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Executive Movements - August 2021

QDOBA Mexican Eats Promotes Eric Williams to Chief Operating Officer

30-year franchising and foodservice veteran to lead North American operations and administration for the growing fast-casual restaurant chain

Aug 18, 2021, 08:01 ET

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- QDOBA, the Mexican restaurant chain voted best fast-casual restaurant in 2019, 2020 and 2021 by USA Today 10Best, announced today the promotion of Eric Williams, a seasoned foodservice industry executive with more than 30 years of experience, to chief operating officer. Previously, Williams served as vice president of franchise & license operations, and in his new role will oversee more than 740 QDOBA locations across the U.S. and Canada and support QDOBA franchise owners, ultimately ensuring the company's continued overall success.

"Since joining QDOBA, Eric has proven to be an exceptional leader capable of taking on additional responsibility," said Keith Guilbault, CEO of QDOBA. "He has provided valuable insight to help our franchise owners thrive, particularly during the pandemic, and I look forward to seeing his contributions and leadership extend even further into the company operations function in his new role."

Williams joined QDOBA in October 2019 as director of operations with over 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry, including restaurant, franchise and corporate operations, as well as multi-unit franchise ownership. Prior to QDOBA, he served as the chief operating officer for CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc. (CKE), parent company to Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.

"I am honored to be carrying out my work with QDOBA's exceptional group of franchisees who hold true the brand's mission of bringing flavor to people's lives," said Williams. "As I take on this next role, I see new growth opportunities on the horizon for both company and franchise and I am thrilled to be moving into this next chapter."

For more information on QDOBA, visit

About QDOBA Mexican Eats QDOBA is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with more than 740 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Committed to bringing flavor to people's lives, QDOBA uses ingredients prepared in-house, by hand, and fresh throughout the day, to create delicious menu options. Guests can experience QDOBA's delicious flavors by enjoying one of its signature menu options that are chef-crafted for convenience and ease or by customizing their burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and salads to fit their personal tastes. For three years running, QDOBA has been voted the "Best Fast Casual Restaurant" as part of the USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. Discover more at or on the QDOBA app, which is available for download on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Fans can also connect with QDOBA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

View source version at QDOBA

Marco’s Pizza Names Keith Sizemore to VP of Development

August 18, 2021

Multi-Unit Franchisee Embraces New Role with Aggressive Plans to Double Brand Footprint in Next Five Years

Toledo, OH  (  Marco’s Pizza, one of the nation’s fastest-growing pizza brands, appoints Keith Sizemore to VP of Development from his previous operations position as VP of New Territory Development. Building from within, Marco’s looks to a future of continued impressive franchise development led by Sizemore, who along with his wife Rocio own three Marco’s locations with a fourth in development. Having more than two decades of franchise industry experience coupled with business ownership, Sizemore brings a unique and innovative perspective to the leadership team. In this role, Sizemore sets an aggressive development goal to double Marco’s footprint over the next five years.

Sizemore was introduced to franchising at an early age, joining the Great American Cookie Company at age 17 under the reign of IFA Hall of Famer, Lawrence “Doc” Cohen. After a decade, Sizemore made the move to McDonald’s where he honed his franchising skills for another 13 years in various roles supporting franchisees, corporate stores, training, marketing and development. In 2016, he joined the Marco’s team as Director of Operations before progressing to VP of New Territory Development and becoming a multi-unit franchise owner with his wife before entering his new role with development.

“It’s an honor to be promoted to this position and focus on the development of the brand. Being a franchisee, I’ve witnessed our development processes first-hand so I am able to see the gaps and create efficiencies that will help us grow faster with a focus on providing an excellent experience for our franchisees,” said Sizemore. “Our goal is to become the fourth largest pizza brand in the country and I have full confidence we’ll get there. We have an incredible leadership team and I’m looking forward to playing a role in growing the Marco’s brand to new heights.”

Marco’s is a well-established and rapidly expanding brand with many primary territories available for development.  Marco’s provides a full development support system, including technology and tools to help identify the right territories for expansion plus expertise in financing, real estate, construction management and field operations, to assist franchisees and multi-unit operators.

Nationally, Marco’s has signed more than 100 franchise agreements year-to-date, with over 200 stores in various stages of development, on track to grow its 1000-plus unit footprint by more than 10% this year. Marco’s is experiencing record-breaking sales and continues to innovate and pilot new programs to sustain its performance. As a result, eager and sophisticated entrepreneurs and multi-unit operators are flocking to the franchise opportunity.

“Keith has the right vision needed for this role and I anticipate his guidance and leadership will bring us continued growth and development success for years to come,” said SVP, Chief Experience Officer, Steve Seyferth, who oversees development.

With the right team in place, Marco’s has been able to maintain rapid growth and actualize development goals while expanding with franchisees who embrace its People-First approach to business. The development team has found new, cost-saving opportunities to keep the initial up-front investment affordable including smaller footprints, pickup windows, tools that accelerate the new store opening process and more, creating operational efficiencies that improve the overall guest experience and grow sales.

Opening a new store every three and a half days on average, the Top 50% of its franchised stores generated $1,059,574 AUV for 2020*. For more information on Marco’s Pizza franchise opportunities, visit or call 866-731-8209.

About Marco’s Pizza

Marco’s Pizza is America’s Most Loved and Most Trusted Pizza Brand, according to the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study. Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza companies in the United States. Marco’s was founded in 1978 by Italian-born Pasquale (“Pat”) Giammarco and thrives by making authentic Italian quality pizza with fresh ingredients. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate over 1,000 stores in 34 states with locations in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Most recently, Marco’s Pizza was ranked No. 2 in the Pizza category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2020 “Franchise 500” ranking, and No. 6 in the Largest Pizza Chain category on Restaurant Business’ 2020 “Top 500 Chains” ranking. Other recent accolades include ranking No. 4 in Forbes 2019 “Best Franchises to Buy” Small/Medium Investment and ranking five consecutive years on Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious “Top 200” ranking.

*Based on the Average Unit Volume of the top 50% of our Franchised Stores for fiscal year 2020. Based on fiscal year 2020, 142 of 369 Franchised Stores in the category (38%) met or exceeded this average. This information appears in Item 19 of our 2021 FDD – please refer to our FDD for complete information on financial performance. Results may differ. There is no assurance that any franchisee will perform as well.

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Potbelly Corporation Appoints David Daniels as Chief Marketing Officer

Brings to Potbelly over 20 years of direct restaurant and CPG experience leading some of the world’s best-selling brands

August 17, 2021 17:00 ET

CHICAGO, Aug. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB) (“Potbelly” or the “Company”), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, today announced the appointment of David Daniels as its Chief Marketing Officer (“CMO”) effective August 23, 2021. In this senior leadership role, Mr. Daniels will report to Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Potbelly. Mr. Daniels will lead the Branding, Marketing and Digital teams as he focuses on leveraging the unique Potbelly brand position in support of the Company’s growth strategy. His leadership responsibilities will include further development of the brand vision and digital marketing strategy that drives brand awareness and traffic growth, franchise and field marketing, as well as consumer insights and innovation.

Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Potbelly commented, “We are very excited to welcome David to the Potbelly family. He brings significant executive experience and success leading some of the world’s best-selling brands, delivering top- and bottom-line growth. We will immediately benefit from his broad experience in sales and marketing, consumer goods, Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), hospitality, and e-commerce.”

David Daniels added, “I am extremely honored to be joining the Potbelly team, a brand and company that I have admired for years. I look forward to bringing my strong blend of brand building, marketing experience, and digital marketing expertise to Potbelly and contributing to its future growth.”

Prior to joining Potbelly, Mr. Daniels served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at The Food Hall Co. in Dallas, Texas. He has spent more than 20 years as a marketing executive bringing classic brand marketing experience in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) from Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, as well as restaurant experience from Pizza Hut and YUM! Brands, Inc.

Mr. Daniels holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Management and Marketing from Virginia Tech.

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 approximately 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

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Wingstop Announces New Growth and Technology Structure, Appoints Digital Marketing Lead

Aug 17, 2021, 07:00 ET

DALLAS, Aug. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING), the leading digitally-savvy, tech-focused restaurant brand with more than 1,600 locations worldwide, today announced Stacy Peterson will now serve as EVP, Chief Digital and Technology Officer and the promotion of Marisa Carona to SVP, Chief Growth Officer and Stevie Benjamin to SVP of Digital Marketing.

These changes support the significant investments Wingstop is making to drive one-to-one interactions with the more than 25 million guests in its first-party data platform and, with nearly 65% digital sales, support the brand's drive to achieve its stated goal of 100% digital transactions. Additionally, this new structure allows the brand to further its transition from the traditional promotion-based marketing approach that is typically seen in the restaurant industry to a digital, platform-based strategy.

"As we continue making meaningful investments in our tech stack, we decided to take a page from the structure of many leading tech companies, which often house marketing and digital/IT functions together to supplement a 'MarTech' structure," said Charlie Morrison, Wingstop Chairman and CEO. "With this, we'll have two distinct agile and collaborative teams that focus on varying levels of communication to our guests. One which will lead 'micro,' one-to-one communication, and one which will lead 'macro,' one-to-many communication."

Stacy joined Wingstop in 2013 and is well-recognized as a leading technology executive in the restaurant industry. The expansion of her responsibilities as Chief Digital and Technology Officer follows Wingstop's incredible growth in digital sales throughout the pandemic and underscores the opportunity to engage guests through leveraging first party data.

Since joining Wingstop in 2015, Marisa has been fast-tracking up the company ladder after leading key areas of the business including corporate strategy, ESG, training, and serving as Chief of Staff to the CEO and Vice President of Strategy.

Stevie joined Wingstop in mid-2021 as VP of Media after successful stints leading media strategy at MillerCoors, Target and Discover. As SVP of Digital Marketing, Stevie will lead the national media and customer relationship marketing functions for Wingstop with a sharp focus on one-to-one customer marketing.

The new structure will further support Wingstop's vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand.

About Wingstop

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises over 1,600 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and offering of classic wings, boneless wings and tenders, always cooked to order and hand sauced-and-tossed in fans' choice of 11 bold, distinctive flavors. Wingstop's menu also features signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly-made ranch and bleu cheese dips. In addition, Wingstop launched virtual brand Thighstop in June 2021 featuring crispy bone-in and boneless thighs sauced and tossed in Wingstop's 11 signature flavors, available through and DoorDash.

In fiscal year 2020, Wingstop's system-wide sales increased 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $2.0 billion, marking the 17th consecutive year of same store sales growth, and Wingstop achieved over 700% stockholder return since its 2015 initial public offering. With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, its system is comprised of independent franchisees, or brand partners, who account for approximately 98% of Wingstop's total restaurant count of 1,624 as of June 26, 2021. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop opened 45 net new restaurants, an increase of 13.1%, and announced domestic same-store sales increased 2.1%. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop generated 64.5% of sales via digital channels including and the Wingstop app.

A key to Wingstop's success is the Wingstop Way, which includes a core value system of being Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun. This value system extends to its environmental, social and governance platform as Wingstop seeks to provide value to all stakeholders.

The Company has been ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine's "150 Strongest-growing Franchises" and "The World's Best Franchises" (2020), Franchise Business Review's "Top Food Franchises" (2020), Nation's Restaurant News' "Top 200 Restaurant Chains" (2020), Fast Casual's "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" (2020), and named to The Stevie Awards for Great Employers (2020).

For more information visit or and follow @Wingstop on Twitter and Instagram and at Learn more about Wingstop's involvement in its local communities at

View source version at Wingstop

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Announces Scott Redler as New Chief Experience Officer

Leading Fast-Casual Concept Appoints Freddy's Co-founder & former COO To New Role

Aug 17, 2021, 09:00 ET

WICHITA, Kan., Aug. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers®, announced today that its Co-Founder, Scott Redler, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Experience Officer (CXO). In 2002, Redler Co-founded Freddy's alongside business partners, Bill and Randy Simon. With 45 years of industry experience, Redler spent the last 19 years serving as COO of Freddy's. The creation of this new role for the industry-leading fast-casual franchise follows its recent acquisition by private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners in March of 2021.

"Who better than Scott to continue the work of providing our Guests with a truly memorable Freddy's experience?" said Chris Dull, president and CEO. "As Co-founder, Scott created Freddy's alongside his partners, and it is a privilege to have his expertise focused on ensuring the delivery of the very best experience for our franchisees, Team Members, and Guests."

Redler has been instrumental in developing over 20 different concepts. His vast knowledge of all facets of restaurant operations has made him a sought-out professional in the industry. He currently serves as treasurer of the National Restaurant Association's Board of Directors and the recipient of many honors, including the 2020 IFMA Silver Plate Award.

"In light of our continued surge in franchise growth and ongoing success systemwide, this new role falls naturally into the progression of the company," said Scott Redler, co-founder and CXO. "I look forward to strengthening franchisee relationships, continuing our unique culture and doing things 'The Freddy's Way' by delivering an exceptional brand experience to our Guests."

