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Executive Movements - April 2022





FAT Brands Announces Michael G. Chachula as Chief Information Officer

April 14, 2022 09:00 ET



Global Restaurant Franchising Company Hires Award-Winning IT Veteran to Support Growing Brand Portfolio

LOS ANGELES, April 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc., announces the hiring of its first Chief Information Officer, Michael G. Chachula. Chachula joins FAT Brands with over 25 years of senior management experience in business and technology and will be focused on delivering scalable, sustainable, and efficient technology platforms across the portfolio and franchise system to aid in the growth of the company.

A seasoned executive with experience across the financial services, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality industries, Chachula has a track-record of identifying and implementing innovative technological solutions that drive further revenue growth. Most recently, Chachula was the Head of Digital and Revenue Growth for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. He focused on delivering an enterprise POS solution, CRM, marketing automation, and cross-channel Omni-Channel growth solutions for the brand and its franchise system. Prior to that, Chachula served as the Head of Technology and Executive Director for IHOP® Restaurants within the Dine Brands Global Inc. portfolio. While at IHOP, Chachula introduced online ordering, delivery, POS, and CRM alternatives, technology footprint simplifications, and numerous other technology improvements, focusing on corporate and franchisee scalability, enablement, and profitability.

In addition, under Chachula’s leadership, IHOP was presented with CIO Magazine’s 2018 CIO 100 award for in-car marketplace ordering through the dashboard console and natural voice ordering on Amazon’s Alexa as well as Google Home. These initiatives changed the brand’s narrative, moving IHOP to the forefront of technology innovation, providing new and exciting experiences for customers.

“Michael’s experience is a perfect fit to support the growing FAT Brands’ portfolio,” said Thayer Wiederhorn, Chief Operating Officer of FAT Brands. “Michael’s extensive technology background and industry knowledge will help FAT Brands strengthen our technology ecosystem, develop strategic partnerships, and support our domestic and international growth, which, in turn, will enable our company and franchisees to become more efficient and profitable.”

“I am so pleased to join FAT Brands, a company with a proven business model and incredibly talented management team,” said Michael Chachula. “Throughout the pandemic, technology has been front and center in the restaurant space, and, as we look to a post-COVID world, it will be even more imperative to have strong systems in place at the corporate, franchisee and consumer level. I look forward to amplifying what is currently in place and identifying new solutions that will keep FAT Brands at the forefront of our industry.”

For more information on FAT Brands, visit www.fatbrands.com.

About FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands

FAT Brands (NASDAQ: FAT) is a leading global franchising company that strategically acquires, markets, and develops fast casual, quick-service, casual dining, and polished casual dining concepts around the world. The Company currently owns 17 restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Twin Peaks, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Buffalo’s Cafe & Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses, and franchises over 2,300 units worldwide.

View source version at FAT Brands


Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill Names CEO Greg Willman as Board Chair

April 6, 2022



Rapidly growing fast-casual concept selects seasoned executive to oversee board of directors

Chicago, IL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill is proud to announce that CEO Greg Willman has been appointed board chair of Naf Naf Holdings, effective April 1. Willman replaces Gary Beisler as board chair for the Middle-Eastern brand.

Willman originally joined the Naf family in 2019 as the brand’s first franchisee. Already an accomplished restauranteur and operator, he quickly and successfully developed the first of his Naf restaurants in a new market for the brand – Indianapolis – proving the concept plays well in new markets. Shortly thereafter, he broke ground on a second location and was named CEO of the company in 2020.

Since taking over as CEO of Naf, Willman has made great strides for the brand in terms of menu optimization, technology and experience enhancements, not to mention navigating the unprecedented challenges of COVID. Under his steady leadership, along with his success in assembling an impressive executive team, Naf is preparing for an exciting growth phase in 2022 and beyond.

“I’m grateful to serve as CEO and board chair for Naf,” Willman said. “I’ve believed in this brand since I first became aware of it in 2017, which is why I wanted to help grow Naf as its first franchisee. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve so far. I can’t wait to take on this new role and help drive the next stage of growth for the company.”

