Executive Movements – April 2018

mac and cheeseI Heart Mac & Cheese Names Daniel Collins President/CDO

Franchise veteran to expand I Heart Mac & Cheese Franchise Company

April 9, 2018–BOCA RATON, FL–(RestaurantNews)

Boca Raton-based I Heart Mac & Cheese, a fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and salads, has named Daniel Collins President & Chief Development Officer, effective March 5, 2018.

Collins is responsible for the strategy and growth of the brand, overseeing operations, training, marketing, construction and design, real estate and all franchise development efforts.

A lifelong franchise industry professional, Collins has been instrumental in setting strategy and developing systems, policies, processes and procedures to place companies on the path for national and international expansion.

With more than 30 years’ experience, Collins initially worked in operations and training, eventually making the transition into business development for franchised restaurant companies such as Arby’s, Johnny Rockets, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Miami Subs and others.

For the past nine years he has led a consulting company based in West Palm Beach, FL, that works with emerging and high-performing companies to optimize brands for franchising and identify operators as multi-unit franchise partners, setting them up for franchising nationwide and growing across the nation and internationally.

Collins is recognized as a Certified Franchise Executive by the International Franchise Association (IFA) and is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management. He is also a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University’s Franchise MBA program. He is a Mentor with FIU, Endeavor, and an Advisory Board Member for the Titus Center for Franchising at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

About I Heart Mac & Cheese

I Heart Mac & Cheese is a fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and salads. The concept is built on a platform of low initial investment, great Unit Level Economics and simple operations with few employees.

TX ChickenYang Ming Ong Hired as Vice President of Texas Chicken Business

April 4, 2018–ATLANTA, GA–(RestaurantNews)

It has been announced that Yang Ming Ong has been appointed Vice President of Business at Texas Chicken®. Ong will oversee key functions throughout the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and the Black Sea Basin which covers more than 16 countries. As part of Texas Chicken team based in Singapore, Ong’s strong management and operations experience will be key in overseeing operations, training, development, marketing, and strategy functions across brand markets.

“I am indeed pleased to announce the appointment of Yang Ming Ong to our team,” said Tony Moralejo, Executive Vice President of International Business and Global Development for the Church’s Chicken® and Texas Chicken brands. “His ability to incorporate fresh, aggressive ideas and drive margin improvements will be a great asset across all of his Texas Chicken markets.”

Previously, Ong held leadership positions in operations, finance and strategy at Yum! Brands and most recently served as Head of Strategy and Franchise Profitability for KFC Asia. He served as part of a regional leadership team where he developed the strategic roadmap for Yum! Brands and drove franchise margin enhancements while supervising the brand’s extensive regional supply chain. Prior to Yum! Brands, Ong was with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), advising corporations on turnaround and growth strategies with a focus on emerging markets.

“Texas Chicken is a worldwide brand, and this appointment is an honor,” said Ong. “It is an opportunity to represent one of the strongest brands in the world, and with the assistance of a great support group of employees and executives, we will continue to provide the best service and the highest quality of product.”

Ong is a Malaysian citizen and grew up in Kuala Lumpur. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge, U.K. and an M.B.A. from INSEAD, Singapore.

About Texas 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 restaurant chains in the world. The brands specializes in original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small matches that are hand-battered and double breaded, Tender Strips®, honey-butter biscuits are made from scratch, and freshly baked, classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken have more than 1,650 locations in 27 countries and global markets, and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion.

mcallistersJoe Guith Promoted to Brand President of McAlister’s Deli

April 5, 2018–ATLANTA,GA–(RestaurantNews)

McAlister’s Deli®, a leading fast-casual restaurant chain home to handcrafted sandwiches, always-fresh salads, giant stuffed spuds, and McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea™, announced veteran leader Joe Guith has been promoted to brand president.

“We are thrilled to have Joe step into the role as president of McAlister’s and are excited to see him guide the brand through its continued growth,” said FOCUS Brands® COO and President, North America, Kat Cole. “Joe’s skills in developing brands, driving businesses forward, and leading large franchise systems make him a great fit for this vibrant brand.”

Joe Guith joined FOCUS Brands, parent company to McAlister’s Deli, in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer for Cinnabon®, and quickly assumed the role of brand president in 2015.  In the three years Guith was president, he drove significant P&L results through strong performance management, application of process-driven improvements and building collaborative, high performing teams.  Prior to joining FOCUS, Guith held roles in general management and strategy with Coca-Cola, where he served as vice president, Global Business Development and vice president, Vending Operations, and Yum! Brands where he served as general manager, KFC, South Territory.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to join McAlister’s at such a pivotal time for the brand,” said Guith. “McAlister’s is poised for tremendous growth and I look forward to working with the McAlister’s team in shaping the future.”

About McAlister’s

Founded in 1989, McAlister’s Deli® is a fast casual restaurant chain known for its genuine hospitality, sandwiches, spuds, soups, salads, desserts and McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea™. In addition to dine-in and take-out service, McAlister’s also offers catering with a selection of sandwich trays, box lunches, desserts, a hot spud bar and more. With numerous industry accolades, the McAlister’s brand has more than 400 restaurants in 28 states. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.

PrintFast Casual Burgerim Brings on Tom Meiron as CEO

April 5, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

Burgerim, a new, rapidly growing gourmet build-your-own burger eatery announced the appointment of Tom Meiron as Chief Executive Officer. In his position, Meiron is tasked with driving impactful business results through leveraging data, creating and implementing efficient systems and comprehensive execution plans for the brand.

“Tom has an extensive track record of success in managing large scale multi-unit operations for a diverse number of brands,” says Burgerim founder, Oren Loni. “His strategic leadership, passion for his craft and attention to detail, will be an asset in the rapid and progressive expansion of the Burgerim brand throughout the nation.”

Exemplifying Midwestern roots and values throughout his career, Meiron possesses multifaceted experience as both a franchisee and a franchisor in franchise development, along with restaurant and hospitality management. With a background in accounting and finance, Meiron’s storied career began in the hospitality sector, where he climbed his way to a food and beverage director position by his college years. Later entering the franchising industry, Meiron joined PepsiCo, where he managed 40 Pizza Huts and opened 200-plus stores in Arizona and California. Following, he became one of Papa John’s Pizzas first large-market franchisees west of the Mississippi, opening 60 locations in Arizona and California. Additional franchise experience includes brands such as: Subway, Taco Cabana, Holiday Inn Hotels, Big Boy Restaurants, Marriott Hotels and Dental Fix Rx.

Meiron was also President of the Los Angeles Marketing Cooperative, responsible for marketing and branding for more than 130 Papa John’s Pizzas and undertaking the role of Franchise Advisor for the stern United States. Recognized for his skillset, Meiron has received accolades such as “Marketing Co-op of the Year” and was a two-time “Franchisee of the Year” runner up.

Passionate about entrepreneurial spirit and the community, Meiron has lectured at the University of Arizona Graduate School of Business and served as a founding member of Social Venture Partners in Arizona, where he offered pro bono services and counsel regarding small business management and long-term success.

“Burgerim is a brand I was immediately drawn to because the variety and gourmet ingredients are unsurpassed in the fast-casual industry,” says Meiron. “I am ecstatic to collaborate with our dynamic team and grow the dynamic Burgerim brand and its delicious products to consumers all over the nation.”

Meiron has created an executive team of fresh talents including Chief Marketing Officer and brand guru, Jun Roxas, and VP Operations, Bryan Duff.

Cafe YummCafé Yumm! Appoints Kimberly Ely COO in Rapid Expansion Plan

April 5, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

Café Yumm! has promoted longtime team member Kimberly Ely to the new position of Chief Operating Officer. This strategic promotion is important to a three-year development plan that Beau Delicious! International, LLC (BDI)—the franchisor of Café Yumm! restaurants—is putting in place.

Kimberly Ely’s promotion to Chief Operating Officer will allow her to supervise operational initiatives in supply, restaurant operations, information systems, and administrative departments, as well as oversee the financial services at Café Yumm!. Ely will transition from her primary duties as Director of Finance by hiring a controller.

Since 2006, Ely has been employed by BDI, which owns and operates as Café Yumm! in addition to selling franchise restaurants and distributing proprietary fine food products to franchisees, grocery stores, and by mail order throughout the US. Ely’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Oregon, completion of the Eugene-Springfield Leadership Program, and an MBA (management focus) from Willamette University. Her previous work experience includes quick service restaurants, retail, and banking.

Mark Beauchamp, President and Co-founder of Café Yumm! states, “Kimberly Ely was one of the first people I hired who didn’t work in our restaurants. We had an office with 3 people—myself included. Kim came on as part-time bookkeeper. With exceptional focus and sharp analytical abilities, Kim developed a bookkeeping team and drove many of our greatest projects and initiatives over the past 12 years. Kim has actively invested in her continued education, leadership training, and the development of those around her. She has put a lot of time and energy into managing the growth and well-being of Café Yumm!”

“Early in our business, my wife Mary Ann and I had to cover multiple positions. For example, I was dishwasher, marketing manager, and handyman, among other duties. Similarly, Kim has covered everything from bookkeeping and HR to filling in at our warehouse. It is wonderful to have outgrown those days with our continued expansion in recent years. With Kim’s new position as COO and recent strategic hires in facilities, operations, sales, marketing, and project management, I can focus on innovation, as well as restaurant and food development,” adds Beauchamp.

