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Executive Movements - December 2021

Famous Toastery Announces its President Michael Mabry as Franchise Aims for 50 Units by 2024

December 15, 2021

The 30-year restaurant-industry veteran is preparing to help the North Carolina-based better breakfast, brunch and lunch concept double its footprint over the next three years.

Charlotte, NC  (  Famous Toastery, the 25-plus unit better breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise, has announced the addition of Michael Mabry to its executive team as president. Mabry will play an instrumental role in the franchise’s plans to reach 50 units – doubling its current footprint – by 2024.

Mabry, whose personal and professional mantra is “People. Food. Life” has a love of the restaurant industry that runs deep, having been in the industry for 30 years. He has held positions in several different roles in the food and beverage world – from line cook to chief operating officer to president – and considers himself fortunate to have learned something in each one. Mabry brings his last 20 years’ experience working with franchise brands as President and Chief Operating Officer of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, Executive Chef and Director of Franchise Operations at Macaroni Grill, and Chief Development Officer of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop to Famous Toastery. He is now looking forward to working with Robert Maynard, CEO and founder, and his team at the ‘famous’ better breakfast, brunch and lunch brand.

“I saw this as an opportunity to join a great company with a great culture and great people,” Mabry stated. “I have two passions in life: people and food. Famous Toastery checks both of those boxes for me.”

Mabry praised both Maynard and Brian Burchill, founder and CBO at Famous Toastery, for the work they have done “building a phenomenal team.” The food at Famous Toastery also warranted Mabry’s praise, with the new president mentioning that “the quality of food that’s put on the plate every single day is exceptional.”

The 26-unit restaurant franchise, having made it through the pandemic without sacrificing quality, is now preparing for more growth into new territories. Maynard is confident that Mabry’s addition to the leadership team will propel the brand’s success as it grows out of its headquarters market of Charlotte, closing out the Carolinas and further expanding into Virginia and Tennessee.

“We are at a better point than ever before to enter new markets, especially beginning around our home-base territory of North Carolina, where consumers know us,” said Maynard. “With this strong foundation we already have, we’re poised for growth. And with expert guidance from Mabry, someone who knows nearly every aspect of the franchise and restaurant industry, we have a winning team.”

Mabry agrees with Maynard’s approach to expanding the business starting with the territories in and around the Carolinas.

“The Carolinas and a few adjoining states will have that base of consumers that recognize the brand – after all, it’s ‘famous’ in North Carolina. And, one of the things that we feel is important is to ‘get famous’ in our current markets and in our current region before we start to expand too far out of it,” Mabry said. “Quite frankly, the amount of guests that come in from other towns in the Carolinas and express interest in having the franchise in their towns gives us input to consider. We’re really just listening to what our consumers are telling us, looking at the demand and making the strategic decisions along the way.”

With a marketing plan to saturate the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee, Maynard’s vision is to sell eight to 10 deals in 2022 and to feasibly open four to six restaurants next year. Looking long-term into 2024, the brand is aiming to have 50 locations open. The rollout strategy is to first target Charlotte, then the Research Triangle, then the Blue Ridge Mountains and then any other areas of possibility. Maynard expects this organic approach to attract a diverse group of potential franchisees who bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the brand. And this is one of the most exciting parts for Maynard.

“Finding the right person is really exciting, and giving them the right tools is exciting, but we’re going to be patient and grow in a smart way with the right partners,” he said, as he looks toward expanding the franchise system.

The role Mabry is in is one he described as fluid, where he can work with a strong, agile team to accomplish big goals using his decades of experience.

“I’m here to help bolster what’s already a great and thriving brand and maybe use some of my experiences,” said Mabry. “I’ve had successes and mistakes over the past 30 years. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. So I know what to look for when it comes to those mistakes. I want to continue to drive the winning culture of this brand that Robert and I feel so strongly about. And quite frankly, we want the brand to grow to be ‘famous,’ hence the name Famous Toastery.”

About Famous Toastery

Charlotte, N.C.-based Famous Toastery began in 2005 in a small house-turned-restaurant where best friends Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard opened their first breakfast spot. Never compromising fresh ingredients or friendly service, Famous Toastery evolved into a franchise system in 2013 and now has over 25 locations. In 2020 and 2019, Famous Toastery placed on Restaurant Business’ The Future 50, featuring the fastest-growing small chains. Famous Toastery was ranked No. 9 in the Full-Service Restaurants category of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Food Franchises of 2019 and on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 Rankings in 2019. In 2018, Famous Toastery received recognition by CNBC as a top franchise to buy, FSR Magazine as one of the Top 14 restaurant chains ready for lift-off, Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest growing companies and Franchise Times’ Top 200+ franchise opportunities. For more information about Famous Toastery, visit To learn about franchising opportunities, please visit

