Executive Movements — April 2016

  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. Names Jill Golder as Chief Financial Officer

    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ("Cracker Barrel," or the "Company") (Nasdaq:CBRL) today announced that Jill Golder will join the Company to become its Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer ("CFO"). Golder will join the Company on April 25, 2016, and will assume the responsibilities of CFO on June 6, 2016, after the completion of her on-boarding process. Golder will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran. Lawrence E. Hyatt will continue to serve as CFO until June 6, and will assist with the transition until his previously announced retirement at the end of the Company's current fiscal year.

    "We are pleased to have someone with Jill's extensive experience joining Cracker Barrel as our new CFO," said Cochran. "Her financial leadership experience with Darden Restaurants and Ruby Tuesday will be of great value as we look forward to building on Cracker Barrel's recent success and positioning the Company for continued profitable growth."

    Golder has almost 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Ruby Tuesday, Inc. During her 23 years at Darden Restaurants, Inc., she held progressively more responsible positions, including Senior Vice President of Finance for Olive Garden North America, Senior Vice President of Finance for Smokey Bones, Senior Vice President of Finance for the Specialty Restaurant Group, and Senior Vice President of Finance for Red Lobster. She also served as Director of Strategic Planning and Corporate Analysis for Domino's Pizza International, and Chief Financial Officer of Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurants. Golder holds a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

    About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®
    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage…all at a fair price. Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. and its affiliates operate 635 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® company-owned locations in 42 states and owns the fast casual restaurant Holler & Dash™. Nation's Restaurant News' 2016 Consumer Picks survey named Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® the Best Family-Dining Restaurant in America. For more information about the company, visit crackerbarrel.com.


    MINNEAPOLIS, April 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Famous Dave's of America, Inc. (NASDAQ:DAVE), an award-winning Bar-B-Que destination, has appointed Dexter Newman as Chief Financial Officer, effective today.

    As Chief Financial Officer, Newman will influence and shape Famous Dave's operations and transformation strategy. He assumes a number of responsibilities including all aspects of finance, supply chain, and information technology.

    Newman most recently served as Vice President and a Division Chief Financial Officer at Bloomin' Brands Inc., a casual dining company with more than 1,400 restaurants in 49 states and 21 countries and territories. He was formerly the Vice President and Treasurer, and Head of Risk Management from October 2012 through October 2013 for Bloomin' Brands. FromFebruary 2002 to August 2012, he was employed in numerous roles with Best Buy Co., Inc., most recently serving as Senior Director and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy's Private Brands and Global Sourcing Group, and previously serving as Senior Director and Deputy Treasurer. Prior to his role within Treasury at Best Buy, Newman worked as Director, Strategy Development and Operations for Best Buy International and held numerous other roles within the company's finance function. Before joining Best Buy, he spent two years with Scotiabank. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint John's University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.

    "We are excited to include Dexter in Famous Dave's talented new leadership team. He brings extensive senior-executive-level experience, operational and financial discipline, and has a long-time passion for the Brand. Dexter has an excellent track record with a best-in-class restaurant operator and we are looking forward to leveraging his experience to both grow Famous Dave's and improve our margins," said Adam Wright, Famous Dave's CEO. "Richard Pawlowski, our outgoing Chief Financial Officer, joined the company shortly after a previous leadership and strategy change. Richard has been an effective leader during a time of significant transition. On behalf of Famous Dave's, I thank him for his contributions and commitment, and respect his desire to spend more time with his wife, newborn and toddler in California after almost two years of commuting between states."

    "I am thrilled to be joining Famous Dave's during this critical time in the company's history," said Newman, and I'm especially excited to join as part of the new and dynamic leadership team that is ready to take on this challenge and create the kind of change that will inspire our guests, our employees, and shareholders."  

    About Famous Dave's of America, Inc.

    Famous Dave's of America, Inc. (NASDAQ:DAVE) develops, owns, operates and franchises Bar B Que restaurants. The company owns 37 locations and franchises 141 additional restaurants in 33 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,United Arab Emirates and Canada. Famous Dave's menu features award-winning Bar B Que and grilled meats, a large selection of salads, side items and sandwiches, and unique desserts. Famous Dave's has won more than 700 awards for everything from "Best Ribs" to "Best Bar B Que Sauce" to "Best Cookbook" to "Top Barbeque Restaurant Franchise."  For more information, please visit famousdaves.com.

  • Ruby Tuesday CFO steps down

    Ruby Tuesday Inc. chief financial officer Jill Golder will resign effective April 11, the company said Thursday, as it reported wider losses in the March 1-ended third quarter.

    Golder will take "a senior leadership role at another company," the Maryville, Tenn.-based company said in a statement. She joined Ruby Tuesday in April 2013, and was promoted to CFO in June 2014. Ruby Tuesday said it would immediately begin a search for a successor.

    "Jill has been instrumental in improving our financial positioning and has put in place a strong finance team that will enable us to move ahead with our brand transformation strategy," said JJ Buettgen, Ruby Tuesday chairman, president and CEO.