The exiting Beisler, who served as board chair since 2015, commented, “Greg is the right leader for this company. He understands what it takes to successfully grow an emerging brand, and his strong finance and operations experience, coupled with his passion for the Naf brand, will take this company to the next level.”

Willman was recently named one of the Most Influential CEOs in the country, according to Nation’s Restaurant News readers. A co-founder and CEO of 316 Investments, a private investment firm focused on early-stage opportunities, Willman boasts more than 20 years of restaurant experience successfully operating and investing in multiple fast-casual brands and was one of the first and largest developers of QDOBA Mexican Eats.

To learn more about Naf, visit nafnafgrill.com.

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill: Fan The Flame of Your Passion (and your appetite).

About Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill

Naf is making fresh Middle Eastern cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Inspired by tradition, Naf’s genuine hospitality paired with handmade dishes derived from Old World recipes create a welcoming atmosphere where guests are invited to fan the flame of culinary exploration. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking with choices of top-quality meats, like its award-winning Chicken Shawarma roasted on a vertical spit, to freshly ground falafel and pillowy pita baked in-restaurant throughout the day. Naf is headquartered in Chicago with 30 locations nationwide. For more information, visit nafnafgrill.com.

View source version at Naf Naf Grill







Red Lobster® Announces Resignation of CEO



Apr 04, 2022, 16:15 ET



ORLANDO, Fla., April 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Lobster® CEO Kelli Valade has announced her resignation as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 15. Red Lobster will immediately begin a search for a successor who can lead the company in achieving its vision of being "Where the world goes for seafood, now and for generations."

Valade joined Red Lobster in August 2021. Under her leadership, she has created a new strategic framework and go-forward plan with a focus on the core guest and the need for value, as well as  built out the executive team, adding the newly-created roles of Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information Officer and recruiting a new Chief Financial Officer.

"Red Lobster is a beloved, iconic brand with a loyal guest following and incredibly smart and talented employees," said Valade. "My job as the brand's leader has been to inspire and develop our people, while also leveraging the brand's strengths and finding ways to build on them for even greater success. We've accomplished a lot in a short period of time, including building a great leadership team that alongside the board will carry the business forward to achieve our vision. I have truly loved my time here at Red Lobster. This was an incredibly difficult, but necessary, decision."

"On behalf of the Board, we thank Kelli for her service and accomplishments during her tenure as CEO, including navigating through the most recent wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has helped us assemble a talented and highly capable leadership team to lead us forward. We wish Kelli the very best in the future," said Rittirong Boonmechote, Chairman of the Red Lobster Board of Directors.

Following Valade's departure, Red Lobster's executive team will work closely with the Board of Directors to continue to drive the brand forward and ensure business continuity during the search for a permanent replacement. Paul Kenny, who is a member of Red Lobster's Board, will serve as the liaison between Red Lobster's leadership and the Board during this time of transition.

About Red Lobster Seafood Co. Red Lobster is the world's largest and most-loved seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. With a proud heritage and an even brighter future, Red Lobster is focused on serving the highest quality, freshly prepared seafood that is traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced. To learn more about Red Lobster's sourcing standards and where the seafood we serve comes from, please visit www.redlobster.com/seafoodwithstandards. Red Lobster is also proud to be an employer of choice, including in 2022, for the second consecutive year, being named to Forbes magazine's list of America's Best Large Employers. To learn more about Red Lobster, including locations and menu options, please visit http://www.redlobster.com or find us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram or TikTok.