Franchise opportunities remain in areas across the U.S., including the Northeast, Upper Midwest, California, Florida, Oregon, and Washington and large metro areas such as Pittsburgh and many of its surrounding markets. For more information about development opportunities, contact Mary Coots, Director of Franchise Development, at or 316-719-7854, or visit

About Freddy's Co-founded in 2002 by Scott Redler and Bill, Randy and Freddy Simon, Freddy's opened its first location in Wichita, Kansas, offering a unique combination of cooked-to-order Steakburgers seasoned with Freddy's Famous Steakburger & Fry Seasoning®, Vienna® Beef hot dogs, shoestring fries paired with Freddy's Famous Fry Sauce® and frozen custard that is freshly churned throughout the day. The brand was acquired by private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners in March of 2021. Today, Freddy's has grown to more than 400 locations that serve 34 states across the nation from California to Pennsylvania, Virginia, down the East Coast states to Florida. Freddy's has been named No. 1 on Forbes Best Franchises to Buy, The 2021 Restaurant Business 10 Fastest Growing Chains in the U.S. List, Entrepreneur's 2021 Franchise 500 top 100, Franchise Times magazine's 2020 Fast & Serious top 40 and many other nationwide and local industry awards. For more on Freddy's, visit the Newsroom and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest news.

View source version at Freddy's Frozen Custard

sweetgreen Appoints Wouleta Ayele as Chief Technology Officer

With Over Three Decades of Experience, Wouleta Will Help Scale the Fast Casual Brand’s Supply Chain, Operations and Digital Platforms

August 16, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--sweetgreen, the mission-driven restaurant brand serving healthy food at scale, announced today the hiring of Wouleta Ayele as Chief Technology Officer. Wouleta will join the sweetgreen team effective August 17, 2021.

In her new role, Wouleta will be responsible for leading sweetgreen’s technology teams, allowing them to scale their supply chain model, advance restaurant operations, acquire new talent, and develop their digital platforms.

“As we continue to scale and think about what the future of fast food will look like, the technology powering sweetgreen plays an integral part in creating efficiencies and providing our guests with the best experience possible,” said sweetgreen co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman. “Wouleta has the experience, savviness, and leadership to help us make that vision a reality. We look forward to welcoming her to the team.”

Wouleta comes to sweetgreen following a 16-year career at Starbucks where she held numerous positions within their technology department, most recently serving as the senior vice president of Starbucks Technology Services where she oversaw all of the chain’s technology pillars. Prior to her tenure at Starbucks, Wouleta held respected positions working for globally-recognized companies such as Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Attachmate Corporation, and Ciba-Geigy pharmaceutical.

“sweetgreen is a truly innovative company that is paving the way for a healthier future. The way that they approach the intersection of food and tech is unlike any other restaurant brand out there,” said Wouleta. “I’m excited and grateful to be joining the sweetgreen team as they lead the charge of changing the fast food industry for years to come.”

About sweetgreen:

Founded in 2007, sweetgreen passionately believes that real food should be convenient and accessible to everyone. Every day, across its 130+ restaurants, their team creates food from scratch, using fresh ingredients and produce delivered that morning. sweetgreen’s strong food ethos and investment in local communities have enabled them to grow into a national brand with a mission to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food.

View source version at sweetgreen

Pokeworks Appoints Restaurant-Industry Veteran Steve Heeley as CEO

August 12, 2021

Under Heeley’s Leadership the Largest Poke Brand Positions for Accelerated Growth and National Expansion

Irvine, CA  (  In a move to bolster its growth strategy and strengthen the brand, Pokeworks announces the promotion of Chief Marketing Officer Steve Heeley to Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Heeley’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for the brand as it rolls out new restaurant design and development projects, menu innovations and major additions to the C-Suite, fueling rapid franchise development as the brand is on track to add 10 locations by the end of 2021.

Heeley joined the Pokeworks team as CMO in March 2021 with an extensive background in brand management, menu creation and health-centered restaurant development. Prior to joining the Pokeworks team, Heeley held the role of CEO at Veggie Grill, where he spearheaded the growth of the plant-based, fast-casual concept through rebranding, new menu development and digital transformation. His roster of past executive roles held in the industry include Earl of Sandwich, Au Bon Pain, The Coffee Bean Tea Leaf and Beja Fresh. In his role as CMO of Pokeworks, Heeley has overseen the marketing department while spearheading efforts surrounding revenue strategy, including brand and digital strategy, product development and customer relationship management. As he steps into the CEO position, Heeley will be working passionately to build the brand, team and systems to support the success of all franchise operators.

“It has been exciting and humbling to be part of the tremendous growth of this brand,” said Heeley. “Pokeworks’ founders, management team, and franchise partners have done an incredible job of growing Pokeworks into a hugely successful national brand in a short period of time. I am excited to build on this foundation and help guide Pokeworks into the future with our shared vision to become the most trusted, leading, premium fast casual poke brand in the world. Poke is no longer a trend; it has matured into a broadly accepted growth category in fast casual.”

The brand’s performance in the past few years has earned multiple awards wins, including being ranked as one of NRN’s Top Five Concepts in 2018, inclusion in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers three years in a row, including being ranked in the top five brands for 2019 and 2020, and inclusion in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking in 2021. Pokeworks has set aggressive expansion goals to double new store commitments in 2021 and 2022 as it seeks multi-unit operators throughout the United States and internationally.

“Pokeworks is an evolving restaurant, rising to meet the needs of consumer demand for high quality, premium fast casual options that are differentiated,” said Mike Chen, President and Co-Founder at Pokeworks. “Under Steve’s leadership, Pokeworks has and will continue to grow into a consumer-focused brand. With Steve’s past CEO experience and his commitment to setting Pokeworks up as the most trusted, premium poke brand, we have no doubt he will lead us to a future success as we continue to innovate, adapt and grow with world-class franchise partners.”

As part of the executive moves, Mike Wu, past CEO and co-founder of Pokeworks, will be stepping into the role of Head of Culinary. In this role, he will focus efforts on menu ideation and cultivation, which have been his passion since beginning his time with Pokeworks in 2015.

“This announcement is a strategic part of our company’s evolution,” said Wu. “There are exciting times ahead, and I know Steve is looking forward to working with everyone at Pokeworks to help write the next pivotal chapters in our story.”

As the nation’s largest poke brand, Pokeworks has led the growth of the premium poke industry, known for fresh and flavorful traditional Hawaiian-inspired poke. The brand is known for its Signature Works poke creations as well as its ‘Poke-Your-Way’ option for guests to build their own poke bowls, burritos or salads by selecting a base protein – tuna, salmon, chicken, shrimp and tofu, unique regional mix-ins, flavoring sauces, toppings and crunchy texture.

