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Executive Movements - August 2020













Domino's® Names Stu Levy as EVP - Chief Financial Officer

Company Promotes Cindy Headen to Executive Vice President - Supply Chain



Aug 06, 2020, 07:30 ET



ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, today announced the appointment of Executive Vice President, Supply Chain Services, Stu Levy, as the Company's Chief Financial Officer, succeeding Jeffrey Lawrence, who earlier announced his intention to retire from the Company this year. Levy will report to Domino's Chief Executive Officer Ritch Allison.



At the same time, Domino's announced the promotion of Cindy Headen to Executive Vice President, Supply Chain Services, succeeding Levy. She will join the Company's executive leadership team and will report to CEO Ritch Allison. These changes will be effective August 20, 2020.


"In a relatively short period of time, both Stu and Cindy have made profound positive impacts on our Company," said Allison. "They are strong, capable leaders who are respected across our global system, and I am excited to have them in these roles."

Stu Levy Levy joined Domino's in 2019 after serving as Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer for Republic Services, Inc., a leading provider of non-hazardous solid waste collection, transfer, disposal, recycling and energy services.

Since joining Domino's, Levy and his team have continued to improve service to the U.S. and Canadian franchisees while also driving significant efficiencies across all critical areas of the production and distribution operations.  The team continued to strengthen its supplier relationship which, coupled with improvements to the operations has enabled the team to navigate the challenges of Covid-19.  In addition, Levy and his team successfully expanded operations by opening new Supply Chain Centers and launched a Global Food Safety program.

Prior to joining Republic, Levy spent 13 years with Bain & Company, and served as a partner from 2008-2014.

"Stu has a recognized ability to develop and execute practical strategies to drive bottom-line results," said Allison.

Levy holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and a Master of Business Administration degree from Duke University.

Cindy Headen Headen joined Domino's in 2015 as Vice President of Procurement & Product Management, and in 2018 was promoted to Senior Vice President of Global Procurement and Supply Chain Operations, overseeing global procurement, inventory management, commodities, Progressive Food Solutions, logistics, transportation, continuous improvement and management of Domino's Canadian supply chain operations.

Prior to joining Domino's, Headen spent nearly 15 years with Pepsico USA, where she was responsible for global procurement.

"During her time with Domino's, Cindy and her team have been able to secure substantial cost savings to our system by negotiating new contract terms with many of our suppliers and vendors," said Allison. "More importantly, she has led the drive to stabilize pricing from our suppliers, ensuring our cost structure is predictable, while simultaneously ensuring an uninterrupted supply of our key food products."

Headen holds a degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

About Domino's Pizza® Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world's top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 17,100 stores in over 90 markets. Domino's had global retail sales of over $14.3 billion in 2019, with over $7.0 billion in the U.S. and nearly $7.3 billion internationally. In the second quarter of 2020, Domino's had global retail sales of over $3.4 billion, with over $1.9 billion in the U.S. and over $1.5 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino's stores as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino's achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2019 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications. In the U.S., Domino's generates over 65% of sales via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those developed for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo and Twitter – as well as Domino's Hotspots®, an ordering platform featuring over 200,000 unique, non-traditional delivery locations. In June 2019, through an announced partnership with Nuro, Domino's furthered its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In late 2019, Domino's opened the Domino's Innovation Garage adjacent to its headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan to fuel continued technology and operational innovation – while also launching its GPS technology, allowing customers to follow the progress of the delivery driver from store to doorstep. In mid-2020, Domino's launched a brand-new way to order contactless carryout nationwide via Domino's Carside Delivery™, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

View source version at Domino's


Bloomin’ Brands Announces Group Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion


August 06, 2020 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time


TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLMN) promoted Sheilina Henry to Group Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion. In this newly created position, Henry will lead the company’s efforts toward furthering equality and inclusion in the areas of leadership, talent, training, and education.

“This is an important part of our culture and the new role enhances our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer. “Sheilina is a talented, passionate, and respected leader with extensive operations experience who will guide our efforts to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve at all levels within our company.”

Henry will also lead the Bloomin’ Brands Diversity & Inclusion Council, which advises short- and long-term strategies to advance diversity, equality and inclusion among its employees, customers, suppliers, and communities.

“Having experienced gender and racial bias throughout my life, I am proud of the steps Bloomin’ Brands is taking to create a culture that is more diverse and inclusive,” said Henry. “I am honored and humbled to be included on this journey.”

Henry has over 20 years of experience in restaurant operations, training, and project management. She joined Bloomin’ Brands in 2012 as an Outback Steakhouse Joint Venture Partner. She was promoted to Vice President, Training & Development in 2016 and Regional Vice President in 2019. Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands, she held various positions in operations and training at Yum! Brands.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant brands. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. The Company operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 20 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit www.bloominbrands.com.

View source version at Bloomin' Brands


Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., Welcomes Restaurant Industry Veteran Lenny Comma to Its Board of Directors

Recently Retired Chairman/CEO of Jack in the Box Chooses Checkers & Rally's as First Board Appointment



Aug 03, 2020, 16:37 ET



TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Checkers & Rally's iconic drive-thru restaurants, today announced that industry veteran Lenny Comma is joining the company's Board of Directors. This will be Mr. Comma's first board appointment since his retirement in June 2020 from his role as Chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box, Inc.

"This is an exciting time to be a part of Checkers & Rally's as we grow sales, open new restaurants and add highly qualified franchisees to our system, and we are delighted to have Lenny join our team," said Frances Allen, President and CEO of Checkers & Rally's, who worked with Mr. Comma during her time as Brand President at Jack in the Box. "Lenny's proven history of exceptional leadership, operational insights, marketing savvy and sales growth make him the ideal addition to our board."

Mr. Comma served as Chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box from January of 2014 to June of 2020, developing and executing strategic and financial plans, evolving the business model to meet target market and investor expectations, and transforming the organizational structure, talent base, processes, reward systems and culture to align with the brand's strategy. He successfully led the Jack in the Box Board of Directors to make decisions regarding strategy, succession planning, governance, risk management, continuing education, and performance.

"Joining the Checkers & Rally's team as a director was a natural choice for me," said Mr. Comma. "The Company is ideally positioned for future success given its strategic drive-thru-only business model, commitment to innovation, and opportunities for new unit growth. In today's changing restaurant landscape, as consumers crave comfort food ordered from drive-thrus, delivery and order ahead, Checkers & Rally has inherent advantages, and I am also impressed with the Company's rapid innovation to support contactless transactions. I am honored to join the board of this energetic, growing brand."

About Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

Based in Tampa, Fla., Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., an iconic and innovative drive-thru restaurant chain known for its "Crazy Good Food," exceptional value, and people-first attitude, operates and franchises both Checkers® and Rally's® restaurants. With nearly 900 restaurants and room to grow, Checkers & Rally's is a proven brand with flexible building formats that is aggressively expanding across the country. Checkers & Rally's is dedicated to being a place where franchisees and employees who work hard can create opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. In recent years, the brand has earned several of the industry's most prestigious awards including: "#1 Most Craveable Fries" by Restaurant Business; Best Franchise Deal and "Best Drive-Thru in America" by QSR Magazine; Top Food and Beverage Franchise by Franchise Business Review; the "Hot! Again" award from Nation's Restaurant News and has consistently been ranked on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500.