Kimberly Ely states, “My top priority is to help Mark execute Cafe Yumm!’s ambitious 3-year strategic plan guided by our newly formed Board of Managers. To do this, we will add new departments and key hires, while growing our franchising capabilities and adding new restaurants. Training and support initiatives are essential to our plan.”

“I aspire to bring more organization and build efficiencies through process innovation. I’m all about metrics. Helping Café Yumm! exceed industry benchmarks, while maintaining our unique focus on social and environmental aspects, will set us apart,” adds Ely.

Café Yumm! is an Oregon-based restaurant system, franchisor, and fine foods distributer founded in Eugene in 1997. Café Yumm! had two restaurants when franchising began in 2007. Twenty restaurants, both franchised and company-owned, have opened in the past decade (including one location opening later this month).

Captain D'sCaptain D’s Names New Chief Development Officer Amid Ongoing Growth

Fast Casual Seafood Franchise Promotes Company Veteran Brad Reed to New Role

April 4, 2018–NASHVILLE, TN–(RestaurantNews)

Captain D’s, the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today that Brad Reed has been promoted to chief development officer. Previously serving as vice president of franchise operations, Reed has been with the company for more than seven years and has been highly instrumental in driving the brand’s ongoing development efforts throughout his tenure. He assumed his new role as chief development officer in February and is responsible for spearheading Captain D’s growth through franchising and real estate development in key target markets throughout the country, as well as driving new franchisee recruitment.

“Over the past several years, Captain D’s has experienced a surge in franchise development, and Brad has been a driving force behind the strategies that have fueled this ongoing success. We’re very pleased to announce this well-deserved promotion, and have no doubt that in his new role, Brad will continue leveraging his tremendous experience and industry knowledge to take our brand to new heights,” said Phil Greifeld, president and chief executive officer of Captain D’s.

Reed joined Captain D’s in 2010 as vice president of franchise operations and excelled at guiding the company’s franchise network and spearheading strategies to expand the brand’s footprint. Prior to joining Captain D’s, he was a franchisee with Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and Texas Roadhouse, and his extensive understanding of the franchising industry has allowed him to achieve exceptional results and sustained financial results for the company’s franchise system. Reed also previously worked in operations at Logan’s Roadhouse, and has valuable experience overseeing new store openings, real estate, area development, marketing and training.

Captain D’s has experienced a surge in franchise and corporate development fueled by its ongoing success over the past several years, with 2017 marking another year of substantial growth for the brand.  Coupled with its ongoing menu innovation, the company credits its new restaurant beach design with contributing to the brand’s ongoing strong performance. To date, nearly 75 percent of all restaurants have been reimaged to the brand’s new vibrant, coastal design. With these efforts, Captain D’s has remained true to what it does best — serving high-quality seafood with warm hospitality at an affordable price in a welcoming atmosphere.

About Captain D’s

Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Captain D’s has 535 restaurants in 22 states. Captain D’s is the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant and was named the #1 seafood chain in the QSR 50, ranked by AUV. Founded in 1969, Captain D’s has been offering its customers high-quality seafood at reasonable prices in a welcoming atmosphere for more than 48 years. Captain D’s serves a wide variety of seafood that includes freshly prepared entrees and the company’s signature hand-battered fish, which is cooked to order. The restaurants also offer premium-quality, grilled items such as shrimp, and surf and turf, as well as hushpuppies, desserts and freshly brewed, Southern-style sweet tea, a Captain D’s favorite.

On The BorderOn The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina® Names Matt Hood President and CEO

Results-Driven Executive to Drive Growth at Leading Mexican Restaurant Brand

April 4, 2018–DALLAS, TX–(PRNewswire)

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina®, the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, has named industry veteran Matt Hood as President and Chief Executive Officer. Matt Hood will take over On The Border’s top leadership position in April 2018 after over 20 years of delivering best in class results by building brands and driving operational excellence for restaurant concepts.

“Matt Hood is a proven performer when it comes to moving brands forward,” said Michael A. Klump, Founder and President of Argonne Capital Group, which owns On The Border and other restaurant brands. “We have been laying the groundwork to achieve great things, and we are excited to add his strategic and disciplined leadership to capitalize on the opportunities before us.”

Hood brings a track record of leading brands to outperform through innovative marketing programs and strong operations as evidenced by his previous leadership positions as Chief Marketing Officer at The Habit Burger Grill, Chief Marketing Officer of BJ’s Restaurants, and SVP of Marketing and Brand Development for Carino’s Italian Grill.  Hood is a respected restaurant industry leader, who has also served as the national Co-Chair of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry and an industry consultant for Google.  Coincidentally, Hood started his restaurant career at Brinker International, Inc. during the time it acquired On the Border in 1994 and is quite familiar with the brand’s strong roots in providing customers a unique “cantina” experience.

“I am very excited about the future of On The Border,” said Hood. “This is a world-class brand with a unique position in the casual dining industry thanks to its vibrant experience, its attractive off-premise offering and a strong licensing presence.  I look forward to working with the team to help this brand reach its enormous potential.”

Hood is a graduate of Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University, where he holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising & Public Relations from Texas Christian University. He also serves on the Operator Advisory Board for Technomic and is a former Board Member and former Co-Chair for the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group (MEG).

About On The Border

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand with 158 restaurants in 32 states, Puerto Rico and Asia. Known for its award-winning Margaritas, house-made salsa, and sizzling mesquite-grilled fajitas, On The Border is a fan-favorite destination for authentic, contemporary Mexican food and vibrant good times. Owned by Border Holdings, LLC.

R-TacoFormer Qdoba President Tim Casey Takes Helm at R Taco

April 2, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

Inspire Brands announced Monday that Tim Casey will join R Taco as brand head.

Previously, Casey served as president of Qdoba Restaurant Corporation as well as president and Chief Executive Officer of MFOC Holdco, Inc., the parent company of the Mrs. Fields brand and TCBY. He has also held leadership positions with Starbucks, International Coffee & Tea, Circle K, and Southland Corporation.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Tim to the Inspire team,” says Paul Brown, chief executive officer of Inspire. “R Taco is an exciting restaurant concept, and Tim’s expertise is a great fit to help propel further growth.”

Casey will report to Christian Charnaux, who recently joined Inspire in the newly created role of Chief Growth Officer. Charnaux previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance for Hilton. He will be responsible for leading growth opportunities across the enterprise.

Inspire Brands is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 4,600 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and R Taco locations worldwide. The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Atlanta.

In March, R Taco, announced the recent openings of two new locations in Beaumont, Texas and Murphy, Texas.

R Taco has 26 company-owned and franchised locations serving street-style tacos across the U.S. R Taco features a welcoming atmosphere with quirky décor, bold colors, an open ceiling and open kitchen, with natural and industrial lighting. Service is provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

tazikisTaziki’s Mediterranean Café Announces New CEO

April 2, 2018–BIRMINGHAM, AL–(RestaurantNews)

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café has named Dan Simpson as its new CEO.  Simpson previously served as the restaurant’s Chief Innovation Officer from May 2016 through February 2018.

During this time, Simpson was instrumental in the growth of the restaurant brand visiting Taziki’s locations in all 16 states where the chain has a presence, gathering both customer and employee feedback. Taziki’s recently opened its 83rd restaurant in West Chester, Ohio last month.

Simpson is working closely with Founder Keith Richards as the restaurant plans include having 100 locations open by 2019. The two have worked closely with Taziki’s board and staff to form a clarified purpose, mission and brand values to guide the next 20 years.

“Keith’s vision for his restaurant is an inspiration to so many, he has created an environment that combines extraordinary food with meaningful human experience,” said Simpson. “He has led the charge to offer fresh, healthy, diverse, and affordable food options to the tables of tens of thousands of people for the past 20 years.”

Richards is managing the flagship market in Birmingham, Alabama and will continue to lead Taziki’s culinary R+D and the HOPE program, Taziki’s signature charity.

The HOPE Program began after Richards decided to get more involved with special needs education. His restaurants have always employed those with special needs, but he realized they needed more opportunities.

The fresh, locally grown herbs – parsley, oregano, cilantro, basil, and rosemary – are grown by students at various HOPE programs across the U.S. and used to flavor the local restaurant’s Mediterranean-style foods. The overall goal of the HOPE Program is to teach students with special needs all aspects of the herb business using skills that will transfer to other jobs.

Virginia just began its own HOPE Program last week and is the ninth of its kind, with others in Little Rock, AR, Nashville, TN, Morgantown, WV, Atlanta, Ga., as well as Birmingham, Huntsville and Dothan, AL.

Richards will be traveling to Greece with his wife Amy and two sets of twins this summer to develop new menu items for the restaurant.

“Dan is working closely with me to carry out my vision for the next 20 years of Taziki’s,” said Richards. “His passion for working to create the new ‘Mediterranean-Coastal’ design for our restaurants has been an integral part of this process.”

The new design elements that Simpson launched for Taziki’s restaurants include community tables established to create a welcoming environment for conversation within the exposed stone and painted white shiplap adorned walls. Shades of bright white and deep ocean blue can be found in the restaurant’s interior accent pieces.

Hanging wicker lanterns provide a warm yet fresh ambiance, highlighting Taziki’s delicious menu teeming with original chef-driven recipes prepared daily from more than 100 fresh produce items as well as more than 60 herbs and spices flavoring the food.  All meals are prepared from raw ingredients much like you would use in your own home. Taziki’s does not use fryers or microwaves while preparing meals for customers.

