Edible Arrangements® Names Mike Rotondo Chief Executive Officer
Executive with more than 30 years in QSR industry joins from Tropical Smoothie Café®; will oversee all franchise operations
July 10, 2018–(PRNewswire)
Edible Arrangements®, the world’s largest franchisor of shops offering creatively designed fresh cut fruit arrangements and all-natural, fresh fruit snacks and dipped treats, has named QSR industry veteran Mike Rotondo its Chief Executive Officer.
Rotondo, who brings three decades of experience growing some of the most well-known brands in the QSR industry to the newly created position, will be based in Edible’s Atlanta headquarters where he will oversee all franchise operations.
He joins Edible® as the brand evolves from a gifting focus into a gifting and treats brand also offering Dipped Fruit™, Froyo Fruit Blends™, all-natural, fresh fruit salads and other Edible® Treats.
Rotondo has spent the last decade at Tropical Smoothie Café®, the last five years as CEO, where he was responsible for the brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance. His career spans more than 30 years in the quick-service industry and also includes key leadership roles at Wendy’s International, HoneyBaked Ham and Arby’s Restaurant Group.
“I’ve closely followed Mike’s career over the past decade at Tropical Smoothie, and when the time came to bring in a CEO, I knew he would be perfect for the role,” said Edible Founder Tariq Farid, who has served as the only CEO in the company’s history and will now focus on growing Edible Brands, the parent company that includes technology, supply-chain and other businesses as well as the Edible Arrangements brand. “This is an exciting time at Edible and I am confident that Mike’s deep experience in QSR and gifting will bring our vision of the new Edible to life.”
Rotondo said Edible’s strong technology base coupled with its global footprint of stores creates an ideal positioning in today’s evolving marketplace.
“With more than 1,200 locations worldwide, this is one of those rare opportunities to take what is already a beloved brand and shape a new and exciting future,” Rotondo said. “Everything is in place and the timing is perfect for us to move forward with adding significant new revenue streams for our brand and our franchisees.”
ABOUT EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS®
With more than 1,200 franchise locations open or under development worldwide, Edible Arrangements, LLC is the world’s largest franchisor of shops offering creatively designed fresh cut fruit arrangements. Edible® store locations also carry the company’s rapidly expanding Edible® Treats line which features chocolate Dipped Fruit™, Froyo Fruit Blends™, all-natural, fresh fruit salads, and other treats. Since its founding in 1999 in East Haven, Conn., the company has been recognized as an industry leader, ranking first in its category in Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “Franchise 500,” Entrepreneur’s Top 40 of “Fastest Growing Franchises” and “America’s Top Global Franchises” as well as being included among the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest growing privately-held companies. Edible® fresh fruit arrangements, chocolate Dipped Fruit™, fresh fruit smoothies, can be ordered online at edible.com or through any local Edible® store.
Fork & Salad Brings on Important Leader to Support Company & Franchise Growth
Lauren Mann Will Oversee Operations At Existing Locations And Assist New Franchisees With Development
July 10, 2018–(RestaurantNews)
Fork & Salad, the Maui-based fast casual eatery specializing in healthy options and local Hawaiian flavors, has promoted longtime employee Lauren Mann to the brand’s inaugural Director of Operations and Director of Franchisee Management. In the newly created position, Mann will oversee the daily operations of all Fork & Salad locations, both currently existing and upcoming, and provide new franchisees with the tools they need to develop, open, and operate their Fork & Salad franchised stores.
“I’ve spent the last few years learning and developing my management style from Travis, Jaron, and Cody, and to now be working with them in a new capacity, and for such a fast-growing brand like Fork & Salad, is an exciting endeavor,” said Mann. “I’ve watched as they built Fork & Salad from the ground up, so I’m well-equipped to assist new franchisees through the same process and give them the resources they need to successfully run a Fork & Salad location in any market.”
Mann has spent the last four years working alongside Fork & Salad owners Jaron Blosser, Travis Morrin, and Cody Christopher at their full-service restaurant concept, Three’s Bar and Grill. She was first hired as a restaurant manager, quickly working her way up to the corporate management level. When looking to hire a Director of Operations and Franchisee Management for the budding Fork & Salad franchise, they promoted Mann from within to fill the position.
“Lauren’s personable communication style, solid organizational skills, and effective follow-through make her a natural choice for this new leadership role,” says Fork & Salad co-founder Travis Morrin. “We trust her wholeheartedly and know she’ll be a fantastic resource to support our franchisee family as we grow together.”
Founded in 2016, Fork & Salad was built with the purpose of helping to make farm-to-table cuisine as healthy, convenient, and affordable as possible. The menu, which proudly boasts 50+ locally grown ingredients, features a wide variety of healthy offerings such as sandwiches, salads, build-your-own options, and healthy beverages like housemade teas and organic kombucha. The Maui-based concept is committed to serving and supporting the island’s local residents and businesses, which it does by employing over 40 locals and sourcing ingredients from more than 25 Maui-based farmers and suppliers whenever possible.
