Executive Movements — March 2017

  • Wingstop Announces Appointment of Madison Jobe as New Chief Development Officer

    DALLAS, March 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING), the award-winning wing concept with more than 1,000 locations worldwide, today announced that Madison Jobe has joined the Company as Chief Development Officer. Mr. Jobe will be based in Dallas, Texas and report directly to Charlie Morrison, Wingstop President and CEO. 

    Mr. Jobe is an experienced senior development and operations executive, who rejoins Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison after the two had previously worked together at Rave Restaurant Group launching the successful Pie Five Pizza Co. concept.  Mr. Jobe has decades of experience with well-known brands such as Ruby Restaurant Group, Red Robin International, Rave Restaurant Group and most recently he was CEO/Founder & Principal of Development Strategies International, a restaurant advisory firm based in Dallas, TX.

    “We welcome Madison to the Wingstop team, and know his extensive experience in franchising and development strategy will be a key driver in our quest to become one of the 10 largest restaurant brands in the world,” said Charlie Morrison.

    Mr. Jobe holds memberships with the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association and was a member with the International Council of Shopping Centers. He has served as a panelist, speaker and facilitator for a number of years at the IFA Annual Convention, and as a facilitator and speaker at the Franchise Leadership and Development Conference multiple years.

    “I am excited to join Wingstop and to contribute to the Company’s domestic and international growth plans,” said Mr. Jobe. “Wingstop is an exciting and unique restaurant concept, and I look forward to expanding on this successful trajectory.”

    Mr. Jobe succeeds Dave Vernon, Wingstop’s Chief Development Officer since 2012, who retired effective March 7, 2017.  Morrison added, “We want to wish Dave all the best in his retirement, and thank him for his outstanding work with Wingstop during his tenure.”

    About Wingstop:
    Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ:WING) operates and franchises more than 1,000 restaurants across the United States, Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. The Wing Experts’ menu features classic and boneless wings with 11 bold, distinctive flavors including Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Louisiana Rub, and Mango Habanero. Wingstop’s wings are always cooked to order, hand-sauced and tossed and served with a variety of house-made sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries. Having grown its domestic same store sales for 13 consecutive years, the Company has been ranked #3 on the “Top 100 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains” by Nation’s Restaurant News (2016), #7 on the “Top 40 Fast Casual Chains” by Restaurant Business (2016), and was named “Best Franchise Deal in North America” by QSR magazine (2014).  Wingstop was ranked #88 on Fortune’s 100 Best Medium Workplaces list in October 2016. For more information visit www.wingstop.com or www.wingstopfranchise.com.  Follow us on facebook.com/Wingstop and Twitter @Wingstop.

    Media Contact:  Joy Murphy, ICR  joy.murphy@icrinc.com  646.277.1242




  • Lawry’s Restaurants Names Tiffany Stith to President and Chief Operating Officer

    Pasadena, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Lawry’s Restaurants Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Tiffany Stith to President and Chief Operating Officer of restaurant group.

    “With 25 years of experience in leadership and business management, Tiffany’s promotion is not only a milestone for her career, but also a milestone for Lawry’s Restaurants,” commented Richard Frank, CEO. “This marks the first time in the 95-year history that a woman and non-family member has held this position and it signals the valuable role that Tiffany plays in our company.”

    Tiffany Stith’s career with Lawry’s began in March of 2004 as the Human Resources Manager. Her dedication to her role and decision to go back to school in 2007 to earn an MBA from Pepperdine University with an emphasis in Leadership and Organizational Development started her on a path of well-earned growth from Director of Human Resources in July of 2008 to Vice President of Human Resources in 2012.

    “I truly believe in the future of this organization and its ability to change and grow,” commented Stith. “I admire and respect the 95 years of history and culture and look forward to upholding those standards through the warm hospitality we passionately extend to every guest we serve and I couldn’t be more excited to work with this talented, engaged and committed team of co-workers.”

    As an active member in the hospitality industry and integral part of the Lawry’s team, Tiffany not only serves on the Advisory Board for the California School of Culinary Arts (Le Cordon Bleu), the Los Angeles Restaurant Human Resources Forum and the Association of Hospitality Recruiting Executives, but brings a passion for her work that has earned her the respect and trust of the organization.

    A valued member of the Lawry’s family for 13 years, Tiffany’s understanding and commitment to the company culture is complimented by her desire to help shape and propel the strategic direction of Lawry’s Restaurants for years to.

    Lawry’s Restaurants Inc. is celebrating a 95-year history of surpassing guests’ expectations with the highest standards in the industry. A family founded and operated company, Lawry’s has earned the loyalty of customers and co-workers alike by consistently offering superb quality food, service and hospitality. The portfolio of iconic restaurants includes The Tam O’Shanter in Los Angeles, Lawry’s Prime Rib of Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and multiple international locations, Lawry’s Carvery in Costa Mesa, Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, and SideDoor in Corona del Mar and Chicago. Lawry’s Restaurants continues its commitment to excellence by delighting guests with an unforgettable dining experience.  For more information, please visit http://lawrysonline.com.

    Media Contact:
    Ashley Eckenweiler
    The ACE Agency
    949-285-9239
    Ashley@theaceagency.com



  • Food and Beverage Industry Veteran James J. Greco Joins True Drinks Board of Directors

    IRVINE, CA (February 28, 2017) — True Drinks Holdings, Inc., makers of AquaBall Naturally Flavored Water, the healthiest children’s beverage on the market with no sugar, preservatives, calories, or artificial flavors, announced today that food and beverage industry veteran James J. Greco has joined its board of directors.

    Mr. Greco has over 25 years of experience in the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) sector, having served as CEO of Italian food chain Sbarro (1000 locations in 40 countries), Bruegger’s Enterprises (300 locations in 26 U.S. states, DC and Canada) – where he was named Operator of the Year in 2009 by “Nation’s Restaurant News” – and most recently, Newk’s – a next generation fast-casual chain acquired by Sentinel Capital in 2014.