View source version at Red Lobster



Potbelly Corporation Announces Additions to its Board of Directors

Potbelly brings extensive financial, capital markets and restaurant experience to its Board of Directors with the addition of David Pearson and Jill Sutton

April 01, 2022 08:00 ET



CHICAGO, April 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB) (“Potbelly” or the “Company”), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, today announced the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors: David Pearson, former Chief Financial Officer of Vonage and seasoned investment banker; and Jill Sutton, former Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of United Natural Foods, Inc. Mr. Pearson, who currently serves on the Audit Committee of both Lee Enterprises and Magnite, will also join as a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Sutton will serve on the Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees of the Board. The addition of Mr. Pearson and Ms. Sutton will temporarily expand the Board to 11 directors until the Company’s annual meeting of stockholders on May 19, 2022, at which time Marla Gottschalk and Ben Rosenzweig will not be standing for election.

“We are extremely excited to bring Dave and Jill’s leadership and expertise to our Board as we start to execute against our new three-year Strategic Growth Goals,” said Bob Wright, President and CEO of Potbelly Corporation. “Dave brings prodigious experience in controls and financial reporting as well as capital markets, and strategic growth to Potbelly’s board. Jill has tremendous experience in the Consumer Goods and Restaurant sectors, where she’s served in legal and business leadership roles with brand name companies, including tenures with Tim Hortons, Wendy’s and, most recently, United Natural Foods, Inc.”

Mr. Pearson stated, “Potbelly’s nationally recognized brand, turnaround success, and recent pivot to growth makes it an extremely exciting time in the Company’s history. Potbelly has set an aggressive plan to expand across the country, and I look forward to serving on the Board of Directors to support the Company as it executes against its three-year strategic goals.”

Ms. Sutton stated, “I am pleased to join Potbelly’s board and excited to work with the team to bring the great Potbelly brand to new markets over the next several years. Bob and the refreshed management team have developed a clear vision and a transformational strategic plan to unlock the brand’s potential. I look forward to contributing to the Company’s continued success.”

Mr. Wright concluded, “We also want to thank Marla and Ben for their years of dedicated service to Potbelly and its Board. Most recently, Marla and Ben supported and helped guide the Company though the challenging pandemic-impacted period, its subsequent turnaround, as well as its first steps towards national expansion. I’d like to offer my personal gratitude for their active engagement and wise counsel during my first years with the company. The Board of Directors, my management team and I wish them great success and will long appreciate their positive impact.”

Dave Pearson is currently serving as a board member for Lee Enterprises and Magnite, both of which operate within the advertising industry. Prior to his retirement, Dave was the Chief Financial Officer of Vonage, where he was responsible for managing the Finance, Corporate Development, and Investor Relations departments. Preceding Vonage, Dave served for over nine years as the Managing Director of the Global Media & Telecom Group within Deutsche Bank’s investment banking services. Additionally, he spent nine years at Goldman Sachs holding three different positions within the Technology, Media & Telecom investment banking practice, most recently as Managing Director. Dave received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an A.B. in Political Science and Organizational Behavior from Brown University.

Jill Sutton most recently served as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of United Natural Foods, Inc., a publicly traded food distributor. Prior to United Natural Foods, she served as Deputy General Counsel of General Motors Company. During her professional career, Jill worked for Tim Hortons from 2006 to 2015, where she held various roles, including Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Prior to Tim Hortons, Jill served as Corporate Counsel for Wendy’s Co. for two years. Jill holds multiple degrees from The Ohio State University, including a J.D. and Masters Degree in Health Administration.

View source version at Potbelly


Walk-On’s Adds Three Industry Veterans, Including Sam Patterson as CFO, to Best-in-Class Leadership Team

March 29, 2022




Award-winning restaurant hires new Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Franchise Sales and Director of Loyalty and E-Commerce

Baton Rouge, LA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux® is continuing to stack its All-American Team of industry leaders as the brand rapidly expands across the United States.

Walk-On’s CEO and Co-Founder Brandon Landry announced today that the company has welcomed industry veteran, Sam Patterson, to its leadership team as Chief Financial Officer to continue building its winning culture. The brand also added Vice President of Franchise Sales, Mike Wootton, and Director of Loyalty and E-Commerce, Kelsey Cipriano, in February.