Fork & Salad is partnered with Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company behind the success of household concepts like The Halal Guys and Five Guys Burgers & Fries, as its exclusive franchising partner to grow the brand. Those interested in expanding Fork & Salad’s fresh concept and spirit of aloha into markets nationwide should visit http://go.fransmart.com/l/16992/2018-02-20/39mv97.
About Fork & Salad
Founded by chef-owners Jaron Blosser, Cody Christopher and Travis Morrin in 2016, Fork & Salad is a locally-sourced, chef-inspired salad company with a mission to redefine the possibilities of farm-to-table cuisine as healthy, quick, convenient, and affordable so it can be enjoyed every day by everyone. The Fork & Salad vision to expand the farm-to-table movement to all parts of Hawai’i and beyond includes supporting local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to boost the local economy, while also making their healthy and sustainable cuisine accessible to all consumers. The health-forward concept was named “Best New Restaurant in 2017” by Maui Time, recognized for its exquisite and affordable health fare and dedication to the local economy and people. Visit www.forkandsaladmaui.com for more information on the brand.
Fransmart is the global leader in franchise development, turning emerging restaurant concepts into national and global brands for over 10 years. Company founder Dan Rowe identified and grew brands like Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill from 1-5 unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 3,000 restaurants in 45 states and 35 countries. Fransmart and their partner brands are committed to franchise development growth—as of 2015, over 1,000 new restaurants are in development across their current portfolio.
Ajenda Public Relations
CKE Restaurants Rounds Out Executive Team
New Chief Financial Officer and Chief Legal Officer Bring Years of Industry Experience
July 9, 2018–(BusinessWire)
CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”), parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® restaurants announced today two strategic appointments to its leadership team as the company continues to accelerate growth domestically and abroad. Charles Jemley joins as Chief Financial Officer and Kerry Olson joins as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel.
“I am proud to add two distinguished leaders to our team and am excited to welcome Charles and Kerry to CKE,” said Jason Marker, CKE Chief Executive Officer. “Both bring valuable food industry experience that will help guide the growth and evolution of our company and brands.”
In his role as CFO, Jemley will oversee global financial operations to include building an infrastructure that is optimized in support of CKE’s global growth strategy. He joins from Starbucks Coffee Company where over the past 12 years he served in a number of senior positions across both the international and domestic businesses, most recently as the senior vice president, Finance for Starbucks Roastery and Reserve. Prior to joining Starbucks, he spent 15 years at Yum Brands including roles in Finance, Development and finally as CFO for the high growth China Division based in Shanghai. Jemley received his B.A. from the University of Louisville and holds an MBA from the University of Washington.
“Charles brings extensive financial, operational, and strategic experience to CKE. Combined with a deep knowledge of the QSR industry, he will be instrumental as we enter our next phase of growth and expand the footprint of our brands,” said Marker.
In her role as CLO and General Counsel, Olson will lead global legal strategy and oversee day-to-day operations of the CKE Legal department. She joins from Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, where she was a partner at the international law firm serving clients worldwide. She spent over a decade of her career in the food industry, serving as Assistant General Counsel at both Buffalo Wild Wings and International Dairy Queen Inc. prior to her role as Global General Counsel at Carlson Hotels. Olson received her B.A. from St. Olaf College and a law degree from the University of Minnesota.
“We are pleased to have a distinguished law professional of Kerry’s caliber join the CKE leadership team to help guide our continued global growth,” said Marker. “With both traditional and specialized legal experience, I look forward to seeing what new perspectives she will bring as a key leader in our company.”
About CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”) is a privately held company headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. CKE is not a franchisor and conducts substantially all of its restaurant activities and operations through its subsidiaries. Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC own, operate and franchise the Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito® and Red Burrito® concepts. After recent international openings in Chile, Cambodia and Kenya, Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC now have over 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 43 foreign countries and U.S. territories. Known for its one-of-a-kind premium menu items such as 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits and Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, as well as an award-winning marketing approach, the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s brand continues to deliver substantial and consistent growth in the U.S. and overseas. The Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s system is now 94 percent franchised, with international restaurants representing 21 percent of the system. For more information about CKE, please visit www.ckr.com or its brand sites at www.carlsjr.com and www.hardees.com.
Blake Simpson, 615-801-2585
B.GOOD Names Brent Feldman as New CMO
Veteran Food & Beverage Marketer Joins Team to Deliver Sales Growth, Build Brand Awareness and Identify New Revenue Opportunities
July 9, 2018–(PRNewswire)
B.GOOD, the industry pioneer in providing great tasting, locally sourced burgers, bowls, salads and smoothies, today announced it has named Brent Feldman as the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining B.GOOD, Brent served as EVP, Group Account Director at Hill Holliday, overseeing a wide range of clients including Dunkin’ Brands, Chili’s and Coca-Cola. Brent has spent the majority of his career as an advertising agency executive – with a focus on the food and beverage industry – and has a passion for improving the customer experience and building brands. His brand experience also includes McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Nestle.