About Pokéworks

Pokeworks is one the nation’s largest and fastest-growing poke brands in North America with over 60 locations open and more than 75 projected to open by the end of 2022. The brand provides a fresh take on Hawaiian-inspired poke burritos and bowls and salads derived from the highest quality ingredients. The brand’s unique menu allows for complete customization to cater to almost anyone, including those maintaining gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan as well as cooked or raw protein diets. For more information on Pokeworks’ franchise opportunities, visit

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Church’s Chicken Announces Two New Vice Presidents, Claudia Lezcano and Sarah Whiticar To Strengthen Growth Plans

August 12, 2021

Atlanta, GA  (  Church’s Chicken® recently appointed two new Vice Presidents, as the global chicken restaurant brand continues to focus on optimizing business growth. The Atlanta-based company welcomed Claudia Lezcano as Vice President, Brand Strategy & Activation, and promoted Sarah Whiticar to Vice President, Global Business Intelligence & Product Development. Both will report to Brian Gies, EVP, Global Chief Marketing Officer.

“We’re pleased to strengthen and elevate our leadership team with Claudia and Sarah. As we continue our progress in fulfilling our 5-Year Strategic Plan, they will play critical roles in our mission of maintaining our business momentum,” said Brian Gies, EVP, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Church’s Chicken. “Throughout their careers, both have demonstrated consistent success in a variety of marketing leadership roles focused on driving profitable growth, which will be especially valuable as we seek to amplify our growth opportunities in an increasingly competitive landscape.”

Claudia Lezcano

Claudia Lezcano is a seasoned marketing professional and brings more than 20 years of success in the marketing and advertising industry, helping numerous high-profile organizations drive growth and build brand loyalty. As Vice President, Brand Strategy & Activation for Church’s Chicken, Lezcano will oversee U.S. calendar planning, product promotions, media, field marketing, and consumer P.R. functions. Her goal will be to drive positive sales performance, profitability, consumer segment, and traffic growth. Lezcano will also manage the marketing communications process with U.S. franchisees.

Before joining Church’s, Lezcano most recently served as AVP, Product Marketing for Celebrity Cruises in Miami, FL. In this role, Lezcano led the development of new promotional strategies and marketing tactics. She also executed brand marketing while developing new approaches to navigate changing consumer expectations in a challenging industry.

Lezcano’s previous experience includes leading the marketing efforts at the Miami Marlins as the Vice President, Head of Marketing, where she developed and implemented a brand strategy resulting in a +30% year-over-year season ticket sales revenue increase. She also held the position of Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for the Miami Dolphins, where she led strategic marketing initiatives that yielded the best season ticket renewal rates over the previous six years for the National Football League.

Lezcano launched her career in the quick-service restaurant industry, where she worked for Burger King Corporation. She held several progressive and executive roles in marketing and advertising and supported the company across North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Sarah Whiticar

Sarah Whiticar joined Church’s in 2017, and within the past few years, she’s leveraged her insights and expertise to produce significant and notable contributions to elevate sales growth and profitability. In her new role, she will serve as Vice President, Global Business Intelligence & Product Development.

Whiticar previously served as Senior Director of Global Business Intelligence for Church’s. She conducted robust planning and corresponding research on identifying and testing the consumer needs and competitive response to a new, superior chicken sandwich platformShe also led comprehensive multi-market test work to validate a new and more profitable menu in the U.S. and applied brand repositioning insights to U.S. and international markets.

Prior to joining Church’s, Whiticar served as Global Director of Knowledge & Insights for Popeye’s, where she spearheaded research initiatives to help the organization understand how the brand was performing in the marketplace. Whiticar also previously served as Director of Research & Consumer Insights at Ruby Tuesday, working with company leadership to ensure consumer insights were the foundation for strategic and tactical decisions.

“As the company is focused on accelerating the growth of our footprint in current and new markets across the U.S., we continue to develop new ways to enhance the visibility, relevance, engagement, and passion for the Church’s brand among our guests and franchisees,” said Whiticar. “As Vice President of Global Business Intelligence & Product Development, I have the opportunity to work with an incredible analytics and culinary team to help fully realize our innovation potential.”

For more information about Church’s Chicken, visit

About Church’s Chicken® / Texas Chicken

Founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken® is one of the largest quick-service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Chicken Sandwich, Texas Tenders, Honey-Butter Biscuits™ made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, homestyle sides all for a great value. Church’® (along with its sister brands Church’s Texas Chicken in the Americas and Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 26 countries and international territories. During two national media windows, the brand drove sales performance that outpaced the broader QSR category. For more information about Church’s Chicken, visit or follow their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Farmer Brothers Appoints Waheed Zaman to Board of Directors

August 05, 2021 09:00 ET

NORTHLAKE, Texas, Aug. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ: FARM) (“the Company”), a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, and distributor of coffee, tea, and culinary products, today announced the appointment of Waheed Zaman to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective September 1, 2021.

Mr. Zaman, who will serve on the Board’s Audit Committee, brings more than 35 years of Global Consumer experience. He has extensive experience working with multiple Boards of Directors and has led transformational enterprise-wide change across Corporate Strategy, IT, Supply Chain, and Consumer and Retail Analytics.

Currently, Mr. Zaman serves as the Chief Executive Officer of W&A Consulting, where he advises senior executives on transformational change and consults with leaders and teams on personal success and leadership practices to ensure organizational effectiveness and strategy execution. Previously, Zaman served as the Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Strategy & Administrative Officer at the Hershey Company, where he reformulated Corporate Strategy and leveraged technology to improve operational optics and decision making.

“Waheed brings operational expertise and deep knowledge of technology and cybersecurity to the Farmer Brothers Board of Directors team. We’re excited to work with him and leverage his leadership and technical expertise as we continue to drive integration and organizational efficiencies across our nationwide operations,” said Deverl Maserang, Chief Executive Officer.

About Farmer Brothers

Founded in 1912, Farmer Bros. Co. is a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, and distributor of coffee, tea, and culinary products. The Company’s product lines include organic, Direct Trade, and sustainably produced coffee. With a robust line of coffee, hot and iced teas, cappuccino mixes, spices, and baking/biscuit mixes, the Company delivers extensive beverage planning services and culinary products to its U.S.-based customers. The Company serves a wide variety of customers, from small independent restaurants and foodservice operators to large institutional buyers like restaurant, department and convenience store chains, hotels, casinos, healthcare facilities, and gourmet coffee houses, as well as grocery chains with private brand coffee and consumer branded coffee and tea products, and foodservice distributors.

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Krystal Names Steve Patel as Vice President Information Technology

August 5, 2021

Atlanta, GA  (  Krystal Restaurants LLC, the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South, recently named Steve Patel their new Vice President Information Technology. Patel will lead information technology for the brand and its nearly 300 restaurants. He is a seasoned IT professional with more than 22 years of experience.

“Steve’s extensive experience and proven results in IT paired with his innovative and strategic mindset makes him a valuable asset for our organization as we look to expand our brand with systems that will improve services and processes for our teams and the guests we serve,” said Tom Stager, President of Krystal Restaurants LLC. “Through his leadership, we look forward to staying abreast of the latest opportunities in technology for our brand.”