    “True Drinks is uniquely positioned at this point in its history for accelerated growth with a proven product,” said Greco. “What attracted me to True Drinks is the combination of preservative-free, attractive and practical packaging, an all-natural, zero-sugar formula, and a world class management team that has extensive contacts in the grocery and convenient store space.”

    Kevin Sherman, CEO of True Drinks, said Greco’s experience in the QSR space plays into the Company’s strategy to expand its distribution efforts from convenience and grocery stores into the restaurant space.

    “Jim has a proven track record of success in growing high profile brands and we are excited to have him on our board,” said Sherman. “As we continue to drive our distribution efforts, Jim’s experience and reputation in the restaurant industry will be invaluable as we break into new markets and continue to strive to exceed World Health Organization guidelines in lowering calorie counts for kids’ meals in schools, homes and restaurants.”

    About James J. Greco

    Mr. Greco (59), currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim Holdings, LLC, a position he has held since October 2001. Mr. Greco previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Newk’s Franchise Company, LLC from July 2014 until October 2016, as well as President from January 2016 until October 2016. Prior to his time with Newk’s Franchise Company, Mr. Greco served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Sbarro LLC from January 2012 until October 2013, and as the Chief Executive Officer of Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc. from August 2003 to December 2011. Mr. Greco currently serves as a director of the Palm Beach County Food Bank, as well as an operating advisor for Lincoln Road Global Management. Mr. Greco is a member of the Connecticut and Florida bars. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Miami, School of Law. He has also completed International Studies at City University, London, England.

    About True Drinks Holdings, Inc.

    True Drinks Holdings, Inc., (OTC Pink: TRUU), the holding company for True Drinks, Inc., is a healthy beverage provider with licensing agreements with Disney and Marvel for use of their characters on its proprietary, patented bottles. AquaBall™ is a naturally flavored, vitamin-enhanced, zero- calorie, dye-free, sugar-free alternative to juice and soda. AquaBall™ is currently available in four flavors: orange, grape, fruit punch and berry. Their target consumers: kids, young adults, and their guardians, are attracted to the product by the entertainment and media characters on the bottle and continue to consume the beverage because of its healthy benefits and great taste. For more information, please visit www.aquaballdrink.com and www.truedrinks.com. Investor information can be found at www.truedrinks.com/investor-relations/. Proudly made in the USA.


  • Long John Silver’s Announces Leadership Promotions

    Louisville, KY  (RestaurantNews.com)  Long John Silver’s today recognized the contributions of three executives. Brian Unger has been named President, LJS Operating Company and Senior Vice President of U.S. Franchising and Development. Toni Bianco has been named Chief Operating Officer, LJS U.S. and International, leading day-to-day national operations. Krista Foster has been named Vice President, Human Resources.

    “These moves recognize the substantial contributions of Brian and Toni to strengthening Long John Silver’s operations; improving our customer satisfaction scores and driving profitable growth of the brand,” said James O’Reilly, Chief Executive Officer.

    Since joining LJS in 2015, O’Reilly has brought together a skilled and deeply-experienced leadership team. Unger is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a former Senior Vice President of Operations for McDonald’s and former Chief Restaurant Officer for the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.

    Bianco spent more than 13 years in operations at Papa John’s Pizza rising to the position of Vice President of Asia. Prior to that, he was Director of Operations for Aramark.

    Foster joined LJS in 2015 after 15 years in HR with Reams Asset Management.

    “We’re proud of Krista as she continues to lead the key strategic initiative of Creating a Great Place to Work,” O’Reilly noted. Under her leadership, LJS has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” in Kentucky for 2017.

    About Long John Silver’s

    Long John Silver’s is a classic American brand founded in 1969, and stands today as the nation’s largest quick-service seafood chain with nearly 1,000 franchised restaurants nation-wide. Long John Silver’s is famous for its pure, wild-caught Alaskan whitefish hand-dipped in their signature batter and lightly fried to golden perfection. Learn more at www.ljsilvers.com or join the conversation via social media on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

    Contact:
    RunSwitch PR
    Gary Gerdemann
    502-291-8557
    Gary@runswitchpr.com


  • Rave Restaurant Group Announces Judy Messenger as Vice President of Real Estate

    Messenger to lead continued expansion for Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn

    Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Rave Restaurant Group, the parent company of international pizza chain Pizza Inn and fast casual trailblazer Pie Five Pizza Co., is excited to officially announce the hire of Judy Messenger as the new Vice President of Real Estate. In this role, Messenger is responsible for making strategic real estate decisions that foster growth and transformation of the brand, in addition to expanding market presence. She oversees both franchise support and corporate development for both brands.

    “We’re proud to have some of the best minds in the industry at Rave, and Judy is a wonderful addition to our team,” said Scott Crane, Rave Restaurant Group’s CEO. “With her impressive background, we are confident that she will be an integral part of the growth and expansion of Rave.”

    Messenger brings 25 years of real estate experience to the role, previously serving as the Director of Real Estate at top restaurant chains like Noodles & Co. and Smashburger. With Messenger’s proven track record of securing nearly 20 deals per year, Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn are well positioned to continue to expand their national footprints.

    “I’m thrilled to join Rave Restaurant Group at this exciting time of growth and development,” said Messenger. “In this new role, I look forward to working closely with the Operations, Franchise Development, and Restaurant Development teams to drive the continued success of Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn.”

    Messenger entered her role at Rave Restaurant Group on February 13.  She reports directly to Rave Restaurant Group’s CEO, Scott Crane.

    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.

