Tommy Brann Adds to Legacy After 43 Years and Counting

Marge Wilson Community

mike_dewitt43 years. 16 hour workdays. 9 restaurants. 2 franchises. Zero vacations.


That’s Tommy Brann by the numbers, and you can add one extraordinary work ethic on top of that impressive stack.


As the President of Brann’s Steakhouse, Tommy Brann has been integral to West Michigan and this fall he was awarded the Marge Wilson Community Leadership Award for his contributions and involvement within the community.


“Tommy was nominated because of his community involvement and his concern for our veterans,” stated Marge Wilson of Marge’s Doughnut Den.

Tommy Brann and Marge Wilson
Tommy Brann and Marge Wilson


Brann’s efforts include the GRCC Scholarship Fund, donating $15,000 to the Veterans Park in Grand Rapids, donating another $7,500 to the Wyoming Police Department, and ‘You Deserve a Break’ which provides meals to those in tough times.


On top of the charitable donations, Brann has created hundreds of jobs throughout West Michigan with his restaurants. His work ethic has built a business that allows others to show off their work ethic in order to make a living. Brann attributes all of his working acumen to his father, the founder of Brann’s Steakhouse.


“I started working for my dad in his restaurant when I was 15. When I was 17, I moved out of the the house and into an apartment above my dad’s restaurant,” Brann told WKTV, “I worked so much that I never used my car. I was either at the restaurant or asleep. My best friend, who was also my roommate, actually had my car key copied and would use my car without me ever knowing!”


While work has been his life, lately Tommy has been thinking about his legacy. How will he be remembered beyond Brann’s Steakhouse?


Running a business teaches a lot of lessons, and Tommy has written them all down in his first book titled Mind Your Own Business.


The book covers 13 of Tommy’s lessons about running a small business. Lessons range from managing the actual business to managing those inside, customers and employees both, who make the business run.


Tommy is also a proponent of free enterprise and would like to see it emphasized more in schools. His brainchild is a mentor system that would help at risk 12-13 year old kids by introducing them to free enterprise. The children would work a supervised 6-8 hours per week at $4.25 per hour during normal school time.


Brann’s eyes get big and the excitement picks up when he describes his idea, “When they receive their first paycheck, one that they earned, it will show them the benefits of hard work. That hard work does pay off.”


Tommy’s book Mind Your Own Business is available at Meijer and Schuler’s Bookstore.


For a man as successful as Tommy Brann, what’s his secret? “My biggest fear is letting somebody down,” Brann exclaims.


Well Tommy, you’re too busy picking everyone up to let them down.