Prior to joining Krystal, Patel served as Owner and Consultant for Atlanta-based Elevation Technology. He provided infrastructure services, PCI-DSS compliance consulting, web, and mobile app accessibility compliance consulting. He also supported clients through marketing technology consulting, cloud transformation consulting, and point of sale deployments assistance. Elevation Technology caters to small restaurant brands without large IT departments.

Patel is new to the Krystal organization, but he has more than 17 years in IT for restaurants. He most recently served as Vice President Information Technology for Huddle House/Perkins Restaurants. He was also Executive IT Director for one of the world’s leading chicken restaurant chains, Church’s Chicken. His earlier experience in restaurant technology included senior level support and engineering roles with The Wendy’s Company and the Wendy’s Arby’s Group.

“By joining the Krystal team, I’m looking forward to bringing a new level of information security and strategic thought leadership to the Information Technology department,” said Steve Patel, Vice President Information Technology for Krystal Restaurants LLC. “As the company expands their presence and looks to offer new and innovative technology, it’s critical for my team to help them keep pace. I’m excited to be part of these momentous developments.”

Steve Patel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of Charleston. His community initiatives include being the former Corporate Chair for the Annual Corporate Build for the Atlanta Habitat For Humanity. Patel has also served as a non-medical volunteer at COVID-19 vaccine centers.

For more information about Krystal, visit

About Krystal Restaurants LLC

Headquarted in Atlanta, GA, Krystal Restaurants LLC is the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South. Krystal hamburgers have been served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun since 1932. The company proudly sticks to the classics, but over the years, they’ve never been afraid to innovate.

Krystal has grown to be in 10 states with nearly 300 restaurants and continues to deliver a one-of-a-kind taste experience through their unique menu items that are offered at a great price. The company’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of more than 3,500 employees. In 2019, the company was selected to USA Today’s Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List.

For more information, visit or follow on Facebook or Instagram.

View source version at Krystal

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop names Paul Damico CEO

Damico had previously been a president at Focus Brands and CEO of Naf Naf Grill.

By Heather Lalley on Aug. 03, 2021

Former Focus Brands President Paul Damico is the new CEO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, the fast casual confirmed Monday.

Damico, who was also formerly CEO of Naf Naf Grill, shared the news on his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles early Monday before deleting the posts later in the day.

“We can conform that Paul is the CEO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop,” a chain spokeswoman said in an email to Restaurant Business. “The leadership team is very excited about adding Paul’s expertise to the Fuzzy’s family, and we will be sharing more about that ‘officially’ in the coming weeks.”

Most recently, Damico was CEO for just over a year with Global Franchise Group, which was acquired late last month by Fat Brands. Global Franchise Group was the parent company of five concepts, including Hot Dog on a Stick and Round Table Pizza.

Fuzzy’s, which was founded in 2003 in Fort Worth, Texas, has almost 150 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 18 states. It serves a menu of Baja-inspired dishes.

In May, the chain opened a small-footprint sister concept, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Taqueria, in Minneapolis. The new restaurant is about half the size of a traditional Fuzzy’s, with a scaled-down menu and a focus on off-premise business.

The new design gives franchisees another option to access available real estate, the chain said in a statement.

View source version at Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Topgolf Entertainment Group Expands And Strengthens Executive Leadership Team With Three New Appointees

Topgolf promotes Genifer Gray to Chief Operating Officer U.S. Venues, hires Geoff Cottrill as Chief Marketing Officer and Kristi Maynor as Chief People Officer

Aug 02, 2021, 09:00 ET

DALLAS, Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Global sports and entertainment leader Topgolf Entertainment Group announced today that Genifer (Gen) Gray has been named the Chief Operating Officer U.S. Venues, Geoff Cottrill will join the company as Chief Marketing Officer and Kristi Maynor will join as the company's new Chief People Officer. The three leaders bring a wealth of experience in building consumer-facing brands and will report to Artie Starrs, who came to Topgolf as Chief Executive Officer earlier this year and continues to scale the company's leadership team to match its rapid expansion.

"The Topgolf movement is showing no signs of slowing down and we are building on our momentum as a brand known for safe and enjoyable fun. The addition of Gen, Geoff and Kristi to our leadership team will help fuel our growth and continue driving innovation across our Topgolf venue, Toptracer and Topgolf Media experiences," said Starrs. "These talented individuals not only have deep expertise in leading and growing consumer-facing businesses, but also stand out as inspiring leaders. I have no doubt they will help us further solidify Topgolf as a leader in the sports and entertainment industry focused on an unmatched guest experience and team culture that is truly like no other."

Gray's appointment to Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Venues comes after over three years serving as the Vice President of Operations leading Topgolf's day-to-day experience, venue operations leaders, food and beverage program, training and leadership development, and golf services for its 65 U.S. venues. She joined Topgolf from Maggiano's Little Italy, where she served as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing dozens of restaurants and thousands of employees. Her active involvement in growing teams and commitment to inclusivity has earned her tremendous respect across the Topgolf organization and the hospitality industry. Gray succeeds Craig Kessler as COO, who recently announced his plans for a new leadership opportunity outside of Topgolf.

"It's been a privilege to be part of Topgolf's growth journey over the past few years, fueled by our culture and our unique experience. We are in a tremendous position for growth as a company and I'm honored to lead our guest experience and our incredibly talented venue teams," Gray said.

Cottrill joins Topgolf's leadership team as CMO with a reputation in the industry for innovative thinking and creativity. Prior to joining Topgolf, Cottrill served as head of marketing at Coca-Cola in North America and before that held marketing leadership positions at Converse, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble and MullenLowe. Cottrill also previously earned recognition as one of BrandWeek's Marketers of the Year. He currently sits on the Advisory Boards of several emerging music and technology companies, and recently joined the Board of Giving Kitchen and the Board of the Georgia Music Accord.

"It has been remarkable to watch Topgolf innovate and attract new fans over the past decade, whether they are playing at a venue, at a Toptracer Range or on WGT online," Cottrill said. "Joining the team at Topgolf during such an exciting time for the brand is a marketer's dream. I can't wait to get started, to build on the work their team has already accomplished, and to help fuel what's already one of the great brand growth stories of our time."

Maynor comes to Topgolf from the global leadership advisory firm, Egon Zehnder, where she was a Partner and Global Head of its consumer practice. Her practice includes a focus on leadership development, digital transformation, brand building and customer centricity across a wide array of industries including restaurants, gaming, entertainment, retail, apparel, and consumer products. She regularly advises Fortune 500 companies and high-growth disruptors on brand building, ecommerce and digital capabilities while also serving as a contributor to Forbes with a focus on leadership insights.