    Contact:
    Jami  Zimmerman
    Champion Management
    972-930-9933
    jzimmerman@championmgt.com
    www.championmgt.com

     


  • FAMOUS DAVE’S OF AMERICA, INC. APPOINTS CHARLES W. MOOTY AS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND REPORTS RESULTS FOR FISCAL 2016

    MINNEAPOLIS, March 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Famous Dave's of America, Inc. (NASDAQ:DAVE) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed current Board member and experienced industry executive, Charles W. Mooty Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective February 27, 2017.  Mr. Mooty joined the Company’s board in December 2016.

    A longtime member of the Minneapolis business community, Mr. Mooty has more than 21 years of experience in the restaurant industry, having served in key executive leadership positions at both the management and board level at International Dairy Queen, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.  Currently, Mr. Mooty serves as President and CEO of Jostens, Inc.  Mr. Mooty succeeds Joseph Jacobs, the President and Co-Founder of Wexford Capital LP, who served as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board since 2015 and will remain on the Board of Directors.

    “Since joining the Board, Chuck has demonstrated a deep passion for our Company and a relentless desire to work together to build strong momentum across the business.  He has exhibited tremendous leadership and vision in setting a path for Famous Dave’s.  The Board appreciates the proven experience and expertise Chuck brings to positioning Famous Dave’s for long-term success,” said Mr. Jacobs.

    “As a strong believer in the brand, it is truly an honor to assume the responsibility of Chairman at this pivotal time for the Company and to further lead its evolution.  I am confident that together with the leadership of the Board, our management team and our franchisees we will drive enhanced total returns for our shareholders,” said Mr. Mooty.

    Today, the Company reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 1, 2017 compared to the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 3, 2016.

    Highlights for the Fourth Quarter of 2016 include the following:

    • Franchise-operated restaurants comparable sales decreased 5.5%
    • Company-owned restaurants comparable sales decreased 5.0%
    • Opened one new franchise-operated restaurant and closed one
    • General and administrative expenses decreased approximately $1.0 million to $4.1 million
    • Completed new long-term Credit Agreement with a new bank partner

    Highlights for Fiscal Year 2016 include the following:

    • Franchise-operated restaurants comparable sales decreased 4.7%
    • Company-owned restaurants comparable sales decreased 5.0%
    • Opened four new franchise-operated restaurants, refranchised seven, and closed seven
    • General and administrative expenses decreased approximately $2.3 million to $16.8 million
    • Net debt decreased by approximately $2.4 million

    Financial Results

      (in thousands except per share data) Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Ended
        January 1, 
    2017
    January 3, 
    2016
      January 1, 
    2017
    January 3, 
    2016
    Revenue:                      
      Total revenues (1)(2) $ 22,593     $ 25,367     $ 99,179     $ 114,226  
                             
    Operating income:                      
      GAAP (loss) income from operations   (4.7)%       (1.8)%       (4.1)%       1.9%  
      Adjusted (loss) income from operations   (3.7)%       (4.5)%       0.9%       1.1%  
                             
    (Loss) income per common share:                      
      GAAP basic (loss) income from continuing operations $ (0.12 )   $ (0.05 )   $ (0.42 )   $ 0.15  
      Adjusted basic (loss) income from continuing operations $ (0.10 )   $ (0.08 )   $ 0.01     $ 0.04  
                             

    (1) The quarterly year over year decrease was primarily the result of a decline in Company-owned restaurant sales and franchise royalty revenue due to the previously mentioned comparable sales declines and changes in restaurant count; and the inclusion of the 53rd operating week in fiscal 2015.
    (2) The year over year decrease was primarily the result of a decline in Company-owned restaurant sales and franchise royalty revenue due to the previously mentioned comparable sales declines and changes in restaurant count; the inclusion of the 53rd operating week in fiscal 2015; and the refranchising of five Company-owned restaurants and the closure of one Company-owned restaurant in the third quarter of fiscal 2015.

    CEO Comments

    Mike Lister, Chief Executive and Operating Officer, commented, “while 2016 was a challenging year for the industry and Famous Dave’s, we remain focused on the all-important return of our Brand to a position of strength. The foundation of the Brand and the quality of our people is unquestionable.  I am confident that together with the leadership of the Board, Chuck’s invaluable insights, and our people we will elevate Famous Dave’s to the next level.”

    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.


  • Cicis Appoints Jini Foust Chief Operating Officer

    Yum! Brands veteran to elevate operations initiatives

    Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Cicis announced today the hiring of Jini Foust as its new Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing franchise and corporate operations, operations service, and training. Foust brings more than 30 years of multi-unit restaurant experience with a proven history of driving operations strategies that increase sales and deliver elevated guest experiences.

    “Jini adds incredible depth and experience to our operations team and will be an invaluable asset as we continue to enhance operations excellence in all of our restaurants,” said Cicis CEO Darin Harris. “She is uniquely qualified to lead operations at this stage in our growth as we advance our brand.”

    Foust is a highly accomplished restaurant executive. Her career spans 10 years with McDonald’s Corporation and 23 years at Yum! Brands in progressively responsible roles in both operations and human resources leadership. She most recently served as Vice President of Company Operations & Facilities Maintenance for Taco Bell Corporation, where she was responsible for leading more than 900 company restaurants with system-wide revenues of over $1.5 billion.

    “My love for restaurants started in high school when I took my first job and has grown throughout my career. Now I’m excited to bring that passion to Cicis,” said Foust. “I look forward to working with Darin and his outstanding executive team and getting to know the franchisees and other local operators who do such a great job of delivering on our unique value proposition to guests from coast to coast.”

    Cicis is known and loved for its unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, soup and dessert buffet. It is dedicated to going Beyond Pizza and feeding individuality by enabling its guests to find the tastes they love.

    Cicis: BEYOND PIZZA.