“We’re excited to welcome Sam to our team,” Landry said. “He brings decades of experience and knowledge to our already seasoned leadership team, and we look forward to seeing the immediate impact he makes on our company. Walk-On’s is in a hyper-growth phase, and it is a privilege to be surrounded by such talented individuals as we continue to expand throughout the country.”

Patterson joins the Walk-On’s team after serving as Chief Financial Officer for Global Franchise Group. He was responsible for the finance, accounting and information technology functions for the company and its brands, including Round Table Pizza, Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, Hot Dog on a Stick and Pretzelmaker. Prior to working for GFG, Patterson was with FOCUS Brands for 11 years, where he served as Senior Vice President of Accounting and was responsible for leading financial functions for Cinnabon, Carvel, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s, and Jamba Juice.

Wootton brings over 15 years of experience to Walk-On’s. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Franchise Development for Now Optics, building out all development processes for the growth of its telehealth-forward optical franchise offering My EyeLab. Before Now Optics, Wootton spent seven years as the Southeast U.S. Franchise Developer for Dairy Queen, where he handled existing and new franchise growth, sales activities and real estate selection. Wootton also spent seven years with Dominos on the franchise development team.

Another highly experienced industry leader, Cipriano previously worked for Inspire Brands for four years. She most recently served as Manager of Owned Digital Channel Marketing, guiding owned-channel marketing and loyalty for Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s, Sonic, Jimmy John’s, Dunkin’ and Rusty Taco. Cipriano also worked with all of Inspire’s portfolio on email communication, push notification, SMS and web content uniformity, ensuring all marketing channels were seamlessly and correctly branded and appealing to guests. Cipriano also brings experience from Newell Brands, where she spearheaded the CRM execution for its cookware and appliance brands.

For more information, visit walk-ons.com. To inquire about franchise opportunities, please visit walkonsfranchising.com or contact Vice President of Franchise Sales Mike Wootton at 704.572.2499.

About Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux

Based in Baton Rouge, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux was founded in 2003 by Brandon Landry, a former walk-on basketball player at LSU. Leaning on the true spirit of a walk-on and building a winning culture, the brand is rapidly expanding across the United States. Its Louisiana-inspired menu features food and drinks made from scratch daily. Walk-On’s All-American Team serves up a game-day experience in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere that ensures every guest is a winner. For more information, visit walk-ons.com.

View source version at Walk-On's







CKE Restaurants Names Brandon Turner Chief Financial Officer



Mar 29, 2022, 09:00 ET



Turner's Experience Beneficial to Company's Growth Transformation

FRANKLIN, Tenn., March 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- CKE Restaurants, Inc., owner, operator and franchisor of Carl's Jr.® and Hardee's®, announced today the appointment of Brandon Turner as chief financial officer. Turner's well rounded executive leadership expertise in finance, franchising, operations, supply chain and strategy will benefit CKE as it continues to execute its growth transformation.

"We are excited to welcome Brandon to our talented Leadership Team. His entrepreneurial spirit, strong finance focus and results orientation will be perfect complements to our team," said Chief Executive Officer Ned Lyerly. "Brandon's proven track record in dynamic, multi-unit food service environments will be on display as we build on our momentum and create value for stakeholders in our business."

Most recently, Turner served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Hero Bread, a food tech start-up. He has deep experience working in franchised multi-branded, omni-channel restaurant businesses. As CFO at Caribou Company Inc., he oversaw finance operations for five brands – Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel Company – including company owned, franchised and non-traditional locations. His prior experience includes progressive leadership roles with Quiznos Subs, School of Rock and investment banking organizations.

"I am excited to work with franchisees and restaurant operators to build on the successful track record of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. My role is in service to those who serve our guests, and I look forward to contributing to the team as we continue to grow value for our stakeholders," said Turner.

Turner has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College in New York.

About CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. ("CKE"), a privately held company based in Franklin, Tennessee, runs and operates Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, two beloved regional brands, known for one-of-a-kind premium and innovative menu items such as 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits and Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™. With both a US and international footprint, Carl's Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee's Restaurants LLC have over 3,900 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 42 foreign countries and U.S. territories. For more information about CKE, please visit www.ckr.com or its brand sites at www.carlsjr.com and www.hardees.com.