View source version at Checkers


FOCUS Brands Welcomes New Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications

August 4, 2020


Newly created role to enhance the company’s communication strategy in the global marketplace

Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  FOCUS Brands®, parent company of iconic brands Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s®, adds to its Executive Leadership Team with Dawn Ray, the company’s first SVP of Corporate Communications.

In this newly created role, Dawn will lead strategic corporate communications and build best-in-class trade public relations and communications for franchise sales for Focus Brands. Working closely with the CEO and the Executive Leadership Team, she will elevate the profile of the company with key audiences worldwide, drive awareness for Focus Brands’ innovation and growth, as well as reinforce the company’s position as a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands among business and consumer media. In addition, she will serve as an advisor on issues management and brand reputation across the company’s portfolio.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dawn to our Executive Leadership Team at Focus Brands,” said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands. “Dawn’s business acumen and leadership in communications and public relations for some of the world’s most well-known brands will be an asset to the company as we engage our stakeholders and prospects in new and evolving markets.”

As a leader in communications and public relations, Dawn has built award-winning, integrated communications strategies in the hospitality, real estate, transportation and healthcare industries. Most recently, she was senior vice president for BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) Memphis, one of the world’s largest full-service global communications agencies, where she served as primary senior account lead for FedEx Global Media Go-to-Market integrated communications strategies, U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command. During her tenure at Hilton, Dawn led brand communications and public relations campaigns for Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn and launched two of the most successful hotel brands in the company’s 100-year history, Curio Collection and Canopy by Hilton.

She has also served as vice president of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Greystar Real Estate Partners (formerly EdR Collegiate Housing), and director for strategic and executive communications for Methodist Lebonheur Healthcare, one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems in the U.S. Dawn holds a Master of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The University of Memphis.

About FOCUS Brands

Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s®, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

View source version at FOCUS Brands


Whataburger President Ed Nelson Promoted to CEO



Aug 03, 2020, 08:30 ET



SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a year of successfully leading Whataburger through an ownership transition and the challenges of a global pandemic, Whataburger President Ed Nelson was promoted to CEO of the company on August 1, 2020, by BDT Capital Partners.

Ed, a 16-year veteran of the brand, was named president of Whataburger in July 2019. Since that time, Ed has worked tirelessly to preserve the 70-year-old company's legacy -- while also evolving the brand through a mix of innovation and growth.

Under Ed's leadership, Whataburger has launched curbside and delivery service across its 10-state footprint; introduced three, new limited-time offer burgers (with more to come!); built seven new restaurants (with nine more planned by the end of year); unveiled modern restaurant designs; and, built a new restaurant prototype and announced plans to begin franchising for the first time in 20 years.

"As Whataburger celebrates 70 years, it's fitting that Ed Nelson is named CEO of the brand. Ed's passion and commitment for Whataburger is unwavering. His energy and visionary leadership have been absolutely critical over the last 12 months," says Tiffany Hagge, Whataburger board member and Partner at BDT Capital Partners. "Despite the challenging environment presented by COVID-19, Whataburger's sales have surpassed existing records, and the restaurant teams have achieved new levels of operational success, broadly outperforming the industry. Ed has been an exceptional leader of the Whataburger team through this adversity, while staying true to the company's long legacy of serving up amazing burgers and hospitality – and, most importantly, maintaining Whataburger's culture of strong Family values, throughout."

Working side-by-side a 15-person Strategy Council, Ed has successfully navigated the business challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While operating a 24/7 Command Center to keep employees and customers safe during COVID, Whataburger temporarily closed its dining rooms and ramped up sales through its new curbside, online app, and delivery services. Ed also helped shift the company mindset to be more operationally efficient in support of its 837 restaurants.

"Our entire leadership team rolled up their sleeves and implemented significant change to keep the business thriving and our brand intact. I am so proud of the work our employees – who we call Family Members – have done to keep the spirit of Whataburger alive during difficult times," Nelson said. "It's my honor to be named CEO of this iconic brand. I always believe that Whataburger is a place where goodness lives, and that has been proven time and time again from the many emails our customers have sent saying that Whataburger has been 'there for them' during this trying time."

Ed received his bachelor's degree in finance and master's of accountancy from Clemson University and is also a CPA. Ed won the San Antonio Business Journal's Best CFO Award in 2012 and has been twice honored with the Whataburger Chairman's Award for his leadership and dedication to the company.

About Whataburger Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 830 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2.5 billion annually. Whataburger has 46,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information.

View source version at Whataburger


Jack in the Box Inc. Announces Departure of CFO, Lance Tucker

July 30, 2020


San Diego, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced today that Lance Tucker, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has provided his intent to resign and will be leaving the company effective within the next six weeks. The company has initiated a search for a new Chief Financial Officer. While the company searches to identify a successor, the senior members of the company’s finance department will assume Tucker’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Dawn Hooper, the company’s controller, has been appointed to principal financial officer effective on Tucker’s last day. Hooper has been with Jack in the Box Inc. for almost 20 years, with her tenure in leadership positions within finance. She, in conjunction with Sean Bogue, the company’s treasurer, will ensure a smooth transition. Hooper will report to Darin Harris, CEO, until Tucker’s successor is named.

Tucker has been with Jack in the Box Inc. for over two years and was paramount in implementing the company’s securitization.

Darin Harris, CEO, said, “While we have only worked together for a short time, I appreciate Lance’s leadership and strategic thinking. He has made a positive impact on the business and the executive leadership team here at Jack in the Box. We wish him the best of luck and are certain the finance team will be in good hands until his successor is named.”

About Jack in the Box Inc.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), based in San Diego, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box® restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,220 restaurants in 21 states. Known as the pioneer of all-day breakfast, and the late night category, Jack in the Box prides itself on being the curly fry in a world of regular fries. For more information on Jack in the Box, including franchising opportunities, visit www.jackinthebox.com. If you have media inquiries, please reach out to media@jackinthebox.com.

View source version at Jack in the Box


Domino’s Promotes Art D’Elia to EVP and Chief Marketing Officer

July 30, 2020


Ann Arbor, MI  (RestaurantNews.com) Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, announced the promotion of Art D’Elia to executive vice president, chief marketing officer.

In this expanded role, D’Elia will run all global marketing initiatives for the brand, leading all U.S. marketing and advertising, and working with the brand’s master franchise companies around the world. D’Elia will report to Russell Weiner, chief operating officer and president, Domino’s U.S.

D’Elia joined Domino’s in 2018 as senior vice president, chief brand and innovation officer, leading the Company’s U.S. product development and innovation, national TV advertising, and field marketing efforts. Earlier this year, he gained responsibilities for the brand’s digital marketing efforts.

