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Executive Movements - December 2023

Board Has Initiated Search for Successor

December 11, 2023 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shake Shack Inc. (“Shake Shack” or the “Company”) (NYSE: SHAK) today announced that Randy Garutti, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, has informed the Board that, after more than two decades in the Company, he will retire in 2024 upon the selection of his successor. Mr. Garutti shared a letter to his team that is viewable here: A Message from our CEO, Randy Garutti.

He will continue to lead the Company as its CEO and as an executive Board member through that time. The Company intends to retain Mr. Garutti as an advisor following his CEO service through the end of 2024 to ensure a proper transition.

The Board of Directors has launched an external search led by Korn Ferry to identify Mr. Garutti’s successor. The Board of Directors search committee will be led by Chairman Danny Meyer and independent Directors Chuck Chapman, Jeff Lawrence, Lori George, and Josh Silverman.

Randy Garutti, Chief Executive Officer, stated, "It has been my honor to lead the talented Shake Shack team from our humble beginnings as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in New York City to the public company we are today. Together, we have achieved more than anyone dreamed, delighting communities across 18 countries, 33 states and more than 500 Shacks, while targeting to surpass $1.0 billion in revenue this year. I am most proud of the growth opportunities we created for our team members at every level and our shared commitment to uplift and take care of each other, our guests, our communities, our suppliers, and our shareholders.”

Mr. Garutti continued, “I will continue to lead Shake Shack through the search for a new CEO. Our seasoned leadership team is exceptional and well positioned to deliver on our ambitious plans. I have never been more optimistic about Shake Shack's potential and am deeply committed to ensuring a seamless transition. The Shake Shack season of my life has been full of joy. The next season will focus on my incredible wife and three children who have been the greatest supporters of me and the Shack family. I love this company and will never stop rooting for the Company's success."

Danny Meyer, the Company’s Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Randy since he first joined Union Square Hospitality Group 24 years ago as our youngest ever General Manager for Tabla and Union Square Cafe, and next as Director of Operations for all of USHG’s acclaimed fine dining restaurants. He developed a devoted and avid following among our team members as an exceptional leader who always led his businesses with enlightened hospitality. When we launched a hot dog cart out of Eleven Madison Park in 2001, and then three years later, turned it into Shake Shack - a kiosk in Madison Square Park - Randy asked for the ball. Shake Shack was an overnight hit, but it had not dawned on me that we might grow the business beyond its first park location until Randy urged that we do so with a second Shack, nearly five years later. Now, nearly 20 years and over 500 Shacks later, Randy has more than earned the richly-deserved opportunity to think about his next act.”

Mr. Meyer continued, “I don’t have adequate words to express the gratitude I feel for having Randy as my colleague and partner for all these years. He has built and led a globally-beloved brand whose rich culture has deep roots and he has paved the way for our next CEO to build on a rock-solid foundation. The Board and I are now excited to launch a search for his successor, and are heartened that Randy will be at the helm until his successor begins.”

Fast-Casual Concept, Homeward Kitchen Makes its Debut

First location opens in Southern Pines under leadership of new VP of Operations, Jason Kornosky

Raleigh, NC  (  Homeward Kitchen is now open for business! Earlier this week, the new fast-casual concept from Golden Corral made its debut in Southern Pines, North Carolina. During the celebration, The Moore County Chamber of Commerce marked the occasion with an official ribbon cutting, during which the group announced they would be supporting Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care throughout the month of December by donating a portion of proceeds from sales to the local non-profit.

Jason Kornosky has taken the helm as VP of Operations for the new fast-casual concept. In this role, Kornosky has played a major part in the brand’s grand opening and will continue to lead efforts related to Homeward Kitchen’s impending expansion, while developing and implementing operational standards. A key component of these endeavors includes guiding the operations team as they push for ongoing growth and enhance guest experiences.