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El Pollo Loco Appoints Deborah Gonzalez and Nancy Faginas-Cody to its Board of Directors

Marketing and IT Veterans Join El Pollo Loco’s Board of Directors

December 13, 2021 15:31 ET

COSTA MESA, Calif., Dec. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or “the Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain, today announced it appointed Deborah Gonzalez and Nancy Faginas-Cody as independent directors, effective December 9, 2021. Ms. Gonzalez is expected to serve for an initial Class I director term expiring at the 2024 Annual Meeting and Ms. Faginas-Cody is expected to serve for an initial Class II director term expiring at the 2022 Annual Meeting. The election of Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Faginas-Cody fills two vacancies on the Company’s Board of Directors that were created as a result of an increase in the size of the Board from nine (9) to eleven (11) directors.

“I am pleased to welcome Debbie and Nancy to our Board of Directors. They each bring a wealth of experience to El Pollo Loco and have been exceptional leaders in their respective organizations and disciplines. Debbie brings over 30 years of brand marketing experience to our Board, and Nancy has more than 40 years of experience in Information Technology,” said Michael Maselli, Chairman of El Pollo Loco’s Board of Directors. “We will benefit from the depth of their expertise in key areas, as well as their broad business and personal perspectives, and we know they will be assets to El Pollo Loco.”

Ms. Gonzalez currently serves as Senior Vice President, Global Marketing & Communications for Concentrix Corporation, a leading global provider of customer experience solutions and technology, improving business performance for some of the world’s best brands, including over 100 Global Fortune 500 clients and over 115 global disruptor clients. In this role, she oversees all aspects of brand and integrated marketing, digital marketing, communications and public relations. Previously, Ms. Gonzalez held senior leadership positions in diverse industries, such as Chief Brand/Marketing Officer for Massage Envy Franchising and Vice President, Merchandising Marketing for PetSmart, Inc. She brings specific expertise in delivering marketing programs that help grow demand and loyalty with a focus on customer experience.

Ms. Faginas-Cody is an accomplished senior Information Technology executive who recently retired from Walt Disney Company as the Senior Vice President, Information Technology Enterprise Business Systems. Ms. Faginas-Cody held various roles in her 20-year career with Walt Disney Company, and in her most recent role she was responsible for the global corporate enterprise business systems. Prior to Walt Disney Company, Ms. Faginas-Cody served in IT leadership roles for retailers such as FEDCO and MacFrugal’s.

About El Pollo Loco El Pollo Loco is the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant with a mission to bring people together around food, family, and culture in the communities it serves. El Pollo Loco is renowned for its handcrafted L.A. Mex food, an innovative blend of traditional Mexican cuisine and better-for-you eating, that Los Angeles is known for. Since 1980, El Pollo Loco has successfully opened and maintained 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Louisiana while remaining true to its Mexican-American heritage. El Pollo Loco continues to grow and evolve, nourishing connections to tradition, culture, and one another through fire-grilled goodness that makes us feel like familia. For more information, visit us at

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Taco John’s Welcomes Erik Hess and John Blankenship to its Board of Directors

December 13, 2021

Seasoned industry executives join popular quick-service restaurant’s board of directors to help navigate business strategy

Cheyenne, WY  (  CEO of Taco John’s Jim Creel announced today that the company has named Erik Hess and John Blankenship as the newest members of Taco John’s International’s Board of Directors.

“Erik and John are proven leaders in driving impressive results across several key areas of restaurant business,” Creel said. “Their experiences are primarily in the quick-service segment, so we have no doubt that their knowledge will add immense value to our company. We’re proud to welcome these two talented individuals as they help propel Taco John’s to even further success.”

Hess joins Taco John’s board with 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. As an accomplished senior executive, he brings extensive global leadership experience in a wide variety of roles at McDonald’s Corporation to Taco John’s. Hess also most recently served as Focus Brands’ President of the Restaurant Category, where he led Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzky’s brands, a portfolio consisting of 1,600 locations.

Another industry visionary, Blankenship’s 43-year experience spans both the corporate and franchise sides. He began working for Wendy’s International as an assistant manager in 1976 and worked his way up into various leadership roles such as area supervisor, regional franchise director and franchise area director. Most recently, Blankenship solely owned 15 Wendy’s restaurants as a franchisee for Wendco of Western PA, LLC before joining Taco John’s.

With its fusion of distinctive flavors and south-of-the-border spices, the Taco John’s menu offers several signature items, including Meat & Potato Burritos, Stuffed Grilled Tacos, Potato Olés® and bold and craveworthy Fried Chicken Tacos. Taco John’s features signature specials like Taco Tuesday®, discounted breakfast burritos on Wake Up Wednesday!® and the everyday $1-$2-$3 ValuEST Menu. Download the Taco John’s App and like Taco John’s Facebook page for exclusive deals.