“Art has been instrumental in building strong relationships with our U.S. franchisees,” Weiner said. “His strategic and creative leadership have made us better as a company. Art is a highly respected leader at Domino’s, and we’re thrilled with his appointment as EVP and CMO. I am also excited for Art to have a greater opportunity to have a positive impact on our international business.”

Prior to joining Domino’s, D’Elia spent seven years with Danone taking on progressive roles, most recently serving as marketing director in the U.K. Before Danone, D’Elia spent nearly seven years in marketing at PepsiCo Inc.

About Domino’s Pizza®

Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world’s top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 17,100 stores in over 90 markets. Domino’s had global retail sales of over $14.3 billion in 2019, with over $7.0 billion in the U.S. and nearly $7.3 billion internationally. In the second quarter of 2020, Domino’s had global retail sales of over $3.4 billion, with over $1.9 billion in the U.S. and over $1.5 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino’s stores as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino’s achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2019 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications. In the U.S., Domino’s generates over 65% of sales via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those developed for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo and Twitter – as well as Domino’s Hotspots®, an ordering platform featuring over 200,000 unique, non-traditional delivery locations. In June 2019, through an announced partnership with Nuro, Domino’s furthered its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In late 2019, Domino’s opened the Domino’s Innovation Garage adjacent to its headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan to fuel continued technology and operational innovation – while also launching its GPS technology, allowing customers to follow the progress of the delivery driver from store to doorstep. In mid-2020, Domino’s launched a brand-new way to order contactless carryout nationwide via Domino’s Carside Delivery™, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

View source version at Domino's


Juice It Up! Elevates Susan Taylor to President & CEO

July 29, 2020


Leading Raw Juice, Smoothie and Açaí Bowl Chain Advances Taylor to Lead Next Phase of Growth

Irvine, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, açaí bowl and raw juice chains, today announced the promotion of Susan Taylor to President and Chief Executive Officer. Susan joined Juice It Up!’s senior leadership team last September as VP of Operations. A restaurant industry veteran of nearly 30 years, 14 of which were with Jamba, Taylor will lead Juice It Up!’s next phase of growth, leveraging her extensive franchise system background to emphasize growth in same store sales, average unit volume, unit count and franchisee profitability.

Celebrating its 25-year anniversary in 2020, the Juice It Up! brand was acquired in 2018 by SJB Brands, LLC, a partnership between franchise food industry leaders Chris Britt and Ed St. Geme and executive partner Chris Braun, who served as the Company’s CEO for the first 2+ years following the acquisition.  The three owners remain actively involved in guiding the strategic direction of the brand, a centerpiece of which has been building out a strong and experienced leadership team now led by Taylor.

“Susan is a dynamic, people-oriented brand builder and franchisee advocate who is highly strategic and successful at driving results.  Since coming on board last year, she has made huge contributions in furthering the evolution of the Juice It Up! brand” said Britt and St. Geme.  Braun added, “We’re very confident Susan will continue to drive the brand’s commitment to our franchise partners while delivering exceptional experiences across the board. The entire Juice It Up! family looks forward to working with her in this natural evolution of her leadership role.”

With Taylor at the helm, the brand will continue to build upon its diverse offerings of flavorful and functional superfruit, protein and plant-based smoothies, raw and blended juices, and açaí and other superfruit bowls. Major near term initiatives include unveiling the brand’s new store design in two locations this summer, including one flagship corporate location, completing the launch of skip the line mobile ordering, continuing to grow third-party delivery with partners such as DoorDash and Postmates, introducing a revamped guest loyalty program, and ongoing development of new products to support optimal health, functional nutrition and immunity. All of these initiatives and more are designed to fuel franchisee success by growing sales, unit count and profitability.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to have been given the opportunity to lead this talented team and continue our forward momentum in capturing a larger share of the market, which we are well poised to do,” said Taylor. “I am looking forward to really digging in and uncovering unique ways to increase franchisee growth and profitability and strengthen the guest experience while taking Juice It Up! to new heights.”

Juice It Up! has earned a reputation for serving the best tasting smoothies, blended and fresh raw juices and superfruit bowls. Always ahead of the trends, Juice It Up! designs every menu item focused on equal parts flavor and functionality to offer products that not only taste great, but also support a healthy and active lifestyle. To help guests make educated decisions based on their personal tastes and wellness goals, Juice It Up! is committed to keeping customers informed about the ingredients that go into their juices, bowls and smoothies. And the brand continues to be at the forefront of product innovation to support each guest’s individual definition of wellness.

The brand’s leadership team has identified trade areas markets in California and the Western US ideally suited for an established smoothie, bowl and juice concept like Juice It Up!  With a proven franchise business model carefully sculpted over the past 25 years, Juice It Up! is looking to partner with passionate franchisees who are interested in joining a highly recognizable, successful and market leading healthy food concept.  For more information about the Juice It Up! brand, its history and leadership team, and available franchise opportunities, visit www.juiceitupfranchise.com.

About Juice It Up!

Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, açaí bowl and raw juice chains, was founded in 1995 with headquarters in Irvine, Calif. Always ahead of the trends, Juice It Up! designs every menu item focused on equal parts flavor and functionality to offer products that not only taste great, but also support a healthy and active lifestyle. With over 100 locations open or under development across California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, the company is showcasing a new restaurant design, a heavier focus on functional products and ingredient transparency, and a menu refresh that reflects the brand’s active personality and motto to “Live Life Juiced!” Juice It Up! was recently named a 2020 Top Mover & Shaker by Fast Casual, ranked a top Smoothies/Juices franchise in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2019 Annual Franchise 500® List, and named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2019 Best Food Franchises and Top Franchises for Veterans. For more information about becoming a Juice It Up! franchise partner, visit www.juiceitupfranchise.com.

View source version at Juice It Up!


Sonny’s BBQ names Chief Kindness Officer

July 28, 2020


CKO inspires employees, guests to be kind and recognize kindness 

Maitland, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Sonny’s BBQ has announced its first-ever Chief Kindness Officer (CKO). The CKO will help spread kindness by introducing initiatives that engage and inspire people to be kind and recognize kindness. Part of his role will be to share kindness challenges, stories, photos, videos, and testimonies of kindness in Sonny’s restaurants between employees and guests in nearly 100 local communities. These stories will be shared on Sonny’s website, social media, intranet and email to make kindness the action more people want to emulate.

Sonny’s chosen CKO is Kennon Adkinson of Orlando, who was nominated by his peers from among more than 5,000 Sonny’s employees. He was selected for his purpose driven heart and big smile that lights up rooms, in addition to his ability to truly lead by example making kindness the norm and his incredible passion for people and giving back to the community.

“Kindness is the theme, and in a year of uncertainty it is needed now more than ever,” says Adkinson. “I’m honored to be chosen and even more excited to get started in this role and help to spread kindness and connect with Sonny’s team members and guests. When we collectively take part in making the world a better place for our families, our friends, our neighbors and our children, the good will always outshine some of our darkest times.”