Natural lighting streams from windows and exposed wooden beams in the ceiling provide the experience of dining outdoors. In the back of the restaurant, a community board lists local non-profit events with information about how to participate, furthering the at-home, communal feel.

As a Taziki’s franchisee and managing partner at Fresh Hospitality from January 2015 until May 2016, Simpson learned what customers wanted and observed an over 60% increase in the amount of online and to-go orders in the past five years.

Prior to joining the Taziki’s family, Simpson was also the founder and CEO of ToGo Technologies from May 2012 until January 2015.

“Expanding Taziki’s technology capabilities for our customers including our app offerings, accessibility to ordering online as well as a new website is a big focus for our team,” said Simpson. “We are working to anticipate consumer trends and seeking innovations that enhance guest experiences.”

Later this year, Simpson will be launching TazRewards, Taziki’s rewards loyalty program, that works both in-line and on-line through Taziki’s app, as a way to say thank you to the restaurant’s growing community of loyal guests.

Simpson was also the Chief Development Officer of Dispensary of Hope, Nashville, TN from May 2008 until May 2012. Similar to Taziki’s Founder Keith Richards, Dan’s heart seeks to tie Taziki’s back to local communities and bring people together over delicious food.

Dan earned his BS from Clearwater Christian College followed by his MBA from West Virginia University.

Born in urban Philadelphia, raised in rural Maine, Dan and his wife, Kim now live in Nashville, TN with their 3 kids. Dan serves on the boards of the Shalom Foundation/Moore Pediatric Surgery Center and Dovehouse Ministries and is a member of TedXNashville Society of Fellows.

About Taziki’s Mediterranean Café

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is headquartered in Birmingham, AL and currently has 83 locations in 16 states. The recipes are all made fresh and inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. The menu features freshly grilled meats, original sauces, and healthy side dishes. Taziki’s is open for lunch and dinner, and offers take-out as well as catering for events large and small.

 

Not your avg joePeter D’Amelio Named Chairman and CEO for Not Your Average Joe’s

April 2, 2018–(RestaurantNewsResource)

On March 27, 2018, the Board of Directors of Not Your Average Joe’s appointed Peter D’Amelio to become the Chairman and CEO, succeeding Stephen Silverstein, the company’s Founder. Mr. Silverstein will continue in his role as a Director and will be a consultant to the Company.

In addition, Mr. Silverstein has purchased the Dartmouth Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant (it’s original location) and will operate that location as an independent licensee of the company.

Mr. Silverstein said, “It is time for Not Your Average Joe’s to transition from being founder led, I couldn’t be more pleased than to turn the reins over to Peter. Owning and running Dartmouth will be full circle for me, allowing me to continue to contribute to the company I founded in new ways. I am pleased to continue to serve on the Board of Directors and I will do everything I can to help Not Your Average Joe’s grow into the national powerhouse it should be.”

Mr. D’Amelio said, “I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead Not Your Average Joe’s. I will build on Steve’s vision of scratch food at affordable prices coupled with best of class hospitality. I couldn’t be more excited for the future.”

Not Your Average Joe’s was founded by Stephen Silverstein in 1994. Today, Not Your Average Joe’s operates 22 restaurants in 6 states, employing about 1,600 and serving 4.5 million happy guests a year.

Peter D’Amelio joined Not Your Average Joe’s as President in September 2017. Peter has had a remarkable career in the restaurant industry, having held executive positions with some of the best companies in the industry, including his 18 years at Cheesecake Factory where he was President for 5 years.

 

CraveCrave Hot Dogs and BBQ Names Jake Moran as Director of Operations and Training

April 2, 2018–(RestaurantNews)

Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ began in 2018 and are unique and trendy fast casual BBQ and Hot Dog Joints that offer BBQ sandwiches and sliders along with 100% All Beef Hot Dogs, Brats and Sausages grilled to perfection. This week Crave has named Jake Moran as the Director of Operations and Training. “Jake is joining our corporate team at a perfect time as we are expanding across the South and want to offer nothing short of exceptional support and knowledge to our franchisees. There is no one better for this position than Jake,” said Samantha Rincione, Chief Operations Officer.

Jake has over 7 years of experience in various areas of the restaurant industryJake has vast knowledge and experience in all Restaurant Operations as well as Training. Jake worked with Samantha Rincione, helping oversee all aspects of Operations and Training for 10 Red Mango and Smoothie Factory Restaurant and cafes. Jake’s responsibility as the corporate trainer entailed ensuring all franchisees were trained in accordance with brand standards.

Crave knows what it’s like to have a craving for that perfect lunch, snack or dinner. We’ve made it our mission to perfect our menu so we can help you beat that craving and have you leaving happy not hungry.

Crave features a self-serve beer wall. Customers can choose from the many beer options, as well as wine and cider. As much or little as you choose, it’s up to YOU! At Crave it’s all about customer satisfaction and experience. We know what you want, and we have it!

 

KrystalThe Krystal® Company Welcomes Paul Macaluso as New CEO

Restaurant Veteran Brings Contemporary Vision to Iconic Brand

April 2, 2018–ATLANTA, GA–(PRNewswire)

The Krystal® Company, the beloved restaurant brand founded in 1932, announced today that it will welcome Paul M. Macaluso as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Macaluso is an enthusiastic, hands-on leader with a 25-year reputation for driving results at respected brands throughout the industry. Macaluso brings a diverse breadth of experience to the job, having extensive marketing and operations experience in the restaurant space in addition to a long line of executive and senior leadership positions.

“Paul Macaluso is sharp, action-oriented and innovative, making him a great fit for our team at Krystal,” said Michael A. Klump, Founder and President of Argonne Capital Group, which owns Krystal along with other multi-unit brands. “We’re all looking forward to his winning attitude and his ability to drive outstanding relationships and results.”

Macaluso has a strong history of impact in the restaurant industry across marketing, operations and digital initiatives. He began his career with YUM! Brands Inc., starting as a general manager and ultimately holding several management roles within the Taco Bell Corporation. He then led brand strategy, menu development, and product marketing for Burger King Corporation and Sonic Industries. Most recently at Focus Brands, Macaluso began as CMO of Moe’s Southwest Grill and ultimately rose to President of McAlister’s Deli, where he was responsible for significant growth in unit count, same store sales and profitability along with the launch of several technology initiatives.  Despite his success with McAlister’s, Paul could not resist the opportunity to lead an iconic brand like Krystal into a new era.

“Krystal is the original challenger brand,” said Macaluso, “And we’re going to make sure we regain share of minds and hearts with our guests.  Get ready to share great times in new ways at Krystal, built on our unique food and fun spirit no other restaurant brand can match.” 

About The Krystal Company

Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1932, The Krystal Company is the oldest quick service restaurant chain in the South.  Its hamburgers are still served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun at more than 360 restaurants in 11 states. Krystal’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of 6,000 employees.

 

pincho-Pincho Factory Names Industry Veteran Jayson Tipp President

April 2, 2018–MIAMI, FL–(BusinessWire)

Pincho Factory (“Pincho” or the “Company”), the family owned Latin American fast-casual concept known for pioneering the combination of premium hamburgers and grilled kebabs (“pinchos”) with a Latin-twist, announced today that it has closed a Series A funding round with a group of investors led by Ned Scherer, a distinguished entrepreneur and successful multi-unit franchisee from the Washington D.C. market. Terms of the transaction, brokered by Exeter Capital Partners, were not disclosed.

As part of the transaction, Pincho has also entered a development agreement with the members of the investment group to open ten new franchised locations in the D.C. market over the next 5 years. The first D.C. location is expected to open by the end of 2018. This marks Pincho’s first multi-unit franchise agreement outside of the South Florida market.

“This investment provides us with the funds to execute on our growth strategy and continue on the path to becoming a multi-unit, nationwide brand over the next 5 years,” said Nedal Ahmad, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Pincho. “Following the grand opening of our 10th location in Sunrise FL, Pincho will focus on franchising to rapidly expand our footprint across the country, offering local entrepreneurs’ access to an innovative, profitable business that appeals to today’s diner. The closing of our Series A round and the subsequent franchise agreement serve as a powerful endorsement of our growth potential, and we look forward to the successful introduction of our concept outside of South Florida.”

Separately, the Company has named Jayson Tipp as President, effective immediately. A nationally recognized restaurant leader that specializes in the areas of consumer analytics, market strategy and execution, Mr. Tipp has a proven track record of converting insights into results. He joins Pincho from Papa Murphy’s International (PMI), where he served as Chief Development Officer overseeing the brand’s growth across franchise sales, real estate and technology.

“One of our goals as a company is to build a world class team that can build the right infrastructure to support franchise partners and grow our brand. Jayson represents the exact type of leader we want onboard as we enter this next chapter,” said Ahmad. “Jayson’s vast experience in operations, franchise development, marketing and, most importantly, leading a group of talented individuals will be critical to Pincho’s growth moving forward. We are confident in his ability to deliver results from day one, and look forward to working with him and growing Pincho together.”

Prior to being named Chief Development Officer at PMI, Mr. Tipp served as PMI’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, helping the organization post 14 consecutive quarters of sales growth. Prior to his tenure at PMI, Mr. Tipp has held several senior roles in analytics and strategy with major brands that include redbox, Potbelly Sandwich Works and Starbucks.

Pincho currently has 5 company owned and 5 franchised locations throughout South Florida, with plans to expand to 100 locations nationwide over the next 5 years. The Company opened its first location in Miami in 2010.