    About Cicis

    Cicis invented the Unlimited Pizza Buffet concept, driven by a belief in making life more flavorful by empowering guests to find the flavors they love. At nearly 450 restaurants strong in 33 states, Entrepreneur recognized Cicis on its Franchise 500 list in 2015. Cicis also won the Technomic 2014 Consumers’ Choice award for best kid-friendly quick service restaurant. For more information about Cicis, visit cicis.com or Facebook.com/cicis.

    For franchising information, contact Michael Iglesias at miglesias@cicispizza.com or 972-745-9313 or visit franchise.cicis.com.

    Contact:
    Ladd Biro
    Champion Management
    972-930-9933
    lbiro@championmgt.com
    www.championmgt.com


  • Texas Chicken to Accelerate Growth Throughout Middle East and Asia Pacific

    Brand announces new leadership structure aimed at innovation, satisfaction and more

    Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  In a move to unite two highly successful regions and leverage their combined strength for better efficiency, profitability and further expansion, Texas Chicken® announced today that its Middle East/Black Sea Basin and Asia Pacific business units will now report to a single management team. In doing so, Texas Chicken will be bolstering the brand’s ability to operate more seamlessly across 14 countries by sharing talent, resources, best practices and advancements in culinary innovation.

    “The power unleashed by bringing both regions under one umbrella allows us to fully support continued expansion with field-based leadership and quicker decision making on behalf of our franchise affiliates,” explained Tony Moralejo, executive vice president, International Business and Global Development for Texas Chicken.

    Leading up the new organizational group will be Amar Sandhu, who will take on the title of Vice President, Texas Chicken Business. In the newly created role, Sandhu will be responsible for managing the Texas Chicken brand across all Middle East/Black Sea Basin and Asia Pacific markets – with an eye toward consistently elevating and enhancing brand experience. Sandhu brings diverse expertise to the position that includes operations, development, marketing, strategy, and a results-based approach for working with emerging and developing markets. Amar holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Western Ontario – Richard Ivey School of Business.

    Sandhu has been a vital member of the Texas Chicken team for more than five years, and played a pivotal role in the successful launch of the brand in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Thailand, Pakistan, and most recently, Laos. Under his leadership, the brand has seen unprecedented growth in Asia, solidifying its position as the No.2 quick-service chicken brand in the entire region.

    “I’m eager and motivated to lead our Texas Chicken teams toward reaching ever-higher benchmarks in guest satisfaction, innovation and best-in-class service for our franchisees,” Sandhu said. “Together, we will see many achievements in expanding the global footprint of Texas Chicken.”

    About Texas Chicken / Church’s Chicken®

    Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken outside of the Americas, is one of the largest quick service chicken restaurant chains in the world. The brands specialize in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value.  Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken have more than 1,600 locations in 27 countries and global markets and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion.  For more information, visit www.churchs.com.  Follow Church’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at www.twitter.com/churchschicken.

    Contact:
    Daniella Delgado
    866-571-3449
    Daniella@inklinkmarketing.com


  • The Brass Tap and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Announces New Chief Development Officer

    Jean Baudrand Brings Decades of Development Experience to Spark Rapid Multi-Unit Growth for FSC Franchise Co., LLC Brands

    Tampa, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  FSC Franchise Co., LLC, parent company of leading sports pub franchise Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and rapidly growing craft beer bar The Brass Tap, is advancing its push for brand innovation and strategic growth with the addition of industry veteran Jean Baudrand as Chief Development Officer. Baudrand joins The Brass Tap and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s as the two brands mount an aggressive new push for market share in 2017.

    Baudrand has cultivated a long, successful career in brand development, both domestically and internationally. After spearheading domestic development and real estate for Burger King Corp., he was promoted to London in 1994 to lead Burger King’s European, Middle Eastern and non-traditional development efforts. He then joined Yum! Brands in 1998 as Vice President of International Development in Europe, and progressively extended his responsibilities to the Middle East and Latin America. By 2009, after consulting for companies like Arby’s, Applebee’s and Quizno’s Subs, Baudrand accepted an invitation to join TGI Friday’s as Vice President of International Business Development, a position he held for the last eight years.

    “As I contemplated the next step in my career, I realized I wanted to work with brands with tremendous potential and help take them to new heights,” Baudrand said. “Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap have two very different brand stories, but equally incredible growth opportunities. Beef’s has a track record of success dating back more than three decades, and the community ties the brand has developed in its markets are among the strongest in the industry. The Brass Tap, on the other hand, is a younger, hipper brand with strong millennial appeal. Our goal is to leverage each of the brands’ unique strengths as they grow. By further highlighting the elements that make them great, I believe we can spur rapid expansion for both brands in new markets across the country.”

    Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is already an attractive prospect for experienced restaurant franchise operators, but Baudrand intends to boost the franchise opportunity even further as the brand amplifies what already sets it apart: its role as an important community gathering place. By enhancing both the dining room and bar experience, ensuring that color schemes are more contemporary and that the menu becomes a part of the celebration, Baudrand plans to further differentiate the Beef’s experience from competitors.

    “Our existing franchisees have recognized how important community involvement is to running their thriving businesses. They are successful because they are truly at the center of their community. This means creating a space that’s not only family-friendly, but also a place where adults can go to enjoy a beer and delicious food at a great price. These changes will refocus the brand on its original and wining promise, bringing a more contemporary, fresh feeling to Beef’s, while boosting the neighborhood vibe that’s made the brand so successful for so long,” Baudrand said.

    At The Brass Tap, Baudrand plans to accentuate the brand’s appeal to a younger demographic. To do this, The Brass Tap development team will focus on diversifying the guest experience by offering a larger, more varied drink list in an atmosphere that projects both an urban feel and a warm, inviting space to relax, spend time with friends and watch sports.

    “The Brass Tap is a place where people come at the end of the day to relax, recharge and catch up with friends. By further expanding our great list of craft cocktails, wine and quality food, we’re prompting guests to make The Brass Tap their go-to spot. We’re celebrating what makes the concept so unique: an unparalleled modern craft beer bar experience,” Baudrand said.