    The company also said it had named Tom Williams as chief people officer. He most recently served as chief human resources officer for Jo-Ann Stores, the 850-unit fabric and craft retailer.

    For the third quarter, Ruby Tuesday reported a net loss of $3.1 million, or 5 cents a share, up from a loss of $769,000, or 1 cent a share, in the third quarter last year.  Third-quarter revenue declined 5.1 percent to $271.5 million, from $285.9 million in the same period a year ago, reflecting 20 fewer company-owned restaurants. 

    Ruby Tuesday said third-quarter same-store sales decreased 3.1 percent, which included a 140-basis-point negative impact due to weather closures. Same-store sales had declined 0.3 percent in the same quarter last year.

    Year-over-year guest counts fell 5.9 percent for the quarter, and average check rose 2.8 percent, the company said.

    "Our third quarter was a volatile period affected by weather, softness in the casual-dining industry and increased promotional activity by our peers," Buettgen said. "Despite this challenging environment, we continue to believe that our key brand initiatives will drive an improvement in guest counts."

    Buettgen said tests of a new Garden Bar initiative in the Atlanta market and remodeling tests indicated sales growth would return.

    In updated guidance for the full fiscal year, Ruby Tuesday lowered its per-share forecast to a range of 5 cents to 8 cents, down from a previous expectations of 12 cents to 17 cents. The company also said it expected same-store sales to be lower than earlier forecast, down about 1 percent versus flat to up 1 percent.

    The company also expected a net reduction of 11 to 14 company-owned restaurants for the full year. During the third quarter, six company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants closed and two international franchised Ruby Tuesday restaurants opened.

    As of March 1, the company had 729 Ruby Tuesday restaurants systemwide, of which 649 were corporate owned. It also had 16 Lime Fresh Mexican Grill locations, eight of which were corporate owned and are in the process of being sold. In November, the company said it would close 11 Lime Fresh Mexican Grill locations and sell another eight units to Rubio's Restaurants.

    Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com

  • Tom Williams Named Chief People Officer for Ruby Tuesday

    Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT) last week announced the appointment of Tom Williams to the position of Chief People Officer, effective April 18, 2016. Mr. Williams has more than 30 years of experience in executing and leading human resources functions in both private and public retail organizations. In his role as Chief People Officer, he will be responsible for leading the Human Resources department at Ruby Tuesday.

    "Tom not only has significant human resources experience but also a background in leading store operations and supply chain which has provided him with a deep understanding of HR opportunities at a multi-unit operation. He also has helped develop and implement HR programs and policies designed to attract and retain talent across all disciplines which we feel will be a great asset to Ruby Tuesday," said JJ Buettgen, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased to welcome Tom to the team at Ruby Tuesday and look forward to the new ideas and fresh perspective he brings to our Human Resources function."

    Most recently, Mr. Williams held the position of Chief Human Resources Officer for Jo-Ann Stores, the nation's largest specialty retailer of fabrics and crafts with over 850 stores in 49 states. He also has experience leading store operations and supply chain at Jo-Ann Stores. Prior to that, Mr. Williams worked for Walmart in a variety of Human Resources, Finance and operational roles.

    Mr. Williams stated, "It's a great feeling to join a team that is dedicated to cultivating a strong corporate culture, leveraging the thoughts and ideas of engaged employees, and ensuring a great place to work. I am excited to join the Ruby Tuesday team and to continue fostering the positive work environment."

    Ruby Tuesday, Inc. owns and franchises Ruby Tuesday and Lime Fresh brand restaurants. As of March 1, 2016, there were 729 Ruby Tuesday restaurants in 44 states, 13 foreign countries, and Guam, and there were 16 Lime Fresh restaurants in two states. Of those restaurants, we owned and operated 649 Ruby Tuesday restaurants and franchised 80 Ruby Tuesday restaurants, comprised of 28 domestic and 52 international restaurants. We also owned and operated eight Lime Fresh restaurants and franchised eight Lime Fresh domestic restaurants. Our corporate-owned and operated restaurants are concentrated primarily in the Southeast, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest of the United States, which we consider to be our core markets.

  • Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. Appoints Darla Morse Chief Information Officer

    Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG) today announced that effective April 18, Darla Morse will join as Chief Information Officer reporting directly to Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer.

    "Given the rapid evolution and increasingly important role of technology in our industry, I am looking forward to the expertise that Darla brings to our team," said Paul Brown, CEO, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. "She will guide the Brand's technology initiatives going forward with the objective of continuing to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests while driving operational efficiencies for our franchisees."

    Morse is joining Arby's from SeaWorld where as Chief Information Officer she led the technology teams supporting all 12 SeaWorld parks and corporate headquarters. During her tenure at SeaWorld, Darla drove a number of industry-leading innovations including an enterprise mobile application for managing park wait times, providing guest information and other key functionalities including food pre-order capability and mobile wallet for one-touch purchasing.

    Morse has more than 22 years of technology experience with previous positions in a variety of roles for Walt Disney World including being part of the initial team that developed Disney's wristband, allowing the company to provide personalized offers to park and hotel guests, shift demand within the park and use mobile technology to increase revenue within the park.