"The first thing you feel when entering a Topgolf is the energy of its people," Maynor said. "I felt it when visiting venues as a guest and I felt it when speaking with leaders across the organization. This is only possible through the amazing team members who deliver this experience every day. I could not be more excited about taking on this important role with a guest-first mentality that will help Topgolf continue its growth journey as one of the premiere entertainment brands in the world."

About Topgolf Entertainment Group

Topgolf Entertainment Group is a technology-enabled global sports and entertainment community that connects people in meaningful ways through the experiences we create, the innovation we champion and the good that we do. What started as a simple idea to enhance the game of golf has grown into a movement where people from all walks of life connect at the intersection of technology and sports entertainment. Topgolf Entertainment Group's platforms include Topgolf global venues, Toptracer and Topgolf Media. Follow @topgolf on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit the Topgolf Press page for the latest news.

View source version at Topgolf

Roberto De Angelis Named Chief Experience Officer for Friendly's Restaurants and BRIX Holdings

Jul 28, 2021, 09:30 ET

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y., July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Amici Partners Group, owner of the restaurant chain Friendly's Restaurants and its affiliate, BRIX Holdings, a multi-brand franchising company, have jointly announced the hiring of Roberto De Angelis, a seasoned hospitality-industry executive, to the newly-created position of chief experience officer across all brands, effective immediately.

Prior to joining Friendly's Restaurants and BRIX Holdings, De Angelis served in various roles for P.F. Chang's over 18 years, most recently as the chief operating officer of global development. While there, he led the concept adaptation, development and opening of restaurants across 30 countries. Additionally, throughout his career, he has held positions in hospitality, training, food and beverage, culinary, operations, and international franchise development. He brings with him extensive knowledge of delivering on the guest experience and brand promise for fine dining restaurants, QSRs and luxury hotels.

De Angelis will report to CEO & President, Craig Erlich and will oversee menu innovation, concept development, and the overall guest experience across six national chains comprised of Friendly's Restaurants and the BRIX brands, including Orange Leaf, Smoothie Factory, Red Mango, Souper Salad, RedBrick Pizza, Greenz Salads for Z'Adventurous and Humble Donuts.

De Angelis joins an expanding executive team with deep industry experience at a time of unprecedented growth in the foodservice sector with loyal customers returning in increasing numbers. "The addition of Roberto and the recent hiring of David Ellis as CMO position our brands with additional talent, resources, and experience to enable accelerated organic growth and new acquisitions," said John Antioco, Chairman and Managing Member of JAMCO Interests LLC, majority stakeholder of Amici and BRIX.

"At the heart of the dining experience at all of our establishments is a love for the food, friends, and the enjoyment in special surroundings," said Craig Erlich. "We are raising the bar on the promise of our brands with the addition of a forward-thinking leader like Roberto, who will reinforce and elevate our commitment to a stellar guest experience. We are confident that through his expertise and direction, we will see dramatic concept evolution and begin global expansion of our brands as early as next year."

"I am grateful and excited to begin this journey with Friendly's Restaurants and BRIX as it presents an unprecedented opportunity to play a strategic role in the evolution, transformation, development, and expansion of a wide array of unique restaurant concepts," said Roberto De Angelis.  "Here, I have the opportunity to shepherd the resurgence of a legacy brand in Friendly's as well as to lead the reinvention and progression of the BRIX brands. With great brands like these, the distance between idea and application is short allowing us to move quickly and strategically increasing value for our guests, franchisees and stakeholders."

For more information about Friendly's Restaurants, visit For more information about BRIX Holdings, visit

About Friendly's Restaurants Co, LLC:

Friendly's Restaurants Co, LLC is a restaurant company that operates under the iconic brand name "Friendly's Restaurants," serving signature entrees, burgers, sandwiches and hand-crafted, specialty ice cream desserts in 130 friendly, full service restaurants. For over 80 years, Friendly's Restaurants and their dedicated service teams have delighted generations of guests by offering everyday value on great tasting food and ice cream creations. Friendly's Restaurants was acquired by Amici Partners Group, LLC, an experienced investor group with a national and international franchisor background specializing in the restaurant industry. For the future, Friendly's Restaurants has plans for introducing new and innovative food and ice cream offerings, bright new restaurants, and unique ways to reach and satisfy guests.  For additional information, please visit

About BRIX Holdings, LLC: 

BRIX Holdings, LLC is a Dallas-based multi-brand franchising company specializing in chains with superior products and attractive growth prospects. BRIX Holdings focuses on brands that are both attractive to the rapidly expanding single-unit owner/operator franchise market segment and have the potential to grow into national and international award-winning chains. The current BRIX Holdings portfolio includes Red Mango® Yogurt Café Juice Bar, Smoothie Factory® Juice Bar, Greenz Salads for Z'Adventurous®, RedBrick Pizza® Kitchen Cafe, Souper Salad®, Orange Leaf and Humble Donut chains. For additional information, please visit

About JAMCO Interests LLC:

JAMCO Interests LLC is based in Dallas, Texas. JAMCO is the majority stakeholder of BRIX Holdings, a Dallas-based multi-brand franchising company specializing in chains with superior products and attractive growth prospects and Amici Partners Group, LLC, an experienced investor group with a national and international franchisor background specializing in the restaurant industry which acquired Friendly's Restaurants in December 2020. JAMCO is also a member of TriArtisan TGIF Partners LLC, majority owner of TGIF Holdings LLC which owns and operates TGI Friday's®, the iconic American casual dining bar restaurant chain with over 900 restaurants in 60 countries worldwide.

View source version at Friendly's

Slice Announces New CFO

Jayant Mittal, former Director of Worldwide Corporate Development at Amazon Joins Slice as Chief Financial Officer To Accelerate Growth

Jul 26, 2021, 11:12 ET

NEW YORK, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Slice — the innovative tech platform powering the largest network of pizzerias nationwide — announced today that Jayant Mittal has joined the executive team as Chief Financial Officer.

Jayant joins Slice from Amazon, where he most recently spent four years as Director of Worldwide Corporate Development. In that role, he led corporate development activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa, into advanced technologies such as robotics and autonomous driving, and into fintech and payments. Jayant also represented Amazon's interest as a board member for Deliveroo, the premier food delivery company in Europe. Prior to his time at Amazon, he worked for GenPact, Credit Suisse and i2 Technologies.

"We are excited to have Jayant join Slice. His broad financial and strategic experience, particularly his understanding of how technology is reshaping all categories, will be an incredible asset to our company," said Ilir Sela, founder and CEO of Slice. "The business is at an exciting inflection point and I'm confident Jayant will play an integral role as we enter this next stage of growth and scale to over $1 billion in annual pizza sales on Slice."

