ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Inspire Brands, Inc. (“Inspire”) today announced changes within the Chief Financial Officer role. Kate Jaspon has been named Chief Financial Officer of Inspire following the announced retirement of David Pipes. Jaspon was previously CFO of recently acquired Dunkin’ Brands where she spent more than 15 years in Finance and Treasury roles.
Jaspon will transition into her new role this month and will oversee all accounting and reporting, tax, financial planning and analysis, internal audit, as well as manage Inspire’s relationships with lending institutions, investors, and the financial community.
“Working with Kate while Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins were joining the Inspire family, it became clear that she was an amazing fit with Inspire. Her financial acumen, leadership, and strong relationships with the investment community solidified that she’s ideal for this role,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Inspire.
“I’m honored and humbled to take on this leadership position,” Jaspon said. “I’ve been absolutely enamored with what Inspire is building from day one. This is an incredible opportunity and I’m so excited to take this world-class organization and team to the next level.”
Jaspon joined Dunkin’ Brands in December 2005 as Assistant Controller. She was later promoted to Vice President, Finance and Treasury and Corporate Controller, and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in June 2017. She has led Dunkin’ through a number of transactions, including the Company’s IPO in 2011 and follow-on equity offerings, securitization and numerous other debt transactions, the divestiture of the Togo’s brand, and the sale to Inspire. Jaspon will be based in Atlanta. Her full biography may be found on the Inspire executive leadership page.
After a 40-year career, nearly half of that with Arby’s and Inspire, David Pipes announced his retirement. Pipes started in 2003 with Arby’s franchisee RTM. He held key leadership positions in finance and accounting at RTM and then at Arby’s during an incredible time of change and growth. He played an instrumental role in Arby’s 2005 acquisition of RTM, as well as Arby’s subsequent merger with Wendy’s International in 2008, which resulted in the formation of the Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. Pipes remained with Arby’s when Roark purchased the brand in 2011 when he was also named CFO.
Pipes played a leading role in four multi-billion-dollar acquisitions over a span of just three years. He led the company’s financial team through the Arby’s acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings and the creation of Inspire in 2018 to the largest take private deal in restaurant history when Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins joined the family late last year.
Throughout his time with the company, David has grown his leadership in Finance, culminating in his most recent role as CFO of Inspire. Previously, he worked for Yum! Brands, Inc. and PepsiCo, and he began his career in public accounting at Coopers and Lybrand.
“David has been through thick and thin with this company and throughout has been one of the most capable, steadfast, driven people with deep knowledge and expertise in finance with whom I have worked,” Brown said. “While I’m certainly sad to see him leave the company, I’m also pleased to know that he can look back on his career and legacy at Arby’s and Inspire with an immense sense of pride for all that he has accomplished and the team he has built.”
“I’m incredibly thankful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had at Arby’s and Inspire,” Pipes said. “This has been a career journey that far exceeded my early expectations. I’ve gotten to know some amazing people and helped foster their careers while along the way playing a critical role in the creation of a restaurant company unlike any other. I’ll be watching Inspire’s continued growth closely and know that the company is in strong hands with Kate.”
About Inspire Brands
Inspire Brands is a multi-brand restaurant company whose current portfolio includes nearly 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, and SONIC Drive-In locations worldwide. The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit InspireBrands.com.
SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mercato Partners, a leading private equity firm that provides capital and guidance to brands in periods of high growth, today announced that serial innovator and well-respected restaurateur, James Park, has joined the firm’s Savory Fund Practice (“Savory”) as an operating partner.
This appointment follows the recent closing of Savory Fund II, a $100 million investment vehicle devoted to backing emerging and profitable restaurant concepts. Park will utilize his well-curated network, deep understanding of operations within the F&B industry, technology and invaluable experience to partner with the fund’s investment professionals to maximize operational implementations and margins within the Savory portfolio.
Park brings two decades of restaurant and retail operating experience – both as a franchisee owner/operator and in the C-suite – to Savory and has received multiple accolades for his accomplishments. Most recently, he led Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a leading Denver-based Mediterranean fast-casual brand, as Chief Executive Officer from 2015 through its sale to Centre Lane Partners in 2020.
During his tenure at GARBANZO, Park led the company to 4 years of consecutive same store sales growth, grew the company to 26 locations across 13 states, and added topline revenue to each unit. Fast Casual magazine recognized GARBANZO as its #4 Movers & Shakers brand in 2019, while QSR Magazine named the restaurant its 40/40 List, which featured 40 brands under 40 units that are “ready to make their mark on fast casual.”
Park also received several personal accolades for his leadership, including being named one of Nation’s Restaurant News Power 40 executives each year from 2016 through 2019, and as one of Fast Casual’s Top 25 Most Influential Executives from 2017 through 2019. Denver Business Journal also named Park its Most Admired CEO in 2018.
Prior to GARBANZO, Park held executive operating roles at fast-casual chains Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Charley’s Grilled Subs, and Penn Station East Coast Subs, as well as a global marketing role at 7-ELEVEN. He began his career at IBM Global Services designing and implementing advanced Customer Relationship Management tools for Fortune 500 companies.
“We are fortunate to welcome to Savory one of the best operators in the restaurant industry, James Park,” said Andrew K. Smith and Greg Warnock, Managing Partners of the Savory Funds. “From the beginning of our discussions, it was clear that we view the industry similarly and that our combined ideas and philosophy of unlocking maximum value in exciting new brands are completely aligned. James’ track record of success will be a tremendous resource to our team as we continue to grow our current portfolio and add new and exciting brands in Fund II.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Savory, who is fast becoming the leading financial sponsor for early stage emerging brands in the food and beverage industry,” said Park. “In just a few years, they have built an enviable track record with five incredible companies, and I am excited to support the firm’s existing portfolio brands, identify new brands and help build out many more.”
“The Savory team and I are strongly aligned in the execution of our strategy – everything from financing, design, operations, customer experience and most importantly, how to treat employees. Savory was able to navigate through the pandemic without laying off or furloughing a single team member, which speaks volumes to their priorities. I am a big believer in the Savory playbook for growth and operational excellence, and I look forward to hitting the ground running,” added Park.
In addition to his executive roles, Park is a leader in his community and wants to see others succeed in the industry and benefit from his expertise. Park is the founder of Korean American Retail Executives (K.A.R.E.), a professional organization. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from St. Louis University and is fluent in Korean and Spanish.
About Savory Funds
The Savory Funds, managed by Mercato Partners, focus on delivering outsized returns through strategic investments in the food and beverage industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands, to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, revenue opportunities, profitability enhancements, and new location development. The Savory team contributes directly to all aspects of growth and replication by using a proven playbook and methodology. For more Information, visit www.savoryfund.com.