About Taco John’s®

Founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Taco John’s® has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors for more than 50 years. Now, Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 restaurants in 22 states – making it one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in America. With bold originals like Potato Olés®, Taco John’s knows how to Olé The Day. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions of its signature menu items that are made-to-order using fresh, high-quality ingredients, seasonings and sauces. The brand was listed No. 2 in the “Mexican Food” category on Entrepreneur’s “Top Food Franchises of 2020” and was recently recognized by QSR Magazine as a “Top 15 Chain Ready to Contend as Fast Food’s Top Players.” Taco John’s is led by CEO Jim Creel, who was named one of “The Most Influential Restaurant CEOs in the Country” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2020. For more information, visit and follow Taco John’s on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok.

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Beyond Meat Appoints Protein Industry Veterans to Top Executive Roles as the Company Accelerates its Global Growth Strategy

Doug Ramsey and Bernie Adcock join from Tyson Foods as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer as Beyond Meat further prepares to serve its global partners, customers, and consumers

December 08, 2021 09:10 ET

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) (“Beyond Meat” or “the Company”), a leader in plant-based meat, today announced the appointment of two food industry veterans to its executive leadership team. Doug Ramsey joins as Chief Operating Officer following three decades at Tyson Foods where he oversaw the company’s poultry and McDonald’s businesses. Bernie Adcock joins in the newly created role of Chief Supply Chain Officer following more than three decades of experience in operations and supply chain management at Tyson Foods, and will report to Ramsey.

Ramsey and Adcock join as Beyond Meat, the #1 selling plant-based meat brand in the refrigerated category at retail and across total foodservice in the U.S.1, is aggressively scaling production and commercialization in the US, EU, and China. The pair will be instrumental in growing Beyond Meat’s operations, supply chain, and manufacturing, and driving efficiencies to unlock cost-savings as the Company pursues its long-term goal of price parity with animal protein. These hires come at a time of rapid innovation and commercialization for the Company, with more than a dozen new products introduced in just the last two years.

“After a long and careful search, I could not be more thrilled to announce the arrival of Doug Ramsey and Bernie Adcock at Beyond Meat. Doug and Bernie bring a proven track record of impressive operational excellence in the protein industry that our global partners, customers, and consumers expect and deserve,” said Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO, Beyond Meat. “As we’ve made clear, we are investing today in tomorrow’s growth, whether by adding to our best-in-class management team or by building out operations around the world, to advance our vision of being the global protein company of the future.”

Ramsey joins Beyond Meat as Chief Operating Officer after 30 years at Tyson Foods. He began at Tyson in 1992, eventually holding several top leadership positions, including Group President of Poultry. In this role, he oversaw all domestic poultry business units, driving market share through strategic integrated planning, business acquisitions and integration, lean manufacturing, and cost reduction. He also served as President of the Global McDonald’s Business, overseeing sales, operations, and marketing for one of Tyson’s key customers.

“Beyond Meat is the gold standard in the plant-based meat industry and I am proud to join in its mission to produce delicious products that are healthier for our customers and more sustainable for our planet,” said Ramsey. “I’m thrilled to be a part of a company that is constantly innovating and delivering high-quality products to some of the world’s most prominent foodservice and retail customers.”

Adcock joins Beyond Meat as Chief Supply Chain Officer after 31 years at Tyson Foods. He most recently served as Chief Supply Chain Officer, helping to scale the company’s poultry business through cross-functional strategic oversight and the integration of innovative technologies across the supply chain.

“I’m delighted to join Beyond Meat at a moment when the company is rapidly scaling for strategic partners, customers, and consumer demand in the US and globally,” said Adcock. “I am looking forward to supporting the Company’s planned growth through the expansion of supply chain capacity domestically and in high-potential markets like the EU and China.”

Beyond Meat continues to advance its mission of increasing accessibility to its plant-based meat products globally. In 2021 alone, Beyond Meat announced partnerships with some of the world’s top quick-serve restaurants, including McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, and established a joint venture with PepsiCo to develop, produce, and market innovative snack and beverage products made from plant-based protein. The appointments of Ramsey and Adcock are the latest examples of Beyond Meat’s commitment to operational excellence and scaling its business globally to make a positive impact on human health, climate, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare.

