Executive Movements — December 2017

  • Outback co-founder parts ways with the company after more than a quarter century

    By Margie Manning  –  Finance Editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal

    Dec 11, 2017, 12:38pm EST Updated Dec 11, 2017, 12:52pm

    Chris SullivanOutback Steakhouse co-founder, has resigned from the board of directors of Outback parent company Bloomin’ Brands Inc.

    "All is good with [Bloomin' Brands] and I am going to focus on several opportunities that I am currently involved with," he told the Tampa Bay Business Journal in an email on Monday.

    Bloomin (NASDAQ: BLMN), the $4 billion Tampa-based company whose portfolio also includes Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, disclosed Sullivan's Dec. 6. resignation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it reduced the size of its board to seven members after Sullivan resigned.

    Sullivan’s resignation follows last month’s disclosure by activist investor Jana Partners LLC that it has acquired an 8.7 percent stake of Bloomin’ Brands stock, and it plans to talk to the company about strategic alternatives, including a potential sale. Bloomin’ has said it looks forward to meeting with Jana representatives.

    "Given the current situation with the activist shareholder I am not in a position to comment further on [Bloomin' Brands]," Sullivan said. 

    Sullivan, who was 69 years old when Bloomin’ issued its proxy statement earlier this year, was one of four co-founders of Outback in 1988, and he developed Outback Steakhouse restaurants prior to its initial public offering in 1991. He’s served as a director of Outback and subsequent companies since then, making him the longest serving director on the Bloomin’ board. He was CEO from 1991 until March 2005.

    He’s currently chairman of ConSul Partners LLC, a Tampa firm involved in joint ventures to develop and expand the Besito Mexican and Metro Diner restaurant brands, as well as restaurant tech companies Menupad and Omnivore Technologies.

    He remains a major shareholder in Bloomin’ Brands, controlling 1.2 million shares of Bloomin’ stock, or 1.17 percent of the total stock outstanding, as of the March 2 proxy statement.

    Sullivan talked about how he funded the launch of Outback when he spoke at the TBBJ Innovation Summit in January.

  • Jonathan Maze Joins Restaurant Business as Executive Editor

    Winsight LLC 
    Dec 06, 2017, 12:32 ET

    CHICAGO, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Winsight LLC has named veteran reporter and writer Jonathan Maze as an executive editor for its Restaurant Business media brand, adding the well-known financial journalist to its stable of top talent.

    Maze joins Restaurant Business as the brand strengthens its coverage of top restaurant chains, offering news, analysis and data that senior executives need to run their businesses. He is a longtime journalist who has covered top 500 chains and emerging restaurant companies for more than 10 years. He is known for his deep insight into the economics of the industry, as well as trends in financing and franchising. Maze is a prolific blogger, reporter and social media personality.

    "Jonathan will bring unrivaled restaurant chain expertise to Restaurant Business, as we aim to be the leading source of timely and relevant information for operators," said Sarah Lockyer, senior vice president, content, at Winsight. "He will join the talented senior leadership team of Kelly Killian, Peter Romeo and Sara Wirth.

    "I believe we now have the best team in restaurant industry media, which we will use to not only enhance Restaurant Business, but also bolster other Winsight brands including Restaurant Leadership Conference, Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, Restaurant Directions and Technomic offerings."

    For the past three years, Maze was the senior financial editor with Nation's Restaurant News, where his On the Margin blog was some of the most well-read content. Before that, Maze was the editor of the Restaurant Finance Monitor and worked with Franchise Times. At the Monitor, Maze helped reinvigorate the website and made it a must-read for the industry's power players. He previously worked at publications in South Carolina, Indiana and Minnesota.

    Maze is a regular speaker at industry events and is frequently quoted in the mainstream press. He has appeared on CNBC and on National Public Radio's On Point. He has also won numerous awards for his reporting and blogging.

    Maze can be reached at: jmaze@winsightmedia.com. You can follow Maze on Twitter at @jonathanmaze.

