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Executive Movements - August 2023

Panera Brands Appoints Paul Carbone as Chief Financial Officer

August 15, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panera Brands Inc., which includes the iconic fast casual and hospitality brand Panera Bread as well as Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Brands, is pleased to announce the appointment of long-time industry executive Paul Carbone as Chief Financial Officer, effective August 15, 2023. Mr. Carbone brings decades of operational, IPO and public company experience and will be an integral part of Panera Brands leadership during the company’s next phase of growth. “I am excited for Paul to join the team as we continue to focus on long-term value-creation for Panera Brands,” said José Alberto Dueñas, CEO of Panera Brands and Panera Bread. “Paul’s depth of knowledge and history of success across multiple industries, particularly in the restaurant space, and his dynamic leadership qualities make him an ideal partner as we take Panera Brands to the next level.” A veteran in the restaurant industry, Mr. Carbone joins Panera Brands with significant financial executive experience in the restaurant, consumer goods and retail industries, including spending nine years at Dunkin’ Brands where he was CFO from 2012-2017 and during which the company doubled its market capitalization. He also has been the CFO of YETI Holdings, Inc., and SharkNinja. Mr. Carbone received his MBA in Finance at Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; a BSBA in Accounting and Finance from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina; and a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mr. Carbone will be based out of Panera Bread’s support center in Newton, Massachusetts. Over the last two years, Panera Brands companies have continued to drive rapid innovation, combining leading competencies in digital and loyalty with a best-in-class food innovation pipeline, a first of its kind Unlimited Sip Club subscription program, new franchise partnerships and new convenience-focused, digitally-driven store formats, building an unrivaled fast casual platform with tremendous runway for growth. Panera Bread has continued to expand its leading digital capabilities, which today account for 51% of total sales, while increasing its loyalty base to 53 million members and launching an innovative loyalty subscription model that has resulted in 25% of all Panera transactions now coming from Unlimited Sip Club members. Panera Brands generated more than $4.8 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2022. “I could not be more thrilled to join this dynamic and innovative company at such an energizing and exciting time for the business,” said Mr. Carbone. “I look forward to joining an already outstanding leadership team and accelerating the momentum of Panera Brands to deliver long-term growth and success.” About Panera Brands Panera Brands is one of the world’s largest fast casual restaurant platforms, with 3,852 locations and approximately 120,000 employees, including franchisees, across 11 countries. A portfolio of complementary brands bound by common values and shared growth opportunities, Panera Brands is comprised of Panera Bread®, Caribou Coffee® and Einstein Bros. Brands. Panera Brands companies are independently operated and underpinned by industry leading technology, loyalty, craveability, and high-quality ingredients. Panera Brands companies are united in their mission to be force multipliers for good for their guests, communities, the planet, and the shareholders they serve. Panera Bread is a pioneer and market leader in fast casual, with leadership in the quality of its clean, transparent, sustainable ingredients, and in omnichannel access, digital convenience (51% of sales are e-commerce as of July 2023) and engagement (53 MM MyPanera loyalty members as of July 2023). As of July 25, 2023, there were 2,140 Panera Bread bakery-cafes in 48 states (including the District of Columbia) in the United States and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Caribou Coffee provides high-quality, handcrafted coffee-forward beverages and craveable food options, with 769 coffeehouses in 11 countries. Einstein Bros. Brands, consisting of Einstein Bros. Bagels®, Bruegger’s Bagels®, Noah’s New York Bagels® and Manhattan Bagel® is a market leader in bagels and bagel sandwiches operating 984 company-owned and licensed units across the US.

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Captain D's Names Jeff Wilson Chief Financial Officer

10 Aug, 2023, 10:12 ET

-- Fast casual seafood leader hires industry veteran to lead financial strategies --NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Captain D's, the nation's leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today Jeff Wilson has joined its executive team as chief financial officer. Wilson will develop and execute financial strategies to support the company's business plans, as well as lead the finance department. He is joining as Captain D's continues expanding its geographic footprint, introducing new menu offerings and offering an exceptional customer experience with streamlined digital, drive-thru and delivery options. "We are pleased to have Jeff join the Captain D's executive team, bringing with him a wealth of finance, operations, and profitability enhancement skills in both public and private companies," said Phil Greifeld, CEO and president of Captain D's. "Our impressive AUVs and strong sales comps system-wide have contributed to accelerated growth with new and existing franchisees over the past several years, and we have no doubt that Jeff's extensive leadership experience will help the brand continue to reach new heights." Wilson spent the past 15 years at Cracker Barrel, most recently as the company's vice president of finance and CFO of the Emerging Brands group. He also served as corporate controller and vice president of operations analysis for the company. Prior to his time with Cracker Barrel, Wilson joined Metromedia Restaurant Group in Dallas directly after college and was there a decade, working his way up to CFO. He earned a master's in business from the University of Texas at Dallas and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Idaho. Commenting on his new role, Wilson said, "Captain D's has always stood out to me as an iconic brand that continues to grow and be a leader in the industry. I'm excited about the direction of the company and the opportunity to contribute to this incredibly talented team." Captain D's has developed restaurant footprints well-suited to the increasingly competitive real estate market, including highly efficient double drive-thrus, smaller footprints and cost-effective conversion opportunities. These flexible options are attracting multi-unit and multi-concept franchisees who are growing with the brand throughout the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. Captain D's forward-thinking real estate strategy, paired with its seafood niche in the fast casual space, has positioned the company for accelerated development in 2023 and beyond. With more than 530 restaurants in 23 states, Captain D's is the fast-casual seafood leader and number one seafood franchise in America ranked by average unit volume. The company is currently seeking single and multi-unit operators to join in the brand's rapid expansion. For more information about franchise opportunities, visit or call 800-314-4819. ABOUT CAPTAIN D'S Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Captain D's has more than 530 restaurants in 23 states. Captain D's is the nation's leading fast casual seafood restaurant and was named the #1 seafood chain in the QSR 50, ranked by AUV. Founded in 1969, Captain D's has been offering its customers high-quality seafood at reasonable prices in a welcoming atmosphere for over 50 years. Captain D's serves a wide variety of seafood that includes freshly prepared entrees and the company's signature batter dipped fish. The restaurants also offer premium-quality, grilled items such as shrimp, Tilapia and Salmon, as well as hushpuppies, desserts and freshly brewed, Southern-style sweet tea, a Captain D's favorite. For more information, please visit

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Jack in the Box Inc. Welcomes Brian Scott as New Chief Financial Officer