Now, following his work with various advertising agencies, Feldman will help lead the charge to grow the B.GOOD brand through faster, bolder, more consistent and more expansive marketing efforts. Areas of responsibility will also include new product development, increasing brand consistency and enhancing the customer experience, particularly in-store.
In addition to building brand awareness and driving profitable sales, Brent will be true to the brand’s roots and highlight its flavorful menu while sharing stories about the farmers who source B.GOOD ingredients and the ways in which B.GOOD supports the communities it serves.
“B.GOOD is an amazing brand with so many admirable attributes and amazing stories,” said Feldman. “The surface has barely been scratched on the stories it has to tell about itself. I’m most excited to expose more people to what many already know – that B.GOOD has incredibly delicious food you feel better about eating because of where it comes from and how it’s made. This is a brand that is rooted in local communities and I look forward to telling its story.”
Recently appointed CEO Chris Fuqua added, “We have big plans to expand the B.GOOD brand in the months and years ahead. This plan includes driving brand awareness by telling the B.GOOD story, really understanding our customers, innovating through menu and technology and building a culture that makes B.GOOD a fantastic place to work. With Brent’s unique skillset and experience, he is a natural choice to lead the marketing efforts that will help make all of this happen and we are so excited to welcome him to the team.”
Founded in 2003, B.GOOD is an innovative, fast casual, farm-to-table restaurant chain serving “Food with Roots” – sustainably-grown, fresh and wholesome food that is prepared fresh in-house. With 70 locations across the U.S., Canada, Switzerland and Germany, B.GOOD serves a diverse and delicious menu inspired by the heritage of back to basics simplicity including kale & grain bowls, salads, all-natural local burgers, sides of crisp veggies and oven-finished fries, smoothies and kids’ meals. By sourcing as much as possible from local, independent farmers and being genuinely committed to social and environmental impact, B.GOOD has a unique connection to the communities the brand calls home. Visit bgood.com for more information.
Restaurant Brands International Inc. Announces Duncan Fulton as Chief Corporate Officer
Fulton to advance Restaurant Brands International’s strategic growth, brand and corporate communications, government relations and franchisee relations
July 9, 2018–(PRNewswire)
Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI”) (TSX/NYSE: QSR, TSX: QSP) today announced the appointment of Duncan Fulton as its Chief Corporate Officer (CCO), effective immediately.
“Duncan has an impressive track record as a retail, agency and government executive, including being widely recognized for driving innovation and speed of execution in all his previous roles. His skills as a brand leader, digital innovator, communicator and his experience running a retail network and working closely with franchisees will be of great benefit to RBI and our growth agenda in the coming years,” said Daniel Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer, RBI. “Duncan is also a well-known Canadian executive who will play an important role with our Tim Hortons® executive team, in addition to his roles working with the teams at Burger King® and Popeyes® around the world.”
“I have always been attracted to companies and organizations that have aggressive growth agendas and are prepared to move quickly to innovate and adapt to the markets around them. RBI has an impressive track record, strategy and executive team. I am honoured to join the team and look forward to helping grow these iconic restaurant brands around the world,” said Duncan Fulton, Chief Corporate Officer, RBI.
About Restaurant Brands International Inc.
Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI”) is one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies with more than $30 billion in system-wide sales and over 24,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. RBI owns three of the world’s most prominent and iconic quick service restaurant brands – TIM HORTONS®, BURGER KING®, and POPEYES®. These independently operated brands have been serving their respective guests, franchisees and communities for over 40 years. To learn more about RBI, please visit the company’s website at www.rbi.com.
Eyeing Growth, Eggs Up Grill Names Former TGI Fridays U.S. President/COO Ricky Richardson as CEO
July 02, 2018–(PRNewswire)
Eggs Up Grill, a chain of franchised breakfast and lunch restaurants located throughout the South, has named a new chief executive officer – restaurant industry veteran Ricky Richardson – as the company embarks on an aggressive growth plan under new ownership.
In March 2018 the company was acquired from Skip Corn and founder Chris Skodras by WJ Partners, a private investment firm with a history of rapidly scaling multi-unit concepts, such as Pure Barre, a boutique fitness concept with nearly 500 locations. Corn and Skodras built Eggs Up Grill from a single location in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, to a regional chain with 26 locations in three Southeastern states.
WJ Partners tapped Richardson, who brings more than 35 years of multi-unit and franchise operations experience, to oversee the expansion of the popular concept throughout the South and beyond. Corn and Skodras will remain with the organization, providing guidance and support for the brand and its franchisees.
“Since its creation in 1986, Eggs Up Grill has proven extremely successful with customers and franchise partners alike,” said Jaime Wall, managing partner of WJ Partners. “Having a leader of Ricky’s caliber and experience will allow us to take the brand to the next level. His particular expertise in helping founder-led, franchised restaurants realize their next stage of growth will be of tremendous value as we leverage the increasing popularity of breakfast-based concepts and attract new franchise partners to our family.”