View source version at CKE


Shipley Do-Nuts Brings Supply Chain Veteran on Board

March 28, 2022



Jim Fisher joins fast-growing brand as senior vice president of supply chain

Houston, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Fast-growing Shipley Do-Nuts, a leading do-nut restaurant franchisor and manufacturer of specialty food products, continues building out its strong senior leadership team with new Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Jim Fisher.

Fisher, who most recently served as senior director of global strategic sourcing at Krispy Kreme before joining Shipley, brings more than 20 years of experience in food manufacturing and food service. Prior to his tenure at Krispy Kreme, he spent 17 years at Pillsbury/General Mills in several leadership roles, including senior manager of sourcing.

At Shipley, he will oversee all aspects of supply chain for the rapidly expanding do-nut franchise, which currently has more than 330 locations. The company has signed new development deals for more than 70 new units so far in 2022, for a total of more than 350 planned units in the pipeline, including expansion into Maryland, Georgia and other markets.

“Shipley is currently growing faster than any other period in its history, and Jim is joining us at a pivotal time as the nation experiences widespread supply chain challenges,” said Shipley CEO Clifton Rutledge. “His expertise and leadership will be crucial in keeping our system running smoothly as we increase unit count and expand our footprint into new territories.”

Fisher, a Texas native from Big Sandy, returns to his home state to join the company. He says when he was an undergraduate at Texas A&M University majoring in industrial distribution – supply chain, he would often turn to Shipley for do-nuts, kolaches and coffee to help fuel his studies.

“I’ve loved Shipley Do-Nuts for a long time and have missed them while I’ve been away from Texas, so it’s a real treat to come home and become part of the Shipley family,” said Fisher. “I look forward to helping Shipley meet the challenges of rapid expansion as it brings the World’s Greatest Do-Nuts to new markets all over the country.”

In addition to his bachelor’s degree from A&M, Fisher also holds an MBA in supply chain management from Arizona State University.

About Shipley Do-Nuts

Founded in 1936, Houston-based Shipley Do-Nuts is a leading do-nut restaurant franchisor and manufacturer of specialty food products. Shipley franchises over 300 restaurants to a diverse group of operators across 10 states and has served its do-nuts, kolaches and beverages to generations of guests. Shipley is ranked No. 144 on Entrepreneur’s 2022 Franchise 500 list, moving up 13 spots from the 2021 list. For information on franchising, visit www.shipleydonuts.com/franchise.

View source version at Shipley Do-Nuts







Red Lobster® Names Cijoy Olickal Chief Information Officer



Mar 28, 2022, 12:00 ET



ORLANDO, Fla. , March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Lobster® announced Cijoy Olickal will join its Senior Leadership Team as Chief Information Officer. Olickal comes to Red Lobster from Fogo de Chão where he served as the Chief Information Officer after joining in 2019.

"I came to the USA in 1977, and I quickly realized that everyone in America knew and loved Red Lobster – and they still do," said Olickal. "I am honored to have the opportunity to join such an iconic brand and help lead us as we plan and evolve for the next generation of guests."



Prior to Fogo de Chão, Olickal was a Managing Director for clearAjna, where he led many transformational technology solutions projects for several major retail and hospitality companies. Earlier in his career, Cijoy held IT, Consulting and Engineering positions of increasing responsibility for a number of large enterprises, including Brinker International, Infosys, Hewlett Packard, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Motorola.

"Technology touches everyone and everything in our business, which makes the work that our IT team does absolutely critical," said Kelli Valade, CEO, Red Lobster. "We are excited to add Cijoy to our team as we look at new and innovative solutions to best serve our guests in the future. His deep experience combined with his proven ability to clearly convey and gain support for complex IT concepts are a winning combination."

Olickal received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.

About Red Lobster Seafood Co.