  • Franchisee takes the helm for Robeks Fresh Juice & Smoothie Bar franchise

    Los Angeles, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies has named David Rawnsley the new president of the brand. Rawnsley joined the franchise system as a regional director in 2004, purchased his own franchised location in 2008, and was named the brand's Chief Financial Officer in 2014.

    "It's an exciting time to lead Robeks," he said. "We will be debuting a number of innovations over the course of 2016, including some new products, new technology, and a revamped menu board. We also have a number of store remodels scheduled at locations nationwide."

    Rawnsley says having run his own store gives him insight into more profitable ways to operate which will in turn grow the brand. He is touring locations nationwide to meet with franchisees and gather their thoughts, too.

    Robeks is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The brand, which opened its first store in Southern California in 1996, has been an innovator in the smoothie and fresh juicing industry. It was one of the first to introduce Americans to açaí bowls and Greek yogurt smoothies, and the company offers a wide array of fruits and vegetables that can be fresh squeezed to create custom juice blends. Healthy smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices have hit the mainstream, and Robeks is enjoying sales growth as a result.

    Rawnsley says that one of the factors that has made Robeks attractive to first time business owners for two decades is the simplicity of operations. Most other food concepts require cooking, the management of raw protein, and a large number of employees. Robeks, by contrast, has lean staffing requirements, and team members who blend and juice frozen fruits and raw vegetables according to our simple recipes. There is very little food waste, and training is simple.

    Startup costs are also low relative to other food concepts. Startup costs range from $228,500 to $339,500. Franchisees should have $150,000 in liquid capital and a net worth of $500,000 to get started.

    Robeks is working with franchisees to open new stores nationwide to meet the surging demand for healthy eating options.

  • Longtime McDonald's chairman steps down

    Andrew McKenna helped guide the chain through growth and a sales slump
    Jonathan Maze

    Andrew McKenna, the longtime McDonald's Corp. director who as chairman helped guide the chain through a decade of growth and then its reversal through a sales slump, on Wednesday announced plans to step down from the company's board.

    McKenna has been on the company's board since 1991, and served as chairman since 2004. He said he would not stand for re-election as a board member at the company's annual meeting on May 26.

    "It has been a privilege and honor to be part of McDonald's growth and expansion throughout the years," McKenna said in a statement. "I am confident that the board can continue to deliver on our progress to enhance long-term shareholder value."

    McKenna will be given the title chairman emeritus upon his retirement, and the company will elect a new independent chairman after the election of directors at the company's annual meeting.

    "Andy's leadership helped guide McDonald's through some noteworthy highs and some challenging times," Miles White, a McDonald's board member and chairman of its governance committee, said in a statement. "We thank Andy for his unwavering commitment and appreciate his willingness to continue sharing his insights with us."

    The retirement continues a period of major change at the Oak Brook, Ill.-based quick-service giant. A year ago, Don Thompson left as CEO and was replaced by Steve Easterbrook. The chain late last year reversed a three-year same-store sales slide in the U.S., thanks largely to the introduction of all-day breakfast.

    "Andy's business integrity is an example for all of us to follow and we are deeply indebted for his tireless dedication and counsel," Easterbrook said in a statement.

  • Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar Puts Focus on Expansion with Key Additions to Corporate Team

    Placing a renewed effort on growing their brand presence throughout the United States, Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar (Boston's), a Dallas-based casual dining concept that combines a family-friendly restaurant and sports bar under one roof, brings new members to the development team to help accelerate system-wide growth. Each of the new corporate faces at Boston's brings their own unique expertise to the brand with the goal to ignite franchise sales and overall brand development.

    "Boston's has the capability to be just as widespread of a brand stateside as its sister brand, Boston's Pizza, is in Canada," said Ken Phipps, Director of Franchise Sales for Boston's. "There is an unlimited amount of potential for the brand's growth in the states and in Mexico and the new additions to our team possess all of the capabilities to reignite our franchising efforts. Each one of these new team members brings something different to the table and their combined skills aid the company in preparing for North American domination."

    To aid in the development process, Boston's has brought on Rick Lauro as the new Vice President of Finance. Lauro brings with him years of experience in the field of finance and will aid the company in providing solid financial leadership while collaborating closely with departmental leaders to execute the company's goals, objectives and strategic vision. Utilizing his experience with well-known brands such as Coca Cola Enterprises, Lauro aims to build brand reverence and equity, and help the franchisees become stronger operators.In addition to Lauro, the new highly-skilled team includes George Woolley and Erik Premont who will act as Directors of Franchise Sales – both in the U.S. and in Mexico. The two look to grow the company alongside Ken Phipps under the guidance of Bill Edmiston, solidifying the Boston's brand and mirroring the brand's well-established footprint in Canada.