Richardson’s background includes more than 20 years with TGI Fridays, where he most recently served as president and chief operating officer of Fridays USA, overseeing more than 500 restaurants. In addition to other various senior management roles at TGI Fridays, prior experiences for Richardson include heading up operations for Carlson Restaurant Group Worldwide’s acquisition of California-based fast-casual concept Pick Up Stix. Earlier he led all restaurant operations for the Florida franchisee of the Black-eyed Pea restaurant chain, having spent the first 11 years of his career serving in a variety of roles for the founder-led home-style Southern concept.
“I’m excited to join an organization with a successful history and so much future potential,” said Richardson. “Eggs Up Grill is built on a foundation of not just great food, but also a fantastic, values-driven service culture that really connects with the communities we serve. And, as a breakfast and lunch concept, our restaurants’ hours enable our franchise partners to enjoy more family and community time, which really resonates with the owner/operators we’re targeting.”
Richardson says he plans to leverage the brand’s existing footprint in the Carolinas and Georgia while exploring expansion opportunities in key markets throughout the Southeast.
“Chris and his wife, Pat, created Eggs Up Grill because they wanted to serve their local guests great food with friendly service, building a successful restaurant that also allowed time to be with their family,” said Richardson. “Many of our franchisees experienced Eggs Up Grill while visiting the beach, fell in love with the concept and saw an opportunity to recreate that balance of business and family in their own hometowns. We believe that’s a powerful proposition, especially when combined with the proven track record, popular menu and strong operational support that only Eggs Up Grill can offer.”
Richardson will work out of Eggs Up Grill’s new corporate headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where WJ Partners is also based. He is the latest in a string of key appointments WJ Partners has made since partnering with Eggs Up Grill just over three months ago. Anticipating significant growth on the horizon, the chain added key team members in finance, franchise development, operations, real estate and marketing to complement the existing team, including Corn and Skodras, and now Richardson.
“We believe we have everything in place for Eggs Up Grill to grow considerably in the near term and be successful over the long haul,” said WJ Partners’ Wall. “With great food, a friendly atmosphere, an outstanding group of franchise partners and a talented leadership team in place, we expect to attract many more like-minded operators and take this brand to new heights.”
About Eggs Up Grill
Eggs Up Grill is a 26-unit chain of franchised breakfast and lunch restaurants located in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Chris Skodras founded the restaurant in 1986, eventually locating in Pawleys Island, SC. Eggs Up Grill began franchising in 2004. Over the years, the restaurants have prepared and sold more than 10 million eggs. WJ Partners of Spartanburg purchased the company in March 2018, with an eye toward expanding the successful concept throughout the South and beyond. More information about Eggs Up Grill franchise opportunities is available at www.eggsupgrill.com.
About WJ Partners
Founded in 2008, WJ Partners is a private investment firm focused on building lower-middle market companies in the consumer, specialty finance, and industrial and business services sectors. WJ Partners takes a long-term approach to investing due its permanent capital source. The firm’s mission is to create value by providing financial, strategic and management resources to capture growth opportunities and operational efficiencies. WJ Partners’ management team has an extensive track record founding and building multi-unit companies over the past 30 years, including such organizations as Pure Barre, Blockbuster Video, Extended Stay America, and Mobile Communications America.
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh Welcomes Larry Sidoti as Chief Development Officer
Visionary brand champion to lead restaurant development and fuel growth
July 2, 2018–(RestaurantNewsRelease)
James Park, CEO of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, today announced that industry veteran Larry Sidoti will join the team as Chief Development Officer.
Sidoti brings over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry with both restaurant and franchise expertise to his new role at Garbanzo. He began his career in the mid 1990s when he founded Juice It Up! Sidoti developed an amazing company culture and grew the concept to over 180 units.
Since departing Juice It Up! in 2008, Larry has served in key operational and development leadership roles with several highly recognized and respected concepts including: Famous Brands (Mrs. Fields and TCBY), Yogurtland, and Ruby’s Diner. Most recently, Sidoti served as the chief development officer at Paris Baguette America where he doubled store count in just 30 months and drove over $52 million in annual sales.
“Larry is an innovative, visionary leader that promotes an empowering culture based on values of transparency, integrity, and respect,” Park said. “He has experienced repeated success in maximizing business growth and will undoubtedly play an instrumental role in accelerating Garbanzo’s productivity and development. We are excited to have Larry join our team.”
Garbanzo is a Fast Casual Magazine Top 50 Mover and Shaker brand that is making fresh Mediterranean cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Its authentic, nutrient-rich dishes derived from Old World recipes are served with a new twist, but without compromise. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking, from juicy, high-quality meats and salads made from scratch to gyros, wraps and pita baked from scratch all day. Garbanzo is dedicated to satisfying every palate – including vegetarian and gluten-free diners – and believes that “simple tastes better.”