Company Also Announces Two New Additions to Executive Leadership Team

August 09, 2023 08:35 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced today that Brian Scott will join the company as executive vice president, chief financial officer, effective August 14, 2023. Scott is a strategic and growth-oriented business leader with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has been instrumental in driving industry-leading financial and operational performance. Most recently, Scott served as chief financial officer of ShiftKey, the leading marketplace platform designed to combat the national healthcare shortage by directly connecting clinical professionals with healthcare facilities. He also served as chief financial officer of TheKey, the largest private pay provider of home care services. Before that, he served for over 10 years as chief financial officer and chief accounting officer of AMN Healthcare, a publicly traded company with a market cap of over $3.5 billion and the nationwide leader in total talent solutions for healthcare organizations. “We are excited to welcome Brian as the newest addition to our Executive Leadership Team,” said Darin Harris, chief executive officer. “We are confident in his ability to lead us through our growth strategy, while maximizing franchise profitability and long-term shareholder value." During his time as chief financial officer and chief accounting officer at AMN Healthcare, Scott successfully executed strategies and acquisitions which, combined with organic growth, increased AMN’s enterprise value from $450 million in 2010 to over $5 billion and resulted in an over 15-times increase in the company’s share price. “I am honored to join such a renowned organization with two amazing brands and a team that has charted a path to driving sustainable growth and innovation,” said Scott. “I look forward to contributing to the company’s success and creating value for all our stakeholders.” Scott began his career at KPMG LLP in the audit group specializing in technology and healthcare companies. Brian received his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. He currently serves on the boards of Community Care Partners and Thriveworks. In addition to announcing a new CFO, the company also announced that Dawn Hooper, who served as interim chief financial officer for the past 8 months and was promoted to senior vice president, controller in December 2022, will become a new member of the Executive Leadership Team. In addition, Nitin Malhotra will also join the Executive Leadership Team, accepting the newly created position of senior vice president, strategy realization. Malhotra joins the company from Chipotle Mexican Grill, where he served as senior director, enterprise PMO since 2019. He brings over 20 years of experience driving process and strategic transformations throughout his career. Malhotra will work closely with the Executive Leadership Team to lead the Enterprise PMO and strategy execution for the company. As senior director, enterprise PMO at Chipotle, Malhotra built an Enterprise PMO from the ground up in 2019, driving the development and execution of its portfolio of strategic initiatives. Before that, he served as director, portfolio management and operations at Visa Inc., where he managed its digital and mobile product portfolio, and oversaw program management, strategic planning, and financial management. About Jack in the Box Inc. Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), founded and headquartered in San Diego, California, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box®, one of the nation's largest hamburger chains with approximately 2,200 restaurants across 21 states, and Del Taco®, the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the U.S. with approximately 600 restaurants across 16 states. For more information on both brands, including franchising opportunities, visit and

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Farmer Brothers announces transition of chief financial officer

August 07, 2023 16:25 ET

NORTHLAKE, Texas, Aug. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Brothers Company (NASDAQ: FARM), a leading roaster, wholesaler, equipment servicer and distributor of coffee, tea and other allied products, announced today it has commenced a transition of its chief financial officer role. Under the transition plan, the board of directors and Chief Financial Officer Scott Drake have mutually agreed his employment with Farmer Brothers will conclude on Oct. 1, 2023. Mr. Drake will assist with the transition, including finalizing and approving the company’s fiscal year 2023 year-end reporting and filings, fiscal year 2024 budget planning and related transitional services associated with the company’s recently closed sale of its direct ship business to TreeHouse Foods. The planned transition is not connected to any concerns related to the company’s fiscal 2023 financial results, which will be reported on schedule in September. Farmer Brothers Vice President of Finance Brad Bollner will serve as the interim chief financial officer as the company conducts a search for a new chief financial officer. Mr. Bollner joined Farmer Brothers in 2022. During his more than 25-year finance career, he has served in senior roles at Dave and Busters, Vail Resorts, Inc. and Game Stop Corp. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and economics from Trinity University and a certification with distinction from Harvard Business Analytics Program. “As we move forward with our focus on our direct store delivery business the time was right to transition our chief financial officer role. Scott has played an integral part in Farmer Brothers’ strategic transformation during his tenure with the company, including helping lead the recent sale of our direct ship business and Northlake, Texas facility,” said Chief Executive Officer Deverl Maserang. “We greatly appreciate his service, including through this transition period. We wish Scott the very best.” About Farmer BrothersFounded in 1912, Farmer Brothers is a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, equipment servicer 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, Farmer Brothers delivers extensive beverage planning services and culinary products to its U.S.-based customers. It serves a wide variety of customers, from small independent restaurants and foodservice operators to large institutional buyers, such as 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. Headquartered in Northlake, Texas, Farmer Brothers generated net sales of $469.2 million in fiscal 2022. The company’s primary brands include Farmer Brothers, Artisan Collection by Farmer Brother, Superior, Metropolitan, China Mist and Boyd’s.

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BRIX Welcomes New Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development

August 4, 2023

Fast-growing multi-brand franchising company hires Luke Mandola Jr. to bolster its executive team Dallas, TX  (  Over the past decade, BRIX Holdings LLC has established itself as a premier company in the franchise development space. As BRIX continues their focus on growth by specializing in chains that offer superior products, the Dallas-based company is staying ahead of the curb and is excited to announce Luke Mandola Jr. as its new Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development, strengthening its already savvy executive team. “I’ve been an admirer of BRIX Holdings from afar for quite some time, so obviously I’m excited to now be a part of this powerhouse,” said Mandola. “Whether at the office in Dallas or being a road warrior when visiting our stores and franchisees, being in the thick of a brand’s development process is something I’m so passionate about and I feel like that passion can really flourish here.” Having joined BRIX in late June, Mandola has hit the ground running by focusing on elevating the company’s already solid efforts in brand expansion. His first big project will be stepping into the early stages of BRIX’s efforts to create and build its new Friendly’s 2.0 prototype store, with the goal of putting the popular brand back on a strong growth plan, which includes new locations and franchise partners in the coming months. Boasting over 20 years of experience in the restaurant sector, Mandola joins BRIX after a recent successful stint at Shipley’s Do-Nuts where he was responsible for current franchisee growth, new franchise prospects, real estate development, site selection, design and construction, and training. At Shipley’s, Mandola opened over 100 locations across 11 states – including new market entry in five states, developed the brand’s Design & Construction Manual with an architectural firm, established a Franchise Incentive plan, sold and transferred 20 shops, and signed over 330 commitments through 2029. “We have obviously placed growth as one of our key strategic priorities going forward, so bringing on Luke to spearhead that makes this feel like a homerun hire,” said BRIX Holdings CEO Sherif Mityas. “With his experience and track record of success, we’re excited to see him help lead our new franchise sales growth and the development of new locations as we look to achieve our lofty targets in what is sure to be a bright future.” Thus far in 2023, BRIX has already signed six new franchise agreements, overseen the new brand launch of Pizza Jukebox, the upcoming Smoothie Factory + Kitchen flagship site in North Richland Hills, as well as new Orange Leaf and Red Mango openings with existing franchisees. For more information, visit About BRIX Holdings LLC Based in Dallas, Texas, BRIX Holdings LLC is a multi-brand franchising company specializing in chains with superior products and attractive growth prospects with an experienced operating and investor group specializing in the restaurant industry. The portfolio represents over 300 locations across 38 states and is comprised of brands including Friendly’s Restaurant Co., Red Mango, Orange Leaf, Smoothie Factory + Kitchen, SouperSalad and Pizza Jukebox. For additional information, please visit

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FAT Brands Bolsters Boards with Three New Additions

August 03, 2023 12:52 ET

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc. announces the appointment of three new Directors to its board, Peter R. Feinstein, Matthew H. Green and John C. Metz. With the additions, the Board size will increase to 12.