Jason Kornosky

“I am honored to be part of such an amazing culture and have the opportunity not only to serve the Homeward Kitchen brand but also work with such a storied company, continuing to add to the legacy and success of Golden Corral,” Kornosky said.

Homeward Kitchen features a small dining room with dine-in, take-out, and drive-thru ordering options for convenient and fast service. This is the first of many locations to come for the team.

“We are thrilled to be serving the incredible people of Southern Pines and we couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. While the doors to our first restaurant have just opened, we already have our sights set on potential additional locations and look forward to becoming an integral part of even more communities soon,” Kornosky said.

Homeward Kitchen’s menu features homestyle favorites such as Slow-Cooked Pot Roast, Fried Shrimp, Homestyle Mac and Cheese, Green Beans, and Banana Pudding. Guests will also find new temptations like the Cajun Mac & Cheese Bowl, Meatloaf Sandwich or a Fried Chicken Sandwich served in Classic, Nashville Hot, and Honey Dipped varieties.

About Homeward Kitchen

Homeward Kitchen is the first fast-casual concept introduced by Golden Corral. The restaurant’s menu features many wholesome, homestyle favorites, alongside a variety of fresh, delicious sandwiches, salads, and bowls – all available with easy, convenient counter or drive-thru window ordering and service. Guests will enjoy Homeward Kitchen’s signature menu offerings, including the Cajun Mac & Cheese Bowl, and a Fried Chicken Sandwich served in Classic, Nashville Hot, and Honey Dipped varieties. Homeward Kitchen also provides multiple options for larger groups, with family meals featuring a choice of main courses, larger side portions and an array of indulgent desserts. For more information, please visit

About Golden Corral

Founded in 1973 and based in Raleigh, N.C., Golden Corral is the nation’s largest grill-buffet restaurant chain. Golden Corral strives to make pleasurable dining affordable for all families. While its commitment begins each day with preparing delicious food, Golden Corral also believes in providing outstanding hospitality and giving back. Service to others is a hallmark of the Golden Corral brand. In 2023, Golden Corral was recognized as one of the nation’s top 50 “Most Loved Brands” by Yelp. They were also recognized for valuing their customers and providing excellent customer service by Newsweek, “America’s Best Customer Service 2024.” Golden Corral restaurants nationwide have long been strong supporters of the U.S. Military and DAV (Disabled American Veterans). Golden Corral is also the Founding Partner of Camp Corral, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation, which provides free, one-of-a-kind summer camp experiences for children of wounded, injured, ill, or fallen service members. For more information, visit and follow Golden Corral on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. Names Meghan Spuler Chief People Officer