    In order to accelerate growth in 2017, both The Brass Tap’s and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will increase focus on experienced multi-unit operators. By targeting franchisees who have a genuine interest in growing alongside these brands through multi-unit development, Baudrand is confident that record growth is quick to follow.

    “We couldn’t be more excited to have Jean join the FSC Franchise team to continue the momentum and positive growth,” Chris Elliott, CEO of FCS Franchise Co. LLC., said. “Both of these brands have very strong foundations in place, and we’re confident that with Jean’s expertise and skill, we have many even more prosperous years ahead.”

    About The Brass Tap

    Founded by Jeff Martin in 2008, Tampa, Florida based The Brass Tap is an upscale craft beer and wine bar celebrated for its more than 300 varieties of imports, local craft beers and a large selection of premium wines and cigars. With more than 30 open units and 50 upcoming openings, The Brass Tap is positioned to quadruple in size in the Southeast and beyond. In June 2012, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s acquired the rights to franchise The Brass Tap. For more info, visit www.brasstapbeerbar.com.

    About Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

    Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a franchise of family sports pubs that provides the perfect atmosphere for friends and families to watch the game and grab a bite. With a focus on providing value without sacrificing quality, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s menu features delicious family favorites like hearty pizza and flatbreads, award-winning wings, fresh Angus burgers and crisp salads, along with a kids’ menu and a full bar for the adults. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is strongly dedicated to community involvement through ongoing partnerships with local schools, youth sports leagues and other community groups. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s currently operates 209 locations in 23 states. For more information about franchising opportunities visit http://www.beefobradysfranchise.com.

    Contact:
    Troy Kehoe
    No Limit Agency
    312-526-3996
    troy@nolimitagency.com


  • Church’s Chicken Names Industry Veteran Hector Munoz Chief Marketing Officer

    Quick-Service Restaurant Expert Returns to Brand Where Career Began More than 25 Years Ago

    Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Church’s Chicken®, the global quick-service hand- battered fried chicken restaurant chain, today announced that Hector Munoz has been named Chief Global Marketing Officer for the Company. Munoz, who has spent his career in the restaurant industry, returns to the brand where he began in the early 90s. He takes the marketing helm on March 6th.

    Munoz will be responsible for the global marketing organization including the Company’s internationally-known Texas Chicken® brand. His areas of responsibility include new product development, calendar planning, consumer insights, advertising, multi-cultural marketing, brand equity, positioning, media buying and planning, packaging, field and promotional marketing, social and media relations and guest engagement and strategic direction on promotional and product innovation. He will serve as a member of the Church’s Global Leadership Team and will report to Joe Christina, Chief Executive Officer. He will also work closely with the Church’s International Franchisee Association (CIFA) board.

    “I have known Hector for over 15 years. He has a guest-centric mindset and believes it takes a team to get results. He is a terrific fit for our culture.  He understands our guests and, more importantly, has proven that he knows how to deliver great experiences that guests love,” Christina said.

    “I clearly know chicken and the quick-service industry,” said Munoz, the former Chief Marketing Officer for Popeyes Louisiana Chicken since 2014.  “It’s terrific to rejoin an organization with the legacy and heritage of such an iconic brand as Church’s. I am excited to rejoin the brand where I learned my craft and to work with a team dedicated to becoming the global franchisor of choice and veteran franchisees who have worked to make the brand what it is today.”

    Munoz joined Popeyes in 2011 where he led U.S. marketing efforts, including brand strategy and product innovation, achieving year over year increases in same store sales and over twenty-five quarters of consecutive same-store sales gain.  He worked for nearly ten years in a variety of field and corporate leadership roles at Burger King Corporation including brand image and strategy and retail marketing and merchandising.  He previously served Long John Silver’s®, Taco Bell®, and Bruegger’s Bagels®.

    Munoz earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Cal Poly University and an MBA from the University of Miami.

    About Church’s Chicken®

    Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken® is one of the largest quick service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Church’s® (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,600 locations in 27 countries and international territories and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information, visit www.churchs.com. Follow Church’s® on Facebook and Twitter.

    Contact:
    Daniella Delgado
    866-571-3449
    Daniella@inklinkmarketing.com


  • Cheryl Bachelder to Step Down as CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

    ATLANTA--()--Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLKI) today announced that Cheryl Bachelder will be stepping down as CEO at the closing of the Company’s previously announced transaction with Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI”) (TSX/NYSE: QSR, TSX: QSP). A new Popeyes leader will be named by RBI at that time.

    Cheryl joined Popeyes in 2006 as a member of the Board of Directors. In November 2007, she was named CEO, and, in concert with the leadership team, has led a remarkable transformation of the Company. The brand today is a strong, thriving Louisiana-inspired icon that has become a global presence with nearly 2,700 restaurants in 26 countries, with a deep bench of talent across the Company. Importantly, the franchise community has grown and prospered, with top line restaurant sales up 45% and bottom line restaurant operating profit more than doubled.

    “The Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful to Cheryl for her leadership of this enterprise,” said John Cranor, Chairman of the Popeyes Board of Directors. “Cheryl’s collaborative and engaging approach to the business has driven a decade of success for the Popeyes brand and enabled the Company to achieve outstanding results, putting Popeyes at the top of the quick-service restaurant industry. She has been a great mentor to many, and leaves Popeyes strong in this 45th anniversary year.”

    “Cheryl created a collaborative culture among franchisees and the Restaurant Support Team. It's been a true partnership that turned out to be the secret to success for Popeyes,” said Howard Mangen, President of the Popeyes International Franchisee Association. “Her leadership approach was a welcome one and led to an exciting and profitable 10 years for the Popeyes Brand.”