    About Winsight LLC
    Winsight LLC is a recognized leader in business-to-business media and information services for the convenience-retailing, foodservice and grocery industries. Winsight has an extensive media portfolio, including five publications: CSPRestaurant BusinessFoodService DirectorConvenience Store Products and Winsight Grocery Business. Winsight also offers a suite of digital products, including websites, e-newsletters, webinars, video products, mobile and tablet apps, and custom marketing solutions. In addition to more than 12 major EduNetworking conferences and advisory meetings, Winsight also produces seven exclusive, large-scale executive-level conferences: Restaurant Leadership Conference, Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, Outlook Leadership Conference, Convenience Retailing University, FSTEC, MenuDirections and Restaurant Directions. Winsight acquired Technomic Inc., a provider of primary and secondary market information and advisory services for the food industry. For more information on Winsight and its brands, go to www.winsightmedia.com.

  • Church’s and Texas Chicken Brands Announce Several Developmental New Hires

    December 11, 2017

    Company Looks to Strengthen Brand on Domestic, Global Front with Internal Changes
    Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Church’s Chicken®, one of the largest fried chicken chains in the world, is furthering its commitment to igniting growth and developing winning teams with its latest announcements of organizational changes to its development team.

    Russ Sumrall has taken on the position of Director of International Business Development for Church’s® and Texas Chicken® brands with nearly 40 years of experience in various leadership roles in the restaurant industry and expertise in international franchising and restaurant development. He is now responsible for the international growth of both brands. Prior to joining Church’s®, Sumrall served as the Chief Operations and Development Officer for the Kudu Company for Food and Catering based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Vice President of International Supply Chain Management, QA and Product Commercialization for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

    Mitch Langston took on the role of Director of International Marketing at Church’s® and Texas Chicken® in August of this year. Since then, he has supported the brand’s international team. Langston has extensive international and domestic expertise aiding franchisees and company operations for brands in both quick service and casual dining for brands such as Popeyes, Applebee’s and Chili’s, among others. From positioning and calendar development to overseeing menu development, marketing messages and media strategies across a wide variety of countries, Langston is a seasoned international marketer with a track record of building brands.

    “Both Russ and Mitch possess extensive experience within the industry which will help steer new and existing franchisees in the right direction for growth and success,” said Tony Moralejo, Executive Vice President of International Business for Church’s Chicken® and Texas Chicken®.

    Tanya Mareno joins the Church’s® development team as Director of Domestic New Business and brings over 20 years of franchising experience and 10 years of restaurant development experience. Prior to her position at Church’s®, Mareno managed market development plans and communications for all recruiting activities, email marketing campaigns, and more for Popeyes Louisiana Chicken. In her new role, Mareno will drive the sourcing of new development agreements with new and existing franchise operators domestically and develop franchise relationships that will drive increased market share and unit growth for the brand. Mareno will report to Vice President of Domestic Franchise Development, David Knies, who was hired as Church’s Vice President of Franchise Development in July of this year.

    “At Church’s we are always striving to create experiences that are rewarding for all involved,” said Knies. “Tanya’s business development experience in the restaurant industry is just what we need to grow the brand domestically.”

    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®, 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 about Church’s Chicken® or Texas Chicken® franchising opportunities, visit http://www.churchs.com/franchise.php. For more information about Church’s Chicken visit www.churchs.com. Follow Church’s® on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at www.twitter.com/churchschicken.

  • FSC Franchise Co. Adds Franchise Veteran as Chief Operating Officer

    December 5, 2017

    Scott SirLouis to Help Implement 2018 Growth Strategy for Leading Full-Service Restaurant Franchise Beef ‘O’ Brady’s® and Craft Beer Bar Franchise The Brass Tap®

    Tampa, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  FSC Franchise Co., LLC, parent company of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s® and The Brass Tap®, continues to build on its strategic plan for multi-unit growth with the hiring of Scott SirLouis as its new Chief Operating Officer. SirLouis will help develop and implement new processes that will further promote Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap’s already highly scalable concepts.The announcement follows a key investment from private equity group CapitalSpring earlier in 2017 and the recent unveiling of new design elements and menu updates for both brands. 