December 07, 2023 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB), a full-service restaurant chain serving an innovative selection of high-quality gourmet burgers in a family-friendly atmosphere, today announced the completion of its best-in-class leadership team with the appointment of Meghan Spuler as Chief People Officer, effective Dec. 11. Spuler succeeds Mark Simpson, who joined the company as Interim Chief People Officer in May 2023. Simpson will remain in an advisory capacity until the transition is complete. “Meghan’s expertise and proven reputation for championing cultures of inclusivity, high performance and Operations partnership will bring tremendous value to Red Robin as we continue to transform our brand for the future” Post this “Meghan’s expertise and proven reputation for championing cultures of inclusivity, high performance and Operations partnership will bring tremendous value to Red Robin as we continue to transform our brand for the future,” said Red Robin President and CEO GJ Hart. “With our permanent chief people officer role now in place, we’ve completed our industry-best leadership team that’s committed to Red Robin’s North Star plan, delivering exceptional Team Member, Guest and Shareholder value and building a healthy, sustainable brand for decades to come.” Hart continued, “In addition, I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to Mark Simpson for joining us out of retirement in an interim capacity and for his invaluable leadership to our People Team and key initiatives during our business transformation.” An accomplished human resources leader with two decades serving hospitality, consumer packaged goods and aerospace brands, Spuler will be responsible for overseeing the continued rollout and implementation of the company’s market and managing partner compensation program, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, benefits and staffing, and People Team administration in support of Red Robin’s 22,400 Field and Restaurant Support Center Team Members. Most recently, Spuler served as Chief People Officer of Eckerd Connects, a national nonprofit organization that has connected more than 240,000 children, young adults and families to workforce and supportive services, where she was responsible for operationalizing key culture and staffing programs. Previously, she spent five years with Bloomin’ Brands Inc. focused on leadership development, talent acquisition, inclusion & diversity and building best-in-class human resources strategies, and at Pall Aeropower, a subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, and Campbell Soup Company prior. She holds a Master of Human Resource Development degree from Villanova University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Oral Roberts University. “It is an honor to join Red Robin during this transformative time for the company,” said Spuler. “I look forward to helping build upon its incredible brand history and cultivate a winning, Guest and Team-centric culture of hospitality.” About Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (, is a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 that operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Red Robin International, Inc., and under the trade name, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews. We believe nothing brings people together like burgers and fun around our table, and no one makes moments of connection over craveable food more memorable than Red Robin. We serve a variety of burgers and mainstream favorites to Guests of all ages in a casual, playful atmosphere. In addition to our many burger offerings, Red Robin serves a wide array of salads, appetizers, entrees, desserts, signature beverages and Donatos® pizza at select locations. It’s now easy to enjoy Red Robin anywhere with online ordering available for to-go, delivery and catering, or you can download our new app for easy customization, access to the Red Robin Royalty® dashboard and more. There are more than 500 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including those operating under franchise agreements. Red Robin… YUMMM®!


BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, the award-winning restaurant and sports bar brand, is excited to announce Laurie Curtis as the brand's new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). As the CMO, Curtis brings a wealth of experience to drive strategic marketing initiatives, enhance brand visibility, and contribute to the overall success of the company. Her vision and dedication to excellence align seamlessly with Walk-On's commitment to providing an exceptional dining experience for sports enthusiasts and food lovers alike. "As Walk-On's continues to grow, Laurie's rich background and expertise make her the perfect addition to our brand and executive leadership team," said Chris Dawson, CEO of Walk-On's. "With Laurie at the helm of our marketing efforts, we are confident she will elevate our brand and help redefine the sports dining experience." Curtis comes to Walk-On's with over 25 years of marketing experience. In her most recent role as Vice President of Marketing and Menu Innovation at Denny's, Curtis played a pivotal role in revitalizing the brand, driving growth, and leading significant menu innovations. Her responsibilities included overseeing brand and field marketing, product development, communications, and insights. Curtis has also held leadership roles with multi-billion-dollar companies, like Pizza Hut, TGI Friday's, and Domino's Pizza. She holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Texas A&M University and an MBA from The University of Texas - Dallas. "I am thrilled to join Walk-On's at a time when people are craving a special dining experience. I believe Walk-On's has the food, ambience, and commitment to hospitality that truly sets this brand apart," said Curtis. "My vision is to not only make Walk-On's a household name but to help transform the brand into the icon we truly believe it can be. The exceptional team at Walk-On's is laser focused on creating an unforgettable experience for our guests, and I am excited to be a part of the brand's incredible journey." Curtis assumed her new role on December 4 and will be located in Walk-On's Atlanta headquarters. 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