About Beyond Meat Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) is one of the fastest growing publicly-traded food companies in the United States, offering a portfolio of revolutionary plant-based proteins made from simple ingredients without GMOs, bioengineered ingredients, hormones, antibiotics or cholesterol. Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat products are designed to have the same taste and texture as animal-based meat while being better for people and the planet. Beyond Meat’s brand commitment, Eat What You Love™, represents a strong belief that there is a better way to feed our future and that the positive choices we all make, no matter how small, can have a great impact on our personal health and the health of our planet. By shifting from animal-based meat to plant-based protein, we can positively impact four growing global issues: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare. As of September 2021, Beyond Meat had products available at approximately 128,000 retail and foodservice outlets in over 85 countries worldwide. Visit and follow @BeyondMeat, #BeyondBurger and #GoBeyond on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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Dave & Buster’s Strengthens Leadership Team; Adds Senior Vice President to Lead International Development

December 07, 2021 16:05 ET

DALLAS, Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc., (NASDAQ:PLAY), ("Dave & Buster's" or "the Company"), an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues, today announced that it has appointed Antonio Bautista as Senior Vice President and Head of International Development.

Mr. Bautista will join Dave & Busters as Senior Vice President and Head of International Development starting January 1, 2022. Mr. Bautista was previously Chief Executive Officer of ALBP – Global Hospitality Solutions, a consultancy group providing comprehensive investment, strategy and execution solutions for Hospitality, Retail and Entertainment companies across the globe. Before that, Mr. Bautista was Chief Operations Officer of Fogo De Chao, a full-service Brazilian steakhouse. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Hard Rock Café and Retail Division, and Franchise Development and Operations at Hard Rock International, a chain of theme restaurants, hotels and casinos. Mr. Bautista will oversee and execute Dave & Buster’s international development strategy.

Kevin Sheehan, Chairman of the Board and Interim CEO, said “We are excited that Antonio is joining Dave & Buster’s as we continue to strengthen our leadership team. He brings outstanding experience and an impressive track record of growing businesses internationally. We see opportunity to develop our brand globally and we believe Antonio is the right person to take Dave & Buster’s to international markets.”

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the Dave & Buster’s team,” said Antonio Bautista. “I have been a fan and guest of Dave & Buster’s for a long time, and look forward to adding my expertise to the talented group of team members throughout the organization.”

About Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc., is the owner and operator of 143 venues in North America that combine entertainment and dining and offer customers the opportunity to “Eat Drink Play and Watch,” all in one location. Dave & Buster’s offers a full menu of entrées and appetizers, a complete selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and an extensive assortment of entertainment attractions centered around playing games and watching live sports and other televised events. Dave & Buster’s currently has stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

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Domino's® Announces Senior Vice President Promotions

Dec 07, 2021, 07:07 ET

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Domino's Pizza Inc. (NYSE:DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world, is announcing the promotions of Kate Trumbull, Christopher Thomas-Moore and Juan Joachin to senior vice president, effective immediately.

"These three individuals have been instrumental in bringing growth and innovation to Domino's in their respective areas," said Ritch Allison, Domino's CEO. "Their promotions are well-deserved, and I can't wait to see the positive impact they'll continue bringing to the brand."

In Trumbull's new role as senior vice president – brand and product innovation, she will oversee advertising, media, product innovation, and national sales. She was named vice president of advertising in 2017, after serving as director of digital marketing and director of loyalty. Trumbull joined Domino's in 2011 from Procter & Gamble. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

As Domino's senior vice president – customer and store experience, Thomas-Moore will lead digital experience and loyalty, retail technology, delivery technology, operation innovations, and international digital marketing. He previously served as Domino's vice president of digital marketing, media and product innovation. Thomas-Moore joined the company in 2018 from Extended Stay America and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

As the newly named senior vice president – finance, Joachin will oversee financial support and business insights of Domino's supply chain, corporate-owned store division, franchise operations, development, marketing, and analytics and insights functions. He previously served as Domino's vice president of finance operations. Joachin joined Domino's in 2018 from Dawn Foods LLC. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Universidad del Valle de Mexico and an MBA from Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro in Mexico.

About Domino's Pizza® Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world's top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 18,300 stores in over 90 markets. Domino's had global retail sales of over $16.1 billion in 2020, with nearly $8.3 billion in the U.S. and over $7.8 billion internationally. In the third quarter of 2021, Domino's had global retail sales of nearly $4.1 billion, with nearly $2.0 billion in the U.S. and over $2.1 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino's stores as of the end of the third quarter of 2021. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino's achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2020 from digital channels. In the U.S., Domino's generated more than 70% of sales in 2020 via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Twitter and more. In 2019, Domino's announced a partnership with Nuro to further its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In mid-2020, Domino's launched a new way to order contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino's Carside Delivery®, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

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Shipley Do-Nuts Names Bob McGahan as Chief Financial Officer

December 7, 2021

McGahan brings proven experience growing brands to the Houston-based franchise company

Houston, TX  (  Shipley Do-Nuts, a leading do-nut restaurant franchisor and manufacturer of specialty food products, has hired Bob McGahan as its new chief financial officer. McGahan adds over 30 years of experience to Shipley’s already strong leadership team as the brand continues its robust growth.