Kennon has hit the ground running with a Kindness Challenge that’s already taking the company by storm with over 25 different random acts of kindness posted on social media.

Sonny’s launched its internal search for a CKO on Random Acts of Kindness Day in February of this year as part of its effort – ‘Q the Kindness – to highlight spreading acts of kindness through the Spirit of BBQ. The Spirit of BBQ is all about lending a helping hand, supporting others and honoring community heroes – something Sonny’s has done through its continuedd support of nurses, teachers, and first responders and with its Random Acts of BBQ.

Sonny’s encourages everyone to share their stories of kindness on social media using #QtheKindness. Any kind act, no matter big or small, can inspire others to do the same.

About Sonny’s BBQ 

In 1968, Sonny’s BBQ was founded by Sonny Tillman and his wife Lucille in Gainesville, Florida. For over 50 years, local pitmasters at Sonny’s BBQ have served barbecue slathered in Southern Hospitality to barbecue enthusiasts and families through its locally owned and operated locations spanning the Southeast in eight states. Sonny’s has been celebrated for its signature pulled pork and ribs and recognized as the “Best Barbecue Chain in America” by The Daily Meal. For more information, visit www.SonnysBBQ.com.

View source version at Sonny's BBQ


Philip Auerbach Named Dunkin' Chief Digital and Strategy Officer

July, 27 2020

Stephanie Meltzer-Paul promoted to SVP, Digital Marketing - Santhosh Kumar promoted to SVP, Information Technology


As part of its ongoing commitment to digital transformation, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, announced today that Philip Auerbach will join the company in the newly created role of Chief Digital and Strategy Officer. Effective August 10, 2020, Auerbach will oversee a new Dunkin' U.S. digital engagement team that includes consumer and business insights, digital marketing, media, and customer care. Auerbach will also lead Dunkin' Brands global strategy and Information Technology (IT). He will report to Dave Hoffmann, Dunkin' Brands CEO.

As key members of the new digital strategy team, Stephanie Meltzer-Paul and Santhosh Kumar have been promoted to Senior Vice President, Dunkin' U.S. Digital Marketing, and Senior Vice President, Global Information Technology, respectively.

"Dunkin' is doubling down on our digital platform and the relationship we have with our guests. Providing a more seamless, best-in-class restaurant experience enabled by technology is a cornerstone of the Dunkin' U.S. Blueprint for Growth strategy. Phil is a transformational leader who has led the evolution of consumer and hospitality brands and will take our growing digital platform to the next level," said Hoffmann. "He will be supported by a top-tier team that includes two leaders who have already played significant roles in our digital innovation: Stephanie Meltzer-Paul, head of digital and loyalty marketing for Dunkin' U.S., and Santhosh Kumar, head of Global IT. Both are being promoted to Senior Vice President in recognition of their many contributions to the Company."

"Dunkin' has long been at the forefront of using digital technology to enhance the customer experience - whether through its world-class app; its advanced one-to-one marketing capabilities; or its DD Perks® platform, one of the first and fastest growing loyalty programs in the quick service industry," said Auerbach. "I am delighted to join Dunkin' Brands and excited to build a digital ecosystem that will deliver an even more personalized, frictionless experience across all channels."

Auerbach joins Dunkin' Brands from Lindblad Expeditions, the global leader in ship-based expedition travel, where he most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer. In that position, he was responsible for marketing, sales, distribution and strategic partnerships. Prior to Lindblad, Auerbach was Senior Vice President and Regional Chief Marketing Officer for Las Vegas at Caesars Entertainment, the world's largest casino entertainment company and the industry's technology leader. At Caesars', Auerbach oversaw marketing for the company's Las Vegas portfolio and had enterprise-wide responsibilities for digital product development, third-party distribution and strategic partnerships, as well as international marketing initiatives. Auerbach spent nearly 15 years in management consulting, including at McKinsey & Company, where he was a Partner in the firm's Sales & Marketing practice and co-founded the firm's Loyalty service with a focus on companies in the Hospitality and Retail Financial Services spaces. Auerbach has a degree in hospitality administration from Cornell University.

Meltzer-Paul joined Dunkin' Brands in April 2018 as Vice President, Digital and Loyalty Marketing. Prior to Dunkin', she had 20 years of experience in customer loyalty and digital marketing with companies including, American Express, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and most recently as Vice President, Member Engagement and Loyalty at BJ's Wholesale Club.  She is the recipient of numerous marketing industry awards, including a prestigious Freddie Award for Best Hotel Loyalty Promotion.

Kumar began his career with Dunkin' Brands in 2000 and immediately prior to his promotion served as Vice President of IT, Infrastructure, & Information Security & Privacy. In that role, he has been responsible for the overall architecture and design, deployment, physical operation and performance of Dunkin' Brands global IT systems. He is also the head of the Company's worldwide information security and privacy function.

View source version at Dunkin' Brands




Chipotle Names Mary Winston And Gregg Engles To Its Board Of Directors



Jul 21, 2020, 08:05 ET



NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) today announced two new additions to its board of directors, Mary Winston and Gregg Engles. The changes to the board composition come after Chipotle appointed Brian Niccol, the company's Chief Executive Officer, to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors in early March, as well as the departure of three directors.

"We've conducted a thorough search for several months, meeting with a diverse group of candidates, in an effort to have varying perspectives represented that will help accelerate the business as well as contribute to our mission of cultivating a better world," said Brian Niccol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chipotle. "Mary's and Gregg's vast experience and contributions across industries will help Chipotle achieve its strategic objectives and position us well for future success."

With the Board composition changes announced today, the Chipotle Board will now be comprised of nine directors, eight of whom are independent. The Board is committed to ongoing director refreshment and continues to consider new, qualified independent directors.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the board of such an innovative organization that is committed to being a leader in the restaurant industry and look forward to bringing valuable insights from my previous experience," said Mary Winston.

Gregg Engles commented: "Joining an organization with strong values and a world-class leadership team that is only scratching the surface of its full potential is a rare opportunity, and I am honored to help Chipotle continue its accelerated growth trajectory and look forward to contributing to its future success."

ABOUT THE NEW DIRECTORS Mary Winston is the Founder and President of WinsCo Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm providing financial and board governance advisory services since 2016. She served as interim Chief Executive Officer of Bed Bath & Beyond in 2019, and as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Family Dollar Stores, from 2012 until it was acquired by Dollar Tree in 2015.  Prior to that, Mary was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Giant Eagle, a supermarket chain from 2008 to 2012, and as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Scholastic Corporation from 2004 to 2007. Mary currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Acuity Brands, Inc., Domtar Corporation, Dover Corporation, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Gregg Engles is the founder and managing partner of Capitol Peak Partners, a capital investment company since April 2017. Gregg previously served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of The WhiteWave Foods Company from October 2012 until April 2017, when it was acquired by Danone S.A. Prior to that, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Dean Foods Company, a food and beverage company and former parent company of WhiteWave, from April 1996 until WhiteWave's initial public offering in October 2012. Gregg serves on the Boards of Directors of Danone S.A. and GCI Liberty.