    SirLouis joins the FSC Franchise Co. team with more than 30 years of experience in franchise growth with casual dining and fast casual brands ranging from large chains to local indep endents. After working his way up through positions as a cook, bartender, assistant manager, and ultimately unit manager, SirLouis founded a fast casual Mexican restaurant chain. Most recently, SirLouis spent 16 years at Fazoli’s Restaurants®, LLC, serving as the Vice President of Operations before moving into the role as Vice President of Strategy where he lead the brand in developing off-premise sales programs, mobile platform, IT, point-of-sale (POS) rollouts and reimaging strategies.

    “While I enjoyed the strategy behind my previous position at Fazoli’s, I was always interested in getting back into the operational side of the business,” said SirLouis. “When this opportunity came up, I realized it was an unusual and rare chance to join a franchise concept where I not only saw the potential for growth but was also extremely impressed with the team. The same aspects that attracted me to this industry in the first place are what ultimately attracted me to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap: the energy and the people. FSC Franchise Co. prioritizes its employees in an environment that makes customers want to come back.”

    Prior to joining the FSC Franchise Co. team, SirLouis visited a number of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap locations along the East Coast, immediately recognizing what differentiates the two sister brands. While Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a community and family-focused sports restaurant brand, The Brass Tap appeals to a younger demographic of cult craft beer aficionados, giving The Brass Tap an opportunity to become a place where people go to discover new beer with their friends and stay for the entertainment. SirLouis believes the melting pot of these two concepts will take FSC Franchise Co. to the next level.

    “When I was a unit manager, there was nothing better than standing in a restaurant on a busy Friday night when things are operating like clockwork and guests are happy, employees are running around, it’s loud and the energy is infectious,” said SirLous. “While I like being a strategic level thinker, I love being out on the floor, having that personal interaction with franchisees, guests, managers and the crew. This role allows me to do both. It was a logical next step in my career and a great opportunity with two growing brands.”

    Recognizing that the industry is changing, SirLouis will be developing systems and process to access new revenue streams through delivery and the growth of company-owned stores, providing value to the organization by allowing both brands to focus on what has truly made their concepts unique: the customer experience.

    “The local connection that we’ve been able to make at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap through personal and human interaction is something we’re doing better than anyone else in the industry,” said FSC Franchise Co. CEO Chris Elliot. “Experienced leaders like Scott are critical to ensuring that our environment can remain a priority as we look to expand into new markets nationwide. We’re thrilled to have him on board and look forward to growing together.” 

    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 award-winning wings, fresh Angus burgers, crisp salads, hearty pizza and flatbreads, 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 172 locations in 23 states. For more information about franchising opportunities, visit http://www.beefobradysfranchise.com.

    About The Brass Tap

    The Brass Tap is a Tampa-based craft beer bar and entertainment venue known for its extensive localized brewery offerings, specialty cocktails and premium wines paired perfectly with a select menu of upscale shareables. Every location provides a unique space for social gatherings and entertainment, with an unparalleled atmosphere created through live music, trivia, sports, exclusive beer tastings and tap takeovers. The Brass Tap offers franchise opportunities to qualified operators, continuing to grow its family of nearly 50 bars in 22 states. For more information, visit http://thebrasstapfranchise.com

  • J.R. Galardi Named President for Wienerschnitzel

    December, 5 2017

    After more than 15 years learning every aspect of the family business, J.R. Galardi has assumed the role of president of Galardi Group (GGI), the parent company of Tastee-Freez, Hamburger Stand and Wienerschnitzel, the iconic Southern California-based hot dog chain with 331 restaurants in 10 states and Guam.