Prior to joining Shipley Do-Nuts, McGahan served as CFO at private equity-owned Friedrich Air Conditioning Inc. and AirBorn Inc., and has also held management positions at Dell Inc. and Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. He has vast experience in private equity, capital markets, risk management, operations management and mergers and acquisitions. McGahan started at Shipley in November.

“Bob knows how to aggressively grow a brand in a thoughtful, purposeful way, which was a big factor in our decision to bring him on board,” said Shipley CEO Clifton Rutledge. “Shipley is headed for monumental growth during the next decade, and Bob is the perfect CFO to help guide that evolution.”

McGahan, who has a master’s in business administration from the University of Mississippi and is a certified public accountant, said he’s looking forward to delivering results for Shipley’s franchisees, employees and customers.

“I’ve been a fan of Shipley’s do-nuts and kolaches for a long time, so to come aboard during such historic growth is truly exciting,” McGahan said. “As Shipley continues expanding into new markets and opening additional locations in its current markets, I’m focused on ensuring our growth produces the best financial future for the brand.”

Fast-growing Shipley, now with more than 330 locations, has franchise commitments in place to open an additional 300 stores over the next five years in Texas and across the Southeast. It is actively recruiting additional franchisees in all markets, with a focus on increasing its presence in Colorado, Georgia and Oklahoma.

For more information, visit

About Shipley Do-Nuts

Founded in 1936, Houston-based Shipley Do-Nuts is a leading do-nut restaurant franchisor and manufacturer of specialty food products. Shipley franchises over 300 restaurants to a diverse group of operators across ten states and has served its do-nuts, kolaches and beverages to generations of guests. For information on franchising, visit

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Casey’s Announces Katrina Lindsey Joins Company as Chief Legal Officer

December 03, 2021 08:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

ANKENY, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY), today announced that Katrina Lindsey is joining the company as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. This role leads Casey’s legal, risk management, compliance, food safety, government affairs and corporate reporting functions at the third largest convenience retailer and fifth largest pizza chain in the US. Lindsey will report to Chief Executive Officer Darren Rebelez and start in January.

“Katrina is a seasoned legal counselor and senior executive, with over 20 years of legal leadership at FORTUNE 500 companies in the retail, restaurant, and entertainment industries,” said Darren Rebelez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Casey’s. “Her deep, highly-relevant background will benefit our teams and organization as we advance Casey’s strategic plan.”

Lindsey’s experience most recently includes several years at Office Depot where she served as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant Corporate Secretary. She held roles on the company’s Information Security Incident Response team, Enterprise Risk Management Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Council, and Sustainability Governance Council. Earlier this year she was recruited to a Chief Diversity Officer and SVP, Business Development at a subsidiary within the company.

Prior to Office Depot, Lindsey worked at Darden Restaurants leading the 1700-plus restaurant chain’s legal team as Senior Vice President, Division General Counsel. Before joining Darden, she spent six years at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. She began her career with several years focused on real estate and commercial litigation in law firms.

“Casey’s is a hidden gem in retail with its unique position in the communities it serves and the ways it serves them, whether it’s food, fuel or essentials. I’m excited to be joining a strong leadership team and partner to advance business priorities,” said Katrina Lindsey.

Lindsey holds a Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla, and a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Florida State University.

About Casey’s

Casey’s is a Fortune 500 company (NASDAQ: CASY) operating over 2,300 convenience stores. Founded more than 50 years ago, the company has grown to become the third-largest convenience store retailer and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States. Casey’s provides freshly prepared foods, quality fuel and friendly service at its locations. Guests can enjoy pizza, donuts, other assorted bakery items, and a wide selection of beverages and snacks. Learn more and order online at, or in the mobile app.

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Taco Bell® Appoints Sean Tresvant As Global Chief Brand Officer

Dec 2, 2021

Taco Bell welcomes the former Chief Marketing Officer of Nike’s Jordan Brand to lead transformative brand marketing efforts, from omni channel initiatives to digital customer touchpoints

Irvine, Calif (December 2, 2021) – Taco Bell announced today that it has appointed Sean Tresvant as its Global Chief Brand Officer, effective January 10, 2022.

Tresvant will lead Taco Bell into a new age of transformative global marketing, spearheading boundary-pushing, multi-dimensional efforts that drive culture, initiate change and create impact. From strategic omni channel initiatives to digital customer touchpoints, he will further elevate and differentiate the Taco Bell fan experience as the brand continues redefining innovation in its industry.

Tresvant brings more than a decade of marketing success from his time with Nike as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Jordan Brand. He was responsible for defining the Jordan Brand voice across the globe. Tresvant set the consumer journey and execution of brand campaigns, product marketing, creative collaborations, athlete sponsorships, omni channel marketplace design and social platforms.