Mr. Feinstein and Mr. Green will serve as independent directors in addition to being appointed to the Audit Committee of the Board. Mr. Feinstein is an experienced operator of restaurant and entertainment properties, including SHAC, LLC, Fatburger franchises, Sugar Factory, El Dorado Cantina and Country Star Restaurants. He is also a retired certified public accountant, having served in senior management and audit roles with Kenneth Leventhal & Co. and Fox & Co. Based in London, Mr. Green brings over 30 years of finance experience as a merchant banker, focused primarily on the real estate, infrastructure, and energy sectors for clients including private equity firms, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.

Serving as a Director, Mr. Metz brings a wealth of restaurant experience to the Board. Mr. Metz currently owns and operates approximately 70 franchised restaurants, including Hurricane Dockside Grill restaurants franchised by the Company, as well as Denny’s and Wahoo Seafood Grill restaurants.

“I’m pleased to further bolster the size and experience of the board with the additions of Peter, Matthew and John,” said Andy Wiederhorn, Chairman of FAT Brands. “Peter and John have great insights as current franchisees within the FAT Brands system along with their other restaurant brand experiences and Matthew’s financial experience will also prove to be beneficial as we continue to grow and scale.”

For more information on FAT Brands, visit

About FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands

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

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01 Aug, 2023, 15:18 ET

BATON ROUGE, La., Aug. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, the renowned sports bar and restaurant chain, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Kendall Ware as the brand's new Chief Operating Officer. This addition comes just 30 days after Dawson's appointment as CEO. Ware brings invaluable expertise to the Walk-On's leadership team with his extensive background in the restaurant industry and a proven track record of success. "From day one, I knew Kendall would be the ideal leader to join Walk-On's with his best-in-class operations and franchise experience as a former President and CEO of several iconic brands," said Chris Dawson, CEO of Walk-On's. "More importantly, his passion for people, magnetic energy and genuine leadership style makes him an incredible addition to Walk-On's. As we continue building out the Walk-On's executive team, high caliber leaders, like Kendall, are the expectation." As the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer, Ware will be tasked with overseeing all operational aspects of the brand as well as driving growth and expansion, while ensuring exceptional guest experiences across all company and franchise restaurants. His strategic vision and strong leadership will play a pivotal role in enhancing the brand's national presence. Ware joins Walk-On's after previously serving as the Chief Operating Officer of In-Shape Health Clubs. Ware also has a wealth of experience in franchising having previously held key leadership roles including President and Chief Brand Officer of Cinnabon and Carvel, and as the CEO of Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. "Having been in the restaurant industry for many years, Walk-On's has always been a brand I've watched and admired. There is something remarkable about this brand and its teammates; the scratch-made, delicious meals and authentic hospitality are a great testament to our Louisiana heritage of great food and culture," said, Kendall Ware, Chief Operating Officer of Walk-On's. "It is an exciting time to be at Walk-On's and I look forward to working alongside Chris, as we craft the future recipe for franchisees and our brand as a whole." About Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, celebrated as the #1 Sports Bar in America by ESPN, is a nationally recognized restaurant and sports bar that brings together the love of food, sports, and community. Concepted on the back of a napkin by LSU walk-on basketball players Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux opened its doors in 2003 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, right in LSU's backyard. With a winning culture inspired by the grit, hustle and true spirit of a college walk-on, the brand has become a beloved destination for sports enthusiasts, families, and friends to celebrate any occasion. The menu boasts scratch-made dishes including hand-patted burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and Louisiana favorites, paired with a wide selection of unique cocktails and beers. Walk-On's, grounded in genuine Louisiana hospitality, ensures that guests feel right at home the moment they step into the restaurant. Entering its 20th year with nearly100 restaurants in the U.S., Walk-On's is accelerating nationwide expansion – ranked #1 by Entrepreneur for Top New Franchise and consistently ranking in Top 500 lists for Restaurant Business, Entrepreneur, Franchise Times, and Nation's Restaurant News. Walk-On's success and growth are a testament to its passionate franchise partners, including renowned athletes in co-owner Drew Brees, as well as franchisee's Dak Prescott, Derrick Brooks, and football coach Dabo Swinney. To learn more about Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux or to get more information on becoming a franchisee, please visit

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31 Jul, 2023, 16:05 ET

Tech Veteran Brings Nearly Three Decades of Experience to Help Drive Growth for Leading Fast-Casual Mexican RestaurantSAN DIEGO, July 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Modern Restaurant Concepts ("MRC"), a leading fast-casual restaurant platform comprised of the QDOBA and Modern Market Eatery brands, announced that Prashant Budhale has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer. Budhale brings more than 28 years of experience in technology leadership to MRC, and as CTO, will lead all technology across MRC brands. "We are excited for Prashant to join the MRC team," said John Cywinski, CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. "I view technology as a foundational enabler of all that we do in the restaurant business, from a guest, team member, and corporate enterprise perspective. Prashant will lead our strategy to drive technology as a powerful brand differentiator, and he will be a terrific collaborator with our existing leadership team as well as our franchise partners moving forward." "I'm excited about QDOBA's history of strong same store sales growth, potential for net unit growth, and the ability for technology to make a positive impact to both guest and team member experiences," Budhale said. "I'm also very encouraged by John's vision and Butterfly Equity's commitment to the growth of brands within MRC portfolio." Prior to joining Modern Restaurant Concepts, Budhale served as Head of Technology for SONIC Drive-In, part of the Inspire Brands portfolio. At SONIC, he was responsible for the vision, development, and implementation of all technology initiatives across the 3,550 unit, $6B brand. Prior to SONIC, Prashant was Senior Director for Pizza Hut, part of YUM! Brands, where he led retail technology. Earlier in his career, Prashant worked as a software development consultant with IBM, Allstate, Oracle, Capgemini, and Fujitsu America. QDOBA is a fast casual Mexican restaurant with over 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Committed to delivering 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, tacos, burrito bowls, salads, quesadillas, and nachos to fit their personal tastes. For five 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. For more information on the company, please visit or follow the brand on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. About Modern Restaurant Concepts Modern Restaurant Concepts is one of the largest fast casual restaurant platforms in North America with nearly 800 units across two brands, QDOBA and Modern Market Eatery. The system operates corporate-owned and franchised units across nearly every U.S. state as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. Modern Restaurant Concepts is owned by Butterfly Equity, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, with more than $10 billion of equity capital in companies ranging from growth-stage to Fortune 500 enterprises. QDOBA is a fast casual Mexican restaurant with over 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Committed to delivering 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, tacos, burrito bowls, salads, quesadillas, and nachos to fit their personal tastes. For five 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. Modern Market Eatery is a food forward, sustainable fast casual restaurant concept that operates in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and Indiana. Delivering the freshness and flavors of the market in a modern dining format and environment, Modern Market Eatery's menu of protein-centric bowls, garden fresh salads, toasted sandwiches and brick-oven pizzas redefine what it means to eat well at a reasonable price. For additional information about Modern Market Eatery, please visit

