Founder, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality Corp., Reston
Hall of Fame member
A Hampden-Sydney College and University of Virginia Darden School of Business alum who grew up in the town of Windsor in Isle of Wight County, Thompson started his company in 1992 after purchasing 31 Big Boy restaurants from Marriott Corp., his former employer. Today, Thompson Hospitality is the nation’s largest minority-owned hospitality business, providing food service for universities and corporations all over the country, as well as holding stakes in multiple restaurant chains, including Matchbox and Velocity Restaurant & Hospitality Group, a partnership started in 2022.
A former member of HSC’s board of trustees who has also served on U.Va.’s board of visitors and Pepsi-Cola’s African American Advisory Board, Thompson says he intends to continue growing his company’s restaurant portfolio, which is rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. His advice to younger entrepreneurs: “Spend some time in that industry working for someone else. Put in your time; make mistakes on their dime.”
Making strides: Virginia Business 2023 Black Leaders Award winners