ABOUT CHIPOTLE Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 2,600 restaurants as of March 31, 2020, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants. With more than 85,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. Steve Ells, founder and former executive chairman, first opened Chipotle with a single restaurant in Denver, Colorado in 1993. For more information or to place an order online, visit WWW.CHIPOTLE.COM

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Potbelly Corporation Names Robert D. Wright as President and Chief Executive Officer

July 21, 2020


New leader brings over 30 years of transformational and growth-focused restaurant experience

Chicago, IL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, has announced the appointment of Robert D. Wright as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and as a member of its Board of Directors, effective July 20, 2020. He succeeds Alan Johnson.

Mr. Wright has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of The Wendy’s Company, where he ran operations for over 6,000 company and franchise restaurants located in the U.S. and Canada. He has a strong record of business transformation throughout his career, where he has leveraged brand strengths to revitalize top-line sales and profit growth through marketing, system-wide service standardization, and quality initiatives. In addition to Wendy’s, Mr. Wright has held various corporate roles at other high-profile restaurant chains including Charley’s Philly Steaks, Checker’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., and Domino’s Pizza, Inc.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new leader with extensive restaurant operating experience,” said Joe Boehm, Potbelly’s Lead Director. “Bob’s ability to quickly identify and leverage brand strengths, as well as his substantial operations expertise, make him uniquely equipped to lead Potbelly during this critical time for our Company.  He drove dramatic improvement in guest satisfaction at Wendy’s, and Potbelly will greatly benefit from his vision, leadership, and drive to successfully transform our business.  Bob also completed a transition of 1,100 company restaurants to franchise ownership during his time at Wendy’s, and we expect to leverage this experience as we return to system growth.”

Mr. Wright‘s immediate focus will be on accelerating the Company’s ongoing business turnaround. This includes improving the on- and off-premise guest experience, enhancing the brand positioning, and reviewing the Company’s cost structure and asset base.

Mr. Wright stated, “Potbelly is a great brand, with a rich history and tradition of high-quality food made fresh for every customer in a unique and warm sandwich shop environment.  Despite the challenges the current environment brings, I am confident that the core strengths of the Potbelly brand are exactly the qualities that make a successful, growing brand and company.  I am excited to apply my experience and skills working shoulder to shoulder with the Potbelly team and the board of directors to return the brand to growth.”

Executive Profile

Robert D. Wright will become Potbelly’s next President and CEO and a member of its Board of Directors on July 20, 2020. He is joining Potbelly from The Wendy’s Company, the world’s third largest quick-service restaurant in the hamburger sandwich segment, with 6,805 restaurants globally.  As Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer at Wendy’s, Mr. Wright:

  1. Ran operations for over 6,000 company and franchise restaurants operating in the US and Canada.

  2. Oversaw restaurant operations, services, and technology; Canada leadership; and kitchen engineering and design.

  3. Created and executed Wendy’s operations strategy, Delight Every Customer.

  4. Established the first Customer Experience Department, improving operations through customer experience measures.

  5. Led same restaurant sales and unit growth in both the Canada and International divisions.

Additionally, while serving as President, Chief Operating Officer & Interim Chief Executive Officer of Charley’s Philly Steaks/Charley’s Grilled Subs, Mr. Wright:

  1. Ran company and system of 500 company and franchise restaurants operating in 43 states and 19 countries.

  2. Developed and expanded the “Charley’s Philly Steaks” concept as a new evolution of the Charley’s brand.

  3. Led restaurant expansion and same restaurant sales to record highs.

Mr. Wright has served in leadership roles with other restaurant brands, including Domino’s Pizza, Inc., LLC and Checker’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Letourneau University.

As a material inducement to accept the Company’s offer of employment in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4), Mr. Wright will be granted 300,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, subject to half the shares vesting on the first anniversary of grant and the other half vesting at the rate of one twenty-fourth (1/24) of such shares vesting on each monthly anniversary of the grant. The other terms of Mr. Wright’s employment arrangements will be filed on a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Potbelly

Potbelly Corporation is a neighborhood sandwich concept that has been feeding customers’ smiles with warm, toasty sandwiches, signature salads, hand-dipped shakes and other fresh menu items, customized just the way customers want them, for more than 40 years. Potbelly promises Fresh, Fast & Friendly service in an environment that reflects the local neighborhood. Since opening its first shop in Chicago in 1977, Potbelly has expanded to neighborhoods across the country – with more than 400 company-owned shops in the United States. Additionally, Potbelly franchisees operate over 40 shops in the United States.  For more information, please visit our website at www.Potbelly.com.

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Global Franchise Group® Announces C-Suite Promotion And Welcomes New Leadership

Organization promotes Annica Conrad to Chief Marketing Officer. Welcomes Chef Jason Dowd (Vice President of Culinary Innovation) and Jon Gordon (Vice President of Creative Services)



Jul 20, 2020, 09:15 ET



ATLANTA, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Franchise Group® (GFG), the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Pretzelmaker®, Marble Slab Creamery® and Round Table Pizza® has elevated Annica Conrad to Chief Marketing Officer and welcomed two new Vice Presidents – Chef Jason Dowd (Vice President of Culinary Innovation) and Jon Gordon (Vice President of Creative Services). The moves come after an organizational restructuring priming the business for future acquisitions and growth.



"Global Franchise Group is mission focused and the talent and commitment of our team is at an all-time high," said Paul Damico, CEO of Global Franchise Group. "We are building a shared service platform that will enable us to best champion our current and future brands. Our leadership team has the industry experience and know-how to get us there."


Conrad, who joined GFG in 2018, has proven to be an effective leader and strategic brand visionary. She spearheaded the new identity and experience for Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery and the concept's co-brand locations. Conrad also directed the GFG COVID-19 task force leading brand and franchisee response and action. Before being promoted to CMO, she was Executive Vice President, Brand Marketing for all GFG brands.

Joining GFG as Vice President of Culinary is Jason Dowd, a strategic hospitality leader and creative culinary innovator with a unique background in concept development, product innovation and brand strategy. Before coming to GFG he was Head of Global Food & Beverage/Director of Culinary Innovation for InterContinental Hotel Group where he established IHG's first test kitchen and Food & Beverage training center and evolved its branded restaurant and bar concepts across 5,400 plus properties worldwide. He also previously served as Vice President of Innovation & Corporate Executive Chef for FOCUS Brands (Moe's Southwest Grill), Director of Innovation & Corporate Executive Chef for Consumer Capital Partners (Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza), and Corporate Research & Development Managing Chef for Darden Restaurants, Inc. where he developed menu concepts for Olive Garden.