About Pincho Factory

Based in Miami, Florida, Pincho Factory was founded during a 4th of July family BBQ in 2010 by three cousins Nedal Ahmad, Otto Othman and Nizar Ahmad. The brand quickly transpired into a successful collection of 10 restaurants throughout Florida. The rapidly expanding fast-casual food chain serves up pinchos, also known as kebabs, along with mouthwatering, premium hamburgers and a variety of other quality hormone-free food.

 

taco buenoIndustry Veteran Omar Janjua to Lead Taco Bueno

Janjua Brings Years of QSR Expertise to Iconic Tex-Mex Chain

March 29, 2018–DALLAS, TX–(RestaurantNews)

Taco Bueno announced today that it has appointed industry veteran Omar Janjua as Taco Bueno Restaurant’s chief executive officer, effective immediately. Janjua will oversee a team of corporate executives and more than 2,700 employees in four states from Taco Bueno’s headquarters in Irving, Texas.

Janjua brings more than 35 years of quick serve restaurant (QSR) leadership to Taco Bueno. Most recently, Janjua served as the chief executive officer for The Krystal Company with more than 350 restaurants in 11 states.  Prior to joining Krystal, he was president and chief operating officer for Sonic, where he oversaw operations, training, franchising, developing and quality assurance.  Janjua also served as vice president and chief operating officer at Steak ‘n Shake after 18 years with Pizza Hut, where he provided support to 75 franchise groups operating 2,600 restaurants in 27 states.

“Taco Bueno is an iconic brand with a deep heritage and passionate fans, a fresh menu and a business model that aligns well with what customers want today.” said Janjua. “As CEO, I’m thrilled to join the team at this amazing concept and look forward to driving the company in its next phase of development, excellence across every aspect of our business and bringing the authentic Tex-Mex experience to food fans who value fresh food, value and convenience.”

Janjua holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Minnesota State University and is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, with a major in Operations Management.

In 2018, the North Texas-based Tex-Mex fast food chain announced its focus on its core business: providing the best tasting Tex-Mex for lunch and dinner, including a new customer-inspired menu.  Most recently, Taco Bueno introduced the Pick 3 for $2.99 Menu, in which customers can build the ultimate combo meal for less than $3.

Taco Bueno currently has 179 locations and offers door-to-door delivery options through a variety of delivery apps, including UberEats, GrubHub and DoorDash. 

About Taco Bueno Restaurants LP

Taco Bueno is committed to creating an authentic Tex-Mex experience. Taco Bueno is passionate about providing better tasting Tex-Mex, prepared daily with fresh, hand-selected ingredients. Founded in 1967 in Abilene, Texas, Taco Bueno operates 179 restaurants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The company is privately owned by TPG Growth.

 

Papa Murphy's LogoPapa Murphy’s Names Nik Rupp as Chief Financial Officer

March 28, 2018–VANCOUVER, WA–(RestaurantNews)

Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRSH) announced that Nik Rupp has been named Chief Financial Officer, effective April 9, 2018. As previously announced, Mark Hutchens, the incumbent Chief Financial Officer, will remain as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company.

Weldon Spangler, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, stated, “I am very pleased to welcome Nik to Papa Murphy’s. His financial leadership and strategic planning expertise will add significant value to our entire team as we continue to execute on our long-term initiatives and build brand momentum. We are also fortunate to have Mark’s breadth of financial acumen and experience dedicated to our Franchise Owners’ profitability moving forward in his role as Chief Operating Officer.”

Mr. Rupp brings more than 20 years of senior level finance and planning experience to Papa Murphy’s, with a diverse skill set that includes corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, strategic planning, revenue management and compliance.  He joins Papa Murphy’s from Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc. where he served as the Chief Financial Officer from March 2016 to February 2018, and as global controller from January 2015 to March 2016. Prior to Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc., Mr. Rupp held several positions at Nike, Inc., including Global Controller of Nike Golf, and at Converse, Inc. in the Netherlands. Mr. Rupp began his career at Scott-Moncrieff Charted Accountants in Glasgow, Scotland.  He holds a degree in Accountancy from Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I am excited to be joining the Papa Murphy’s team,” said Mr. Rupp. “I have admired the company for its unique and high-quality product, and I look forward to working with the team to help drive growth in the business and deliver long-term value for shareholders.” 

About Papa Murphy’s

Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc. (“Papa Murphy’s” or the “Company”) is a franchisor and operator of the largest Take ‘n’ Bake pizza brand in the United States, selling fresh, hand-crafted pizzas ready for customers to bake at home. The Company was founded in 1981 and currently operates more than 1,500 franchised and corporate-owned fresh pizza stores in 39 states, Canada and United Arab Emirates. Papa Murphy’s core purpose is to bring all families together through food people love with a goal to create fun, convenient and fulfilling family dinners.  In addition to scratch-made pizzas, the Company offers a growing menu of grab ‘n’ go items, including salads, sides and desserts.

 

Applebee'sApplebee’s Appoints Steve Levigne to Vice President of Insights and Analytics

March 28, 2018–GLENDALE, CA–(RestaurantNews)

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar® announced Steve Levigne has joined its growing executive team as vice president of insights and analytics. Representing the eyes, ears and heartbeat of the brand, Levigne will help ensure Applebee’s remains guest-focused across all brand initiatives.

In his new role, Levigne and his team will uncover insights and utilize advanced analytics to best position Applebee’s for enhanced relevance and sustained growth. He will report directly to Applebee’s president, John Cywinski.

“Steve is a highly-regarded veteran of the restaurant industry and understands our challenges from a culinary, service, value and brand differentiation perspective. Importantly, franchisee partnership is part of his DNA, and he’ll be a terrific culture fit for the Applebee’s team,” said Cywinski. “I plan to partner with Steve across all strategic initiatives.”

Levigne joins Applebee’s after a distinguished 23-year career at McDonald’s, most recently serving as vice president, strategy & insights for all 14,000 U.S. restaurants. In this role, Levigne was accountable for strategic planning, consumer insights, business analytics, guest satisfaction and industry tracking. He partnered with company and franchise leadership to build business and brand momentum at McDonald’s.

“I’m excited to join such an iconic brand and best-in-class team,” said Levigne. “I look forward to uncovering real insights and contributing to innovative marketing strategies that continue the momentum for Applebee’s.”

Levigne holds a master’s degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

About Applebee’s®

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar offers a lively casual dining experience combining simple, craveable American fare, classic drinks and local drafts. All Applebee’s restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurs dedicated to serving their communities and offering quality food and drinks with genuine, neighborly service. Applebee’s is one of the world’s largest casual dining brands; as of Dec. 31, 2017, there are nearly 1,970 Applebee’s franchise restaurants in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 14 other countries. Applebee’s is franchised by subsidiaries of Dine Brands Global Inc. [NYSE: DIN], which is one of the world’s largest full-service restaurant companies.

 

GoalzGoalz Restaurant Group Names Steve Piascik as Partner and Chief Financial Officer

March 28, 2018–CHEYENNE, WY–(RestaurantNews)

Goalz Restaurant Group, recently formed franchise operator for three brands: Captain D’s, Church’s Chicken, and Dog Haus, announced today the appointment of Steve Piascik as partner and chief financial officer. In his new role, Piascik will be responsible for creating and establishing yearly financial objectives that align with the company’s plans for growth and expansion. He will also work to maintain relationships with vendors and business partners while providing recommendations on new investment opportunities.

As the newest addition to the Goalz executive team, Piascik brings more than 28 years of financial expertise with a focus in complex accounting and tax consulting. Steve founded PIASCIK, a boutique tax and financial firm, where he provides expert financial advice regarding high-level issues to an array of clients including restaurants, financial institutions, real estate, publicly traded, and international companies. Prior to founding his firm, Steve served as a senior tax manager for international accounting firm KPMG LLP, where he managed finances for technology and emerging growth companies. Piascik earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Bloomsburg University and a master’s in taxation from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Goalz is thrilled to welcome the newest addition to our executive team,” said Shawn Eby, chief executive officer of Goalz Restaurant Group. “With Steve’s impressive portfolio of financial expertise across a variety of industries and clients, we are certain he will play a vital role in our organization’s overall success.”

Goalz recently opened their newest Dog Haus restaurant in Decatur, Illinois in January. The celebrated craft casual concept known for its gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers and one-of-a-kind creations, entered the Illinois market with their first location Rockford at the end of 2017. In line with their company-wide mission to be able to show the difference each Goalz Restaurant has made in their respective communities, they aim to partner with local organizations to conduct food drives and host fundraisers.

Goalz Restaurant Group plans to open and operate more than 250 restaurants over the next five years across ten states, with a goal to help employees become owners in their own restaurant or franchise and be known as the company that always goes an extra degree when it comes to food quality, guest service, friendly staff and restaurant cleanliness.

About Goalz Restaurant Group

Goalz Restaurant Group is a multi-unit restaurant operator that was formed by four restaurant industry veterans who had a goal to start and develop their own company focused around helping others. Goalz Restaurant Group is currently scheduled to open 265 restaurants over the next few years across ten states, (NC, SC, GA, FL, LA, OH, CO, WY, KY, IL) and has additional plans to grow further.

 

PieHoleThe Pie Hole Finds New CEO in Restaurant Industry Veteran Edie Ames

Ames Brings Over Thirty Years of Leadership & Industry Experience to The Specialty Pie Concept

March 28, 2018–LOS ANGELES, CA–(RestaurantNews)

The Pie Hole, the Los Angeles-based concept and fastest growing pie and coffee shop in the nation, has brought on restaurant industry veteran Edie Ames as Chief Executive Officer. Ames joins The Pie Hole’s team of established co-founders to oversee expansion efforts and continue launching the brand across the U.S. and abroad.