"I've known about Sean for many years, always admiring his best-in-class marketing from afar," said Taco Bell CEO Mark King. "His team at the Jordan Brand will tell you that Sean has always been a great friend, colleague and compassionate leader. We're excited for him to be part of our Taco Bell family and look forward to his leadership and Restless Creativity as we continue to grow our brand and impact on our people, fans and the world."

"When I think of Taco Bell, I think of a marketing powerhouse of trailblazers," said Tresvant. "The brand and its people are constantly — and consciously — pushing the limits on what it means to be a brand in today's rapidly evolving culture, and I'm excited to revolutionize alongside them."

Like Taco Bell, Tresvant is committed to social justice and community impact initiatives. He led the Diversity Task Force at Nike and helped bring back the Jordan Brand's Black Community Commitment Committee through "real talk" chats. He has developed strategies and programs that have helped Nike show up to the world in meaningful ways – from revitalizing Nike Running in North America, to creating a local brand voice for Los Angeles.

Additional career highlights for Tresvant include leading an Emmy Award-winning Last Dance Documentary for Jordan Brand and developing and facilitating a Fortnite activation with Epic Games. Prior to Nike, Tresvant held roles at Pepsi and Time Inc. – Sports Illustrated in New York. He was brought to Taco Bell with the help of executive recruiting agency Berglass + Associates. Tresvant assumes the role previously held by Nikki Lawson, who has decided to relocate back to Sydney and pursue other opportunities.

About Taco Bell Corp. For more information about Taco Bell, visit our website at or at You can also stay up to date on all things Taco Bell by following us on FacebookInstagram, Taco Bell’s Twitter, Taco Bell News’ TwitterTikTok and subscribing to our YouTube channel. For updates on how Taco Bell is navigating COVID-19, click here.

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MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Announces Doug Willmarth as its New President

December 2, 2021

The “better-burger” franchise adds veteran restaurant brand leader to accelerate growth.

Plano, TX  (  MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, the 90-unit, Plano, Texas-based fast casual “better-burger” franchise, is supercharging its leadership team to accelerate explosive growth in sales and unit count. Doug Willmarth, a strategic brand leader in the restaurant industry, will be joining the MOOYAH brand as President starting December 2.

“I am thrilled to be leading the MOOYAH team,” Willmarth said. “Their commitment to delivering the best burger experience to guests every day is second to none. I have been a fan of the brand for many years and am proud to have the opportunity to serve our Franchise Owners.”

Willmarth, known as a dynamic brand-builder and collaborative catalyst, will lead the MOOYAH leadership team to develop and implement growth strategies to accelerate sales and build Franchise Owner success.

Anand Gala, Chairman and CEO of MOOYAH, shared the sentiment of Willmarth’s experience and leadership style as being the right fit for the company culture.

“We are excited to welcome Doug to the MOO Crew,” Gala said. “After an exhaustive search for the next brand leader, we believe that Doug has the skills, values and experience to help accelerate our positive comp store sales and unit growth. He shares my commitment to servant leadership and truly believes in putting the success of our Franchise Owners at the center of our strategy. The team and I are looking forward to working together.”

With experience leading and driving growth with established brands like Frito LayChili’sOscar Mayer and Pizza Hut and emerging brands like Wingstop and Genghis Grill, Willmarth understands how to energize culture and teamwork to drive performance.

Willmarth’s addition strengthens the MOOYAH leadership team as the brand closes out a year of impressive sales and new unit growth and is planning for even bigger years ahead with record new unit openings and development deals expected in 2022.

MOOYAH has been growing rapidly in markets across the country and shows no signs of slowing down. Most recently, the brand opened locations in Upland, CaliforniaBaton Rouge, LouisianaSacramento, California; Winter Park, Florida; and Colleyville and Abilene, Texas.

MOOYAH continues to focus new development activity in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, California and Arizona, while supporting growth from existing Franchise Owners in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Tampa, Atlanta, Raleigh, Nashville, Orlando and Richmond.

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

For franchising opportunities, please visit

About MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is a fast-casual, “better burger” concept offering mouthwatering made-to-order burgers, French fries hand cut from Idaho potatoes, and real ice cream shakes. Founded in 2007, the Plano, Texas-based company serves fresh, 100% Certified Angus Beef® brand burgers, all natural turkey burgers and Dr. Praeger’s black bean vegan burgers. MOOYAH’s non-GMO potato and multigrain buns are baked in-house daily, and Guests can choose from five real cheeses, bacon, avocado and 19 free sauces and toppings made from garden-fresh veggies. MOOYAH Guests can choose from eight flavors of 100% real ice cream shakes, including vanilla, Hershey’s chocolate, Reese’s, Oreo and more. While many Guests dine in-restaurant, MOOYAH also offers online ordering, delivery and carry out for Guests on the go as well as a loyalty app. In 2021, MOOYAH ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list, #41 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers, and its Leadership Team was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as 2021’s Most Inspiring Leaders. In 2020, MOOYAH ranked #38 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers. In 2018, MOOYAH was ranked among Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 200 Food and Restaurant Franchises of 2018 and landed at #7 in the Top 10 Fast Casual Restaurant Franchises by In 2017, MOOYAH was named to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, Franchise Times’ Fast & Serious list of the smartest growing franchise brands and was ranked #11 on Fast Casual Magazine’s annual Top 100 Movers & Shakers, a list the brand has been included on every year in the last ten years of rankings. For more information on MOOYAH, its menu or franchising opportunities, please visit Connect with MOOYAH on, follow MOOYAH on LinkedIn, Twitter @MOOYAHburgers and Instagram @MOOYAHburgers, and TikTok @mooyahburgers.