    After more than 15 years learning every aspect of the family business, J.R. Galardi has assumed the role of president of Galardi Group (GGI), the parent company of Tastee-Freez, Hamburger Stand and Wienerschnitzel, the iconic Southern California-based hot dog chain with 331 restaurants in 10 states and Guam.

    Formerly executive vice president, J.R. completed an exhaustive training regimen encompassing all aspects of the fast-growing Wienerschnitzel operation — first with his father and company founder, John Galardi, and most recently with his mother, Cindy Galardi Culpepper, who assumed both CEO and Chairman duties when John passed away in 2013.

    The junior Galardi will now be responsible for growing same-store sales and building the Wienerschnitzel, Tastee-Freeze and Hamburger Stand store networks while maintaining his role as the primary marketing support for the brand’s fast-growing franchisee family. He will continue to work closely with Galardi Culpepper and the Management Team to position the brands for future growth, especially among younger audiences.

    “Unlike some sons and daughters who inherit the family business, J.R. insisted on learning every facet of the Wienerschnitzel business from the ground up,” said Cindy Galardi Culpepper. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’ve been planning for this day since his first shift as a fry cook at the age of 13. As a result, there is no one better qualified to take The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain® boldly into the future.”

    As executive vice president, J.R. supported operations, marketing, franchise development and community relations for GGI. He was also previously director of administration, and created the Wienerschnitzel Visionary Department, dedicated to building brand loyalty with a younger audience through digital marketing, interactive experiences and event and charity partnerships.

    It was J.R. who helped Wienerschnitzel forge partnerships with Toyota, Monster Energy Supercross, and Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross as part of a larger strategy to expand the brand’s audience to all ages.

    “I have a passion for introducing ‘The Wienerschnitzel Way’ to multiple audiences,” said J.R. Galardi. “We are all about relationships with our guests — both new and returning — and without them, we wouldn’t be the restaurant we are today. My father built this company from the ground up and my goal is to continue the legacy we all love.”

    After graduating from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and music, Galardi spent time shadowing his father. “I went to every meeting, listened in on every conference call and participated in (almost) every decision he made,” he said. “It was an amazing way to learn and it uniquely prepared me for today.”

    Founded by John Galardi in 1961 with a single hot dog stand in Wilmington, Calif., Wienerschnitzel is one of the real pioneers of the quick-service food industry. Having successfully carved out a niche with hot dogs, The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain® serves more than 120 million hot dogs annually. Based in Irvine, Calif., Wienerschnitzel operates or franchises 331 stores in 10 states and Guam. It is part of the Galardi Group, which is also the parent company of Hamburger Stand and Tastee-Freez LLC.

  • Kona Grill, Inc. Appoints Jim Kuhn as new Chief Operating Officer

    December 04, 2017 08:00 ET

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec. 04, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kona Grill, Inc. (NASDAQ:KONA), an American grill and sushi bar headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona; announced today the addition of Jim Kuhn as chief operating officer.

    Kuhn brings over 25 years of restaurant operations experience to Kona Grill. Most recently he served as chief executive officer for Chalak Mitra Group where he was responsible for company-owned and franchise restaurants of 79 domestic and international Genghis Grill locations. Kuhn was also responsible for several other brands during his tenure.  From 2007 to 2014, Kuhn served in roles of increasing responsibility at Ignite Restaurant Group. His most recent positions included president of Brick House Tavern + Tap and also its senior vice president and chief operating officer.  Previous to these leadership posts, Kuhn served as senior vice president of growth and technology and senior vice president of operations for Joe’s Crab Shack. Prior to joining Ignite, Kuhn served in senior level operational roles for Ruby Tuesday's, Sbarro's and Bertucci's restaurants. Kuhn holds B.S. degrees in accounting and management from Jacksonville University.

     “I have never met anyone in the restaurant industry as dedicated and professional as Jim,” said Berke Bakay, president and CEO of Kona Grill. “His work ethic is unmatched, and his hands on approach and proven history of execution and growth is exactly what we need right now. I am looking forward to seeing the impact that his leadership and experience will have on Kona Grill.”