“I’m proud to join a brand that is giving Americans a delicious way to eat healthier food,” Sidoti said. “Garbanzo is already a leader in fast-casual Mediterranean cuisine and has incredible potential to accelerate its success. I’m eager to build off of this momentum and leverage my expertise to take Garbanzo to a whole new level.”
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is headquartered in Denver with 27 locations nationwide. For more information, visit eatgarbanzo.com.
Garbanzo: Love In Every Pita®. Feel Brighter On The Inside®.
Beard Foundation Restructures Executive Suite
CEO aims for more impact on food world
June 28, 2018–(RestaurantHospitality)
The James Beard Foundation has restructured its leadership team in a move CEO Clare Reichenbach said would align its “talent to our strategic priorities.”
Under the new structure, Mitchell Davis has been promoted from executive vice president to chief strategy officer overseeing corporate strategy and acting as “industry liaison and ambassador for the Foundation globally,” the group said in a press release.
Kris Moon, formerly the foundation’s vice president, is now chief operating officer, with responsibility for overseeing all revenue, including sponsorships, fundraising and development, as well as information technology and property and operations of the James Beard House, which hosts hundreds of dinners annually from visiting chefs.
Katherine Miller, who was senior director for policy and advocacy, is now vice president of impact and is in charge of such programs as the foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change and Smart Catch, which is the group’s seafood sustainability initiative. She’s also responsible for chef advocacy and food waste programs, diversity initiatives, scholarships and women’s leadership programs.
Siobhan Flaherty Haber, who was director of special events and Greens — the foundation’s group for members under the age of 40 — is now vice president of events, including the gala James Beard Foundation Awards and associated parties. She’s also still in charge of expansion of the Greens organization.
Alison Tozzi Liu, former editorial director, is now vice president of marketing, communications and editorial, responsible for all internal and external communications and public relations as well as marketing, brand strategy and content origination, such as the members’ newsletter.
Additionally, chief financial and operating officer Marilyn Platzer is now also chief of staff.
The restructuring arguably began in February, when Reichenbach was hired as CEO, replacing Susan Ungaro, who had been the foundation’s president for 11 years. At the time of Reichenbach’s appointment, the foundation said the new title was more in line with the way similar foundations were structured.
In a statement Reichenbach called the reorganization “comprehensive,” and said, “It sets us up for success as we embark upon the next phase of ambitious growth. … It will enable a more strategic approach, strengthening the value we bring to the culinary community, food lovers, and partners alike. I have great confidence in the team, and am excited for this next chapter.”
Rosa Mexicano Revamps Executive Team
June 27, 2018–(FoodNewsFeed)
In 1984, Josefina Howard introduced authentic Mexican cuisine to New York City when she opened the first Rosa Mexicano at the intersection of 58th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. Since then the concept has grown to now include locations in New York, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. Following the acquisition of Rosa Mexicano by TriSpan Rising Stars LP on March 28, 2018, and the subsequent hiring of three key leadership roles, the team assembled to oversee the chain’s growth is now complete.
Steve Weissman is the Chief Financial Officer. A graduate of Syracuse University, Weissman entered the restaurant business in late 1999 following a successful career in the commercial real estate industry. Having previously served as CFO at Fireman Hospitality Group, B.R. Guest Restaurants and Apple-Metro, Inc., he has proven to be a strong operations-based CFO that is experienced in contract negotiations and cost control efforts.
Ellie Skinner has joined as Director of Training and Development. Skinner is responsible for the development of all Team Members within Rosa Mexicano. She began her career in Operations and most recently has been a Regional Director for McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks. Her commitment to leading with empathy earned her General Manager of the Year in 2016.
Stephan Hengst has joined as Director of Marketing. Hengst, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), returned to the college after graduation to lead their marketing, communications and content development outreach for 12 years. Prior to the CIA he led the marketing and communications efforts for brands that include Whole Foods Market and Stonyfield Farm.
“We are excited to add these talented individuals to the team in order to focus on the continued success of the existing base of restaurants while we begin exploring opportunities to re-start the growth of our brand,” says Chris Westcott, president and Chief Executive Officer.
Earlier this year, Rosa Mexicano was acquired by TriSpan Rising Stars LP. Jessica Kates, partner with TriSpan said “With these additions, Rosa is prepared to take the next steps forward in its long and successful journey. TriSpan is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this team.”
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina Promotes Rebecca Miller to Senior VP of Marketing
June 27, 2018–(PRNewswire)
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina has promoted Rebecca Miller to Senior Vice President of Marketing. In her new role, Miller will oversee all Marketing initiatives as well as Culinary Innovation, Guest Relations and Catering. She reports to Matt Hood, President and CEO of On The Border.
“Rebecca brings a powerful combination of brand building skills and business acumen to On The Border,” said Matt Hood. “Rebecca’s work-ethic, teamwork and consumer-centric focus have helped make On The Border a stronger company and we are looking forward to the impact her leadership will continue to make on her team and the brand.”