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P.F. Chang's Announces CEO Transition

31 Jul, 2023, 09:04 ET

Damola Adamolekun to Step Down as CEO; Rohit Manocha Appointed Interim CEOSCOTTSDALE, Ariz., July 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc. (the "Company") today announced that Damola Adamolekun has decided to step down as Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") effective August 1st, 2023. The Board has appointed Rohit Manocha, a shareholder representative and P.F. Chang's board member since 2019, to serve as interim CEO and is working with an independent recruitment firm to conduct a comprehensive search for a successor. Mr. Adamolekun will return to Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson") as a Partner focusing on investments. "On behalf of the Board and the entire P.F. Chang's team, I want to thank Damola for his invaluable contributions since he joined the Company," said John Paulson, Board Chairman and President of Paulson. "Damola stepped in as CEO in the midst of the Covid-induced economic shut down and successfully pivoted the business to off-premise dining to continue to serve customers and stabilize cash flow.  Subsequently, he returned the Company to growth through a total brand refresh and new restaurant openings that position P.F. Chang's for long-term success.  We are grateful for his leadership of the Company during this period." "I'm immensely proud of all that we've accomplished to elevate the customer experience, to build-out the Company's technology infrastructure to enable a robust takeout and delivery business, and to expand our international footprint," said Mr. Adamolekun. "It's been an honor to lead P.F. Chang's, and I wholeheartedly believe the strong team we have in place will continue to drive success in the future." Mr. Manocha said, "The P.F. Chang's brand and restaurant network are in a great position, and I look forward to working closely with our talented team to build on our momentum, drive increased traffic and transition the Company to its next world class leader. Most importantly, we will continue to make our customers' lives better through iconic, authentic food and joyful hospitality." Mr. Manocha is a seasoned leader with deep experience in the restaurant, retail and investment industries. He is the Co-founder of TriArtisan Capital Advisors, a private investment firm, and his responsibilities include serving as chairman of TGI Fridays and a board member of Dover Saddlery and of Mears Transportation. In the four and half years since acquisition, the Company has invested more than $200mm to open more than ten bistros and two flagships, revitalized the existing store fleet, and upgraded the menu and experience in restaurants to provide customers with the highest quality Asian food in an entertaining and celebratory setting. The Company has significantly expanded its takeout and delivery business, launching a small-footprint P.F. Chang's To Go format so more customers can enjoy P.F. Chang's anywhere. The Company is now in an ideal position to continue to grow and take advantage of the substantial opportunity to bring the P.F. Chang's experience worldwide. About P.F. Chang's Founded in 1993 by Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, P.F. Chang's is the first internationally recognized multi-unit Asian culinary brand to honor and celebrate the 2,000-year-old tradition of wok cooking as the center of the guest experience. With roots in Chinese cuisine, today's menu at P.F. Chang's spans across all of Asia, honoring cultures and recipes from Japan, Korea, Thailand, and beyond. Each item offers a unique exploration of flavor, whether it's a handcrafted cocktail, wok-fired lunch bowl, or celebratory multi-course dinner. Worldwide, P.F. Chang's has more than 300 restaurants in 22 countries and U.S. airport locations, including a growing number of convenient P.F. Chang's To Go locations offering takeout and delivery. For more P.F. Chang's news, visit

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Papa Johns Appoints Patrick Coelho as SVP of Development, Introducing New Role Amid Growth in the Region

July 31, 2023 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns”) today announced the appointment of Patrick Coelho as the Company’s first-ever Senior Vice President of Development, effective July 31, 2023. In this newly established role, Mr. Coelho will oversee North American restaurant real estate development activities, continue to advance business development goals and collaborate with senior leadership to execute the Company’s North America franchise development strategic plan. He will report to Amanda Clark, Chief International and Development Officer for Papa Johns. “Patrick brings a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to this new role during a time of substantial growth and expansion for Papa Johns,” said Ms. Clark. “His passion for driving a culture of collaboration and his eye for process optimization will continue to strengthen our operations and unlock value for our franchise network in the North American region.” Mr. Coelho joins Papa Johns with more than a decade of experience managing business functions ranging from finance and operations to real estate and franchise relations for global consumer brands. He most recently developed and executed an aggressive, international expansion strategy for Scooter’s Coffee after spending eight years with Restaurant Brands International, where he led efforts to reimagine and modernize Burger King’s presence in North America. “Papa Johns is a globally recognized brand that is leading the charge when it comes to innovation in the pizza category,” said Mr. Coelho. “I’m excited to join as the first SVP of Development for North America and look forward to supporting the Company’s impressive expansion efforts. I’m eager to begin and uncover more ways to bolster this ongoing development and operational performance, while deepening relationships with our franchisees and streamlining customer experiences across the Americas.” Mr. Coelho has served in several leadership and development roles in the restaurant industry. He holds a BSBA in Finance and Global Business from Suffolk University and completed the Program for Leadership Development in Business Administration and Management at Harvard Business School. About Papa Johns Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns”) opened its doors in 1984 with one goal in mind: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA. Papa Johns believes that using high quality ingredients leads to superior quality pizzas. Its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Papa Johns tops its pizzas with real cheese made from mozzarella, pizza sauce made with vine-ripened tomatoes that go from vine to can in the same day and meat free of fillers. It was the first national pizza delivery chain to announce the removal of artificial flavors and synthetic colors from its entire food menu. Papa Johns is co-headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. and Louisville, Ky. and is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,700 restaurants in approximately 50 countries and territories. For more information about the Company or to order pizza online, visit or download the Papa Johns mobile app for iOS or Android.