    About Kona Grill

    Kona Grill features a global menu of contemporary American favorites, award-winning sushi, and specialty cocktails in an upscale casual atmosphere. Kona Grill owns and operates 46 restaurants and has two restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico and Dubai, United Arab Emirates that operate under a franchise agreement. Restaurants are located in 23 states and Puerto Rico: Alabama (Huntsville); Arizona (Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale (2)); California (Irvine); Colorado (Denver); Connecticut (Stamford); Florida (Miami, Tampa, Sarasota, Winter Park); Georgia (Alpharetta); Hawaii (Honolulu); Illinois (Lincolnshire, Oak Brook); Indiana (Carmel); Idaho (Boise); Louisiana (Baton Rouge); Maryland (Baltimore); Michigan (Troy); Minnesota (Eden Prairie, Minnetonka); Missouri (Kansas City); Nebraska (Omaha); New Jersey (Woodbridge); Nevada (Las Vegas(2)); Ohio (Cincinnati, Columbus); Puerto Rico (San Juan); Tennessee (Franklin); Texas (Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Friendswood, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano, San Antonio(2), The Woodlands); Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Richmond). For more information, visit www.konagrill.com.

  • Potbelly Appoints Alan Johnson as President and Chief Executive Officer

    Board of Directors to Continue Review of Strategic Alternatives

    CHICAGO, Dec. 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ:PBPB) today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Alan Johnson as the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Johnson succeeds Michael Coyne, who has served as interim CEO. Mr. Coyne will continue to serve as the Company's Chief Financial Officer. 

    “We are pleased to welcome Alan to Potbelly and to the Board,” said Pete Bassi, Chairman of the Board of Potbelly Corporation. “Alan is a dynamic leader with a long and proven track record of successfully leading retail and restaurant brands.”

    During his more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Johnson has led retail and restaurant organizations through successful turnarounds and through periods of exceptional growth. Most recently, Mr. Johnson provided strategic and executional consulting services to organizations in transition. Prior to that, for more than six years Mr. Johnson served as Chief Executive Officer of BevMo!, a specialty retailer of alcoholic beverages and related products. Mr. Johnson led BevMo! to its fastest growth in its 21 year history. He developed and executed BevMo!’s strategic initiatives, including repositioning the brand, that significantly grew revenue to approximately $800 millionand more than doubled profit.

    Mr. Johnson has extensive experience in retail and restaurant operations, real estate site development, marketing, and finance. Mr. Johnson served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for PepsiCo’s Eastern Europe restaurant division and as International Strategic Planning Director for Pizza Hut International. Mr. Johnson was also the Chief Operating Officer of Regal Theaters (formerly known as Hoyts Cinemas) and Senior Vice President and General Manager for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

    The Board and the Strategic Review Committee remain engaged with our financial advisor J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC, in evaluating a range of strategic alternatives. Potbelly remains committed to pursuing strategic options that would potentially significantly enhance shareholder value.

    “Potbelly is a fantastic brand with tremendous potential. I am honored and excited to lead this Company,” said Mr. Johnson. “I am enthusiastic about supporting the Board’s evaluation of strategic options to maximize shareholder value and look forward to engaging with our shareholders, employees, franchisees, and customers as we chart the optimal future course for Potbelly. The great food, differentiated customer experience, and incredible people are a solid foundation for continued evolution of this brand and Company. I look forward to working with our leadership team and employees.”

    Pete Bassi concluded, “I am confident Alan’s exceptional analytical and leadership skills make him an ideal choice for Potbelly, its shareholders, and employees. He is a great cultural fit for our Company and the Potbelly brand. Mike Coyne’s material contributions as interim CEO have been invaluable and we look forward to having Alan partner with Mike to build value for our shareholders.”