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Doug Thompson Retires as Texas Roadhouse COO

The longtime company employee had been in the position for three years. The retirement is effective “immediately.”

By Jonathan Maze on Nov. 30, 2021

Doug Thompson is retiring as chief operating officer at Texas Roadhouse, according to a federal securities filing on Tuesday.

Thompson’s retirement is “effective immediately,” according to the filing, which provides no other details of the departure. No replacement has been named.

Thompson was promoted to chief operating officer three years ago, when he took over for Steve Ortiz. He has worked with the company for more than 19 years, starting in 2002 as a VP of operations. He had worked with Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse before then.

The move comes as the Louisville, Ky.-based casual dining chain is pushing for more growth of its fast casual Jaggers brand. It also comes as the company’s sales have thrived—same-store sales are up almost 31% on a two-year basis.

The company has also recently opened its new Butcher Shop website where customers can order the chain’s ready-to-grill steaks.

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Amergent Hospitality Names Mark Whittle EVP of Franchise Development

November 30, 2021 08:15 ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Amergent Hospitality Group (OTCQB:AMHG) ("Amergent" or the "Company"), owner, operator and franchisor of multiple nationally-recognized restaurant brands, today announced it has appointed Mark Whittle as its EVP of Franchise Development.

Amergent Hospitality Group's President, Fred Glick, stated, “We are excited to welcome Mark to the team in anticipation of rapid franchise growth though our current brands, as well as recently acquired brands and future contemplated acquisitions. Importantly, Mark has a familiarity with Amergent and its team, having worked previously at Hooters which will enable him to hit the ground running as we continue executing on our strategy, building atop of recent momentum.”

Mark Whittle comes to Amergent having directed or personally having been involved for over 34 years in the successful development of thousands of new restaurant locations globally. He was responsible for directing the activities of numerous real estate, franchise sales, business consultants, asset management and design/construction professionals and providing superior leadership for the growth of various national and international brands, including Little Caesars Pizza, Churchs Chicken, Focus Brands, and most recently as Chief Development Officer for HOA Brands. His experience includes intimate market knowledge throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and South Africa.

Whittle commented, “I’m excited to be joining Fred and the Amergent team at what I believe to be an inflection point, evidenced by recently reported strong financial performance. We have a strong foundation to leverage, which will enable me to do what I have done my entire career, grow the franchise side of our business with a goal of reaching greater scale, relevance and profitability.”

The Company recently announced select third quarter 2021 restaurant level highlights which included:

  1. Overall same store sales for Q3 2021 were up 17.8% compared to Q3 2020 and up 7.7% compared to Q3 2019

  2. Total Revenue increased from $3.96 million in 2020 to $4.66 million in 2021

  3. October 2021 same store sales growth continued at 10.1% over 2020 and up 12.2% to 2019, led by both LBB which was up 12.3% to 2020 and 18.4% to 2019 and BGR up 26.1% to 2020 and 11.3% to 2019

  4. Total Restaurant Operating expenses declined from 76.5% to 60.2%

  5. Loyalty club membership for the 3 burger brands in Q3 2021 increased by 16K fans now exceeding 283K fans.  PizzaRev has an additional 262K loyalty members.

  6. Acquired the PizzaRev brand and re-opened Glendale, CA in November.  Plan to re-open two additional locations in Placentia, CA and Studio City, CA in Q4

  7. Opened LBB University of OR in the student center on 11/22/2021

Amergent’s operations include 43 stores, consisting of 28 company owned and 15 franchised locations. The Company's brands include Little Big Burger, Burgers Grilled Right, American Burger Company, PizzaRev, Jantzen Beach Wings and the Owls Nest gaming location.