Jayant commented "Ilir has established a strong vision of empowering independent pizzerias and I look forward to partnering with the Slice team to further deliver on its mission and take Slice to the next level."

About Slice A 2021 winner of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies Award, Slice empowers over 16,000 independent pizzerias with the modern tools that have allowed major pizza chains to dominate until now. By uniting these small businesses with specialized technology, marketing, data insights, and shared services, all at industry-low flat-rate pricing, Slice enables them to serve their digitally-minded customers and move away from 3rd party apps. Serial tech entrepreneur Ilir Sela started Slice to modernize and support his family's New York City pizzerias. Today, the company partners with restaurants in 3,000 cities and all 50 states, forming the nation's largest pizza network — more than double the U.S. footprint of Domino's. For more information, visit

View source version at Slice

The Cheesecake Factory Appoints Khanh Collins to Board of Directors

July 26, 2021 04:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time

CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ: CAKE) today announced the expansion of its Board of Directors from nine to 10 members and appointed Khanh “Connie” Collins as an independent member. Ms. Collins will also serve on the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board and will stand for election at the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

“Connie brings over 30 years of restaurant industry operational experience to our Board,” said David Overton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated. “The breadth of her expertise in key areas including human capital management will further expand our Board’s perspective.”

Ms. Collins currently serves as Senior Vice President of Thompson Hospitality Corporation, the largest minority-owned food service and facilities management company in the United States. In this role, she oversees all aspects of Thompson Hospitality’s restaurant and hotel brands. Previously, Ms. Collins held senior leadership positions in the casual and fine dining segments of the restaurant industry including Vice President of Operations and Global Training at The ONE Group/STK, Chief Operating Office of Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, and various roles at McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants. Ms. Collins is also an active member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

About The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated is a leader in experiential dining. We are culinary forward and relentlessly focused on hospitality. Delicious, memorable experiences created by passionate people – this defines who we are and where we are going. We currently own and operate 301 restaurants throughout the United States and Canada under brands including The Cheesecake Factory®, North Italia® and a collection within our Fox Restaurant Concepts business. Internationally, 28 The Cheesecake Factory® restaurants operate under licensing agreements. Our bakery division operates two facilities that produce quality cheesecakes and other baked products for our restaurants, international licensees and third-party bakery customers. In 2021, we were named to the FORTUNE Magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list for the eighth consecutive year. To learn more, visit and

View source version at The Cheesecake Factory

The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill Appoints Bob Andersen as Brand President

July 23, 2021

Former Executive Vice President, Anderson will Now Oversee Operations and Continued Growth of Brand

West Palm Beach, FL  (  The award winning and rapidly expanding fast-casual concept, serving a popular chef-inspired Mediterranean menu, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, announced today that Bob Andersen will now serve as Brand President. Andersen most recently held the position of Executive Vice President of the United Franchise Group (UFG) food division including The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill and Jon Smith Subs.

With nearly 30 years of leadership experience in franchising, new unit development and restaurant operations, Andersen is highly regarded as a restaurant industry leader. Andersen has a successful track record in growing emerging restaurant brands and leading teams in the quick service, fast causal, and full-service restaurant industries.

UFG began franchising The Great Greek in 2018 after partnering with co-founders Nick A. Della Penna and Trent Jones. Della Penna who was the interim President for The Great Greek, is a third-generation restaurateur with over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including the role of vice president of Food and Beverage at the Excalibur® Hotel and Casino, while Jones has many years of experience as a real estate and small business entrepreneur. Together, they purchased the first The Great Greek in Henderson, NV in 2016. Today, the co-founders own seven locations in Nevada and one in Florida with two more under development.

Since 2011, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill has operated with the vision of serving delicious chef inspired Mediterranean flavor and hospitality in a plentiful way that offers the best value of fast casual restaurant experience. Ten years later, the brand enjoys an unprecedented number of loyal customers, proven systems, unit economics, and new restaurant openings.

“As we continue to secure multi-unit franchise development agreements and prepare to open multiple Great Greek locations across the nation and internationally, it is the right time to bring in Bob Andersen,” said Della Penna. “The Great Greek delivers a guest experience unlike any other in our category and Bob’s diverse perspective, extensive operations experience, and passion for delivering best-in-class brand experience makes him an important part of the brand’s future.”

Currently, The Great Greek has 141 franchise locations either open or in development both domestically and internationally, with Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Charlotte, being key markets for the brand while other areas of interest include Atlanta, South Florida, Nashville, and Columbus.

“I look forward to leading the brand to continued growth domestically and internationally while fostering relationships with new franchisees along the way,” said Andersen. “It’s a great brand to be a part of and I’m excited to lead the team through this next chapter of growth.”

Prior to United Franchise Group, Andersen served as the CEO of Jimboy’s Tacos, where he led the team in a reorganization, rebranding and relaunch of the brands franchise program. His team achieved unprecedented results by enhancing the brand’s customer experience, year over year store sales and systemwide sales growth. Andersen was also the first franchisee and area developer, a multi-unit owner and operator of the Cowboy Chicken Restaurant brand. He also served as President for the Dallas-based franchiser, Mooyah Burgers & Fries, an emerging “better burger” concept, as well as Managing Director of Franchise Development at Boston Pizza Restaurants.

The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill is seeking single-unit or multi-unit developers. The brand’s initial franchise fee is $39,500 with a total investment cost ranging $476,050 – $798,250. For more information about The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, visit

About The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill

The award-winning Great Greek Mediterranean Grill was co-founded in 2011 by two third-generation culinary trained restaurateurs with more than 30 years of experience in the food and hospitality business, Nick A. Della Penna and Trent Jones, who purchased The Great Greek’s first location in Henderson, Nevada. After successfully opening two additional Las Vegas locations, Della Penna and Jones started franchising the concept with United Franchise Group and have seen ongoing success. United Franchise Group is comprised of ten affiliated companies and brands with more than 1,600 franchisees in more than 80 countries.

About United Franchise Group

Led by CEO Ray Titus, United Franchise Group is home to a variety of brands including Signarama, Fully Promoted, Experimax, Jon Smith Subs, Venture X, Transworld Business Advisors, Network Lead Exchange, Accurate Franchising, ROI, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, and Graze Craze. With over three decades in the franchising industry and more than 1600 franchisees throughout the world, United Franchise Group offers unprecedented leadership and solid business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

This advertisement is not an offer to sell a franchise. Any offer to sell this franchise will be made by a Franchise Disclosure Document and only following registration by Great Greek Grill in any state requiring registration prior to sale.

In New York: This advertisement is not an offering. An offering can only be made by prospectus filed first with the Department of Law of the State of New York. Such filing does not constitute approval by the Department of Law.