    Founded in 1964 by Greek immigrant, Gus Agioritis, the company's sister brand, Boston Pizza has more than 375 locations throughout Canada and is considered the No. 1 casual dining brand in the country. Bringing in over $1 billion in system-wide gross sales, Boston's continues to follow the same traditions and dough recipes that were created over 50 years ago.

    Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar's U.S. operations are based in Dallas and the company currently has 27 locations operating in 22 states. Boston's is currently ranked amongst the America's best franchises and is currently ranked No. 71 on Entrepreneur magazine's 'America's Top Global Companies' list, and No. 89 on the 2015 Franchise Times Top 200 (Plus 300) list.

    Boston's is both a family-friendly casual dining restaurant and an energetic sports bar, all under one roof. For over 50 years, Boston's has specialized in providing a relaxing atmosphere and fabulous food to parties of all sizes. Boston's motto is "We've gotcha covered," and with 80+ menu items, primarily made in-house, they deliver on having something for every occasion and taste. The company is currently ranked No. 71 on Entrepreneurmagazine's 'America's Top Global Companies' list and No. 89 on the 2015 Franchise Times Top 200 (Plus 300) list. With sales exceeding $1 Billion in system-wide gross sales, Boston's grows through franchising and is currently looking to expand around the US and Mexico. 

  • Alejandro Munoz-Suarez Named COO for The ONE Group

    The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc (Nasdaq:STKS) yesterday announced the appointment of Alejandro Munoz-Suarez as Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective March 31, 2016. He will report directly to Jonathan Segal, The ONE Group's CEO.

    Formerly President of B&B Hospitality's Pacific Division, Mr. Munoz-Suarez will be responsible for leading business growth initiatives and driving profitability. In the near-term, he will manage the opening of several restaurants currently under construction or in development, including STK locations in Boston, Orlando, San Diego, Denver, Miami, Austin, Dallas, and Toronto.

    "Alejandro's lengthy tenure at B&B Hospitality provides a deep level of expertise in how to aggressively grow and scale a hospitality company, which will be instrumental in supporting the ambitious plans we have set through 2017," stated Jonathan Segal, CEO, The ONE Group. "We remain focused on expanding the STK brand both domestically and internationally, and we are thrilled to have such a seasoned hospitality veteran join The ONE Group."

    The ONE Group (NASDAQ:STKS) is a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale, high-energy restaurants and lounges and provides hospitality management services for hotels, casinos and other high-end venues both nationally and internationally. The ONE Group's primary restaurant brand is STK, a modern twist on the American steakhouse concept with locations in major metropolitan cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. ONE Hospitality, The ONE Group's food and beverage hospitality services business, provides the development, management and operations for premier restaurants and turn-key food and beverage services within high-end hotels and casinos.

  • Darden Announces Resignation of Jeffrey C. Smith From Board of Directors; Charles M. Sonsteby Elected Chairman

    ORLANDO, Fla., April 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that Jeffrey (Jeff) C. Smith has resigned from its Board of Directors effective April 4, 2016. Mr. Smith had served on the Board of Directors and as the Company's Chairman of the Board since October 2014. With the announcement of Mr. Smith's departure, the Board unanimously elected Charles (Chuck) M. Sonsteby, a current independent director, as Chairman. The Company now has ten directors.

    "It is with mixed emotion that I leave the Board of Directors," said Smith. "I will thoroughly miss working with the capable and talented people throughout the Company and I am so incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish together. I am able to move on to other projects at this time because of the outstanding chemistry and capabilities of both the Board and management. While I am sorry to leave my friends at Darden, I am fully confident in Gene's terrific leadership and execution and I know that Chuck will be an outstanding Chairman. Once again, thank you to the Board, to Gene and to the Darden family for allowing us to grow and achieve together."

    Mr. Sonsteby was named a director of the Company in October 2014 and has served as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee since 2015. He is currently the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer of The Michaels Companies, Inc. Prior to joining Michaels, Mr. Sonsteby served in various capacities at Brinker International, Inc. beginning in March 1990, including as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2001 until 2010.

    "I am humbled by the opportunity to chair the Board of Directors of this great company," said Sonsteby. "I look forward to leading this strong Board of talented directors and partnering with Gene and his team to continue to deliver value for all of our stakeholders. I would like to thank Jeff for his terrific leadership and extraordinary efforts and wish him well with his other endeavors."

    In regards to these announcements, Darden Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors, Eugene (Gene) I. Lee, Jr. said, "On behalf of Darden's Board of Directors and management team, I would like to thank Jeff for the outstanding leadership he has provided the Company during his tenure as Chairman. With his vision, efforts and constructive attitude, we formed a strong partnership, helping Darden accomplish a number of extraordinary feats over the last 18 months, including regaining our position as a leader in full-service dining, re-establishing a guest and employee-focused culture of excellence, and completing the spinoff of Four Corners Property Trust. I look forward to working with Chuck in his new capacity as Chairman. He is a proven leader with extensive industry experience, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Board at this time."