Red Lobster is the world's largest and most-loved seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. With a proud heritage and an even brighter future, Red Lobster is focused on serving the highest quality, freshly prepared seafood that is traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced. To learn more about Red Lobster's sourcing standards and where the seafood we serve comes from, please visit www.redlobster.com/seafoodwithstandards. Red Lobster is also proud to be an employer of choice, including in 2022, for the second consecutive year, being named to Forbes magazine's list of America's Best Large Employers. To learn more about Red Lobster, including locations and menu options, please visit http://www.redlobster.com or find us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram or TikTok.

View source version at Red Lobster


MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Welcomes New VP of Marketing Sarah Beddoe to Take the Growing Brand to the Next Level

March 24, 2022



The leading restaurant brand builder is aiming to make MOOYAH a household name across the country.

Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, the 90-unit best burger franchise, has a new Vice President of Marketing. Sarah Beddoe, a leading brand builder with more than a decade of exceptional marketing experience in the QSR segment, has joined MOOYAH to help take the fast-growing franchise’s marketing efforts to the next level.

Beddoe has spent most of her career helping national QSR franchises like Pizza Hut, Sonic Drive-In and Taco Bueno Restaurants create effective marketing strategies. Now, she’s leveraging that experience as she joins MOOYAH’s already stacked leadership team, which includes, CEO Anand Gala, President Doug Willmarth and EVP of Operations and Development Mike Sebazco, whose combined 92 years of experience in restaurant franchising has allowed them to create one of the most guest- and franchise owner-friendly opportunities in franchising.

“I have worked with some of the most well-established legacy brands in the industry, and it is so exciting to take that experience and apply it now to a brand that is young, hungry and extremely well-positioned for widespread growth,” Beddoe said.

Beyond Beddoe’s faith in MOOYAH’s brand positioning, she says she has a personal passion for the franchise’s menu, which prioritizes high quality ingredients and customization, accommodating all dietary restrictions.

“I’ve always believed that food is the best way to make authentic connections with people,” Beddoe said. “That’s what breaking bread is all about. So I’m adamant about working with a brand that welcomes everyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions, and MOOYAH checks every box.”

MOOYAH’s fully customizable menu offers a range of items for virtually any diet, including never-frozen, 100-percent Certified Angus Beef®, all-natural turkey and Dr. Praeger’s black bean vegan burgers, each of which can be served on baked-in-house potato or multigrain wheat buns, or even hand-crafted lettuce buns.

Beddoe joins MOOYAH at a critical time for the brand, which is leveraging the success of its existing franchise owners to take advantage of new growth opportunities in markets across the country. In 2022, the brand is aiming to sign more than 50 new units in its key markets for expansion including Florida, California and its home state of Texas.

“We are beginning a dynamic phase of growth right now, with a proven operating model, successful franchise owners, and diehard fans. And we still have a wealth of prime territory in our top states for new development,” said Doug Willmarth, MOOYAH’s President. “Sarah is the perfect fit for our rapidly expanding brand, ensuring that every franchise owner opens with unparalleled marketing support and widespread brand awareness.”

Beddoe says her first priority in her new role is telling MOOYAH’s story.

“This is a brand that is already doing all the right things with integrity for its loyal guests and expanding franchise owners,” she said. “They are absolutely uncompromising when it comes to the quality of their products and service. The only thing left to do is spread the word. We’re going to get people talking. We’re going to make sure that our story is being told over and over again until everyone sees exactly what we are doing so much better than every other burger brand out there.”

For more information on the growing brand, be sure to connect with MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes on the Facebook Fan page, and follow MOOYAH on LinkedIn, Twitter @MOOYAHburgers and Instagram @MOOYAHburgers, and TikTok @mooyahburgers.

For franchising opportunities, please visit franchise.mooyah.com.

About MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is a fast-casual, “better burger” concept committed to providing the best tasting burger experience possible with mouthwatering made-to-order burgers, hand-cut French fries, and real ice cream shakes. Founded in 2007, Texas-based company serves fresh, 100% Certified Angus Beef® brand burgers, all natural turkey burgers, and Dr. Praeger’s black bean vegan burgers. MOOYAH’s signature potato and multigrain buns are baked in-house daily, and Guests can choose from five real cheeses, bacon, avocado and 19 free sauces and toppings made from garden-fresh veggies. MOOYAH Guests can choose from eight flavors of 100% real ice cream shakes, including vanilla, Hershey’s chocolate, Reese’s, Oreo and more. While many Guests dine in-restaurant, MOOYAH also offers online ordering, delivery and carry out for Guests on the go as well as a loyalty app.

View source version at MOOYAH



Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Announces Nick Booras as Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales


Industry Veteran Brings Impressive Track Record and Enthusiasm for the Brand to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop



March 23, 2022 08:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time


IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fuzzy’s Taco Shop announces franchise veteran Nick Booras as Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales. The Texas-based restaurant group is recognized for their Baja-style fare with nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations in 17 states.

Most recently, Booras served as Senior Director of Franchise Development at FOCUS Brands, LLC., where he was responsible for selling all seven of the FOCUS Brands in the southwest region. Prior to that his role was dedicated to one brand in the FOCUS portfolio, McAlister’s Deli, where he sold over 250 units as Director of Franchise Development. Previously, Booras was responsible for franchise sales at Corner Bakery Cafe and Boston Pizza.

“Nick’s expansive network and ability to connect brands with qualified franchisees is critical to our success as we work to achieve our aggressive growth goals over the next five years,” says Paul Damico, CEO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Booras, a longtime fan of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, attributes Fuzzy’s leadership team as one of the reasons he’s most excited to join the growing brand. “I’ve been a big fan of the brand as a consumer for many years now, from the food to the atmosphere and environment that each location offers,” says Booras. “However, what I see as I join the team is a company that has excellent leadership and is poised for explosive growth, which is very exciting for someone in my role.”

As he searches for franchisee candidates for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Booras will be looking at his vast network of restaurateurs and beyond for experienced multi-unit developers. Immediately, he projects rapid growth in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri, but will be looking for franchisees to bring Fuzzy’s into all corners of the United States.

“Fuzzy’s unique and flexible footprint is a big asset as it allows me the opportunity to collaborate with new franchisees and offer restaurant models that will be the best fit for each market and real estate site,” Booras explains. “Whether someone is looking for a traditional restaurant, drive-thru or a concept to fit into a space with small square footage, we are able to accommodate all of these opportunities while still focusing on what makes Fuzzy’s great.”

He continues, “No matter the footprint, our franchisees know that serving up scratch-made food and chill vibes is always our number one priority.”

For more information on Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, please visit www.FuzzysTacoShop.com. For franchising opportunities, please visit www.MyFuzzys.com.

About Fuzzy’s Taco Shop:

Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. The laid-back atmosphere pairs perfectly with signature Baja-style tacos, famous chips and queso and icy-cold beverages always served at a chill price. With nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations in 17 states, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was ranked a Top Food Franchise, Top Franchise for Culture, and Top Multi-Unit Franchise for 2021 by Franchise Business Review, recognized in Entrepreneur’s 2021 Franchise 500 Ranking and Nation’s Restaurant News’ #10 “Fastest Growing Chains” of 2018, and was included on Franchise Business Review’s “Top Franchises” list in 2017. For franchising information, please visit www.MyFuzzys.com.

View source version at Fuzzy's Taco Shop







Darden Restaurants, Inc. Welcomes Juliana Chugg to Its Board of Directors



Mar 22, 2022, 16:15 ET



ORLANDO, Fla., March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announces that the Board of Directors has appointed Juliana Chugg as its newest member, effective immediately. With her appointment, the Company increased the size of the Board from eight to nine members.

"Juliana's vast expertise in brand-building, coupled with her extensive leadership experience at large organizations, make her a strong addition for our Board," said Gene Lee, Chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants. "She will be a great resource as we continue to grow and improve our business."