“On The Border is a very special company and I am honored by the opportunity to lead such a talented team as we work to revitalize, evolve and differentiate the brand and expand our leadership position in the industry,” stated Miller.
Prior to joining On the Border two years ago, Miller held leadership positions in marketing and brand management with Pizza Hut, Inc., and began her career in advertising at JCPenney Company, Inc. Miller is regularly invited to her alma mater, the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, as a guest lecturer and has been active in the university’s alumni-student mentoring program. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing.
About On The Border
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand. 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. With 156 restaurants in 32 states, Puerto Rico and Asia, there’s always a fiesta waiting at On The Border. Owned by Border Holdings, LLC. Follow and ‘like’ On The Border on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OnTheBorderMexicanGrillandCantina, become a fan on Instagram @ontheborder and @OnTheBorder on Twitter. For more information, visit www.ontheborder.com.
Taco Bueno Appoints New Chief of Human Resources
Mary Ellen Mullins Named “Chief People Officer”
June 26, 2018–(RestaurantNews)
Taco Bueno is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Ellen Mullins to the role of chief people officer, which took effect in May. Mullins joins Taco Bueno with 30 years of experience in the quick serve restaurant (QSR). Her work background includes serving as the senior director of human resources for Sonic Restaurants Inc. and serving in various human resources leadership roles with Yum! Brands for over 25 years, leading teams providing HR and training support to company and franchise operations.
During her tenure at Sonic, Mullins was responsible for the development and implementation of all human resources initiatives, systems and processes for company operated restaurants. She also redesigned the employee relations process, improved training platform and launched an inclusive engagement program for employees. Serving as the team leader for HR business partners, she helped provide support for over 400 drive-in locations and reaching more than 10,000 employees nationwide.
“Her phenomenal experience in the QSR world, providing world-class support to her internal clients and serving as an inspirational leader to her teams, will add incredible value to the Taco Bueno team,” said Taco Bueno CEO Omar Janjua.
As chief human resources officer, Mullins will oversee a full range of HR functions for Taco Bueno, including talent acquisition, employee capability and development, employee experience and retention, among other notable duties. As part of her role, she will report directly to the CEO and serve as a key member of the executive team. Additionally, Mullins will lead the human resources strategy to attract, develop, engage and reward best-in-class talent for Taco Bueno.
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 186 restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Louisiana. The company is privately owned by TPG Growth. Learn more about Taco Bueno by visiting www.TacoBueno.com or www.facebook.com/BuenoHeadquarters, https://twitter.com/TacoBueno, or www.instagram.com/TacoBueno.
TrizCom Public Relations
Another Darden vet joins Bravo, Brio parent company
June 25, 2018–(FoodBusinessNews)
Mike Ellis has been named chief development officer for FoodFirst Global Restaurants, Inc., adding another Darden Restaurants, Inc. veteran to the Bravo and Brio parent company’s team.
The restaurant company was formed in late May by investment firm GP Investments, Ltd. and Bradley D. Blum, who previously served as a board director for Darden as well as president of Olive Garden. Mr. Ellis also once held the role of Olive Garden president and was senior vice-president of development for Darden.
In his new role, Mr. Ellis will be responsible for executing a “disciplined” real estate strategy, establishing relationships with developers and real estate owners, managing the company’s leases and ensuring all restaurant facilities are in order, FoodFirst said. He will report to chairman and c.e.o. Mr. Blum and work with him on the design of restaurant remodels and plans for new unit growth.
“This is a great moment,” Mr. Ellis said. “I am so pleased to join the FoodFirst team. The company has a compelling vision and a strong team of professionals who are dedicated to making a difference in the industry. I am ready to roll up my sleeves to begin refreshing our brands and profitably growing our business.”
Mr. Ellis was most recently chief development officer of Ruby Tuesday, a role he assumed in February 2016. Prior to that, he was chief development officer for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. and was executive vice-president of franchise and restaurant development for Einstein Noah before that. Earlier in his career, Mr. Ellis was chief development officer for O’Charley’s Inc. and Burger King Corp.
“We are assembling a first-class team of leaders who are passionate about good food for the planet,” Mr. Blum said. “Mike brings both experience and wisdom when dealing with all aspects of real estate to set up our restaurant teams and company for success. He will play an integral role in our go-forward plans to thoroughly reinvigorate and then expand Brio and Bravo. We welcome Mike to our new company as he focuses on each of our current 110 restaurants.”
FoodFirst Global Restaurants acquired Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo Cucina Italiana in a $100 million transaction that closed May 24. Brio and Bravo operate 110 locations in 32 states across the country and reported annual sales of more than $400 million in 2017. FoodFirst now plans to refresh the brands.
“We will do this by relentlessly focusing on the quality of the food, improving the menu, sharpening the operations, remodeling the restaurants and delivering a highly differentiated guest experience,” Mr. Blum said at the time of the acquisition.