    About Potbelly
    Potbelly Corporation is a fast-growing neighborhood sandwich concept offering toasty warm sandwiches, signature salads and other fresh menu items served by engaging people in an environment that reflects the Potbelly brand.  Our Vision is for our customers to feel that we are their “Neighborhood Sandwich Shop” and to tell others about their great experience.  Our Mission is to make people really happy and to improve every day.  Our Passion is to be “The Best Place for Lunch.”  The Company owns and operates over 400 shops in the United States and our franchisees operate over 40 shops domestically, in the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Canada.  For more information, please visit our website at www.potbelly.com.

  • Len Van Popering Named Vice President of Global Brand Management for Subway Restaurants

    December, 1 2017

    Subway restaurants announces Len Van Popering has joined the company as Vice President of Global Brand Management and Innovation. Van Popering is charged with driving Subway's ongoing global transformation through food innovation (including core menu items, snacks and beverages), brand positioning, visual identity, and channel development (including delivery, catering and mobile ordering).
    "We are evolving our Global Marketing Team to reflect the contemporary vision we have for the company," said Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing Officer for Subway restaurants. "Len's diverse background, collaborative approach and shared enthusiasm for Subway will help us expand the innovation and creativity so critical to our brand."

    "Few brands have the opportunity to impact dining habits worldwide as much as Subway does," Van Poperingcommented. "I'm excited for the challenge to contribute to the transformation of this iconic brand."

    Van Popering brings more than 20 years of marketing, innovation and strategic planning experience from multiple brands in the food and beverage, apparel, retail, and paper and packaging spaces. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Innovation for Arby's Restaurant Group, as Chief Marketing Officer at Logan's Roadhouse and as Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development for Russell Corporation.

  • Gordon Hopkins Named Corporate Executive Chef for Roy's Restaurant

    November, 30 2017
    Original Executive Chef/Partner of Roy's Returns to His Roots


    Roy's restaurant has announced the addition of Chef Gordon Hopkins as corporate executive chef of the Dallas-based fine dining restaurant chain. Hopkins has been a celebrated chef since first establishing his culinary career at some of the finest restaurants in Chicago, New York, New Orleans and Hawaii, including a 30-year partnership with Roy Yamaguchi where he was the executive chef/partner for Roy's original restaurant in Hawaii and, with Yamaguchi, introduced Roy's throughout the world. After a long and distinguished career with Roy's and as Yamaguchi's culinary partner, Hopkins left the brand in early 2017 to pursue a new venture.

    It was Sunil Dharod's vision, passion, and deep appreciation for the legacy of the Roy's brand that brought Hopkins back to his Roy's roots. "When we started discussing who the best person to lead the culinary vision would be for Roy's, it was clear there was no one better than the talented Chef Gordon," said Dharod, Dallas entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of SSCP Management, Inc., parent of United Ohana, LLC. "We are incredibly honored that Chef Gordon chose to be a part of our Ohana. His culinary expertise combined with his understanding of the heritage and vision for Roy's is the perfect combination to ensure we remain grounded in the culture that has made Roy's such a spectacular culinary experience throughout the world."

    In his new role, Hopkins will continue the culinary evolution for Roy's and utilize his knowledge, history and experience as Roy's original executive chef to continue growing the culinary vision for the restaurants. Hopkins will also provide strategic direction on menu development and will train and mentor new chefs throughout the brand.

    "I am very excited to be back at Roy's and look forward to sharing my culinary experience with the gifted chefs in each restaurant," said Hopkins. "Roy's truly is a culinary experience that merges French, European and Asian cooking styles in a way that is perfect for today's fresh approach on elevated gastronomy." According to Hopkins, one of the things that has made Roy's so successful is that each restaurant's chef utilizes local ingredients and understands the tastes and preferences of the local area when creating their chef's tasting menu.