    About Darden  
    Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $7.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com

  • Uncle Maddio's promotes Scott Goodrich to COO

    Fast-casual chain bolsters management team with additional appointments in real estate, HR departments

    Scott Goodrich has been promoted to chief operating officer at Uncle Maddio's Pizza, the Atlanta-based fast-casual chain said Wednesday.

    Goodrich had been the brand's senior vice president of operations since 2014. The company gives the former Five Guys Burgers and Fries and United Airlines veteran credit for helping the chain grow to 50 locations in 14 states. 

    "A big part of our success comes from supporting franchisees with a strong management team," Uncle Maddio's founder and CEO Matt Andrew said in a statement. "Scott has influenced every part of our business, including operations, marketing, purchasing and procurement, and franchisee support. He will be instrumental in our future success."

    Uncle Maddio's made other moves as the company bolsters its leadership as it seeks to grow its fast-casual pizza business.

    The company named Jenelle Brown vice president of training and human resources, a promotion from her previous position as senior director of training. Brown has experience with Joe's Crab Shack, Salsarita's Fresh Cantina and Outback Steakhouse.

    Meanwhile, Brandon Higginbotham joined the company as director of real estate and store development. Higginbotham has 10 years of experience in construction management, and previously oversaw development of Five Guys Burgers and Fries in the Southeast. 

    Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

  • Freebirds names Bobby Shaw president

    COO to continue leading daily operations in expanded role

    Freebirds, the nearly 100-unit fast-casual burrito concept, has promoted Bobby Shaw to the additional role of president, the company said Thursday.

    Austin, Texas-based Freebirds, a division of Emeryville, Calif.-based Tavistock Group, said Shaw will remain in charge of daily operations for the brand. He joined Freebirds in 2013 and was promoted to COO last year.

    The Freebirds president position had been open since Jim Mizes left the company in 2013, a company representative said.

    Shaw was promoted from senior vice present of operations to COO when Freebirds moved its headquarters to Austin last year from Emeryville.

    "Over the past few years, Bobby has played an instrumental role in ensuring Freebirds' success and continued growth," said Charles B. Lewis, chairman of Tavistock Restaurants, in a statement.

    Shaw led the headquarters relocation and oversaw a redesign and rebranding of the concept, which debuted last year in the Texas municipalities of The Colony and Temple.

    Shaw said the redesign produced a "modern farmhouse aesthetic" that incorporated new technology such as digital menu boards and enhanced sound systems.

    The company said Shaw plays a key role in the brand's expansion into new markets, such as an opening this summer in the new market of Nashville, Tenn. 

    "He will also work alongside the Freebirds' leadership team in overseeing the launch of a new mobile app and loyalty platform, slated for this spring," the company said in a statement.

    Freebirds was founded in 1987.

    Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com

  • Johnny Rockets Hires Rumbani Mchawe As Director Of Mature Markets

    Restaurant Executive Joins Global Brand as Franchise Development Flourishes.

    Johnny Rockets announced the appointment of Rumbani Mchawe as Country Director of Mature Markets. In this role, Mchawe will provide support to the international franchise community, specifically operators in the Middle East, Europe and Africa to ensure quality assurance standards are met and to improve overall sales and operations. Mchawe will report directly to Vice President of International, Naresh Vinod Worklikar.

    "Rumbani's extensive background in supporting international restaurant franchises will be an asset to Johnny Rockets as we continue to expand our international presence and improve existing franchise operations in the Middle East, where we have a large footprint," explains Naresh Vinod Worklikar, Vice President, International. "His leadership skills and vast knowledge of international and domestic franchise operations and development make him the ideal fit for supporting our franchise partners."

    Rumbani Mchawe brings more than 25 years of restaurant operations, training and development experience to the Johnny Rockets executive team. Prior to joining the company, Mchawe held the position of Vice President, Development and Expansion for Quiznos. During his time with the 1500-unit sandwich chain, Mchawe drove global strategies for development and operations, including supporting the US and 43 countries. Prior to Quiznos, Mchawe held multiple roles with restaurant franchise companies, including Denny's, Church's Chicken, Little Caesar's Enterprises, Inc. and Domino's Pizza.

    As Director of Mature Markets, Mchawe wills support Johnny Rockets in Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Doha, Saudi Arabia, India, Europe and Africa. 

  • T S RESTAURANTS Announces Jackie Reed As CEO

    She succeeds Bill Parsons, who retired as CEO/Chairman, culminating a 38-year career in service of the organization. Reed is no stranger to T S RESTAURANTS, as she has dedicated over 25 years to the company, climbing the ranks from hostess to CEO.

    T S RESTAURANTS, a family-owned, privately held company with 14 restaurants in Hawaii and California, has recently promoted Jackie Reed from Vice President of CA Operations to Chief Executive Officer. She succeeds Bill Parsons, who retired as CEO/Chairman, culminating a 38-year career in service of the organization. Reed is no stranger to T S RESTAURANTS, as she has dedicated over 25 years to the company, climbing the ranks from hostess to CEO.

    "We are so excited for the future at T S RESTAURANTS," said Susie Saxten, Chairman of the Board. "Jackie has extensive experience and she excels at creating operational efficiencies and empowering the people she works with. Given her success as VP of CA Operations and her deep understanding of our T S culture, she was the natural choice as Chief Executive Officer."