Ames’ thirty-year career has spanned Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, where she has collected a wealth of industry knowledge and refined her passion for employee and guest care. Ames most recently served as President of The Counter and BUILT Custom Burgers, where she oversaw company-wide operations and growth of its franchises. Before that, Ames was the Executive Vice President of Operations for Wolfgang Puck Catering, the Chief Operating Officer at both Real Mex Restaurants and Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, and the President at Morton’s of Chicago, Inc. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Cheesecake Factory, Inc.

“We are excited to welcome Edie to The Pie Hole team, as we know her vast experience in the restaurant industry will help us exceed the goals we’ve set for the company,” said The Pie Hole Co-Founder, Sean Brennan. “Edie’s passion for the industry matches the passion we had when we initially opened The Pie Hole, and we have full confidence she will carry the concept to its full potential.”

The Pie Hole was founded in 2011 by mother and son duo Rebecca Grasley and Matthew Heffner, who baked pies together in their family kitchen. Armed with Grasley’s four-generations-old recipe book, the pair enlisted Heffner’s wife, Lindsay Hollister, and family friend Sean Brennan to help bring their classic family recipes to the masses. All of The Pie Hole’s menu items are made from scratch and by-hand, featuring traditional and creative flavors of the sweet and savory variety. The “all-American” pie shop offers classics like menu mainstay Mom’s Apple Crumble and seasonally available Moe’s Pumpkin, while also serving up pies with a modern twist, including the Earl Grey Tea Pie, Mac ‘n Cheese Pot Pie, PIEfaits, and more. The Pie Hole has also developed an exclusive line of Fair Trade coffees to pair with their one-of-a-kind pies. Each location has certified baristas on staff to serve specialty house blends, on-tap nitro cold brew coffee, and hand-pulled espresso drinks made with Fair Trade coffee beans.

The handmade pie concept currently operates eight locations across Southern California, including 6 stores in Los Angeles County and one each in Orange and San Bernardino Counties. They also have a location in North Carolina and three locations in Tokyo, Japan.

The Pie Hole is partnered with Fransmart, the industry leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers & Fries and The Halal Guys, as their exclusive franchise development partner to grow the brand. The concept has also received financial capital from Kitchen Fund, a growth restaurant investor founded in partnership with Fransmart, to provide The Pie Hole with funding for infrastructure improvements and franchise or corporate growth. 

About The Pie Hole

Featuring generations-old family pie recipes and an exclusive line of The Pie Hole Fair Trade Organic coffees, The Pie Hole is dedicated to offering delicious, distinctive flavors made with premium ingredients. The Pie Hole’s unique creations are available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night, along with the ability to accommodate large orders, corporate parties, and weddings. The Pie Hole has gained wide recognition, including being named “Top 12 Best Pies in America” by Conde Nast Traveler, “24 Of The Most Delicious Pies In America” by Buzzfeed, “The 22 best desserts in all of LA” by Refinery29, “50 Things You Need To Eat In LA Before You Die” by Spoon University, and was featured on The Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats.

 

Jersey Mike'sJersey Mike’s Hires Two Franchising Vets to Enhance Company’s Focus on Growth

Stephen Sweetman and Corby Cronin to Help Continue Franchise Expansion; Fast Casual Sandwich Leaders Look for New Prospects at Multi-Unit Franchising Conference April 3-6 in Las Vegas

March 26, 2018–MANASQUAN, NJ–(RestaurantNews)

Jersey Mike’s Subs announced today the addition of two new members to its franchise sales team, Stephen Sweetman as Senior Director of Franchise Sales and Corby Cronin as Director of Franchise Sales. The tandem will help further Jersey Mike’s expansion efforts throughout the U.S. The company plans to develop more than 225 in 2018, primarily with existing owners. The early year success follows a strong 2017 for the brand, as Jersey Mike’s opened more than 170 new locations and achieved a six percent system-wide same-store sales increase. To build on this momentum, the brand will be exhibiting at booth #401 at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference April 3-6 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where Cronin and Sweetman will join VP of Franchise Sales Brian O’Hagan, as they meet with prospective multi-unit franchisees interested in joining the company.

“The addition of Stephen and Corby to the Jersey Mike’s team further signifies our focus on recruiting best in class multi-unit operators. Their extensive experience in this area will prove invaluable as we drive our aggressive franchise development efforts into our primary and secondary markets,” said Jersey Mike’s Brian Sommers, SVP of Franchise and Market Development. “The compounding success Jersey Mike’s has achieved is a direct reflection of our brand and operators, and we’re proud to welcome two accomplished industry veterans who share our same values and vision.”

As Jersey Mike’s new Senior Director of Franchise Sales, Stephen Sweetman will be responsible for identifying and introducing qualified candidates to Jersey Mike’s. Prior to this role, his extensive franchising experience includes casual dining and fast casual restaurants. At Wingstop, he managed 16 states in the Southeast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and was responsible for the creation and rollout of a franchise sales marketing plan that helped generate significant openings. Sweetman also previously spent eight years with FOCUS Brands as its director of franchise sales & real estate, managing activities for four brands in a 14-state territory in the Southeast, including Moe’s Southwest Grill. He was recognized repeatedly for his success there, including receipt of their Impact Player of the Year award.

Cronin joins Jersey Mike’s after spending the past four years with Schlotzsky’s, where he was a President’s Club winner while director of franchise development. During his time with Schlotzsky’s, Cronin distinguished himself for identifying quality operators, both experienced multi-unit franchisees and in particular, small operators who grew into successful multi-unit store owners. He also worked for Dickey’s Barbecue for seven years, where he held a variety of positions including vice president of operations and director of franchise development. A graduate of Johnson & Wales, his chef experience underscores his passion for quality food and consistent operations, which is essential to Jersey Mike’s as it adds franchisees to its base of respected existing franchisees.  Cronin will identify operators that fit the Jersey Mike’s lifestyle, which includes a passion for supporting the brand, people and community.

Qualified multi-unit operators interested in joining the company’s rapid expansion are encouraged to visit booth #401 at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference to discuss opportunities and sample its fresh, hand-sliced subs. Driven by the company’s high-quality product and passion for people, the fast casual sub sandwich franchise plans to open an additional 1000 restaurants nationwide by the end of 2020 and is seeking qualified candidates, and real estate, in numerous target markets throughout the U.S.

About Jersey Mike’s

Jersey Mike’s is the nation’s leading fast casual sub sandwich franchise, with more than 1,500 locations open and under development throughout the U.S. Founded in 1956, the brand has been offering customers its signature authentic fresh sliced subs on freshly baked bread for more than 60 years. Since 2010, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the country have raised more than $28 million for worthy local charities and distributed more than two million free sub sandwiches to help numerous causes. The company was ranked #1 on Franchise Times’ 2017 Fast & Serious list and #24 on Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500® list of the top franchises in the world. Jersey Mike’s is on track to have more than 2,000 stores open nationwide by 2020, and is currently seeking qualified single- and multi-unit operators to join the brand’s rapid expansion.

 

Dunkin DonutsDunkin’ Donuts Hires Veteran Marketer Keith Lusby As Vice President, Media

March 26, 2018–CANTON, MA–(PRNewswire)

Dunkin’ Donuts today announced Keith Lusby, 47, as the company’s new Vice President, Media. Mr. Lusby will lead Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. media planning, buying and placement strategies, from traditional media programming to innovative digital and emerging media partnerships. He will report directly to Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S.

With 25 years of marketing experience, Mr. Lusby has led successful, integrated campaigns for several global consumer brands. He comes to Dunkin’ Brands from MullenLowe Mediahub, named Adweek‘s 2017 U.S. Media Agency of the Year, where he led a 140-person media team supporting campaigns for brands including Chipotle, JetBlue, Ulta Beauty and Staples.  Previously, Mr. Lusby held leadership positions with Carat and with Young & Rubicam, designing media strategies and plans for brands including Reebok, Pfizer, AT&T and Procter & Gamble.

“Keith is an accomplished marketer with extensive experience leading successful consumer-centric media plans for iconic brands,” said Tony Weisman. “Under his direction, we look forward to developing exciting ways to promote the Dunkin’ Donuts brand across a broad spectrum of channels, from television to new opportunities in digital and emerging media.”

Mr. Lusby is the recipient of numerous prestigious marketing awards, including several Effies and a Silver Cannes Lion Award. He was named an Adweek Media All-Star in 2013.

About Dunkin’ Donuts

Founded in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ Donuts has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 12 years running. The company has more than 12,500 restaurants in 46 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin’ Donuts is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies.

 

Churchs_Chicken LogoChurch’s Chicken Announces Promotion of Felicia White to Senior Director of Training & Development

March 23, 2018–ATLANTA, GA– (RestaurantNews)

In keeping up with its strategic goals of developing winning teams and becoming the global franchisor of choice, Church’s Chicken® recently announced the promotion of Felicia White to Senior Director of Training & Development. White will now oversee and manage all training for Church’s domestic operations.

White’s career with Church’s began in 2007 as a National Field Trainer. In her most recent role as Director of Training & Development, White has managed all program updates, developed a dynamic team of national field trainers and has been instrumental in upgrading Church’s training materials, allowing Church’s restaurant team to utilize content and materials that help drive restaurant performance and improve guest experience. White has also made large improvements in the execution of Church’s Certified Restaurant Training Program, the Pathways to Excellence training systems, the development and delivery of all training content and the training support for the brand’s annual Excellence in Leadership Conference.