"Darden includes some of the most renowned brands in full-service dining," said Chugg, following her election to the Board. "I look forward to serving on the Board and working with my fellow members to build on Darden's success and its legacy of brand loyalty."

Chugg, age 54, previously served as the Chief Brand Officer for Mattel, Inc. from 2015 to 2018 leading a portfolio of iconic brands amounting to $6 billion in global revenue, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends™ and more. Before her time with Mattel, Chugg served as Senior Vice President and President for the Pillsbury and Meals divisions at General Mills, capping a long-standing career with the company that began in 1996.

Currently, Chugg is also a member of the Board of Directors for VF Corporation, a global apparel and footwear company, and Pressed Juicery, a private producer and seller of cold-pressed fruit juices and cleanses.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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Austin-Based Torchy’s Tacos Names Original Founder Mike Rypka As CEO







CEO Mike Rypka founded Torchy's Tacos over 15 years ago and built a menu out of experimental tacos that were coined by fans as "Damn Good".

March 17, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Torchy’s Tacos, the popular Austin-based craft fast-casual brand known for its innovative and unique Damn Good Tacos, addictive Green Chile Queso, and fresh squeezed Margaritas, is pleased to announce that effective immediately it has named original company founder Mike Rypka as CEO.

“This is the company I built, and I love, and I am humbled to return as CEO of Torchy’s Tacos,” said Mike Rypka, founder and CEO. “My dream for Torchy’s began out of a small food truck in downtown Austin, and it has been incredible to reflect on what we have built over the last 15 years. I am proud that we have remained intensely focused on innovation, serving up the best Damn Good Tacos you’ve ever tasted, while continuing to elevate the guest experience through initiatives like handmade tortillas, made-to-order piping hot tacos, optimized kitchen designs, and delivering exceptional hospitality every time you visit. Through the years we’ve never lost sight of caring for our people, always providing opportunities for them to grow, while establishing a fun and unique culture that celebrates individuality. While I’ve always been involved behind the scenes, I am excited to serve as CEO as we work to bring Torchy’s to more communities so that everyone can experience our passion for made-from-scratch Damn Good Food.”

As a Food & Beverage industry veteran who previously led the Torchy’s team through transformative growth between its 2006 founding and 2018, Rypka has been in and around the food business since a young age and is widely regarded as a passionate, creative leader and entrepreneur. After a long career pursuing his passion for food as a corporate chef for leading organizations like the World Bank, MTV Studios, Disney Animation and Dell, among others, Rypka was ready to launch his own independent restaurant. He took his passion for good food and a knack for damn good flavors and before he knew it—the first Torchy’s Tacos food truck was born on South 1st St. in Austin, Texas. Over 15 years have passed, and Rypka still has not lost his passion for food. Eager as ever, Rypka is often in the kitchen inventing new flavor profiles and is involved in the everyday operations of his beloved endeavor.

Today, Torchy’s serves innovative, unique tacos to guests at more than 100 locations across 11 states, offering a unique and edgy dining experience to visitors across the nation. Torchy’s has received numerous awards and rankings, including being named in the top 20 of Restaurant Business Magazine’s annual “Future 50” ranking of the fastest-growing small chains in the U.S. in 2015, as well as a top five placement in The Daily Meal’s list of the Best Tacos in America in 2014.

About Torchy’s Tacos

The Torchy’s Tacos story began 15 years ago in Austin, Texas, when a man with a dream bought a food trailer and a vibrant red Vespa. Mike Rypka, founder of Torchy’s Tacos, built a menu out of experimental tacos that were coined by fans as “damn good.” Today, Torchy’s Tacos has over 100 locations across Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia that are committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients. By living the Damn Good mantra, Torchy’s Tacos is always innovating to deliver the most unique tacos, coveted queso and refreshing margaritas in the taco game, including the Taco of the Month, an untraditional taco offering that keeps taco junkies coming back for more. Visit www.torchystacos.com and follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or download the Torchy’s App to join the Taco Junkies Rewards Club for more information on Torchy’s Tacos.

View source version at Torchy's Tacos

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