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Sheilina Henry Promoted to President of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

July 27, 2023 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLMN) announced the promotion of Sheilina Henry to President of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. She will be responsible for leading operations and development for the company’s fine dining brand renowned for serving prime steak and uniquely curated wine dinners. “Sheilina’s extensive background in operations and her drive and passion for excellence will help create a meaningful impact at this exceptional brand,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin' Brands. “New restaurant growth is a priority at Fleming’s, and it is as close as the new flagship location that recently broke ground across the street from the Restaurant Support Center in Tampa.” Henry has more than 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, Regional Vice President of Operations in 2019, and Group Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2020. She most recently added leadership for Off-Premises Dining to her Senior Vice President responsibilities. Henry holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. 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 concepts. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Company owns and operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 47 states, Guam and 13 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit

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Papa Johns Appoints John Miller to Board of Directors

Miller Brings 45 Years of Restaurant Operations and Management Experience

July 27, 2023 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns®”) today announced that John Miller, Former President and Chief Executive Officer and Director of Denny’s Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN) has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors as a new independent director. “We are pleased to welcome John to the Papa Johns Board,” said Christopher L. Coleman, Chair of the Papa Johns Board of Directors. “He is an accomplished restaurant industry veteran with a track record of over 45 years in restaurant operations and executive management experience at leading industry brands. John’s fresh perspective on the board, combined with his franchise, brand and development skills and insights, will strengthen our ability to support the management team in driving future growth and value creation, further bolstering our leadership position in the pizza segment.” John Miller served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Denny's Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN), responsible for leading the strategic direction of the company, and spent more than 11 years with Denny’s before retiring in August 2022. Prior to joining Denny's, Mr. Miller served as Chief Executive Officer of Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc. (2005-2011) and also spent 17 years with Brinker International, where he held numerous management positions. “Papa Johns is an iconic brand within the restaurant space that is leading the industry in innovation, and I am honored to join the Board at such an exciting time for the company,” said Mr. Miller. “I look forward to sharing my industry and operational experience with the Board and management team to help advance Papa Johns’ strategic initiatives and deliver long-term profitable growth for all stakeholders.” Rob Lynch, President and CEO of Papa Johns added, "We are thrilled to welcome John Miller to our Board. His wealth of experience and perspectives in the restaurant industry, including as a two-time CEO, will bring valuable insight and meaningful impact to Papa Johns. We look forward to working with John." About John Miller John Miller is the Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Denny's Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN) and an accomplished restaurant industry veteran. He joined Denny’s in February 2011, bringing extensive restaurant operations and management experience to the national diner chain with 1,647 restaurants operating globally. During his tenure he delivered consistent growth across the business while also driving innovation of the brand and operations by investing in new technologies. He continues to serve on Denny’s Board of Directors. Mr. Miller recently served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Wilberforce University, a historically Black College renowned for its work in this regard. During his time in Spartanburg, he was actively involved with United Way of Piedmont; Habitat for Humanity; The Spartanburg Academic Movement, a cradle-to-career model for education; and the One Spartanburg initiative for Spartanburg, South Carolina, to become a model town for America to witness. Prior to joining Denny's, Mr. Miller served as Chief Executive Officer of Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc. (2005-2011). He also spent 17 years with Brinker International, where he held numerous management positions, including President of Romano's Macaroni Grill; President of Brinker's Mexican Concepts, responsible for overseeing On The Border and Cozymel's; and Vice President, Franchise, for the Chili's brand. Earlier in his career, he held various operations and restaurant management positions at Unigate Restaurant/Casa Bonita in Dallas, Texas. John Miller’s achievements include the TDn2k Best People Practices Award, the IFMA Silver and Gold Plate Awards, the MUFSO Golden Chain Award, the Urban League of the Upstate's Whitney M. Young, Jr. Humanitarian Award, The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Award, and The Denny's 2018 Franchisee Association Chairman's Award. About Papa Johns Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns”) opened its doors in 1984 with one goal in mind: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA. Papa Johns believes that using high quality ingredients leads to superior quality pizzas. Its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Papa Johns tops its pizzas with real cheese made from mozzarella, pizza sauce made with vine-ripened tomatoes that go from vine to can in the same day and meat free of fillers. It was the first national pizza delivery chain to announce the removal of artificial flavors and synthetic colors from its entire food menu. Papa Johns is co-headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. and Louisville, Ky. and is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,700 restaurants in approximately 50 countries and territories. For more information about the Company or to order pizza online, visit or download the Papa Johns mobile app for iOS or Android.

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California Pizza Kitchen Announces Appointment of Three New Board Members

Charles Yamarone, JR Young, and John C. Tolbert to join company board of directors

July 26, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

COSTA MESA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the creator of the California-style pizza, today announced the appointment of three new board members - Charles Yamarone, Chief Corporate Governance Officer of Houlihan Lokey Inc.; JR Young, Head of Active Management and Portfolio Manager for Jefferies Finance LLC; and John C. Tolbert, Senior Vice President of BRE Hotels & Resorts. They join existing board members Jeff Warne, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen; Daniel Kokini, Managing Director at FTI Consulting; and Ashley Sheetz, Chief Operating Officer of At Home Group Inc. “CPK is delighted to announce that Charles Yamarone, JR Young and John C. Tolbert will be joining our board of directors,” said Jeff Warne, CEO, California Pizza Kitchen. “As highly respected business leaders, they each bring valuable experience to further enhance and balance the diverse skills on the Board and advance our growth plans. We look forward to benefitting from their expertise as CPK continues to accelerate its current business momentum and build on its position as the leader in creative California-inspired cuisine.” California Pizza Kitchen’s new board members are:

  1. Charles Yamarone, Chief Corporate Governance Officer of Houlihan Lokey, Inc., a global investment bank. Yamarone has previously served on several public company boards including United Airlines, Continental Airlines, the El Paso Electric Company, and Redbox Entertainment.

  2. JR Young, Head of Active Management and Portfolio Manager for Jefferies Finance LLC, where he focuses on large exposures, business restructuring and private equity investments. In addition to CPK, Young currently sits on the board for TOMS Shoes and Forma Brands.

  3. John C. Tolbert, SVP of Asset Management at BRE Hotels & Resorts. With over three decades of experience in hospitality and tourism launching major hospitality brands and leading luxury resorts, Tolbert is a public speaker in the luxury space and board member for numerous community and professional organizations.About California Pizza Kitchen In 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened its first restaurant in Beverly Hills and introduced diners to gourmet California inspired pizza. With a passion for combining fresh, seasonal ingredients with flavor inspirations from around the world, today CPK is a global brand serving creative California cuisine in more than 180 restaurants across 10 countries and U.S. territories. From its innovative, hearth-baked pizzas such as The Original BBQ Chicken, Thai Chicken, and California Club, to inventive salads, and unique pasta dishes that combine the old world with the new, CPK does everything with an imaginative California-inspired twist that guests love.