    As CEO for T S RESTAURANTS, Jackie develops, implements and leads the company's high-level long and short-term strategies, is responsible for leading the executive team to set and accomplish operational and financial objectives, and also acts as the central point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations.

    Jackie began her restaurant career in 1989 as a hostess at Leilani's on the Beach, a T S Restaurant on Kaanapali Beach on Maui. Though the hostess position was meant to be a part-time, transitionary job, Reed fell in love with the values, spirit, and opportunities that existed within T S and never left, spending her entire career thus far with the company. Reed worked in two other T S Restaurants before moving to the CA Home Office as Controller in 1998. She has been involved in five restaurant openings and was an integral part of developing T S accounting systems, human resource policies and adopting restaurant technology. After ten years as Controller, Reed was able to realize her passion for working in operations as Vice President of CA Operations, a position she held until becoming CEO on November 1, 2015.

    While working her way up in the company, Reed earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and, in 2015, graduated from the Executive MBA program at San Diego State University, earning valedictorian honors. She works with the SDSU L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management as a guest lecturer, assessor and is a current member of their Advisory Board. Reed is also involved in the Polynesian community, teaching dance and participating in cultural activities and education, as a way of staying in touch with her Samoan heritage. 

    Founded in 1977 by Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, T S RESTAURANTS owns and operates 14 restaurants on waterfront sites in Hawaii and California, including Duke's Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu; Kimo's, Leilani's on the Beach, Hula Grill Kaanapali and Duke's Beach House on Maui; Duke's Kauai and Keoki's Paradise on Kauai; and Jake's Del Mar, Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, Sandy's in Huntington Beach, Duke's Huntington Beach, Duke's Malibu, and Duke's La Jolla in California.

  • Al Jessa Named President of JOEY Restaurant Group

    Jeff Fuller announced the promotion of Al Jessa to President of the JOEY Restaurant Group. Under Jessa's leadership, JOEY now operates 36 locations throughout Western Canada, Ontario, Washington State and California with a focus on creating career opportunities for young talent.

    "Al can be credited with bringing people development to the forefront of our business. Without his dedication to creating a team of leaders we wouldn't have grown from a small restaurant in Calgary to a flourishing organization that employs over 3,600 talented individuals across Canada and the United States," said Fuller. "We have been able to break into new markets while staying true to our roots; handcrafting unique offerings and developing young professionals."

    Jessa knows the importance of developing junior talent better than anyone. He began working for the Fuller family in 1991. By 1996, he became the Executive Chef of JOEY with a CCC designation (Certified Chef de Cuisine) overseeing the culinary program. He grew JOEY from six to nine stores in just three months and was instrumental in transitioning the brand from pizza and pasta to global cuisine. He was promoted to Vice President of Operations in 2003 when JOEY grew to 12 locations, and again in 2011 to Chief Operating Officer with an additional 16 restaurants. Jessa, an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coaching Federation, recently won the Legacy Coaching Award by the International Coaching Federation for his efforts.

    "I have never seen anyone develop and reward their people like Al does," said Fuller. "He was an integral part in creating the JOEY Employee Investment Trust (JEIT), designed to offer the organization's GMs and head chefs the opportunity to own a piece of the company and share in the attractive returns."

    "Someone believed in me when I started with this organization and it's important to me to not only ensure that culture continues on, but that it thrives," said Jessa. "I want to provide our people with every opportunity to grow and be successful. Our apprenticeship programs, university partnerships and the JEIT are part of this and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our people, while rewarding them for their efforts."

    JOEY continues to attract students and junior cooks who want to grow and develop careers within the industry. Through partnerships with culinary schools like The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary and George Brown College in Toronto, JOEY creates an apprenticeship program that can lead to a successful career.

    Thanks to Jessa's focus on development JOEY has seen over 73 chefs in the organization receive their Red Seal, 6 chefs receive their CCC designation and 10 leaders receive their ACC.


    CANTON, MA (March 28, 2016) – Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc., (Nasdaq: DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, today announced the following recent appointments of five new vice presidents to its management team.   