As the Co-Founder and Chairperson for the Church’s Women’s Forum—an internal organization focused on ways to create opportunities to motivate, retain and develop exempt employees within Church’s while fostering an inclusive work environment—White has played a tremendous role in elevating workplace performance and morale throughout the Church’s and Texas Chicken® brands.

In her new role, Felicia will co-lead a cross-functional project team to deliver the annual Executive Leadership Conference. She reports to Church’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Brendan Berg.

“Felicia truly is one of our best examples of a leader who Steps Up and Shows She Cares both within and outside the company,” said Berg. “Through her work with the Church’s Women’s Forum and Mentoring Circles Program and her community involvement outside the company, participating in events such as the Women’s Foodservice Forum and speaking at the CLO Exchange, Felicia has helped foster an environment that pushes all employees to strive for more.”  

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.

 

Churchs_Chicken LogoChurch’s Chicken Announces Promotion of Ada Duque to Director of International Research & Development

March 22, 2018–ATLANTA, GA–(RestaurantNews)

Church’s Chicken®, one of the largest fried chicken chains in the world, is once again demonstrating its commitment to igniting growth and developing winning teams with its latest promotion of Ada Duque. Duque, the woman behind some of Church’s® most innovative limited-time offers, has been promoted to Director of International Research & Development.

Duque began her Church’s career in 2013 as a Senior Research & Development Manager in Atlanta, GA where she handled domestic product development and brought a keen creative passion to the Church’s team. She has since excelled in building relationships with suppliers and franchisees, and in providing innovative new ideas to grow the Church’s brand. In her most recent role, Duque was responsible for supporting international product development of the full menu. Her product innovations have been the cornerstone of some of Church’s most successful promotional product campaigns, such as Church’s Honey-Butter Biscuit Tenders and Smokehouse Chicken.

Duque will now lead all product innovation outside of the U.S. and report directly to Senior Vice President of Research & Development, Kirk Waisner. While Church’s continues its journey to becoming a global QSR leader in flavor—Duque will continue her efforts to develop distinctive, permanent menu items and LTOs by bringing more locally relevant and unique tastes to guests.

“Ada’s creativity is rooted in her culinary talent, experience and curiosity,” said Waisner. “Her background and world travels enable her to bring a different perspective to the development of globally relevant products, and we are all excited to see her next big idea.”

Duque earned her Bachelor’s degree in Food Engineering at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia.

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.

 

J AlexandersJ. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. Names Parks to Vice President and Chief Information Officer

March 22, 2018–NASHVILLE, TN–(BusinessWire)

J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: JAX) (the Company), owner and operator of the J. Alexander’s, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill and Lyndhurst Grill collection of restaurants, today announced the promotion of Jason S. Parks to Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the Company.

Lonnie J. Stout II, President and Chief Executive Officer, made the announcement and said Parks has already assumed his new role.

“Jason has proven himself as an invaluable leader in directing the evolution of our Information Systems,” Stout said. “His contributions have enhanced the breadth of our management team and will continue to benefit the Company as we expand our base of restaurants.”

Lonnie J. Stout II, President and Chief Executive Officer, made the announcement and said Parks has already assumed his new role.

“Jason has proven himself as an invaluable leader in directing the evolution of our Information Systems,” Stout said. “His contributions have enhanced the breadth of our management team and will continue to benefit the Company as we expand our base of restaurants.”

Prior to being named to his present executive post earlier this year, Parks served the Company as the Director of Information Systems. He held the same position with J. Alexander’s Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries from February 2013 to February 2018, and with J. Alexander’s Corporation from July 1996 to February 2013.

Parks joined the Company in May 1991 as a server in the first J. Alexander’s restaurant in Nashville, and was later promoted as the first internal management hire. Parks served in restaurant management from January 1992 to July 1996. He holds a Master of Science in Information Systems from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.

About J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc.

J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. is a collection of restaurants that focus on providing high quality food, outstanding professional service and an attractive ambiance. The Company presently operates four complementary restaurant concepts: J. Alexander’s, Redlands Grill, Lyndhurst Grill and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. The Company has 44 restaurants in 15 states, with its headquarters in Nashville, TN.

 

CapriottisCapriotti’s Enhances Leadership Team with Vice President of Real Estate

New Industry Veteran Named as Fast-Casual Restaurant Focuses on Growth

March 21, 2018–LAS VEGAS, NV–(RestaurantNews)

Capriotti’s, a Las Vegas-based sandwich shop known for its award-winning, hand-crafted sandwiches, announced Dennis Watts will join the Capriotti’s leadership team as the Vice President of Real Estate. As the VP of Real Estate, Watts will help franchise partners scout and acquire ideal locations for building their restaurants.

No stranger to the world of real estate, Watts previously worked with McDonald’s as an area real estate manager, and most recently with Dapper Companies, a Nevada-based business working with commercial real estate. It was during his time with Dapper Companies that Watts was first introduced to the Capriotti’s brand. With years of valuable real estate experience under his belt, Watts will bring ample knowledge and expertise as he starts his newest venture with Capriotti’s.

“In the fast-casual dining space, Capriotti’s continues to stand out amongst the rest with their quality products and team of dedicated individuals,” said Watts. “I am thrilled to be a part of such a genuine brand and have the opportunity to help the company grow in the years to come.”

As the Vice President of Real Estate, Watts will be responsible for guiding franchise partners to the best possible locations for their restaurants. Watts will be traveling to various states across the nation to survey real estate, attend conventions and work with brokers. With this new role, Watts hopes to shorten the opening process to have Capriotti’s franchise partners up and running as efficiently as possible.

“We are excited to welcome Dennis to the Capriotti’s Family,” said David Bloom, Capriotti’s Chief Development Officer. “As we continue to grow and expand, Dennis will be a key attribute in helping franchise partners establish their business and grow successfully.”

Capriotti’s operations are based in Las Vegas. The company currently has 100 fast-casual restaurant locations across the United States, and plans to expand to 500 locations nationwide by 2025 through franchising.

About Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

Founded in 1976, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop is an award-winning fast-casual sandwich franchise that remains true to its 40-year tradition of slow-roasting whole, all natural turkeys in-house every day in a welcoming atmosphere. The Bobbie®, Capriotti’s signature sub, was voted “The Greatest Sandwich in America” by thousands of readers across the country and reported by AOL.com. Capriotti’s currently has 100 locations in 18 states, and plans to expand to 500 locations nationwide by 2025.

 

ChipotleChipotle Names Chris Brandt Chief Marketing Officer

March 20, 2018–DENVER, CO–(PRNewswire) 

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced that it has hired Chris Brandt as chief marketing officer, effective April 2. Brandt will report to chief executive officer Brian Niccol.

Most recently, Brandt was at Bloomin’ Brands, where he served as executive vice president and chief brand officer across Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s. In this capacity, he oversaw a 75-person brand team and held responsibility for product innovation, brand positioning, product pipeline development, consumer insights, creative strategy and development, media strategy, loyalty, and digital marketing across all four dining concepts.

“Chris is an extremely talented and effective marketing executive,” said Brian Niccol, CEO at Chipotle. “Having worked with Chris in the past, I have seen first-hand his ability to generate sales overnight and build brands over time. His experience and expertise make him an ideal fit for our leadership team at Chipotle as we look to reinvigorate this exceptional brand, and build sales, transactions and profitability.”

Prior to his time at Bloomin’ Brands, Brandt served as chief brand and marketing officer at YUM! Brands’ Taco Bell, where he led marketing and food innovation. He oversaw numerous successful new products including Doritos Locos Tacos and the quesalupa, new dayparts such as Happier Hour and breakfast, digital initiatives such as the Taco Bell app, as well as other innovative media and sponsorship programs. Before joining Taco Bell, he held senior level marketing and brand development positions with Odwalla/Coca Cola and General Mills.

“I have admired the Chipotle brand both as a consumer and a marketer over the years,” said Brandt. “I’m excited to join the company during this pivotal time and to work with the rest of the leadership team to help reignite the brand and increase relevance with consumers.”

Brandt holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

ABOUT CHIPOTLE

Steve Ells, founder and executive chairman, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in an interactive style allowing people to get exactly what they want. Chipotle seeks out extraordinary ingredients that are not only fresh, but that are raised responsibly, with respect for the animals, land, and people who produce them. Chipotle prepares its food using real, wholesome ingredients, without the use of added colors, flavors or other additives typically found in fast food. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in Denver in 1993 and now operates more than 2,400 restaurants. For more information, visit chipotle.com.

 

WingstopWingstop CMO Flynn K. Dekker Resigns to Take Sabbatical

March 20, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

Wingstop Restaurants Inc., the award-winning wing concept with more than 1,100 locations worldwide, announced that Flynn K. Dekker has resigned as Chief Marketing Officer, effective March 21. Dekker plans to take a sabbatical and spend time with family. Dekker has agreed to provide consulting services to the company after his resignation date to ensure continuity and an effective transition. An executive search is currently underway for a new Chief Marketing Officer.

“We thank Flynn for his leadership and many contributions to Wingstop. Flynn has been instrumental to Wingstop’s success and has helped position the brand for continued success well into the future. He has been a valued friend and business partner and he will be greatly missed,” says Charlie Morrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Wingstop.

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop Inc. franchises more than 1,100 locations and as of the end of 2017, the Company had over 1,000 signed commitments for new restaurant development globally.