First Watch Announces Appointment of Jostein Solheim to Board of Directors

Leading Daytime Dining concept strengthens Board with appointment of new independent director December 06, 2023 16:30 ET| Source: First Watch Restaurant Group, Inc. BRADENTON, Fla., Dec. 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Watch Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FWRG) (“First Watch” or the “Company”), the leading Daytime Dining concept serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, today announced the appointment of Jostein Solheim to its Board of Directors effective immediately. Solheim is an experienced chief executive officer who currently serves as the CEO, Health & Wellbeing at Unilever PLC. “We are excited to welcome Jostein to the Board of Directors of First Watch, and we look forward to leveraging his extensive marketing and brand management expertise,” said Ralph Alvarez, Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Watch. “Jostein is a proven leader who has spent his career at Unilever driving transformative growth, and he brings extensive knowledge and experience to our board. We look forward to his valuable input and counsel as we continue to scale the First Watch brand.” Solheim’s executive leadership experience includes several years at Unilever serving as Executive Vice President and President of Unilever’s Food & Refreshments Division, North America, and Executive Vice President and CEO of Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s business. He also held positions as Vice President, Ice Cream Marketing and Brand Development, North America, and Vice President, Ice Cream Brand Development, Global during his more than two decades-long executive tenure at the company. “First Watch is an outstanding brand with an ambitious growth trajectory, and I’m eager to become a part of the company as it continues its transformative growth,” said Solheim. “I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members, as well as the executive team, to build the foundation for First Watch to grow and realize long-term success.” Solheim joins fellow Board of Directors members Ralph Alvarez, Julie Bradley, Irene Chang Britt, Tricia Glynn, William Kussell, Stephanie Lilak, David Paresky and Chris Tomasso. For more information on the Company’s leadership, visit

About First Watch First Watch is an award-winning Daytime Dining concept serving made-to-order breakfast, brunch and lunch using fresh ingredients. A recipient of hundreds of local "Best Breakfast" and "Best Brunch" accolades, First Watch's chef-driven menu includes elevated executions of classic favorites along with specialties such as the Quinoa Power Bowl®, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, Avocado Toast, Chickichanga, Morning Meditation (juiced in-house daily), Spiked Lavender Lemonade and its signature Million Dollar Bacon. In 2023, First Watch was recognized as the top restaurant brand in Yelp’s inaugural list of the top 50 most-loved brands in the U.S. In 2023 and 2022, First Watch was named a Top 100 Most Loved Workplace® in Newsweek by the Best Practice Institute. In 2022, First Watch was awarded a sought-after MenuMasters honor by Nation's Restaurant News for its seasonal Braised Short Rib Omelet and recognized with ADP's coveted Culture at Work Award. There are more than 500 First Watch restaurants in 29 states, and the restaurant concept is majority owned by Advent International, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms. For more information, visit