    Corporate Profile

    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. is the franchisor and operator of Popeyes® restaurants, the world's second-largest Quick-Service Restaurant (“QSR”) chicken concept based on number of units. Popeyes has nearly 2,700 operating restaurants in the United States, three territories, and 25 foreign countries. The Company's primary objective is to deliver sales and profits by offering excellent investment opportunities in its Popeyes brand and providing exceptional franchisee support systems and services to its owners. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. can be found at www.popeyes.com.

    NOTICE TO INVESTORS ABOUT THE OFFER:

    This announcement is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell any securities. The solicitation and the offer to buy shares of Popeyes’ common stock is being made pursuant to an Offer to Purchase and related tender offer materials that Orange, Inc. has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on February 27, 2017. Orange, Inc. has filed a Tender Offer Statement on Schedule TO with the SEC on February 27, 2017 and Popeyes has filed a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC on February 27, 2017 related to the tender offer. The Tender Offer Statement (including an Offer to Purchase, a related Letter of Transmittal and other tender offer documents) and the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement contain important information that should be read carefully before any decision is made with respect to the tender offer. Those materials have been sent to Popeyes’ shareholders and may also be obtained at no charge by contacting Mackenzie Partners, Inc. at (212) 929-5500 (collect) or (800) 322-2885 (toll free). In addition, all of those materials (and all other offer documents filed with the SEC) are available at no charge on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

    Contacts

    Media inquiries:
    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
    Renee Kopkowski, 404-459-4630
    Vice President, Brand Communications
    renee.kopkowski@popeyes.com


  • Fiesta names Richard Stockinger CEO

    Former Benihana executive tapped to lead Pollo Tropical, Taco Cabana parent

    Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc., parent to the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana chains, has named Richard Stockinger as president and CEO, the company said after releasing fourth-quarter earnings on Monday.

    Stockinger, who served as president and CEO of Miami-based Benihana Inc. from 2009 to 2014, succeeds Tim Taft, who resigned last August.

    Before joining Benihana, Stockinger worked for more than two decades at The Patina Restaurant Group LLC and its predecessor, Restaurant Associates Inc.

    Most recently, Stockinger has been a consultant with Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., a private-equity firm, and Not Your Average Joe’s, a private restaurant company, for which he served on the board.

    In October, Fiesta closed 10 Pollo Tropical locations in a review of the chain’s portfolio.

    For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1, Fiesta reported net income of $2.4 million, down from $8.8 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue declined 4.6 

    percent, to $171.3 million, from $179.5 million the previous year. 

    Same-store sales at Pollo Tropical declined 4 percent in the fourth quarter, and fell 3.5 percent at Taco Cabana. 

    In addition to Stockinger’s appointment, Fiesta said it had appointed Paul Twohig as a non-executive member of the board. Twohig joined Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. in 2009, and serves as president of its U.S. and Canada division. Prior to joining Dunkin’ Brands, Twohig served as a senior vice president for Starbucks Corp.’s Eastern Division. 

    Fiesta’s board also named Stacey Rauch as non-executive chairman. She had served as a director since 2012. Rauch is a director emeritus of McKinsey & Co. and its retail and consumer goods practice. 

    In a statement, Rauch said Stockinger “is a respected, results-driven industry veteran who understands the value of our Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana brands, and has the skills and experience necessary to be a strong and effective leader in advancing our strategic initiatives at this critical juncture.” 

    The company also promoted Danny Meisenheimer, who had served as Fiesta’s interim CEO, to chief operating officer. Previously, Meisenheimer served as chief brand officer of Pollo Tropical, in 2012. 

    The company said in a statement that it would focus on Pollo Tropical development in Florida markets and Taco Cabana in Texas markets. In 2017, the company expects to open 12 new company-owned Pollo Tropical restaurants in Florida and 10 new Taco Cabana restaurants in Texas. 

    “While our expansion into Texas for Pollo Tropical has been challenging, we continue to believe in the long-term attractiveness of the business model and its potential beyond its traditional markets,” Rauch said. 

    As of Jan. 1, Fiesta had 177 company-owned Pollo Tropical restaurants and 166 company-owned Taco Cabana restaurants. The company also franchised 35 Pollo Tropical units and seven Taco Cabana locations.

    Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Penton.com

    Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless


  • Schaubroeck Named Vice President Of Marketing At Culver’s

    Prairie du Sac, WI  (RestaurantNews.com)  Julie Schaubroeck has joined Culver Franchising System, Inc. as vice president of marketing. She comes to Culver’s from American Family Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was associate vice president of brand and consumer marketing.

    Ms. Schaubroeck has over 17 years of sales and marketing experience gained through progressive roles in different industries. She worked on developing and marketing several food product lines during her 10 years with Kraft Foods.

    “I am thrilled to join this incredibly talented team and outstanding brand,” says Schaubroeck. “I look forward to helping continue Culver’s strong growth well into the future.”

    She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and her MBA from the University of Chicago.

    Ms. Schaubroeck replaces David Stidham, who left the organization in 2016.

    About Culver’s

    For over 30 years, Culver’s guests have been treated to cooked-to-order food made with farm-fresh ingredients, served with a smile. The ever-expanding franchise system now numbers more than 600 family-owned and operated restaurants in 24 states. The restaurants’ nationally recognized customer service is based on small-town, Midwestern values, genuine friendliness and an unwavering commitment to quality. Signature items include the award-winning ButterBurger®, made from fresh, never frozen, beef, and Fresh Frozen Custard, including the famous Flavor of the Day program. For more information, visit http://www.culvers.comhttp://www.culvers.com/facebookhttp://www.twitter.com/culvershttps://plus.google.com/+culvers or http://www.instagram.com/culvers.