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.

 

Primo HoagiesPrimo Hoagies Names Derik Beck VP of Marketing, Adam Biedenbender VP of Development

March 16, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

In an effort to bring Primo Hoagies to a national level, the organization recently hired Derik Beck as the vice president of marketing and Adam Biedenbender as the vice president of development specializing in Franchise Development.

Rocco Fiorentino, president and CEO of Primo Hoagies says, “We have tapped Derik and Adam to join the Primo team to help expand our brand and bring additional support to our franchisees. Primo Hoagies is built on the quality and consistency that our fans have come to expect, and we want to bring that same sense to how we brand our company and support our franchisees.”

Beck comes to Primo Hoagies with a long leadership background in digital marketing promotion and strategic planning for companies like Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, AAMCO, New Holland Agriculture and Mack Trucks, Inc. “I am so excited to be part of the Primo team,” says Beck. “I hope to invigorate everyone on the team from management to the franchisees and their staff so we are always making a great first impression and providing an amazing customer experience.”

Biedenbender joins the Primo Hoagies team with an extensive background in franchise multi-unit development. He is well known throughout the franchise industry for creating strong relationships with franchisees and identifying great partners for franchise expansion. Biedenbender has worked with several prominent franchise organizations around the country, including: Rita’s Water Ice, Dunkin Donuts, Quiznos, Remax, Smash Burgers and Papa Murphy Restaurants.

“I’ve been a fan of Primo since I first moved to Philly in 2003. It’s really great to see the strides they have made in the Philadelphia market since then,” says Biedenbender. “When the opportunity came up to help the brand grow the business outside of the Philadelphia market, I jumped at the chance. When you have a product as good as a Primo Hoagies with such a solid business model, it’s hard not be excited about its potential growth.  I can’t wait for the rest of the country to try this sandwich and to grow the brand to its potential.”

Currently, Primo Hoagies franchises are located in seven states, including: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, Florida, Maryland and Virginia, with more than 90 stores open. There are 52 stores in Pennsylvania with the newest location, Primo Hoagies Kennett Square, which opened on February 13, 2018.

The description of a sandwich being called a “hoagie” is unique to Philadelphia much like the Primo Hoagies brand. Primo Hoagies co-founder Rich Niegre opened his first store on Ritner Street in South Philadelphia in the 1990’s. From there the brand expanded into Center City, Philadelphia and into the South Jersey market. Soon after, Niegre decided to franchise the brand.

Fiorentino explains that Primo Hoagies’ is held in high regard among Philadelphians because of its top quality ingredients that fill the options on the menu at all stores. The menu is also consistent, always offering Old Fashioned Style Specialty Sandwiches unique and original to Primo Hoagies.

Looking to the future, Beck is charged with increasing Primo’s online presence, increasing same store sales and the Primo Hoagies distribution process throughout the United States. He will also concentrate on expanding the brand using his unique social media strategies. Together, Beck and Biedenbender, will build franchisee relations and support the marketing efforts of each individual franchise.

 

Habit BurgerCMO Matt Hood Leaving The Habit Restaurants

March 16, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

The Habit Restaurants, Inc. announced Thursday that Matt Hood, chief marketing officer, will leave the company to pursue another opportunity. The company has initiated a search for his replacement.

Russ Bendel, president and chief executive officer of The Habit Restaurants, Inc., says, “I’d like to express my deep appreciation to Matt for his hard work and numerous contributions to our organization. In the more than three and a half years that he has been with The Habit, Matt has shown tremendous dedication, loyalty and passion for our brand, our customers and our team members, and we wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Matt Hood adds, “I am grateful for the tremendous opportunities The Habit has provided me, as well as the strong relationships I’ve established during my time here.  I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to watching the Company’s future growth and wish all of my colleagues continued success.”

The Habit Burger Grill is a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches featuring USDA choice tri-tip steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade tuna cooked over an open flame. In addition, it features fresh made-to-order salads and an appealing selection of sides, shakes and malts. The first Habit opened in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. The Habit has since grown to over 215 restaurants in 11 states throughout California, Arizona, Utah, New Jersey, Florida, Idaho, Virginia, Nevada, Washington, Maryland, and Pennsylvania as well as three international locations.

 

Dunkin BrandsDunkin’ Brands Announces Three New Executive Promotions

March 15, 2018–CANTON, MA–(RestaurantNews)

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., (Nasdaq: DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, today announced the promotion of three executives to vice president roles. The promotions include Brian Gilbert to Vice President, Retail Business Development; Frank Barone to Vice President, Financial Management & Business Analytics; and Mathias Piercy, to Regional Vice President, South Central.

“I am delighted to announce the promotions of three talented members of the Dunkin’ Donuts team. Brian, Frank and Mathias have made significant contributions to our success and bring a wealth of experience to their new roles. With their passion for results, deep understanding of our business, and leadership capabilities, I am confident they will help us continue to capitalize on the growth potential of both the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands,” said Dave Hoffmann, President, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S.

Brian Gilbert will be responsible for growing the company’s global consumer packaged goods business and channel partnerships for both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, which includes driving strategic partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company, The J.M. Smucker Company, Keurig Green Mountain, JetBlue Airways Corporation, Amtrak and other retailers. Mr. Gilbert has been with Dunkin’ Brands for 14 years, during which time he and his team have successfully developed and launched several key products and programs, including Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup® Pods, Dunkin’ Donuts ready-to-drink iced coffee beverages and the Dunkin’ Donuts-Amtrak partnership.

Mr. Gilbert has 30 years of experience helping prominent consumer brands grow through retail.  His background includes management positions with Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Quaker Oats Company’s Gatorade Division and Pepsi-Cola Company.

Frank Barone will be responsible for providing tactical and strategic direction to the business analysis finance function across both brands. In his new role, he will lead the Business Analytics teams for both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins U.S., focusing on sales forecasting and reporting, promotional and test analytics, demand planning and management of marketing spend. He will work closely with Marketing, Operations, Supply Chain and key franchisee advisory bodies to ensure alignment on processes and procedures to manage all aspects of product demand. Mr. Barone and his team will assume additional responsibility for brand and loyalty customer level analytics and reporting.

Mr. Barone joined Dunkin’ Brands in 2001 and prior to his promotion served as Senior Director, Business Analytics, where he was responsible for the management of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. Advertising Fund, Dunkin’ Donuts Demand Planning function and Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Business Analytics. Prior to Dunkin’ Brands, Mr. Barone served as Financial Analyst for Northrop Grumman Corp. / DOD Consultants, LLC, and as Business Analyst for Public Consulting Group.

Mathias Piercy will lead operations and development for Dunkin’ Donuts’ South Central region. Mr. Piercy has 25 years of quick service restaurant experience beginning with his first job as a shift manager in high school. He has been with Dunkin’ Brands for 10 years, first serving as an Operations Manager and Business Development Manager, and then Operations Director for Mid-Atlantic in 2014. Most recently, he supported operations for all U.S. combo restaurants as Combo Operations Director where he played a critical role in the development and implementation of the Baskin-Robbins brand strategy, while also serving as the operations lead for Dunkin’ Donuts’ NextGen restaurant design, which is an important part of the brand’s multi-year Blueprint for Growth plan. Prior to Dunkin’ Brands, Mr. Piercy held various management and operations positions with other franchise networks, including Taco Bell and KFC.

About Dunkin’ Brands

With more than 20,500 points of distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) is one of the world’s leading franchisors of quick service restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. At the end of the fourth quarter 2017, Dunkin’ Brands’ 100 percent franchised business model included more than 12,500 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants and nearly 8,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. is headquartered in Canton, Mass.

 

Juice it upJuice It Up! Names Chris Braun New CEO

Chris Braun Appointed as CEO of Leading Raw Juice Bar & Smoothie Franchise

March 14, 2018–IRVINE, CA–(RestaurantNews)

Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, raw juice, and superfruit bowl franchises, announces its acquisition by SJB Brands, LLC. and appointed Chris Braun as company CEO. Purchased from longtime owner and former CEO, Frank Easterbrook, SJB Brands was formed as a partnership between California-based private investment firms, Dover Shores Capital, LLC, led by Braun, Britt Private Capital, LLC, and Jupiter Holdings, LLC. After over two decades of leadership at Juice It Up!, Easterbrook has passed the baton but remains committed to the brand as a franchisee. The partners of SJB Brands, LLC, possess over 30 years of experience in the franchise space while sharing a passion for healthy living and the vision of growth for Juice It Up!

“We are grateful for the incredible leadership and support that Frank Easterbrook provided to the Juice It Up! brand and franchisees for over 20 years,” said Braun. “We are excited to begin this journey and build upon the legacy that Frank, the management team and dedicated franchise partners have created, cementing Juice It Up! as a major player in the growing smoothie, raw juice, and bowl market.”

Juice It Up! currently has 100 locations open and in development across California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Florida. Under the new ownership, the brand will continue to enhance its core offerings of hand-crafted smoothies, fresh raw juices and superfruit bowls. In addition to focusing on product innovation and a customer-centric strategy, growth in prime markets while sourcing high quality site locations and franchisees are key initiatives.

Braun continued, “We’re going to continue to add value to an already established and beloved brand, as well as take a proactive role in the company’s growth. It is our principal objective to pursue initiatives that are designed around innovation, growing average store sales, and expanding our franchise base to continue to build on the success of the brand.”

About Juice It Up!