About Amergent Hospitality Group

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Amergent Hospitality Group owns, operates, and franchises fast, casual, and full-service restaurant brands, including American Burger Company, BGR - Burgers Grilled Right, Little Big Burger, and Hooters gaming venue. For more information, please visit:

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Kura Sushi USA Announces Appointment of Carin L. Stutz to the Company’s Board of Directors

November 29, 2021 16:05 ET

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (“Kura Sushi” or the “Company”), (NASDAQ: KRUS), a technology-enabled Japanese restaurant concept, today announced that Carin L. Stutz has been appointed to serve as an independent member of the Board of Directors effective December 1, 2021. Ms. Stutz has also been appointed to the Compensation Committee and Strategy and Development Committee of the Board of Directors. In conjunction with Ms. Stutz’s appointment, Hiroyuki Okamoto will be stepping down as a director, effective November 30, 2021.

Hajime Uba, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Kura Sushi, stated, “We are thrilled to welcome Carin to Kura’s Board of Directors. Carin is a dynamic and inspirational leader, and with over 30 years of extensive operating experience in the restaurant industry, she is the perfect complement to our board and will be a valued advisor to our leadership team. We look forward to benefitting from her industry vision as we capitalize on the whitespace opportunity and bring the Kura Experience to new markets across America.”

“The strategic vision and growth opportunity that Hajime has shared for Kura is what attracted me to serve on this dynamic board,” said Stutz. “Everyone I have met shares a passion for the unique and authentic menu as well as the role that technology plays in delivering a unique guest experience. I am honored to serve and collaborate on the next phase of their growth.”

Uba added, “Hiroyuki Okamoto has been a key member of our board, and on behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank him for his many contributions that have guided Kura during his tenure.”

Ms. Stutz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Native Foods, the original 100% plant-based fast-casual eatery. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. where she led operations for the casual dining chain. During her tenure, she realigned the operations team for improved efficiency, resulting in the Company’s improved P&L. Before joining Red Robin, Ms. Stutz served at FOCUS Brands as President of the McAlister’s Deli brand and positioned the brand for rapid growth, moving from nine openings to more than 44 openings a year, including franchise development. Prior to FOCUS Brands, Ms. Stutz served in various leadership capacities, including President and Chief Executive Officer at Cosi bakery-café, President of Global Business Development at Brinker International, Inc., Executive Vice President of Operations at Applebee’s International, and Division Vice President at Wendy’s International, Inc.

Ms. Stutz currently serves on the board of Checkers and Rally’s and is an active member of the Fast Casual Industry Council, the Illinois Restaurant Association Board, and most recently, a founding member of the GLEAM Network Board of Directors.

About Kura Sushi USA, Inc. Kura Sushi USA, Inc. is a technology-enabled Japanese restaurant concept with 33 locations across nine states and Washington DC. The Company offers guests a distinctive dining experience built on authentic Japanese cuisine and an engaging revolving sushi service model. Kura Sushi USA, Inc. was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of Kura Sushi, Inc., a Japan-based revolving sushi chain with over 480 restaurants and more than 35 years of brand history. For more information, please visit

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Krystal Continues Adding Leadership Strength in Pursuit of Expansion Goals

November 29, 2021

New Vice President of Real Estate & Construction Aims to Attract Multi-Unit Franchise Deals

Atlanta, GA  (  As part of its strategic plan to accelerate new restaurant openings and new consumer markets for Krystal Restaurants, the brand has named a dedicated Vice President of Real Estate & Construction. Dan James assumed the role on November 15, 2021 and has immediately taken charge of real estate acquisitions, lease negotiations, build-outs, and other matters related to corporate and franchise physical restaurant space.

“Making Krystal one of the most attractive franchise opportunities in the industry is key to our expansion strategy,” shared Thomas Stager, CEO for the brand. “Dan brings keen insight and unmatched expertise in the restaurant and hospitality space. His talents and skills match perfectly with the rest of the executive leadership team and he shares our vision for bringing Krystal back to the forefront of the quick service field.”

Dan James brings an impressive background in restaurant-related real estate and development, with more than 35 years overseeing real estate and construction for multiple top brands in the quick service industry. Most recently, Dan served as Chief Development Officer and Director of Real Estate Development for two Multi-Brand Burger King franchises throughout the Southeast and Gulf States. He also served as Chief Development Officer at Taco John’s International, Vice President of Real Estate for Arby’s Restaurant Group and RTM Restaurant Group, Real Estate Manager for McDonald’s Corporation, and as Director of Real Estate for Hardee’s Food Systems. Dan excels at site identification, deal pipeline management and contract negotiations. He works hand in hand with corporate and franchise development teams to ensure quick, streamlined openings in key strategic markets and is known for being a tactical thinker when it comes to achieving mutually beneficial relationships for all stakeholders. Dan is a graduate of Franklin College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Dan aboard as we embark on a vibrant future for this legendary brand,” said Stager. “Without a doubt, current and future Krystal franchisees have a dynamic leader supporting them in opening new Krystal Restaurants as well as new markets who are clamoring for the fan-favorite flavors of the South.”

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 2019 Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List.

View source version at Krystal

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