    • David Gill was promoted to Vice President, Supply Chain U.S. & Canada for Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. Mr. Gill is responsible for Supply including the negotiation, implementation, and management of supplier and distributor agreements, Quality Assurance, Commercialization, Manufacturing and Equipment. Additionally, he leads the supplier approval process and through his work with the culinary and brand teams, plays a key role in the development of new products for the restaurants. David joined Dunkin' Brands in 2000 and reports to Paul Carbone, Chief Financial Officer.
    • Pete Jensen was promoted to Vice President, Supply Chain International. Mr. Jensen leads the international manufacturing and sourcing, logistics and service, regulatory compliance, supplier quality and food safety, new product commercialization and in-store equipment innovation for both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. Pete joined the Company in 2010 as Global Supply Chain Director for Baskin-Robbins and he reports to Bill Mitchell, President, Dunkin' Brands International.
    • Sherrill Kaplan was promoted to Vice President, Digital Marketing & Innovation for Dunkin' Donuts U.S. Ms. Kaplan joined Dunkin' Brands nearly five years ago and has played a lead role in the development and execution of the brand's digital strategy and the DD Perks® Rewards Program, one of the fastest-growing loyalty programs in the restaurant industry. Additionally, she has overseen the significant growth of the Dunkin' Mobile® App and the brand's On-the-Go Ordering initiative, currently in test in multiple markets. Sherrill reports to Scott Hudler, Dunkin' Donuts' Vice President of Consumer Engagement.
    • Dennis McCarthy was promoted to Vice President, Financial Management. Mr. McCarthy leads the International Financial Management team for Dunkin' Brands. He also oversees the Dunkin' Brands Supply Chain Finance team and serves as head of Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis. He joined the Company in 2009 and reports to Kate Jaspon, Vice President, Finance & Treasury.
    • Kathryn Thomas was promoted to Vice President, Legal and Managing Counsel. Ms. Thomas oversees the areas of Employment, Marketing and Intellectual Property Law, in addition to serving as legal counsel for Baskin-Robbins U.S. and market counsel for Dunkin' Donuts in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. She joined the Company in 1998 and reports to Karen Raskopf, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

    "We are pleased to announce the promotion of these five individuals, all of whom have made significant contributions to our organization. Each brings significant management expertise and experience to their new role and will play a key part in our efforts to further accelerate our global innovation and growth," said Nigel Travis, Dunkin' Brands' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

    About Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc.

    With more than 19,000 points of distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) is one of the world's leading franchisors of quick service restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. At the end of fiscal 2015, Dunkin' Brands' nearly 100 percent franchised business model included more than 11,700 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and more than 7,600 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. is headquartered in Canton, Mass.

  • Rave Restaurant Group Adds Kim Johnston as New Vice President of Human Resources

    Former Starbucks Executive to lead HR operations for Pie Five Pizza and Pizza Inn

    Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Rave Restaurant Group, Inc. announced today the hire of Kim Johnston as the new Vice President of Human Resources. In her new role, Johnston will lead all aspects of Global Human Resources and work with the senior leadership team to develop talent strategies that set new benchmarks and engage employees for international pizza chain Pizza Inn and leading fast-casual innovator, Pie Five Pizza.

    "The opportunities ahead for Rave Restaurant Group are immense and the energy and positivity of the team is impressive," said Kim Johnston, new Vice President of Human Resources at Rave Restaurant Group, Inc. "I look forward to developing programs that will drive business performance and create the leadership capability and a talent pool that will help position Pie Five and Pizza Inn for long-term success and growth."

    Johnston joins Rave Restaurant Group after nearly 10 years of progressively responsible leadership roles at Starbucks Coffee Company, most recently as Director of Human Resources supporting the US retail business. She led HR field operations and enterprise teams and developed talent strategies in both the transformational and high growth years. Johnston was a key driver in growth of 7,000+ Starbucks stores and instrumental in creating the in-store employee experience while positioning Starbucks as an employer of choice.  Prior to Starbucks, Johnston spent seven years with West Corporation, a leading telecommunications firm, leading HR teams and functions in both field and enterprise capacities. She also held leadership roles at Target Stores and Barnes & Noble.  Johnston will be located at the Dallas headquarters of Rave Restaurant Group. She will report to Chief Financial Officer, Tim Mullany.

    "Kim has a phenomenal track record in supporting the growth and talent development of major companies," said Tim Mullany, CFO of Rave Restaurant Group, Inc. "She will be a great asset to the Rave family and an essential player in the continued evolutions of Pie Five and Pizza Inn."

    About RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.

    Founded in 1958, Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group [NASDAQ: RAVE] owns, operates and franchises more than 300 Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn restaurants domestically and internationally. Pie Five Pizza Co. is a leader in the rapidly growing fast-casual pizza space offering made-to-order pizzas ready in under five minutes. Pizza Inn is an international chain featuring freshly made pizzas, along with salads, pastas, and desserts. The Company's common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "RAVE". For more information, please visit www.raverg.com.

  • Captain D's names new CFO

    Longtime industry veteran Keith Davis had been CFO at Tavistock Restaurants

    Captain D's LLC on Tuesday named Keith Davis its new chief financial officer.

    Davis will oversee the company's finance and information technology departments. He is a longtime industry veteran who has worked with several chains, including 130-unit Tavistock Restaurants, where he was the CFO. He has also worked with Round Table Pizza, Beverly Enterprises, Landry's and Pizza Hut.

    "We're thrilled to welcome Keith to the Captain D's executive team as our chief financial officer and have no doubt that his impressive financial experience in the foodservice industry will be a huge asset as we continue our momentum of compounding success," Phil Greifeld, CEO of Captain D's, said in a statement. "Throughout his career, Keith has developed a wealth of business acumen and best-in-class financial capabilities that I know will enhance our business strategies."

