WARREN - Albert Covelli, founder of Covelli Enterprises in Warren, will be one of two men inducted Oct. 20 into the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame, the organization said Monday.
Covelli, who will be joined by Alan C. Villaverde, president of Peabody Hotels Division, opened his first McDonald's in Warren in 1959. He then built the business up to 27 locations before turning it over to his son, Sam, in 1985.
The company began opening Panera Bread franchises in 1996, and now is the company's largest franchisee with nearly 200 bakery-cafes, including 59 in the Orlando-Tampa, Fla., area.
Along with five O'Charley's Restaurants, Covelli Enterprises is the nation's fifth largest restaurant franchisee with gross annual sales of $400 million-plus. The company employs more than 20,000.
Since 1993, The Albert Covelli Foundation has donated close to $1.3 million to hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations. Covelli also serves on numerous boards and foundations.
Besides the foundation, Covelli Enterprises donates more than $10 million annually in unsold bread and bakery products to local food banks, hunger relief agencies and community organizations in five states.
The 2012 honorees, who will be the 11th and 12th members of the hall of fame, were selected after consultations with the faculty and staff of University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management and industry executives.
The Dean of Rosen College, Abraham Pizam, will present the inductees with Steuben crystal pineapple awards, the symbol of the hospitality industry, at the Grand Tour Gala, held the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
Both honorees also will be pictured with plaques on the Hall of Fame, located on the UCF Rosen College campus.