    Throughout his career, Hopkins has received numerous accolades such as being featured as one of the executive chefs for the star-studded Cannes Film Festival, being the recipient of the Great Chef's of Hawaii Award and he was one of the original chefs to participate in the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. He has had the opportunity to cook for numerous celebrities and had the honor of flying on Air Force One where he prepared a meal for former President Clinton. Hopkins' talents also led him to guest appearances on many television shows, including "Restaurant Rescue," where he was the culinary consultant.

    Hopkins is based in Dallas.

  • Shake Shack Elects Anna Fieler to Its Board of Directors

    November, 30 2017

    Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE:SHAK) announced today that it has elected Anna Fieler to its Board of Directors, effective December 8, 2017. A skilled executive with 20 years of experience in consumer technology and building world class brands, Ms. Fieler will become the eighth member of Shake Shack's Board of Directors.

    “Anna brings a unique perspective to our Board with years of experience developing brands and driving loyalty through technology,” said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO. “We are honored to have her join our Board of Directors.”

    "Shake Shack has done an exceptional job building a lovemark brand based on great food and hospitality,” said Fieler. “I am excited to leverage my expertise in helping companies develop customer experience innovations through technology, and I look forward to being part of Shake Shack’s continued growth.”

    Fieler is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of POPSUGAR Inc., the global media and technology company and leading lifestyle brand, attracting a loyal global audience of 300M through content and commerce. Fieler has a passion for building disruptive venture-backed businesses. Her previous roles include Chief Marketing Officer of Stella & Dot where she helped reinvent the direct-selling industry for the digital age, Vice President of Marketing at Tiny Prints where she grew the brand from a niche player to a household name resulting in a successful exit via acquisition by Shutterfly Inc. and various leadership positions at eBay where she introduced a fixed priced platform, led marketing for its lifestyle categories and launched the first major buyer loyalty and retention initiative.

    Prior to a career in Silicon Valley, Anna began her career on Madison Avenue at Ogilvy & Mather where she helped develop the foundation for Dove’s ground-breaking “Real Women, Real Beauty” campaign.

    Fieler is a sought-after thought leader and frequent speaker at notable conferences delivering keynotes on Millennial and Gen Z consumer insights, future of retail, social media, advertising and publishing. She currently serves as a board member at Girls Leadership and board advisor at NatureBox. Fieler holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated magna cum laude from Brown University.

  • Chipotle Begins Search for New CEO

    November, 29 2017
    Current Chairman, CEO and Founder Steve Ells to Become Executive Chairman with Primary Focus on Innovation Upon Completion of Search

    Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced that Steve Ells, chairman and CEO – and the founder of the company in 1993 – will become executive chairman following the completion of a search to identify a new CEO. The Board has formed a search committee comprised of Directors Robin Hickenlooper and Ali Namvar, as well as Ells, to identify a new leader with demonstrated turnaround expertise to help address the challenges facing the company, improve execution, build customer trust, and drive sales.

    “I am incredibly proud of Chipotle and our people – and grateful to our loyal customers – and while we are continuing to make progress, it is clear that we need to move faster to make improvements,” said Ells. “Simply put, we need to execute better to ensure our future success. The Board and I are committed to bringing in an experienced leader with a passion for driving excellence across every aspect of our business, including the customer experience, operations, marketing, technology, food safety, and training.”

    Added Ells, “Bringing in a new CEO is the right thing to do for all our stakeholders. It will allow me to focus on my strengths, which include bringing innovation to the way we source and prepare our food. It will ultimately improve our ability to provide our guests with delicious food that is prepared with high quality ingredients that are raised responsibly and served in a way that is accessible to everyone. I am confident that this will allow us to deliver value for our shareholders, and provide rewarding opportunities for our employees. Chipotle has vast unrealized potential. As we work hard to restore our brand, I believe we can capitalize on opportunities, including in areas such as the digital experience, menu innovation, delivery, catering, and domestic and international expansion, to deliver significant growth.”