Omnivore Appoints Former Coca-Cola Executive as Chief Marketing Office
Shane Wheatland Joins Omnivore to Accelerate Digital Experience for Guests in the Restaurant Space
June 25, 2018–(PRWeb)
Omnivore, an industry leader for end-to-end digitization of restaurant commerce and experiences, announced today that Shane Wheatland has been named Chief Marketing Officer.
At a time when ordering a meal from your mobile phone, paying on a screen, tracking deliveries visually, and making reservations in two clicks have become more of a norm than a niche, Omnivore and its restaurant clients are well-positioned to not only deliver on consumer expectations, but optimize operations and expenses while driving growth.
“With the hospitality industry worldwide setting a new pace for innovation, Omnivore’s consumer engagement platform supported by our App MarketPlace and universal POS integration API gives restaurateurs an entirely new level of capabilities to transform the on-premise experience. And, to do it in a meaningful way that creates growth,” said Mike Wior, CEO of Omnivore. “We’re very excited to have Shane’s leadership and vision as we continue connecting our clients to the best digital technologies and providing restaurants with a deeper understanding of their guests.”
Wheatland spent more than 20 years at The Coca-Cola Company in progressive leadership roles, and brings extensive experience developing business-to-business teams and strategy, while aligning company capabilities to customer needs both domestically and internationally. His leadership and approach to leveraging consumer behavior serve as the center point for how Omnivore continues to collaborate and build value for its clients.
“I have been fortunate to work closely with many of the restaurant industry’s finest leaders, and jointly build strategies to drive new trial, frequency and value,” said Wheatland. “There are certainly many growth opportunities, but I can’t think of a more important one in our industry right now than accelerating the digital experience for guests, staff and support centers. Omnivore has exceptional capabilities to do so, and our industry needs to know more about them. I’m thrilled to be working with Mike and the exceptional talent at Omnivore.”
Revolutionizing the worlds of hospitality and retail, Omnivore connects a retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) with new technologies, driving engagement through the full lifecycle of the consumer experience. Omnivore’s cloud-based platform enables a single integration through their API, seamlessly facilitating the connections to POS systems now and into the future. The platform helps restaurants discover apps for payment, reservations, delivery, loyalty, analytics and more to connect with millions of consumers around the world. Omnivore enables access to real-time, quality consumer level point of purchase intelligence. Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Omnivore is a privately held company. For more information, please visit omnivore.io.
No Limit Agency
+1 312 526 3996
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Names Kim Ellis New VP of Franchise Development
Growth-strategy pro to aid in aggressive expansion push
June 21, 2018–(BusinessWire)
Kim Ellis, a veteran in planning and executing franchise growth strategies, has been named vice president of Franchise Development for Bruster’s Real Ice Cream as the chain continues its fast-paced expansion.
Most recently, Ellis held the same title at Snip-its Haircuts for Kids, where she managed franchise expansion strategy, including developing system expansion goals, franchisee-recruitment best practices, and recruiting qualified franchisees.
She also was senior consultant for Michael Seid & Associates Worldwide, vice president of corporate development at Process Peak and vice president of online strategy for Hot Dish Advertising.
“Bruster’s is an established brand with proven systems, seasoned support and outstanding unit economics,” she said. “We have some aggressive growth goals ahead, but with all the positive attributes of this brand I’m confident we will achieve them.”
The premium frozen treat chain is in the midst of a national expansion program, focusing on the South and West as key regions in its growth strategy.
“Kim has proven expertise in developing and executing successful franchise development plans,” said Bruster’s CEO Jim Sahene. “She has a passion for our brand and knows how to recruit franchisees who share that passion.”
The premium frozen treat chain recently signed a franchise agreement for its first Las Vegas shop and opened its first Memphis shop in January. Late last year the brand’s sixth southern California location opened in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance. It most recently opened in Hagerstown, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; and Stockton, California. In total, the brand has commitments for 35 more restaurants, with 14 scheduled to open this year. Six are under construction in San Antonio and Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Windermere, Florida; Haverhill, Massachusetts; and Athens, Georgia.
In 2017, Bruster’s recorded its fourth consecutive year of same-store sales increases, with cumulative sales growth just under 25 percent for the four-year period.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream features 150 flavors of premium, handcrafted ice cream, yogurt, Italian ice and sorbet. Starting with a proprietary, home-style mix delivered fresh from its dairy, Certified Ice Cream Makers in each shop craft at least 24 flavors every day. There are nearly 200 independently owned locations in 20 states, Guyana and South Korea. Click here for franchise information.
Brad Ritter, 866-284-2170
Taco John’s Elects Industry Leader to the Taco John’s International Board
Popular quick-service Mexican restaurant names Gerard Lewis to help continue profitable sales growth
June 19, 2018–(RestaurantNews)
Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s International, today announced that industry visionary Gerard Lewis will join Taco John’s Board of Directors.