In California: These franchises have been registered under franchise investment law of the State of California. Such registration does not constitute approval, recommendation or endorsement by the Commissioner of business oversight nor a finding by the commissioner that the information provided herein is true, complete and not misleading.

View source version at The Great Greek

Freddy’s Announces New Chief Development Officer and Expansion of Franchise Development Executive Team

July 20, 2021

Wichita, KS  (  Fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers®, announced today the addition of multiple new members joining the development team, which will be led by Andrew Thengvall, who was recently appointed to Chief Development Officer. For the last six years, Thengvall has served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth & Chief Legal Officer. In his new role, he will oversee the company’s most recent additions including Mary Coots, Director of Franchise Development, and Todd Phelps, Director of Franchise Real Estate.

“Andrew Thengvall’s dedication to advising and strengthening the Freddy’s brand has been stellar and we have the utmost trust in his ability to continue to accelerate our franchise growth in this expanded position,” said Chris Dull, CEO. “We are thrilled that he has taken on this new role and excited to see him lead this skilled and enthusiastic team of experts to capitalize on our opportunities for expansion, as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country.”

Upon joining Freddy’s in 2015, Thengvall brought more than 10 years of legal experience, followed by the more than six years of experience he has gained at the company in the area of Strategic Franchise Growth.

Todd Phelps joined the Freddy’s team in June 2021 and his past experience includes Real Estate Director at The Wendy’s Company as well as Real Estate Manager positions at, Great Clips, and GolfTEC.

“I’m very excited to welcome Mary and Todd to our team and look forward to the new ideas and expertise they will bring to the brand’s franchise development strategy,” said Andrew Thengvall, Chief Development Officer. “In the midst of such an exciting period of growth for Freddy’s, their combined wealth of franchise sales and real estate experience will be a valuable asset as we define our growth plans and decisions. I look forward to leading this team as we accelerate Freddy’s momentum and drive the concept’s footprint throughout markets nationwide.”

These investments in the company’s development leadership team are fueled by Freddy’s continued surge in franchise growth and ongoing success systemwide. Thengvall’s team will be responsible for establishing market prioritization, franchise sales, DMA management, identifying prospective new franchisees, and coaching prospects through the discovery process. Together, the group brings over three decades of franchise experience combined, in addition to Thengvall’s 10+ years of legal experience.

Franchise opportunities remain in areas across the U.S., including the Northeast, Upper Midwest, California, Florida, Oregon, and Washington and large metro areas such as Pittsburgh and many of its surrounding markets. For more information about development opportunities, contact Mary Coots, Director of Franchise Development, at or 316-719-7854, or visit

About Freddy’s

Co-founded in 2002 by Scott Redler and Bill, Randy and Freddy Simon, Freddy’s opened its first location in Wichita, Kansas, offering a unique combination of cooked-to-order Steakburgers seasoned with Freddy’s Famous Steakburger & Fry Seasoning®, Vienna® Beef hot dogs, shoestring fries paired with Freddy’s Famous Fry Sauce® and frozen custard that is freshly churned throughout the day. The brand was acquired by private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners in March of 2021. Today, Freddy’s has grown to more than 400 locations that serve 32 states across the nation from California to Pennsylvania, Virginia, down the East Coast states to Florida. Freddy’s has been named No. 1 on Forbes Best Franchises to Buy, The 2021 Restaurant Business 10 Fastest Growing Chains in the U.S. List, Entrepreneur’s 2021 Franchise 500 top 100, Franchise Times magazine’s 2020 Fast & Serious top 40 and many other nationwide and local industry awards. For more on Freddy’s, visit the Newsroom and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest news.

View source version at Freddy's Frozen Custard

MOD Pizza Welcomes Jill Golder to Its Board of Directors

July 15, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD Pizza,” “MOD” or the “Company”), the purpose-led, people-first fast casual pizza pioneer, today announced the addition of Jill Golder to its Board of Directors. Ms. Golder, a veteran in the restaurant industry, spent more than three decades in finance leadership at category-leading brands. Ms. Golder is a current board member of ABM Industries, where she serves on the audit and governance committees and of IZEA Worldwide, where she chairs the audit committee and serves on the governance committee.

Ms. Golder has dedicated her 30-plus-year career to the restaurant industry. She most recently served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. where she led restaurant and retail financial functions, with oversight of corporate finance, investor relations, strategic planning, internal audit, quality assurance, treasury, and technology and information services. Prior to this role, Ms. Golder was executive vice president and chief financial officer at Ruby Tuesday and was chief financial officer at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. Notably, she also spent more than two decades with Darden Restaurants, one of the largest restaurant companies in the U.S., leading finance teams across several brands including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Smokey Bones, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jill to the MOD Board, where her deep industry and financial leadership experience will be a strong addition. We will look to her expertise and counsel as we continue to deepen our impact across existing markets and transition into the next phase of growth for MOD,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD.

MOD currently has more than 500 locations system-wide across 28 states and Canada, with plans for continued growth for the foreseeable future.


MOD Pizza is a purpose-led, people-first brand founded in Seattle in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. MOD serves individual artisan-style pizzas and salads that are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads with any combination of over 30 toppings, all for one incredible price. MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work. MOD recently earned a spot on the Fortune 2019 “Change the World” list, for its purpose-led culture and commitment to provide opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. The Company has also been named America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic for four years running and named the most loved pizza brand by Foodable Network. MOD has earned a spot on the Inc.5000 list and has been recognized by Fortune as one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail,” a “Best Workplace for Women,” a “Best Workplace for Millennials,” and a “Best Workplace for Diversity.” For more information, please visit or connect with the brand via FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

View source version at MOD Pizza

Krystal Welcomes Kaitlin Stoehr as New Director of Marketing

July 14, 2021

Atlanta, GA  (  Krystal Restaurants LLC, recently announced the appointment of Kaitlin Stoehr as Director of Marketing. The Georgia State University graduate will oversee planning out the marketing calendar and product innovation for the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South. Stoehr will be reporting directly to Alice Crowder, Krystal’s new Chief Marketing Officer.

Kaitlin Stoehr comes from a background in the quick service restaurant industry. Prior to joining Krystal, Stoehr served as Manager, National Calendar & Activation for Tropical Smoothie Café, a fast-casual concept known for its better-for-you-smoothies and food with a tropical twist. She also served as Brand Marketing Manager and Brand Marketing Specialist for McAlister’s Deli, the fast casual restaurant that serves hand-crafted sandwiches, soups and salads.

“I am ecstatic to be part of the Krystal team,” shared Stoehr. “My past experiences have brought me to where I am today and I am so thankful that I get to showcase my skillset with this amazing brand.”

For more information about Krystal, visit

View source version at Krystal

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