    Nashville, Tenn.-based Captain D's Seafood has 516 locations, and is coming off of a year in which the company recorded 4.3-percent same-store sales growth — the seafood chain's fifth consecutive year of same-store sales growth.

    Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

  • Saladworks names Patrick Sugrue CEO

    Fast-Casual Brand Promotes IT and Restaurant Operations Veterans to VP

    Patrick Sugrue has been named CEO of Saladworks, a 100-unit salad chain that was purchased out of bankruptcy last year, the company told Nation's Restaurant News.

    Sugrue replaces Paul Steck, who was promoted from president to president and CEO when Centre Lane Partners bought the Conshohocken, Pa.-based chain last June.

    Sugrue is also a director of Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc., franchisor of Pizza Delight, Mikes Trattoria, Scores and Baton Rouge concepts.

    Steck had been with the company since 2002, according to his LinkedIn profile.

    Sugrue will be working with the chief financial officer Rich Palladino, a 14-year company veteran, and vice president of brand services Jena Henderson, who has been with the chain for 10 years, to revitalize the company, a spokeswoman said. She added that plans call for new restaurant designs that include a more open, farm-to-table style, along with free Wi-Fi and power sources.

  • Newk's Eatery Pairs Rapid Growth with Expanded Leadership Team

    Fast-Casual Brand Promotes IT and Restaurant Operations Veterans to VP

    Jackson, MS  (RestaurantNews.com)  As a part of Newk's Eatery's plan to double in size by 2019, the fast-casual brand is making strides to further strengthen its technical and franchise offerings with the promotion of Adam Karveller to Newk's Vice President of Information Technology and Keith Moody to the brand's Vice President of Franchise Operations. Both Karveller and Moody collectively bring more than 40 years of experience in the information technology and restaurant operations industries to the fast-casual brand.

    "The expertise and passion both Adam and Keith bring to the table at Newk's are part of what has brought the brand to the place it's at today and are key ingredients to where we will be in just three years' time," said Chris Newcomb, Newk's Eatery Co-Founder and CEO. "Their valuable operational support and strategic direction are essential to making our growth visions and service goals a reality for our guests, our franchisees and our ever-growing support team."

    As Vice President of Information Technology, Adam Karveller will continue to optimize the Newk's experience by overseeing the brand's technical operations both in the field throughout Newk's 98 restaurants and in the brand's corporate support center. Piloting the brand's adoption of new back-of-house and front-of-house technology— including systems designed to track guests' spending patterns and preferences, reward customer loyalty, as well as enhance and expedite guests' dining experiences with streamlined online ordering and a new mobile app— Karveller sees Newk's technical trajectory as "forward-thinking." His work has played a part in Newk's winning of several industry awards in recent years. Most recently serving as Newk's Director of Information Technology, Karveller first joined the company in September 2008 to manage the brand's growing IT department, having worked in the IT industry since he was 15 years old.

    Overseeing the operational standards and financial success of Newk's franchise teams, Keith Moody has been promoted to Vice President of Franchise Operations. His efforts will continue to support the brand's franchise operation groups in collaboration with his team of veteran Franchise Business Consultants. Moody most recently served as Newk's Territory Director of Franchise Operations, having first come to Newk's in September 2013 with more than 20 years' experience in franchise operations. He currently supports close to 80 Newk's franchise locations with nearly 20 more expected by the end of 2016. Moving forward, Moody and his team will work hand-in-hand with each of Newk's franchise groups to focus on the brand's aggressive growth plan. Their focus will also include aiding both existing operational teams and new franchise groups in improving all targeted business plans. Moody previously served as Division Director with Krystal Restaurants, managing 140 franchise locations. Prior to Krystal, Moody owned three Burger King and two Original Pancake House restaurants. Moody also rose through the ranks of Burger King Corporation, from General Manager to Franchise Sales and Service Manager.

    Both the Vice President of Information Technology and Vice President of Franchise Operations are new positions to Newk's Eatery. The Jackson, Miss.-based Newk's Eatery plans to expand to more than 200 units by 2019.

    For more information about Newk's, visit Newks.com or follow Newk's on Facebook,Instagram or Twitter.

    For more information on franchise opportunities, go to www.newks.com/franchise.

    About Newk's Eatery

    Based in Jackson, Miss., Newk's Eatery is leading the next generation of fast-casual with its culinary-driven menu prepared in Newk's open-view kitchens, featuring made-from-scratch soups, fresh tossed salads, artisan pizzas, hot toasted sandwiches and desserts. Founded in 2004, Newk's currently operates and franchises nearly 100 units in 13 states and is gaining national attention for its accelerated growth and commitment to community. FastCasual.com has named Newk's one of its top 20 "Movers and Shakers," whileFranchise Times magazine ranked Newk's among its top Fast and Serious franchise brands and Technomic listed Newk's among its top 50 U.S. fast-casual chains. The brand was also recently named among "The Next 20" by Nation's Restaurant News and one ofQSR magazine's "Best Franchise Deals." For more information, visit Newks.com, join the Roundtable Club or follow Newk's on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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