Gordon, Vice President of Creative Services for GFG, is an award-winning Executive Creative Director with 20 years of agency and in-house experience. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director at FOCUS Brands where he led the in-house agency team supporting Moe's Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky's, McAlister's Deli, Carvel, Cinnabon and Jamba. During his tenure with FOCUS, he launched The Content Kitchen studio consisting of photography, videography, editing and content creation to support all brand's production needs from concept through execution. Prior to that, he was a Senior Art Director at J Walter Thompson in Atlanta and an Art Director at Solomon Says.

Global Franchise Group's mission is to champion brands and the people who build them. It builds great brands that connect people with craveable products and memorable experiences. GFG currently supports more than 1,400 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.

About Global Franchise Group, LLC - www.globalfranchise.com Global Franchise Group, LLC is a strategic brand management company with a mission of championing franchise brands and the people who build them. The company owns a portfolio of franchise brands that includes five primary quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise concepts: Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Marble Slab Creamery®, Pretzelmaker® and Round Table Pizza®. Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Lion Capital LLP and Serruya Private Equity, Inc.

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EVP & CFO Jeffrey Lawrence Announces Retirement from Domino’s

July 16, 2020


20-Year Veteran Served as CFO since 2015

Ann Arbor, MI  (RestaurantNews.com) Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, announced today that Jeffrey D. Lawrence, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, has announced his decision to retire from Domino’s after more than 20 years of service. He has served in his current role for the last five years. Mr. Lawrence has agreed to continue serving as CFO until the company identifies his successor. Once a successor is named, he will step down from his role and will serve as an advisor to Domino’s Chief Executive Officer Ritch Allison until the end of 2020.

Mr. Allison commented: “Jeff has been a trusted teammate for more than two decades at Domino’s and has been a key contributor to the success of our global brand. As our CFO, he has an outstanding track record of creating strategic value for our great system. Jeff’s career accomplishments speak for themselves. I join the entire Domino’s global community in celebrating his career and wish him all the best.”

Mr. Lawrence added: “Wow. What a ride! To be able to be part of the Domino’s growth story over the past two decades has been a dream come true. Domino’s is about opportunity, and the constant opportunities I’ve had to learn, grow and lead have been simply amazing. From a lead role in our IPO, to partnering with our U.S. and International franchisees to get to #1, to helping shape our digital transformation over the past decade…I’ve had the chance to work with amazing people to sell more pizza and have more fun! I am truly thankful for having had the opportunity to serve this great brand for so long and thank the Board, Ritch and his leadership team, my team and, most importantly, the franchisees and front-line team members who are the heart of Domino’s. Being in the stores is what I will miss the most! After taking some time off with my family, I will move on to my next adventure forever proud of what we’ve all built together.”

About Domino’s Pizza®

Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world’s top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 17,100 stores in over 90 markets. Domino’s had global retail sales of over $14.3 billion in 2019, with over $7.0 billion in the U.S. and nearly $7.3 billion internationally. In the second quarter of 2020, Domino’s had global retail sales of over $3.4 billion, with over $1.9 billion in the U.S. and over $1.5 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino’s stores as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino’s achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2019 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications. In the U.S., Domino’s generates over 65% of sales via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those developed for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo and Twitter – as well as Domino’s Hotspots®, an ordering platform featuring over 200,000 unique, non-traditional delivery locations. In June 2019, through an announced partnership with Nuro, Domino’s furthered its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In late 2019, Domino’s opened the Domino’s Innovation Garage adjacent to its headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan to fuel continued technology and operational innovation – while also launching its GPS technology, allowing customers to follow the progress of the delivery driver from store to doorstep. In mid-2020, Domino’s launched a brand new way to order contactless carryout nationwide via Domino’s Carside DeliveryTM, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

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Twisters Hires New Chief Operating Officer to Shape a More Resilient Future

Albuquerque, NM, Release: July 15, 2020. For Immediate Release

Twisters Burgers and Burritos today announced that its board of directors has hired Bahjat Shariff as their Chief Operating Officer (COO). Bahjat will be starting with Twisters on July 20, 2020. He brings over 20 years of experience with Panera Bread, and most recently built a franchise operation of 28 locations in three states in Southern New England. He loves developing his team and loves to spend time in the stores with his people and get to know them well and build relationships.

“I have built my career on integrity and values and am thrilled to be joining the Twisters Team”, said Bahjat Shariff, new COO of Twisters.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Bahjat Shariff’s caliber and experience join us as our brand leader,” said Rajiv Grover, VP of Twisters.  “During these uncertain times, Shariff will prepare Twisters for more resilient future by bringing increased agility to customer expectations and experience and to the day-to-day operations.  Shariff will be shaping Twisters ability to thrive in the future by taking advantage of the market opportunities ahead.”

“We believe that Bahjat has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.  What set him apart from the other candidates is his strong emphasis on community engagement and leadership.  He raised over $7M for children in Rhode Island, is on the National Restaurant Association board, and has served on several other local boards in the communities where he’s resided. We are truly excited about the impact he can make in the Albuquerque and Denver markets we operate in” said Brij Agrawal, President and CEO of Twisters.

Shariff came to the US from Lebanon at the age of 18 to attend a college in Los Angeles. He is married with 5 kids and 3 grand kids. When he’s not spending time with his family, he enjoys the outdoors, spends time, photographing wildlife and has a huge passion for flying, having earned his small engine pilot’s license in 2003.



Dine Brands Global, Inc. Appoints Michael Hyter as Member of Board of Directors



July 14, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


GLENDALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of Dine Brands Global, Inc. today announced the appointment of Michael Hyter as a new independent member of its Board of Directors.

Hyter, 63, served as Managing Partner of the Korn Ferry International, Washington D.C. office since 2012 and played an instrumental role in growing the breadth of their D.C. operation. He was recently appointed Chief Diversity Officer for Korn Ferry International.

Hyter has more than 25 years of entrepreneurial and business experience working closely with Fortune 1000 executives and boards to help their organizations thrive; leading and advising complex, global companies and c-level executives on human resources matters across a variety of industries.

Prior to Korn Ferry, Hyter served as Managing Partner of Global Novations LLC, a leading diversity and inclusion consulting firm, where he oversaw global operations that resulted in significant revenue growth over 12 years.

“Like many values-driven organizations around the world, Dine has been taking a hard look at how we can play a role in what we’ve seen manifest in our communities. The company is simultaneously responding to three crises that converge at this moment in history: the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic consequences, and the persistence of systemic racial injustice,” says Richard Dahl, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dine Brands Global, Inc. “The Board of Directors will benefit greatly from Michael’s business acumen and broad-based experience. Moreover, Michael’s appointment as a member of our Board is further action on our part towards our commitment to unite, advocate and represent the communities where we live, and do business.”

A successful author, Hyter’s most recent publication is The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career. He is also co-author of The Power of Inclusion: Unlock the Potential and Productivity of Your Workforce, published by Wiley. He has published extensive articles in publications including the Handbook of Business Strategy, Director’s Monthly, Profiles in Diversity Journal, and Inc.