Juice It Up! is a leading handcrafted smoothie, raw juice, and superfruit bowl franchise. Founded in 1995, the Irvine, California-based lifestyle brand is focused on providing its guests with a variety of great-tasting, better-for-you food and drink choices designed with personal wellness in mind. With over 100 locations open or under development across California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas, the privately-owned company is showcasing a new restaurant design, a heavier focus on healthy smoothies and bowls, the growing demand for raw and cold pressed juice options, and a menu refresh that reflects the brand’s active personality and motto to “Live Life Juiced!”

 

StarbucksRachel Gonzalez Joins Starbucks as EVP, General Counsel and Secretary

March 14, 2018–(QSRMagazine) 

Starbucks Corporation announced that Rachel Gonzalez, formerly Chief Administrative Officer for Sabre Corporation, will join Starbucks as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, reporting to president and chief executive officer, Kevin Johnson.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rachel to the Starbucks family,” says Johnson. “A leader with outstanding judgment and tremendous business acumen, Rachel is a terrific addition to Starbucks as we continue to accelerate our leadership position as a global brand with a rich heritage in coffee, long-standing values, and the responsibility to use our scale for good.”

At Starbucks, Gonzalez will lead will lead the Law & Corporate Affairs (L&CA) department, support the Starbucks Board of Directors and serve as a member of the company’s executive leadership team.

“Starbucks is a world-renowned brand that has had a tremendous positive impact on the lives of many. It’s an honor to join the team,” says Gonzalez. “I’m excited to support the company’s continued growth and evolution for partners, customers and shareholders around the world.”

In her previous role at Sabre, Gonzalez led a global team responsible for human resources, corporate communications, legal strategy, regulatory affairs, corporate compliance, and government affairs. She joined Sabre in 2014 as Executive Vice President and General Counsel.

Prior to joining Sabre, Gonzalez served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary with Dean Foods in Dallas, Texas.  Previously, Gonzalez was Senior Vice President and Group Counsel with Affiliated Computer Services.  Earlier in her career, Gonzalez was a partner with the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where she focused on corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, SEC compliance and corporate governance.

Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley. She also earned a law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

ChipotleChipotle Marketing Chief Resigns Days After New CEO Takes Charge

March 14, 2018–(Reuters)

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s chief marketing and strategy officer has resigned, the company said on Wednesday, just nine days after former Taco Bell head Brian Niccol took the helm at the troubled U.S. burrito chain.

Mark Crumpacker will leave Chipotle on March 15, according to a regulatory filing. Crumpacker could not be reached immediately for comment.

Chipotle in a statement thanked Crumpacker for his role in shaping and defining the brand since joining the company in January 2009, and said it would continue its marketing plans while finalizing plans for a new chief marketing officer.

Investors expect Niccol, who demonstrated menu and marketing prowess at Yum Brands Inc’s (YUM.N) Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains, to tap his professional network for talent.

Chipotle, which used its “Food with Integrity” tagline to build a loyal following, disappointed some investors in September 2016 when it reinstated Crumpacker just months after he was charged with multiple counts of cocaine possession.

He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in January 2017. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case if he received treatment for a year and stayed out of trouble.

Crumpacker’s efforts, particularly food giveaways aimed at wooing back customers after a series of reputation-crushing food safety lapses in late 2015, were costly and failed to resonate with customers amid fierce competition from rival restaurant operators.

Some campaigns left customers and rival marketers scratching their heads. For example, Chipotle’s June 2017 buy-one-get-one-free advertisement for nurses showed a foil-wrapped burrito “dressed” in blue scrubs and a stethoscope. The text read “Code Burrito” – leaving some viewers to think of “Code Blue” medical emergencies.

Chipotle disclosed in a January filing that it had signed retention agreements of $1 million for Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung and $600,000 for Crumpacker that would reward them for staying one year after a new CEO was appointed.

A Chipotle spokesman said Crumpacker will receive previously negotiated post-employment payments, including his retention bonus.

Hartung’s and Crumpacker’s retention agreements included several scenarios for payment upon their early departures – including reductions in duties and moving primary work locations by more than 30 miles.

Niccol took the helm from Chipotle founder Steve Ells on March 5 and is based at Chipotle’s Denver headquarters.

Ells and Crumpacker work from Chipotle’s New York office and Hartung is based in Chicago.

 

BiscuitvilleBiscuitville Names Kathie Niven New President

March 13, 2018–(QSRMagazine)

Kathie S. Niven has been named president of Greensboro-based Biscuitville Fresh Southern. Niven joined Biscuitville in 2011 and most recently served as the company’s Chief Brand Officer. In conjunction with the promotion of Niven, Kristie Mitchell has been promoted to Vice President of Brand and Marketing.

While Chief Brand Officer, Niven was responsible for defining and accelerating Biscuitville’s brand vision and growth plan. As part of the company’s strategy, she oversaw the creation of Biscuitville’s Fresh Southern brand positioning, which encompassed logo development, restaurant redesign, packaging, employee uniforms, and trademarking. Niven also spearheaded the design of the company’s new People Excellence department as well as a new Menu Management Assembly process, which produced the most successful promotional product-launch in company history – the Spicy Chicken and Honey Biscuit.

In addition, Niven introduced an in-house agency model at Biscuitville by building a team responsible for all communications and marketing initiatives, including photography, videography, media production, artwork and design, promotional material fulfillment, public relations, online retail, local store marketing, social media and content management. She also developed Biscuitville’s Collegiate Summer Intern Program.

Earlier in her career, Niven served as Vice President of Field Marketing for Quiznos Corporation and marketing executive with RTM/Arby’s Roast Beef Corporation, Burger King Corporation, and Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation. She received a B.A. degree in English with a minor in communications from Elon University. Niven’s post-graduate studies and professional development included course work in leadership, branding and strategy at the Center for Creative Leadership, the Kenan Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill and Design Thinking at Harvard University.

“Biscuitville is proud of its heritage as a local, family-owned business, and we had to look no further than our own front door when considering the best candidate to serve as our president,” says Burney Jennings, chief executive officer of Biscuitville. “Kathie may not have Jennings as her last name, however, she certainly feels like family at Biscuitville.”

“During her work since 2011, Kathie has led the transformation of Biscuitville with our fresh look, new menu items and restaurant design. I’m thrilled to have Kathie as Biscuitville’s leader, and I’m looking forward to working closely with Kathie in her new role,” he adds. “I’m equally pleased that Kristie was ready to step up to become Vice President of Brand and Marketing. The promotions of Kathie and Kristie demonstrate the depth of incredible talent we have within Biscuitville’s internal staff.”

Mitchell joined Biscuitville in early 2015 as Senior Brand Creative and was responsible for overhauling everything from the brand’s extensive marketing collateral program to its restaurant menu boards. A year later, Mitchell became the company’s first-ever Creative Director and spearheaded the development of Biscuitville brand strategic vision.

With more than 25 years of experience developing brands as a creative marketer, Mitchell began her career as an art director for the full-service advertising agency Bouvier Kelly in Greensboro, where she was responsible for design and advertising campaigns for global companies including International Paper and Philip Morris. Mitchell formed her own creative solutions business called K. White Creative in 2008. During her career, Mitchell has won multiple national awards for art direction and design.

 

FazolisFazoli’s Vice President of Franchise Sales Sam Nelson Retires After 24 Years

March 13, 2018–LEXINGTON, KY–(RestaurantNews)

Fazoli’s, America’s largest fast casual Italian chain, announced today after a long and illustrious restaurant industry career spanning forty-three years – including the past twenty-four years with Fazoli’s – Vice President of Franchise Sales Sam Nelson will retire effective March 21st.

Sam’s affiliation with Fazoli’s dates all the way back to 1985 when the concept was originally conceived by parent company Jerrico, Inc. He was an integral part of the team that opened the first five Fazoli’s in Lexington, KY before leaving Jerrico to purchase The Coach House Restaurant – at the time the only Mobil Five-Star restaurant in the State of Kentucky. In 1992 Sam was inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.

Sam rejoined Fazoli’s in 1994 and served as the Company’s first-ever Franchise Business Consultant. After several promotions including Director and Group Chairman of Franchise Operations, Sam was selected in 1998 to lead the Franchise Department as Vice President, Franchise Operations and Sales. That same year, Sam was presented with Fazoli’s “Servant Leadership Award”, the only recipient of this award in the Company’s history.

In the ensuing years that followed under Sam’s leadership, the Company’s franchise community doubled in size, easily exceeding the number of company-owned units.

In recent years, Sam has focused once again on growing Fazoli’s franchise system. After a period of stagnant growth during and immediately following The Great Recession, Sam re-ignited Fazoli’s franchise sales and has been instrumental in driving resurgence in the growth of the brand.

“Fazoli’s has been fortunate to have someone of Sam’s talents and abilities at the helm of our franchise system for the past 24 years” said CEO Carl Howard. “I thank Sam for his many contributions over the years and am grateful for his efforts in growing our franchise system and building a pipeline of future Fazoli’s franchisees.”

“I’ve had an incredible career in the restaurant industry generally, and with Fazoli’s, specifically” said Sam. I will miss the many friends and colleagues I’ve come to know so well through the years and will continue to wish everyone associated with this brand nothing but success and prosperity in the future.”

About Fazoli’s

With approximately 220 restaurants in 27 states, Fazoli’s is America’s largest Italian fast casual chain, serving freshly prepared entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads and pizza. One of the New York Post’s five breakout fast casual restaurants and a FastCasual.com Brand of the Year, Fazoli’s franchisees are experiencing record sales growth.