    Contact:
    Paul Pitas
    Director of PR & Communications
    608-644-2614
    paulpitas@culvers.com


  • DineEquity, Inc. Announces John Cywinski As President Of Applebee’s

    25-Year Industry Veteran And Former Applebee’s Chief Marketing Officer Returns To Casual Dining Category Leader

    Glendale, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  DineEquity, Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, today announced that John Cywinski has been appointed President, Applebee’s, effective today.

    John most recently served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Marketing at Brinker International, parent company of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Prior to Brinker, John was at Yum! Brands from 2010 to 2014, where he was the President of KFC’s $4.4 billion, 4,400 restaurant  U.S. business. Before joining Yum! John spent four years as a franchisee himself, owning and operating  successful Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago; he has since sold all of his restaurants.

    From 2001 to 2006, John served as the chief marketing officer of Applebee’s, where he led all aspects of brand strategy and positioning including, marketing, culinary and menu strategies, while spearheading innovative initiatives like Applebee’s Carside To Go, a 5-year alliance with Weight Watchers, and the “Eatin’ Good In The Neighborhood” ad campaign. Previously, John served as Vice President of U.S. Brand Strategy for McDonald’s Corporation, President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing for The Walt Disney Company and led U.S. Marketing for Burger King. John started his career with Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago.

    “We are pleased that John is rejoining the Applebee’s team, this time as brand president,” said Richard J. Dahl, DineEquity’s Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer. “John is a highly-regarded industry veteran with more than 25 years of leadership experience, including leading quick service and casual dining brands. Importantly, he is in the unique position of being able to provide extensive industry experience and a fresh innovative perspective to the Applebee’s business, while already having a deep understanding and appreciation of the brand and strong collaborative relationships with its franchise community. Through his previous work with KFC and Applebee’s, John has proven his ability to work with franchisees to revitalize a brand, and we couldn’t imagine a better fit to lead Applebee’s turnaround.”

    Continued Dahl, “Applebee’s is an iconic brand, number one in its category, with a broad footprint and sophisticated franchisee base. While the business, like the category, is going through a challenging period, we are confident that we can improve performance and drive long-term growth again under John’s leadership. DineEquity’s highly-franchised model continues to generate significant cash flow, which will enable us to make substantial investments in the brand, and we are thrilled to have John on board to guide our growth initiatives.”

    “I’m thrilled to be back at Applebee’s, where I was previously part of a terrific senior team and franchise community that led the transformation of the company,” said Cywinski. “This is a very meaningful homecoming for me and I’m looking forward to partnering with Applebee’s franchisees as well as the Applebee’s and DineEquity teams to unlock the growth within this great brand. I am both proud and humbled to have this opportunity and I’m committed to working tirelessly with all partners to reestablish Applebee’s excellence and leadership in the category.”

    About DineEquity, Inc.

    Based in Glendale, California, DineEquity, Inc., through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. With more than 3,700 restaurants combined in 18 countries and 3 U.S. territories and approximately 400 franchisees, DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information on DineEquity, visit the Company's Web site located at www.dineequity.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "intend," "plan" and other similar expressions. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied in such statements. These factors include, but are not limited to: the effect of general economic conditions; the Company's indebtedness; risk of future impairment charges; trading volatility and the price of the Company's common stock; the Company's results in any given period differing from guidance provided to the public; the highly competitive nature of the restaurant business; the Company's business strategy failing to achieve anticipated results; risks associated with the restaurant industry; risks associated with locations of current and future restaurants; rising costs for food commodities and utilities; shortages or interruptions in the supply or delivery of food; ineffective marketing and guest relationship initiatives and use of social media; changing health or dietary preferences; our engagement in business in foreign markets; harm to our brands' reputation; litigation; fourth-party claims with respect to intellectual property assets; environmental liability; liability relating to employees; failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations; failure to effectively implement restaurant development plans; our dependence upon our franchisees; concentration of Applebee's franchised restaurants in a limited number of franchisees; credit risk from IHOP franchisees operating under our previous business model; termination or non-renewal of franchise agreements; franchisees breaching their franchise agreements; insolvency proceedings involving franchisees; changes in the number and quality of franchisees; inability of franchisees to fund capital expenditures; heavy dependence on information technology; the occurrence of cyber incidents or a deficiency in our cybersecurity; failure to execute on a business continuity plan; inability to attract and retain talented employees; risks associated with retail brand initiatives; failure of our internal controls; and other factors discussed from time to time in the Company's Annual and Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and in the Company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement any forward-looking statements.

    To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dineequity-inc-announces-resignation-of-chief-financial-officer-and-appointment-of-interim-chief-financial-officer-300415731.html

    SOURCE DineEquity, Inc.


  • Dine Equity Chief Financial Office Resigns

    GLENDALE, Calif., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, today announced that it has accepted the resignation of its Chief Financial Officer, Thomas W. Emrey, to be effective March 15, 2017.  Mr. Emrey is leaving to accept the position of Chief Financial Officer at Munchkin, Inc., a leading global infant products lifestyle brand.  Effective March 15, 2017, Greggory H. Kalvin, DineEquity's Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller, will assume the role of interim CFO until a permanent successor to Mr. Emrey is named.  A search for a permanent CFO has commenced. 

    Commenting on Mr. Emrey's departure, Richard J. Dahl, Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of DineEquity, Inc. said, "On behalf of everyone at DineEquity and our board of directors, I would like to thank Tom for his many contributions during his tenure as CFO.  Tom has been a valued member of the DineEquity executive team for more than 5 years.  We wish him much success in his future endeavors."  Mr. Dahl added, "I am confident that Gregg Kalvin, our long-time controller, will do an excellent job."

    About DineEquity, Inc.