Hyter has also served on various boards and has had direct responsibility for business development and building strategic partnerships. Hyter is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and is the former Chair of the ELC Foundation. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He was recognized by Savoy Magazine in 2018 as one of the most influential blacks in Corporate America.

About Dine Brands Global, Inc.

Based in Glendale, California, Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries, franchises restaurants under both the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar and IHOP brands. With approximately 3,600 restaurants combined in 17 countries and approximately 370 franchisees, Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information on Dine Brands, visit the Company’s website located at www.dinebrands.com.

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Elects Gilbert Dávila to Board of Directors

July, 13 2020


Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (Nasdaq: CBRL) last week announced that Gilbert Dávila has been elected to the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately.  Mr. Dávila is the founder and CEO of DMI Consulting - a leading multicultural marketing, diversity & inclusion and strategy firm in the United States, assisting mostly Fortune 200 companies to develop strategic growth platforms focused on America's fastest growing populations/segments.  Prior to founding DMI, Mr. Dávila spent seven years (2003-2010) as the Vice President, Global Diversity and Multicultural Market Development at The Walt Disney Company.

An expert in the fields of market segmentation, data management and digital marketing, Mr. Dávila brings valuable consumer, marketing, brand management and diversity & inclusion experience to Cracker Barrel.  In addition to his work at Disney, Mr. Dávila was the Vice President, Multicultural Management for Sears & Roebuck Company, a former Marketing Director Northeast Region for Coca-Cola USA and held sales and marketing roles at Procter & Gamble.  Mr. Dávila is considered a preeminent subject matter expert in attaining brand growth by targeting multicultural/inclusive segments in the United States.

"As part of our established Board succession planning initiatives and to support Cracker Barrel's strategic focus on digital and multicultural engagement with employees and guests, we have been searching for a leader with Gilbert's expertise and experience.  We are thrilled to welcome him to our Board," said Cracker Barrel Chairman of the Board William McCarten. "I am confident that Gilbert's deep knowledge of digital marketing, market segmentation and Diversity & Inclusion, in addition to his decades of experience with some of the world's most respected brands, will provide tremendous benefits to our company and our management team."

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FOCUS Brands Names Brian Krause Chief Development Officer, Tim Muir Appointed Company’s First Chief Sales Officer

July 13, 2020


Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  FOCUS Brands®, parent company of iconic brands Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s®, today announced that Brian Krause has joined the executive leadership team as Chief Development Officer, and Tim Muir, has been appointed as the company’s first Chief Sales Officer.

Krause, a franchise development veteran in both the QSR and hotel industries, will be responsible for driving strategic, high-quality growth for the domestic FOCUS portfolio and leading cross-functional collaboration across internal departments, franchisees, and brands to create a best-in-class development program.

With Krause’s appointment to Chief Development Officer, Muir will fill the newly created Chief Sales Officer role, focusing his seasoned leadership specifically on franchise sales and revenue growth. Joining FOCUS Brands in 2017 as the company’s first-ever Chief Development Officer, Muir’s successful tenure at FOCUS Brands has delivered an increase in deals year-over-year.

“FOCUS Brands is incredibly fortunate to have such tremendous talent to support our businesses,” said Jim Holthouser, Chief Executive Officer, FOCUS Brands. “I’m confident Brian’s strengths in franchise sales, strategy, policy making, and collaboration will be invaluable in driving our brands forward to further accelerate our growth. Tim’s success and leadership made him the obvious choice to trailblaze this new, critical function for us and I look forward to seeing the results of his high-performing sales team.”

Krause joins FOCUS Brands from Inspire Brands, where he most recently served as Chief Development Officer of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, responsible for overseeing the Franchising, Real Estate, Development Planning, and Design and Construction departments for the Brand. Prior to Jimmy John’s he served as Senior Vice President, Franchise Development for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Krause holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Communications from the University of Connecticut.

About FOCUS Brands

Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s®, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

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Farmer Boys Appoints Joseph Ortiz as Vice President of Finance and Accounting

July 8, 2020


Farmer Boys has hired restaurant industry and finance veteran Joseph Ortiz to serve as its new Vice President of Finance and Accounting where he will lead the finance and accounting teams through proactive coaching and mentorship, creative strategies, and improved workflow.


Ortiz will Lead the Finance and Accounting Teams & Help Drive World-Class Levels of Performance

Riverside, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Farmer Boys®, the farm fresh fast casual concept known for its award-winning burgers and exceptional service, has hired restaurant industry and finance veteran Joseph Ortiz to serve as its new Vice President of Finance and Accounting. In this position, Ortiz is responsible for leading the finance and accounting teams through proactive coaching and mentorship, creative strategies, and improved workflow.

“I am excited to join Farmer Boys, an established, yet growing brand, known and respected in the industry for its best-in-class service and quality food,” said Ortiz. “I look forward to providing both strategic and tactical guidance to support Farmer Boys’ finance and accounting teams, growth model, and people development plans.”

Ortiz brings with him over 14 years of finance, strategy and organizational leadership experience, much of which has been within the quick-service restaurant industry. He most recently held the position of Director of Finance at Bakemark and has also led successful teams at CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc., BJ’s Restaurants, YUM! Brands, and Panda Restaurant Group.

“Joseph has a wide variety of experience working in the restaurant industry with both large and mid-sized companies, and he brings a wealth of financial, organizational, and leadership skills that we know will benefit the Farmer Boys brand and team members immensely ,” said David Wetzel, president of Farmer Boys.

To learn more about Farmer Boys, view their menu of farm fresh fare, or find the restaurant nearest you, visit www.farmerboys.com and follow the brand at @FarmerBoysFood on Instagram and Facebook, and @FarmerBoys on Twitter.

About Farmer Boys®

Founded in 1981, Farmer Boys® is a farm-to-table fast casual restaurant chain serving award-winning burgers and all-day breakfast, stacked sandwiches, hand-chopped salads, and signature hand-breaded zucchini sticks and onion rings. At Farmer Boys, Farm Food Ain’t Fast Food®. Farmer Boys is annually recognized with ‘Best Of’ food awards, voted by consumers who value generous portions of farm fresh food at a fair price. The burger concept has also been recognized by notable industry publications, including being named one of Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers. Farmer Boys currently operates restaurants in California and Nevada. For more information, visit www.farmerboys.com.

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Bloomin’ Brands Announces Board of Directors Changes


John P. Gainor, Jr. and Lawrence V. Jackson Join the Board



July 02, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLMN) and JANA Partners LLC today announced the addition of John P. Gainor, Jr. and Lawrence V. Jackson to the Bloomin’ Brands Board of Directors. In April, the two companies announced an agreement that included an increase to the size of the Board to ten members. The new positions filled by Gainor and Jackson became effective July 1, 2020.