Rock N Roll Sushi Introduces New Superstar Leaders

December 6, 2023 Original, American-style sushi restaurant announces new CEO and VP of Operations to drive continued growth Tampa, FL ( Building on Rock N Roll Sushi’s tsunami of growth in the sushi space, the company has announced two major additions to its executive lineup with Craig LeMieux joining as the new CEO and Terri Jessen coming aboard as Vice President of Operations. LeMieux succeeds CEO Chris Kramolis, who has served in the role since October 2020, and will stay on with the company as Chief Development Officer to focus on franchise development and real estate. “It’s been a great 3-year run as CEO of Rock n Roll Sushi, but it’s time for someone else to grab the baton and run,” said Kramolis. “I’m excited to hand it off to my long-time friend and business partner, Craig LeMieux. He has a long list of accomplishments and accolades and I’m sure his tenure in this new role will only add more.” A current stockholder in Rock N Roll Sushi, LeMieux is a partner both in a multi-unit franchisee group and in the Area Representative territories of Arizona and Central Florida. “It’s a huge honor for me to ‘take the stage’ as CEO for Rock N Roll Sushi,” said LeMieux. “I’m excited to join this leadership team and guide the brand to the next level, building on the amazing foundation established by the founders and Chris over the past few years.” Before joining Rock N Roll Sushi, LeMieux was Area Developer/Multi-Unit Franchisee for Tropical Smoothie Café. He opened the brand’s first Michigan location in 2004, grew the region into its second largest market and was twice awarded “Area Developer of the Year.” LeMieux currently owns franchise locations for Pet Supplies Plus and Mayweather Boxing + Fitness. As the new Vice President of Operations, Jessen will be leading a team of five people, overseeing the franchise business consultant program as well as the culinary and procurement/supply chain departments. She and her team will work closely with the Rock N Roll Sushi franchisees across the country to ensure strong unit-level operations with the ultimate goal of increasing sales and franchisee profitability. Jessen brings two decades of restaurant industry experience to her new role, and is currently part of a multi-unit franchisee group for Rock N Roll Sushi in Arizona and Florida, as well as a partner in the Area Representative group for Arizona and part of Florida. “I’m thrilled to be a part of a legend-in-the-making in the sushi space,” said Jessen. “Together with my team, I’m ready to work with our franchisees across the country to make sure our unit-level operations are tops in the business.” Like LeMieux, Jessen was a successful multi-unit franchisee for Tropical Smoothie Café from 2004 to 2013, owning and operating multiple locations in Florida. She and her husband earned the brand’s Franchisee Rookie of the Year Award in 2005. For her demonstrated expertise and elite performance, Jessen was named Area Developer of the Year twice, in 2013 and 2018. At Rock N Roll Sushi, fans enjoy food that’s deliciously twisted and made fresh for everyone. Boasting concepts and flavors that are big, bold and loud, Rock N Roll Sushi is the only place to experience the rock you love and the rolls you love with the ones you love! Everything about the American-style sushi restaurant, from its soundtrack to its soul, is pure rock ‘n roll – raw, inspired, amplified. To learn more about Rock N Roll Sushi, visit Rock N Roll Sushi: Dine Out Loud About Rock N Roll Sushi Founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife duo Lance and Gerri Mach Hallmark in Mobile, Alabama, Rock N Roll Sushi is the original American-style sushi restaurant founded on great food, true love and rock n’ roll music. It’s the only theme-restaurant in the world where local and loyal fans can experience the rock they love and the rolls they love with the ones they love. The menu is broken down by Opening Acts, Classics, Green Room, Headliners (with Raw Tracks), Back Stage Hibachi, Kids Rock and After Party, with Rock N Roll Sushi’s greatest hits – like Crispy Wontons, Punk Rock Roll, VIP Roll and Hibachi – stealing the show. From humble beginnings in a modest 1000-square-foot space tucked inside the Mobile Mall, Rock N Roll Sushi has rapidly expanded to encompass more than 60 locations across the Southeastern U.S. in just a decade. For more information about Rock N Roll Sushi, visit or follow the brand on Facebook or Instagram.

Huddle House Names Blain Shortreed Brand President

Strengthens leadership to maintain focus on growth Atlanta, GA ( Huddle House, the family restaurant that brings friends and family together over delicious food served from the heart, recently announced Blain Shortreed as Brand President. Shortreed is a career restaurant professional with more than 30 years of experience leading top brands. As Huddle House Brand President, he will oversee company operations, the franchise system, marketing, and culinary innovation. “We are thrilled to welcome Blain to the Ascent Hospitality Management Senior Executive Team as he assumes leadership of the Huddle House system,” said James O’Reilly, Chief Executive Officer for Ascent Hospitality Management®. “He brings extensive restaurant operations and finance experience that will be incredibly valuable to the brand. He’s demonstrated throughout his career the ability to grow brands and will be vital as we continue to expand and evolve our organization.” Shortreed’s career is characterized by a rich and multifaceted background spanning finance and operations with a wealth of experience. Shortreed has navigated through various progressive leadership roles in these critical domains. Prior to joining Huddle House, Shortreed served as Chief Executive Officer for Long John Silver’s, the world’s most popular quick-service seafood chain with nearly 600 restaurants, where he built a team to deliver on legacy brands’ turnaround strategy. He initially joined the company as its COO before taking on the Chief Executive Officer role. Prior to Long John Silver’s, Shortreed served as Pizza Hut’s Vice President of Operations, responsible for the operations of more than 5,000 domestic corporate and franchise-owned locations. He successfully rebuilt the Middle East Pizza Hut team, fostering brand growth, establishing over 100 restaurants, and achieving remarkable increases in customer traffic, sales, and profits. He also served as Vice President of Operations for Yum! Restaurants Canada, where he oversaw operations for the company and franchised KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell locations. “Huddle House is an iconic brand that boasts decades of success in the breakfast space and continues to innovate to drive growth opportunities. I am honored to join the organization and guide the team during such an exciting time,” said Blain Shortreed, Brand President for Huddle House. For more information about Huddle House, visit About Huddle House Committed to serving “Any Meal, Any Time,” Huddle House restaurants have become icons in the communities they serve throughout the country by “Bringing Friends and Family Together, Over Delicious Food, Served from the Heart”. The core values on which the brand was founded – serving freshly prepared, quality home-style food in a warm, friendly environment that brings the community together – are as true today as they were when it was founded in 1964. Today, the brand has more than 300 locations. It has been named one of the Top 200+ Franchises by Franchise Times, ranked among Thrillist’s list of “Regional Breakfast Chains that Should Be Everywhere,” and named a Top 500 Chain Restaurant by Restaurant Business. Huddle House Inc. is an Ascent Hospitality Management brand. The company embraces innovation to grow and evolve its companies and people. To learn more about Huddle House franchise opportunities, visit and for more information about the brand, visit the company website at