    Based in Glendale, California, DineEquity, Inc., through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. With more than 3,700 restaurants combined in 18 countries and 3 U.S. territories and approximately 400 franchisees, DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information on DineEquity, visit the Company's Web site located at www.dineequity.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "intend," "plan" and other similar expressions. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied in such statements. These factors include, but are not limited to: the effect of general economic conditions; the Company's indebtedness; risk of future impairment charges; trading volatility and the price of the Company's common stock; the Company's results in any given period differing from guidance provided to the public; the highly competitive nature of the restaurant business; the Company's business strategy failing to achieve anticipated results; risks associated with the restaurant industry; risks associated with locations of current and future restaurants; rising costs for food commodities and utilities; shortages or interruptions in the supply or delivery of food; ineffective marketing and guest relationship initiatives and use of social media; changing health or dietary preferences; our engagement in business in foreign markets; harm to our brands' reputation; litigation; fourth-party claims with respect to intellectual property assets; environmental liability; liability relating to employees; failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations; failure to effectively implement restaurant development plans; our dependence upon our franchisees; concentration of Applebee's franchised restaurants in a limited number of franchisees; credit risk from IHOP franchisees operating under our previous business model; termination or non-renewal of franchise agreements; franchisees breaching their franchise agreements; insolvency proceedings involving franchisees; changes in the number and quality of franchisees; inability of franchisees to fund capital expenditures; heavy dependence on information technology; the occurrence of cyber incidents or a deficiency in our cybersecurity; failure to execute on a business continuity plan; inability to attract and retain talented employees; risks associated with retail brand initiatives; failure of our internal controls; and other factors discussed from time to time in the Company's Annual and Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and in the Company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement any forward-looking statements.

    To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dineequity-inc-announces-resignation-of-chief-financial-officer-and-appointment-of-interim-chief-financial-officer-300415731.html

    SOURCE DineEquity, Inc.


  • Togo's Names Glenn Lunde Chief Concept Officer

    Togo's Eateries, LLC has named Glenn Lunde Chief Concept Officer (CCO). Lunde joins Togo's with more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and retail business. He will lead marketing, brand strategy, and concept development for Togo's.

    "Glenn has a proven track record of building national franchises into sustainable, profitable operators that achieve long-term success. He will be a valuable leader for our brand repositioning and concept development efforts," said Tony Gioia, CEO at Togo's. "I envision Glenn's role expanding over time, and it is my pleasure to welcome Glenn to the Togo's family."

    A C-level marketing executive for the past 15 years, Lunde has led restaurant and retail franchises through turnaround situations, market expansions, and profitable growth. Before joining Togo's, Lunde served as CMO at Grocery Outlet, a $1.8 billion grocery retailer with over 270 locations, each run by an independent owner-operator. Prior to that, he was CCO at Einstein Noah's Restaurant Group, a 900-unit company where he led menu architecture, culinary innovation, store design, and marketing efforts.

    Earlier in his career, Lunde served as CMO of Panda Restaurant Group for more than seven years. His leadership in brand, menu, and concept innovation development helped grow the restaurant chain from 779 units to over 1,500 units, yielding nearly $2.0 billion in annual sales. He also served as CMO of Round Table Pizza and VP of Marketing at Taco Bell. He worked on numerous projects that continue to be a foundation of those businesses today.

    "As a Bay Area native, I've been a huge Togo's fan for decades, and I believe the brand has a ton of untapped potential," said Lunde. "I am excited to work with the Togo's corporate team and franchisees on identifying, testing, and pursuing new opportunities to grow our business and thrill customers." 


  • Pei Wei names John Hedrick CEO

    Former COO at NPC International takes reins at fast-casual chain

    Pei Wei on Tuesday named former NPC International executive John Hedrick the company’s new CEO.

    Hedrick officially joined the fast-casual Asian chain on Jan. 30. He replaces Ralph Bower, who had led the chain since 2014 before leaving in September to take over as the CEO of The Melt.

    Pei Wei on Tuesday named former NPC International executive John Hedrick the company’s new CEO.

    Hedrick officially joined the fast-casual Asian chain on Jan. 30. He replaces Ralph Bower, who had led the chain since 2014 before leaving in September to take over as the CEO of The Melt.

    “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join Pei Wei — a great brand with a terrific future,” Hedrick said in a statement. “As a longtime customer, I jumped at the chance to be part of the team.”

    Hedrick most recently was the chief operating officer with NPC International, one of the largest restaurant operators in the country. The franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s has annual revenues of $1.2 billion and 1,300 locations. He has also worked with Pilot Flying J, 7-11 and RaceTrac Petroleum. 

    He takes over Pei Wei, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based chain with more than 200 locations in 21 states. 

    In 2016, Pei Wei launched a rebranding effort to improve the dining and takeout experience, featuring dishes that position as “mindfully sourced” with fresh ingredients.

    “I believe that, with a renewed focus on our team members and the needs of our customers, we will continue to position ourselves as a leader in the fast-casual restaurant industry,” Hedrick said. 

    Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

    Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze


  • Marco's names COO

    Marco's Pizza has promoted its EVP of operations and former Burger King executive, Tony Libardi to chief operations officer, a news release said. In the new role, both marketing and employee engagement will now be under Libardi's direction. He is also still overseeing the brand's learning and development activities, a news release said. Libardi has  been at the company for nearly three years, a time marked by 12 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth. 
     
    Libardi will oversee a staff effort to implement several new best practices to pair the chain's Better Pizza philosophy with an equal Better Guest Experience emphasis. This initiative includes a new work flow design, e-learning platform and improved hiring and retention practices.
     
    "As we continue to experience rapid growth, constantly improving and perfecting our guest experience for our customers is of chief importance for our brand,"Libardi  said. "We’ve been working on these new operational practices and fine-tuning them for years. Our employees and partners will appreciate the simplified and more accessible flow that our new system brings.”
     
    Libardi is also a 10-year veteran of Burger King, where he led about 750 locations with $900 million in annual sales. During his time there, Burger King saw a 6.5 percent sales increase and a 35 percent restaurant profitability increase. 


Back to top