Gainor served as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Dairy Queen, a franchisor of quick service restaurants, and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway from 2008 until he retired in 2017. He joined Dairy Queen in 2003 and served as the Chief Supply Chain Officer prior to his role as CEO. Gainor is also a member of the Board of Directors for Jack in the Box, Inc. and Saia, Inc.

Jackson served as President and CEO of Global Procurement and Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Walmart, and in various executive roles at Dollar General Corporation, Safeway, Inc., and PepsiCo, Inc. He is currently a Senior Advisor at New Mountain Capital, LLC. Jackson also serves as Chairman of the Board for SourceMark, LLC; he was CEO of SourceMark from 2010-2012.

“John and Lawrence bring new and valuable expertise that will complement our Board of Directors,” said Jim Craigie, Chairman of the Board. “John’s deep restaurant and franchising experience, coupled with Lawrence’s restaurant background, private equity experience and leadership in the global procurement space, will improve our ability to maximize shareholder value.”

David Deno, CEO of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. added, “We selected these individuals with JANA Partners because each of these industry veterans bring unique perspectives that will be invaluable for creating long-term sustainable growth. I look forward to working with them.”

“We have developed a good working relationship with the Board of Directors and Dave and hold John and Lawrence in the highest regard,” said Barry Rosenstein, Managing Partner of JANA Partners. “We are encouraged by the steps the Company has been taking, including these director additions, and by the Board’s ongoing commitment to pursuing all avenues to create stockholder value.”

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Gainor will serve on the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Jackson will serve on the Audit Committee.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant brands. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. The Company operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 20 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit www.bloominbrands.com.

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Farmer Boys Promotes John Lucas to Vice President of Brand Consistency

July 1, 2020


Lucas Will Provide Strategic Oversight and Direction for Systemwide Restaurant Operations

Riverside, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Farmer Boys®, the fast casual concept known for its award-winning burgers and exceptional service, has promoted John Lucas to vice president of brand consistency. In this new role, Lucas is responsible for ensuring that Farmer Boys maintains consistent operational standards across every element of the brand and delivers a high quality, reliable guest experience in every restaurant.

“It has been one of the greatest highlights of my career to be part of the Farmer Boys family these past few years, and I couldn’t be more excited to keep this strong organization growing,” said Lucas. “Our guests know and love Farmer Boys for our exceptional service, great food and streamlined operations, and I look forward to continuing to grow upon our current systems and excellent reputation.”

Lucas joined the Farmer Boys team in 2017 as a franchise business consultant and has served the company as director of franchise operations since early 2018. During his tenure, Lucas oversaw all the system’s franchised locations and was responsible for building upon Farmer Boys’ high standards of restaurant service at those locations. Additionally, Lucas was the driving force behind the successful improvement in drive-thru service times which resulted in increased customer satisfaction. In addition to his experience at Farmer Boys, Lucas has more than 30 years of hospitality and restaurant experience and has held operational and managerial positions at Andre Boudin Bakeries, Starbucks, and Marriott Hotels.

“John’s experience and success at Farmer Boys speaks for itself. He knows the ins and outs of our operations and has an impressive track record. I feel confident that John will lead our operations team to continued success in his new role,” said Dave Wetzel, president and chief operating officer of Farmer Boys.

To learn more about Farmer Boys, view their menu of farm fresh fare, or find the restaurant location, download the Very Important Farmer ‘VIF’ app, visit www.farmerboys.com, and follow the brand at @FarmerBoysFood on Instagram and Facebook, and @FarmerBoys on Twitter.

About Farmer Boys®

Founded in 1981, Farmer Boys® is a farm-to-table fast-casual restaurant chain serving award-winning burgers and all-day breakfast, stacked sandwiches, hand-chopped salads, and signature hand-breaded zucchini sticks and onion rings. At Farmer Boys, Farm Food Ain’t Fast Food®. Farmer Boys is annually recognized with ‘Best Of’ food awards, voted by consumers who value generous portions of farm fresh food at a fair price. The burger concept has also been recognized by notable industry publications, including being named one of Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers. Farmer Boys currently operates restaurants in California and Nevada. For more information, visit www.farmerboys.com.

View source version at Farmer Boys


Dine Brands Global, Inc. Announces International President and Chief Information Officer Appointments

June, 23 2020


Dine Brands, the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, announces the appointment of Tony Moralejo as President, International and Global Development; and Justin Skelton, Chief Information Officer. Moralejo and Skelton are both experienced leaders who will make an immediate impact in the recovery and acceleration of the business post crisis. They will report to Thomas Song, Chief Financial Officer, and join the Dine Brands Executive Team.

Moralejo joins Dine from CHURCH’S/TEXAS CHICKEN (Cajun Operating Company), an international quick service restaurant company. Moralejo’s prior experience spans over two decades, leading global teams in various operations, franchise development and legal leadership roles at Burger King.

Skelton joined Dine in June 2019 as Vice President, IT Infrastructure and Operations and most recently served as Dine’s acting Chief Information Officer. Previously, Skelton served as Vice President, Infrastructure, Support, and Operations at CVS Health. He also held various leadership positions at Bank of America, serving as Senior Vice President/Chief Information Officer within the Insurance Services division, as well as Chief Technology Officer for the home loans and insurance division.

“As we get through the global pandemic we realize we must have key leadership and capabilities in place to compete effectively everywhere, on all brands, across all geographies,” says Thomas Song, Dine Brands, Inc. CFO. "Re-shaping our portfolio for long-term growth for all franchisees across the globe has always been our mission, and our approach is about deliberate and sustainable growth, with a technology infrastructure that supports and enables all restaurants. Tony and Justin have a clear understanding of this, and they are the perfect leaders to help evolve our growth and technology platforms of the future.”

View source version at Dine Brands



The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. Announces Changes in Management Team

June, 23 2020


The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. (Nasdaq: STKS), today announced appointment of Maria Woods as General Counsel. She will also be assuming the role of Corporate Secretary from Chief Administrative Officer Linda Siluk, who has resigned and is pursuing other career opportunities.

Ms. Woods brings over 25 years of legal experience to The ONE Group, including nearly two decades as in-house counsel to both public and private companies. Most recently, she served as General Counsel for Lucky’s Market, where she provided strategic legal counsel for all aspects of the company’s natural and organic grocery operations. Prior to that, Ms. Woods served as Executive Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs and General Counsel at National CineMedia. Earlier in her career, she was the Associate General Counsel at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, General Counsel at Latis Networks, and Assistant General Counsel at Sun MicroSystems.

Ms. Woods earned her law degree from the University of Denver and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.

Emanuel “Manny” Hilario, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are delighted to welcome Maria to The ONE Group’s executive team. Maria is a strategic thinker with an extensive legal background and will be a vital asset to our entire organization. We are confident that her insights will be invaluable as we continue to drive growth and build long-term shareholder value.”

“On behalf of the entire team at The ONE Group, I would like to thank Linda for her many contributions to the Company over the last three years. We wish her much success in her future endeavors,” concluded Hilario.

View source version at The ONE Group

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