Lewis brings over 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry with both franchise and company operations to his new role at Taco John’s. He most recently founded G&S Food Group LLP where he spent most of his time with McDonald’s, leading their menu turn-around effort by developing their menu and food visions. He was instrumental in the “All Day Breakfast” and Fresh Beef launches.
Prior to that, Lewis served as the chief concept officer at Wendy’s International where he assisted in developing a new brand position and activated the new position to achieve profitable sales growth each and every year.
“Gerard is a visionary leader with a proven track record of building brands,” said Creel. “Not only does he have this great background with leading QSR brands but he’s an entrepreneur. He’s taken his life-work and turned it into a firm that really has no peers. He’s that far ahead. He’s the best of the best.”
Lewis said he was energized to join the popular Mexican quick-service restaurant because of its history and potential.
“Taco John’s is an interesting brand,” said Lewis. “Not only is their food great but they’ve got this wild, almost cult-like following. Their fans have this instant menu-item recognition – not just for Potato Olés® – that most brands would kill for. Building upon that loyal base is what excites me.”
Lewis has been the recipient of numerous Menu Master awards with Grisanti’s, Boston Market and Wendy’s. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has his MBA from Regis Jesuit University.
About Taco John’s®
Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 quick-service restaurants in 23 states. Privately owned, the business opened its first restaurant in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyo. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions, menu items prepared fresh to your order, high-quality ingredients and special recipes, seasonings and sauces. For more information or to apply for a position, visit tacojohns.com.
Dave & Buster’s Stephen M. King Retires as CEO, Remains Chairman
Brian A. Jenkins Promoted to CEO
June 11, 2018–(Dave&Buster’s)
Dave and Buster’s, Inc., (NASDAQ:PLAY), (“Dave & Buster’s” or “the Company”), an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues, today announced the retirement of CEO, Stephen M. King, effective at the end of the second quarter, August 5, 2018. However, Mr. King will remain on the board of directors, and continue to serve as Chairman. Brian Jenkins, currently the Chief Financial Officer, will be promoted and become the Company’s new CEO.
“I have loved being a part of this brand for over 12 years, and I am very proud of all that the team has accomplished during our time together. While I will remain on the board as Chairman, after almost 35 years in the hospitality industry, I am looking forward to retirement and spending more time with my wife and family,” said King.
“Brian and I have worked together over the past decade to build this business, and I am excited to hand over the reins to him as he continues to lead the growth of Dave & Buster’s into the future. Brian’s passion, level of commitment, and deep knowledge of the brand, will continue to reinforce our unique and distinctive position in the industry,” continued King.
During his tenure at D&B, Mr. King spearheaded the evolution of the brand’s positioning to “Eat Drink Play Watch,” broadening its appeal across all generations and demographics, resulting in more than doubling of the Company’s revenue to $1.1 billion, and quadrupling of EBITDA to $265M. Under his leadership, the Company doubled its store count, consistently delivering excellent cash on cash returns. Mr. King also guided the brand through a successful return to the public markets in 2014, followed by four consecutive years of record growth.
“First, I want to thank Steve for his leadership and guidance through the years as I could not have had a better partner on this journey. I am both honored and excited to step into the CEO role of this great organization and lead our exceptional team through our next phase of growth. We are the market leader in a very attractive segment, and I look forward to continuing to evolve the brand and propel it to new heights,” said Jenkins.
“I have an absolute passion for the entertainment business and have always looked at D&B through an entertainment lens. A laser focus on our strategic priorities will be key to driving improved comp sales performance. This, in combination with building new stores with excellent returns, will create significant shareholder value for years to come,” continued Jenkins.
Brian A. Jenkins has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since December 2006. Prior to joining D&B, he spent 10 years at Six Flags, Inc. culminating in serving as Senior Vice President of Finance. Mr. Jenkins’ entertainment insights have been instrumental in driving D&B’s evolution as a brand, and his focus on the bottom line has helped drive a more than doubling of EBITDA margins to nearly 23%.
“The board would like to express our deep appreciation to Steve for his dedication and many contributions to Dave & Buster’s over the past 12 years, and we are delighted to continue working with him at the board level. We also want to thank Brian for accepting this role as part of our planned succession process. We are excited and confident in his ability to move the brand in the future,” added Michael Griffith, Lead Independent Director of the Board.
The Company will conduct a national search for a new CFO. Joe DeProspero, Vice President of Finance, will assume the responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer on an interim basis.
About Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.
Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc., is the owner and operator of 115 venues in North America that combine entertainment and dining and offer customers the opportunity to “Eat, Drink, Play and Watch,” all in one location. Dave & Buster’s offers a full menu of entrées and appetizers, a complete selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and an extensive assortment of entertainment attractions centered around playing games and watching live sports and other televised events. Dave & Buster’s currently has stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
For Investor Relations Inquiries:
Arvind Bhatia, CFA
Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.