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Zaxby’s Welcomes Donny Lau as New Chief Financial Officer

July 25, 2023

Dollar General veteran joins executive team Athens, GA  (  Saucy chicken chain Zaxby’s® welcomes Donny Lau as chief financial officer effective July 25. With more than 20 years of experience, Lau comes to Zaxby’s most recently from Dollar General, where he served as senior vice president, finance & chief strategy officer. Prior to his Dollar General tenure, Lau held numerous roles at Yum! Brands. At Zaxby’s, Lau will lead the finance function, including financial strategy, planning and analytics, accounting and treasury. “Donny’s proven track record in driving financial growth in QSR and retail organizations, implementing effective strategies and navigating complex financial landscapes makes him a perfect fit for Zaxby’s as we embark on our next phase of growth and expansion,” said Bernard Acoca, Zaxby’s CEO. “I am confident that his expertise and leadership will further elevate our organization’s financial performance and position us for continued success.” Lau joins Zaxby’s from Dollar General, the largest retailer in the U.S. based on store count, with more than 19,000 company-owned stores and $38 billion in annual revenue, where he served as the senior vice president, finance & chief strategy officer. Since joining Dollar General in 2017, Lau held a variety of leadership positions overseeing many of the company’s key corporate finance functions including strategy, corporate development, investor relations, financial planning & analysis (FP&A) and strategic planning. While at Yum! Brands, Lau held numerous roles of increasing responsibility, including mergers and acquisitions, FP&A, investor relations, corporate strategy and corporate planning. He also helped architect and played a lead role in the 2016 spin-off of Yum! China into a separate publicly traded company and the subsequent financial refranchising strategy to transform Yum! Brands into a capital-light pure-play franchisor. Lau received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and holds an MBA in finance and strategy from Vanderbilt University. “I am very excited to join Zaxby’s and work alongside this talented team, including our team members and franchisees, to drive the next chapter of growth,” Lau said. “I look forward to helping build on the company’s strong foundation and positive momentum as we continue to capitalize on growth opportunities we see ahead, while delivering meaningful value creation for all stakeholders.” About Zaxby’s Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads with Southern hospitality and a modern twist. Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich received Thrillist’s Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich for two consecutive years. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 17 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

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SPB Hospitality Promotes Luis Haro to Senior Director of Culinary

July 25, 2023

Haro celebrates more than 20 years Houston, TX  (  SPB Hospitality, operator and franchisor of Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, J. Alexander’s, Krystal Restaurants and a collection of high-end restaurant brands and breweries, has promoted Luis Haro to Senior Director of Culinary. Haro has worked for Logan’s Roadhouse for over 20 years and has spent the last six years working in the culinary department at SPB Hospitality. Haro began his restaurant career 27 years ago working in the kitchen and later transitioning to training and development and then research and development. Haro has created hit menu items, including Logan’s Roadhouse iconic Potato Skins appetizer, which was ranked a top 20 menu item in Flavor magazine in 2018. Not only was this an award winning and fan-favorite appetizer, but it also heavily reduced waste in restaurant, leading to an increase in bottom line. “When I started working a part-time restaurant job in high school, I never imagined it would turn into a long-term career with the opportunity to lead a culinary team and create menu items people love,” said Luis Haro, senior director of culinary for SPB Hospitality. “This is a great next step for me, and I look forward to continuing working with people I admire and with a company that has a great culture. As SPB Hospitality has grown, so has our circle of chefs. I hope to create a collaborative environment with the chefs across each brand to work on menu innovation and development.” One of Haro’s focuses within his new role will be cross-utilizing of menu items between SPB brands. An innovation he is looking into is introducing beer from SPB breweries into menu items such as Logan’s Roadhouse onion rings, to create a cross-branded yet localized product. He and the culinary team will focus their creative process to develop menu items relevant to the consumer and make great food for more people. “SPB stands for Serving People Better, and Luis is the prime example of our brand values. We are thankful for his longevity and dedication to our restaurants,” said Josh Kern, Interim CEO at SPB Hospitality. “We value his community-centric approach and pride ourselves on promoting great employees like Luis from within to truly cultivate the best culture across our portfolio.” When he’s not innovating in the test kitchen, Haro is a board member of the International Corporate Chefs Association. He resides in Franklin, Tenn., and resides in Franklin, TN with his wife and two daughters. About SPB Hospitality SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, spanning a national footprint of hundreds of restaurants and breweries in 37 states and territories. The Company’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Krystal Restaurants, and a collection of high-end restaurant brands including J. Alexander’s and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. SPB Hospitality is also one of the largest operators of craft brewery restaurants in the country including Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery. To learn more visit

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Ruby Slipper Strengthens Executive Team with Exciting Moves

July 24, 2023

Acclaimed New Orleans-based eatery hires Camille Collins as Executive Director of Marketing and promotes Jen Beougher to Chief Administrative Officer New Orleans, LA  (  Following its announcement of Elizabeth McGee as its new Chief Executive Officer, Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group wasted little time in making even more moves to bolster its already robust executive team. Today, the acclaimed New Orleans-based eatery welcomes Camille Collins as its new Executive Director of Marketing and promotes Jen Beougher to Chief Administrative Officer. “It’s never slow here as we continue to revamp our executive team with an endless effort in being the go-to brunch spot and build a forward-looking, ‘always better’ culture,” McGee said. “With Jen’s strong financial acumen and Camille’s flawless marketing mind, both bring a wealth of experience to their new positions and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for what is sure to be a bright future for Ruby Slipper and Ruby Sunshine.” As the new CAO, Beougher will drive overall company performance by maintaining active communication between various departments, including accounting/finance, IT, procurement, development, construction and operations. She will also oversee all compliance and legal matters, in addition to leading the development, implementation and execution of the organizational strategic plan. Beougher joined Ruby Slipper in 2018 as the Restaurant Group’s first Chief Financial Officer where her passion for fostering quality business growth and a positive culture across the company prospered. Prior to that, Beougher spent more than a decade at Bloomin’ Brands – the parent company of Outback Steakhouse. Her roles within the company’s accounting, project management and finance departments prepared her to step up as the Senior Director of Financial Planning and Analysis. Ruby Slipper tapped Collins as its Executive Director of Marketing where she will oversee marketing, communications, business development, social media, advertising and brand management. Boasting over 20 years of combined marketing, communications, event planning, and business development experience within the hospitality and food industries, Collins dove headfirst into the field upon returning home to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina by working with Chef Paul Prudhomme as a member of the Research and Development team at Magic Seasoning Blends as Director of Business Development. She most recently served as Director of Marketing & Communications at Commander’s Family of Restaurants following a successful tenure as the Marketing Director at Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts – the largest family-owned restaurant group in Louisiana. The original Ruby Slipper Café opened in New Orleans over 14 years ago and has since expanded with Ruby Slipper and Ruby Sunshine locations across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. To learn more, visit About Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group was founded in New Orleans in 2008 to help bring the community together over a shared love for brunch. Now, over a decade since that first cozy Ruby Slipper Café, the group has grown to operate two brands with over twenty restaurants in six states. Serving all-day brunch and eye-opening cocktails, both Ruby Sunshine and Ruby Slipper Café are open seven days a week. For more, follow Ruby Sunshine on Facebook and Instagram, and visit online at

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Newk’s Eatery Welcomes New Director of Franchise Sales

