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Hangin' at Roys

Owners of local restaurant chain to be recognized for community involvement.

Greg Doyle is a regular at the Roy Rogers in Manchester Lakes Shopping Center. The Franconia resident spends much of the time sipping coffee and talking to the other regulars and employees that he sees from day to day. Doyle likes the community feel that the restaurant exudes, attributing it to the owners, the Todd family, who live in Mount Vernon.

“This is like a ‘Cheers,’” said Doyle, referring to the 1980's television series where “everybody knows your name,” at least according to the theme song.

“It’s a corner bar but it’s not a bar,” Doyle said.

Roy Rogers' owner Jim Todd is glad to hear such comments from the regulars. Todd, who owns four Roy Rogers in the Alexandria area, likes the sense of community that surrounds the restaurants. He has given back so much to the area in the last 20 years that his efforts have now been acknowledged.

On March 3, Supervisors Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) and Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) nominated Todd Restaurants to be officially recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

“Todd Restaurants have played a lead role in countless community initiatives including sponsoring hundreds of fund raisers for local Lee and Mount Vernon district schools. The restaurant group has also promoted senior events and other civic-minded activities in our neighborhoods,” the proclamation read. The civic-minded activities included providing food for back-to-school nights, feeding various school groups, buying uniforms for community baseball teams, and other funding initiatives.

According to Kauffman, “the board unanimously voted to move ahead with the recognition,” he said. The official total of money donated to the school night program is $89,640 and $3,212 for this year alone, according to the sign in the restaurant. In addition, the Todds sponsor Little League teams through each restaurant location. In Franconia, the restaurant's walls are adorned with team pictures of the Franconia Pirates and Rangers.

BY RECOGNIZING Todd Restaurants, Kauffman aims to spread the message of community involvement. “I hope we inspire other small businesses to follow their model,” he said.

On April 12, the Todd Restaurants is celebrated its 20th anniversary in the area with raffles, drawings and food. One person at each restaurant won a meal a day for a year. Doyle was at the celebration along with fellow regulars John Clapp and John Hoskins.

“It’s almost like family,” Doyle said.

“You come in every day, you get to know them,” said Clapp.

Todd noted that when he took over the restaurants in 1986, the employee turnover rate was around 400 percent, and now it is about 30 percent. Some managers have worked their way up from hourly employees due to the friendly atmosphere, he said.

“They do stick around for quite a few years,” Todd said.

Todd's son Jeff, the district manager, tends to the day-to-day activities of the store. The Todds have owned the original stores in Hybla Valley and Woodlawn since 1986, and added the Belle View location in 1988, and then the Manchester Lakes location in 1990.

Although the matter was brought up before the board in March, they are busy voting on school decisions for the next few weeks, and will vote on it in June, said Bill Miller, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Government Office of Public Affairs.