    Chipotle lead independent director Neil W. Flanzraich said, “Steve is a visionary leader and one of the most successful restaurateurs in history, having grown Chipotle from a single restaurant in Colorado to more than 2,350 restaurants today. Steve made the decision, and the Board agreed, that now is the right time to identify a new CEO who can reinvigorate the brand and help the company achieve its potential. We are committed to recruiting a world-class CEO for this incredible opportunity.”

    The Board has retained the services of leading executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to assist in the search for a new CEO.

  • Jack in the Box National Franchise Association Announces the Appointment of Tabitha Burke As Executive Director

    November, 28 2017

    Jack in the Box National Franchise Association (JIB-NFA) today announced that Tabitha Burke has been appointed as the franchise association’s executive director. Her core mission will be implementing JIB-NFA strategies effectively, enhancing executive leadership and maintaining JIB-NFA day-to-day operations.

    Burke is a franchisee veteran with over 25 years of progressive experience in streamlining operations, business development and franchise relations. She began her career at Hot Dog on a Stick where, as a member of the executive team, she developed the company’s franchise program and began franchising the company both domestically and internationally.

    “Tabitha brings with her a wealth of franchise knowledge and leadership experience and we are excited to have her join our team,” said JIB-NFA President Rabi Viswanath. “As we continue to build the NFA for our members, she will play a vital role in implementing our plans for the future.”

    Burke most recently held the position of vice president of franchise development at Generation Next Franchise Brands where she supported over 200 franchisees.

    “I am confident that Tabitha's addition to the NFA will greatly enhance our ability to serve our members,” said JIB-NFA Chairman Reza Khajavi. “Her ability to think strategically with regards to our proposed strategies is one of her strongest qualities and will be invaluable in furthering our goals.”

    The Jack in the Box National Franchise Association (JIB-NFA) is comprised of franchise owners in the Jack in the Box system. Its board of directors consists of 15 franchise owners with a combined ownership experience of 163 years. Any franchise owner in the Jack in the Box system may join the JIB-NFA. Currently the association represents 111 franchise owners with 1,943 restaurants.

  • Yum! Brands Appoints Tanya Domier to Board

    November 22, 2017 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

    LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the appointment of Tanya L. Domier to its Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2018. Ms. Domier is Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Solutions (Advantage), a leading North American provider of outsourced sales, marketing and business solutions to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers.

    “Tanya’s extensive sales and marketing background, along with her leadership experience successfully running a customer-driven business, make her an excellent addition to the Yum! Brands Board,” said Robert Walter, Non-Executive Chairman of Yum! Brands. “We’re thrilled to have Tanya join us during this exciting and transformative time for our company as we continue to evolve as the restaurant industry’s leading global franchisor.”

    Greg Creed, Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands, said, “Tanya is a talented executive with a customer-focused and growth mindset. We look forward to the insights she will bring as we rapidly transform into a more focused, more franchised and more efficient company in order to strengthen and grow KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell globally and deliver more growth to our shareholders.”

    Ms. Domier, 51, was named Advantage’s CEO in January 2013 after serving as its President and Chief Operating Officer since 2010. Under Ms. Domier’s leadership, Advantage is developing digital technology solutions to help support brands and retailers in addressing the challenges they face in today’s omni-channel world. After the recently announced, pending acquisition of Daymon Worldwide, Advantage will constitute the only global solutions company with both brand-centric and retailer-centric services. Earlier in her career, Ms. Domier led the formation of Advantage’s marketing division, which has risen to become the top-ranked promotions and experiential agency in the U.S. according to Ad Age. Ms. Domier joined Advantage in 1990 from The J.M. Smucker Company and has held a variety of executive-level positions in sales, marketing and operations. In addition to her duties as CEO, Ms. Domier is a member of the Board of Directors of Nordstrom, Inc. and of Enactus, an international nonprofit organization promoting entrepreneurship for college students.

    Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 44,000 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories and is one of the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders in North America. In 2017, Yum! Brands was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and among the top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Worldwide, the Yum! Brands system opens over six new restaurants per day on average, making it a leader in global retail development.

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