July 24, 2023

Iconic fast-casual restaurant brand hires David Boatright to bolster its executive team Jackson, MS  (  Newk’s Eatery is pleased to announce that it has hired David Boatright as director of Franchise Sales to lead the expansion of the brand. “We’re excited to have David join our team.,” said Newk’s CEO Frank Paci. “He brings a wealth of franchising experience in the industry  and will really be able to contribute significantly  our franchise development efforts.” Boatright joins Newk’s at a time when it is looking to expand its brand into key markets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. “I’ve been a fan of Newk’s from afar for quite some time and I’m so excited to now be joining such a great brand,” Boatright said. “I pride myself in being a successful leader with an  ability to deliver significant unit development  growth. Prior to joining Newk’s, Boatright was Director of Franchise Sales at Fazoli’s. He also has past experience at other popular brands such as Bojangles, McAlister’s Deli, Huddle House, Mrs. Fields and TCBY. For more information on Newk’s and to sign up for Newk’s Rewards, visit About Newk’s Eatery Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Newk’s Eatery is a fast-casual chain that operates and franchises just under 100 units in 15 states. Founded in 2004 and named after Co-Founder Chris “Newk” Newcomb, Newk’s offers salads, sandwiches, soups, and pizzas, all made in-house without fryers or microwaves. Fresh grab-and-go options are also available, and Newk’s new mobile app, now available on Google Play and the App Store, offers mobile ordering for curbside, in-store pickup or delivery. In 2020, Newk’s ranked in Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Top 200 Countdown “and Restaurant Business’ Top 250 Chains.  Newk’s has also been selected as a Top Food Franchise by Entrepreneur. In 2021, Newk’s was recognized in Nation’s Restaurant’s News as a “Top Scorer in Takeout Food Quality” and ranked among the highest “True Loyalty” scores –the percentages of respondents who said they visit because of a real desire to experience the brand, as opposed to convenience. For more information, visit, join Newk’s Rewards or follow Newk’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. For franchise information, visit

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SPB Hospitality Names Michael Casey New Chief Development Officer

July 24, 2023

Growth is a key priority as brand increases footprint Houston, TX  (  SPB Hospitality, the renowned operator and franchisor of J. Alexander’s, Krystal, Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and a diverse collection of restaurant brands and breweries, is set to achieve new heights of growth with the appointment of Michael Casey as its new Chief Development Officer. In this crucial role, Casey will be overseeing real estate, licensing, franchising, and development for the company’s impressive portfolio of brands. This appointment comes in the wake of Josh Kern’s recent promotion as the permanent CEO of SPB Hospitality. “Michael has demonstrated his ability to successfully represent a myriad of franchise concepts both within and outside the hospitality space. His knowledge of the markets, the brokers, multi-unit franchisees seeking expansion, along with a keen business sense will help our brands work together to offer operators more customized growth packages than ever before,” said Josh Kern, CEO at SPB Hospitality. With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Casey joins SPB from Ideal Image, where he was responsible for overhauling its development function, including lease administration and renewal, landlord relations, and facilities management. He’s also spent much of his career at leading restaurant brands managing the development of new units and teams of people, all while driving growth initiatives and brand strategy. “I am thrilled to join SPB Hospitality and work with a talented team of restaurateurs across the country,” said Michael Casey, Chief Development Officer for SPB Hospitality. “SPB has an incredible line-up of brands that all present unique challenges and opportunities. I look forward to bringing my perspective to SPB’s growth strategy and working closely with our current and future franchise partners.” For more information about SPB Hospitality, visit About SPB Hospitality SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants across 37 U.S. states and territories. With a national footprint encompassing hundreds of restaurants and breweries, SPB Hospitality is dedicated to delivering exceptional dining experiences. SPB Hospitality’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands include Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and an impressive collection of high-end restaurant brands such as J. Alexander’s and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. As one of the country’s largest operators of craft brewery restaurants, SPB Hospitality takes pride in its craft beer expertise. SPB Hospitality proudly owns and operates renowned craft brewery restaurant brands like Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery. Visit our website at to explore the exceptional flavors, inviting atmospheres, and unparalleled dining experiences that await you at SPB Hospitality’s restaurants and breweries.

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Executive Vice President and President of Maggiano's Little Italy Set to Retire

20 Jul, 2023, 18:20 ET

Industry Veteran Steve Provost Will Retire After Nearly Four DecadesDALLAS, July 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) today announced Steve Provost, executive vice president and president of its Italian casual dining brand, Maggiano's Little Italy®, will retire at the end of August 2023. "Steve is a one-of-a-kind, humble and courageous leader with an incredible presence and knack for storytelling that will be missed," said Kevin Hochman, president and CEO, Brinker International and president of Chili's® Grill & Bar. "He is leaving the brand in a stronger position, having continued the legacy of making both Guests and Teammates feel special, and I am grateful for his leadership and the wonderful foundation he and the team built." Provost joined Brinker in 2009 as senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy, Maggiano's, and later that year became brand president, leading strategy and overseeing growth and development, operations, marketing, culinary and PeopleWorks. During his eight-year tenure as president, Maggiano's drove 21 consecutive quarters of same restaurant sales growth. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Chili's in 2017 where he launched the brand's everyday value platform, brought back the famous Baby Back Ribs jingle and invested in digital marketing. In 2018, Provost took on a new role as chief concept officer, leading supply chain management, driving strategic growth and culinary innovation – and conceiving and launching Brinker's first virtual brand, It's Just Wings. In 2020, he resumed his role as Maggiano's president, helping lead the brand out of COVID-19 with stronger sales and profits than pre-pandemic. Prior to joining Brinker, Provost served in leadership roles in marketing, operations, franchise and concept development for multiple brands, including Quizno's, PepsiCo and Yum! Brands. "My first restaurant job was as a 16-year-old dishwasher in Montpelier, Vt. Decades later, I have been fortunate to end my restaurant career with a company that embodies the Norman Brinker spirit of hospitality and servant leadership," Provost said. "To travel the country helping bus tables and wash dishes at a restaurant chain as beloved as Maggiano's is an honor for anyone who loves restaurants as much as I do. This journey has been the ultimate privilege." The company will conduct an external search for a president who will work with the team to protect what makes Maggiano's special, modernize the brand for today's consumer needs and accelerate its growth. About Brinker Brinker International, Inc. is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies and home of Chili's® Grill & Bar, Maggiano's Little Italy® and a virtual brand: It's Just Wings®. Founded in 1975 in Dallas, Texas, we've ventured far from home, but stayed true to our roots. Brinker owns, operates or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants in 30 countries and two U.S. territories. Our passion is making people feel special, and we hope you feel that passion each time you visit one of our restaurants or invite us into your home through takeout or delivery. Learn more about Brinker and its brands at About Maggiano's Little Italy Maggiano's Little Italy specializes in Italian-American cuisine served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Maggiano's menu features both classic and contemporary recipes – authentic pastas, signature salads, steaks, fresh seafood, regular chef specials and specialty desserts. Maggiano's 52 restaurants nationwide offer lunch and dinner as well as delivery, carryout services and banquet spaces for special occasions. Follow news about Maggiano's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. For additional information, including the restaurant nearest you, please visit

