivers ended a 20-year career in Healthcare as the President of CuraScript Specialty Distribution where he managed a $1.4 billion pharmaceutical operation. Positions leading up this included leading strategic growth and business development efforts with Johnson & Johnson and American Home Products subsidiary, Sherwood Medical each fine-tuning his experience in business modeling, strategic plan development and leadership skills.
Rivers’ experiences parlayed into the business strategies for his new company, 4R Restaurant Group LLC, the parent company of 4R Smokehouse that operates 5 Smokehouse restaurants in Florida and, 4R Signature Products that manufactures and distributes the 4R line of sauces, rubs and smoked brisket throughout the United States. Brand awareness for 4 Rivers began with the launch of the “BBQ Ministry” in 2004 when Rivers hosted a BBQ fundraiser to support a local family facing the increasing medical bills of their young daughter’s battle with cancer. A dedication to supporting local schools, churches and charitable organizations resulted from this one event that has remained at the core of the 4R companies.
Rivers’ concept immediately garnered recognition resulting in the invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and four consecutive invitations to present at the 2011-2014 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Rivers is scheduled to launch his first cookbook, “The Southern Cowboy” in the fall of 2014 and has appeared on NBC and FOX morning shows as well as The Good Life Network. Among others, Rivers has been celebrated nationally on Food&Wine.com, and in Cigar Aficionado, Restaurant Business, FOOD Magazine, Cooking Light Magazine the Paula Deen Magazine and was most recently named as a finalist for the 2014 Earnest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Rivers is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Business. He serves on the boards of numerous school and community-based charitable organizations and resides in Winter Park, Fla., with his wife Monica and two children, Jared and Cameron.