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Smokey Bones Names Javier Retamar Chief Financial Officer

July 20, 2023

Seasoned finance expert tapped to grow brand Plantation, FL  (  Smokey Bones, the Masters of Meat, rece,ntly named Javier Retamar as the new Chief Financial Officer for the restaurant company headquartered in South Florida. Retamar is a seasoned and accomplished executive who has had exceptional success in leading teams within cross-functional groups to achieve strategic goals. “Javier has led an impressive finance career. His strategic and growth mindset will help drive our organization as we look to expand our presence and continue to evolve our brand,” said Hal Lawlor, President and Chief Operating Officer for Smokey Bones. “We are thrilled to welcome him to our executive team and look forward to collaborating with him to continue to position our brand as a leader within our space.” Prior to Smokey Bones, Javier Retamar served as Principal, Business Consultant and Commercial Real Estate Broker Services for Preserved Enterprises Inc. in Boca Raton, FL. In this capacity, he provided strategic direction to optimize growth, stabilize operations, and increase cash flow. He focused on the restaurant and retail industries in South Florida. Retamar served in executive roles for other food and beverage organizations including Chief Financial Officer for Maple Street Biscuit Company and Skeeter Snacks, both in Jacksonville, FL. He also served as Senior Director, Financial Planning & Analysis for major Southeast grocer Winn-Dixie and prior to that was Financial Analysis & Planning Manager for Safeway Corporation. Javier Retamar launched his finance career with The Sports Authority, where he cultivated his business savviness through various finance and accounting roles. Retamar holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from Florida State University. “I am honored to join the Smokey Bones leadership and be part of this brand that leans into innovation,” said Javier Retamar, Chief Financial Officer for Smokey Bones. “The company has such incredible and beloved offerings and I’m looking forward to exploring ways that we can build on existing successes to grow the business exponentially toward an even more successful future.” To learn more about Smokey Bones, please visit To make a reservation at your nearest location, visit the link here. About Smokey Bones The ‘Masters of Meat,’ Smokey Bones is a full-service restaurant delivering great barbecue, award winning ribs, crave-worthy cocktails and memorable moments in 61 locations across 16 states. Smokey Bones serves lunch, dinner, and late night everyday, and an all-day Sunday brunch menu. Smokey Bones also has a full bar featuring a variety of bourbons and whiskeys; a selection of domestic, import and local craft beers; and signature, handcrafted cocktails. The restaurant offers a variety of meats that are slow-smoked, fire-grilled, and roasted to perfection available for dine-in, pick-up, online ordering, catering, and delivery. Smokey Bones offers a 10 percent discount to active duty and veterans with ID. Smokey Bones is an affiliate of Boca Raton, FL based Sun Capital Partners. For additional information and a list of locations nationwide, please visit  Smokey Bones, Meat is What We Do!

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Yum! Brands Appoints Former Walmart CFO Brett Biggs and Boeing CIO Susan Doniz to Board

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the appointments of Brett Biggs, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart Inc., and Susan Doniz, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Information Technology & Data Analytics of The Boeing Company, to its Board of Directors, effective August 10, 2023.

July 19, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the appointments of Brett Biggs, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart Inc., and Susan Doniz, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Information Technology & Data Analytics of The Boeing Company, to its Board of Directors, effective August 10, 2023. “Brett and Susan bring deep leadership experience and proven track records driving performance and innovation for well-known customer-oriented and technology-centric companies, making them outstanding additions to the Yum! Brands Board,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman of the Yum! Brands Board of Directors and Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “We look forward to the insights and contributions Brett and Susan will bring to the Yum! Board that will undoubtedly unlock growth and benefit our stakeholders.” “Brett’s impressive background leading global finance, corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions at one of the world’s most iconic and customer-focused retailers positions him perfectly to contribute to the Yum! Board and help shape our future growth and performance,” said David Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer, Yum! Brands. “Yum! will also benefit from Brett’s experience in global operations and digital transformation as we continue to prioritize initiatives that strengthen operational execution, accelerate digital sales and provide great experiences for our customers and restaurant team members.” Gibbs continued, “Susan has strong expertise in adopting new, cutting-edge technologies and leveraging agile digital solutions and data analytics capabilities to drive business growth and support customer needs. Her wealth of knowledge will be invaluable as we pursue our bold goal of powering 100 percent of our sales by digital and investing in technologies that enable easy experiences for customers, easy operations in restaurants and easy insights to accelerate profitable growth for Yum! and our franchisees.” About Brett Biggs Biggs is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart Inc., a people-led, tech-powered omnichannel retailer. In his role as Chief Financial Officer at Walmart Inc., in which he served from 2016 until June 2022, Biggs was responsible for all global finance and indirect procurement functions as well as corporate strategy. His oversight also included Walmart’s global Enterprise Business Services work to deliver digital and finance transformation initiatives worldwide. Biggs spent nearly 23 years at Walmart, serving in senior leadership positions including Chief Financial Officer for Walmart International, Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club. He also served as Senior Vice President of International Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, and as Senior Vice President of Operations for Sam’s Club. Before joining Walmart, Biggs held various M&A and corporate finance positions with Leggett & Platt, Phillips Petroleum Co. and Price Waterhouse. Biggs serves as a senior advisor for Blackstone and sits on the Board of Directors of Adobe. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Harding University and received an MBA with Honors from Oklahoma State University. About Susan Doniz Doniz is Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Information Technology & Data Analytics of The Boeing Company, a leading global aerospace company. In this role, Doniz oversees all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics and supports the growth of Boeing’s business through IT and analytics-related revenue generating programs. She is also a member of the company’s Executive Council. Before joining Boeing in 2020, Doniz was the Group CIO of Qantas Airways and, prior to that, served in digital transformation and IT leadership roles at SAP and Aimia. Doniz also spent 17 years at Procter & Gamble leading IT programs in support of sales, research and development and the supply chain. Doniz serves as an adviser to the Center for Digital Transformation at the University of California, Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business. She has served as Vice Chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association and as a board member of multiple nonprofit organizations. Doniz has been a champion and self-starter of a variety of diversity networks for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as for Hispanics in business leadership. The Association of Latino Professionals For America named Doniz as one of the most powerful Latinas in 2022. She is an honors graduate of the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in applied science and engineering and studied post graduate in industrial engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. About Yum! Brands Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, and its subsidiaries franchise or operate a system of over 55,000 restaurants in more than 155 countries and territories under the Company’s concepts – KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the Habit Burger Grill. The Company's KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands are global leaders of the chicken, Mexican-style food, and pizza categories, respectively. The Habit Burger Grill is a fast casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. In 2023, the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands were ranked in the top five of Entrepreneur’s Top Global Franchises Ranking. In addition, in 2023 Yum! Brands was included on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity; and Newsweek’s lists recognizing America’s Most Responsible Companies, America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity and America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women. In 2022, the Company was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America.

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