Dine Brands Global, Inc. Announces Departure of Susan M. Collyns from its Board of Directors Collyns to take on Newly Appointed CFO Role Outside of Company

December 04, 2023 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar®, IHOP® and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® restaurants, announced today that Susan M. Collyns (Sue) has made the decision to resign from the board, effective March 31, 2024, due to her newly appointed role as Chief Financial Officer of Fabletics, Inc. “Sue’s contributions to Dine Brands and its Board of Directors over the past four years have been immeasurable. Her business acumen and extensive experience leading major restaurant and consumer brands have enabled the Company to advance strategic objectives, and her counsel has been instrumental in helping position the Company and our brands for long-term growth,” said Richard Dahl, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dine Brands Global, Inc. Collyns joined Dine’s Board of Directors in August 2019 and has served on the Audit Committee. “It has been an honor to serve on Dine's Board for the last four years, supporting the Company as it has successfully navigated an ever-evolving landscape. I am particularly proud of the work we've done to serve our shareholders through sound governance, oversight and an unwavering commitment to driving shareholder value,” said Collyns. About Dine Brands Global, Inc. Based in Pasadena, California, Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries and franchisees, supports and operates restaurants under the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar®, IHOP®, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® brands. As of September 30, 2023, these three brands consisted of over 3,500 restaurants across 18 international markets. Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world and in 2022 expanded into the Fast Casual segment. For more information on Dine Brands, visit the Company’s website located at

Brinker International Appoints New President of Maggiano's Little Italy

Seasoned Food & Beverage Executive to join Brinker International as President and SVP DALLAS, Dec. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) today announced the appointment of industry leader Dominique Bertolone to the position of President, Maggiano's Little Italy, and SVP, Brinker International. In this role, he will lead and grow the beloved Maggiano's brand and serve as a member of Brinker's Executive Leadership Team. Bertolone is a seasoned food and beverage executive with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage Strategy and Development at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, where he oversaw strategy development and execution around the company's vast portfolio of restaurants, bars, lounges and nightlife venues. Bertolone leads with a people-first approach and has a deep passion and understanding of employee culture and engagement, which he believes inspires success in the business and Guest experience. "Dominique is the perfect leader to usher in the next wave of Maggiano's growth," said Kevin Hochman, Brinker International President and CEO. "His experience leading all types of foodservice concepts has direct application to accelerating the three Maggiano's channels of dine-in, off premise and banquets, as well as developing the next generation of Maggiano's restaurants. He also has an impressive track record of leading employee engagement, developing one-of-a-kind Guest experiences, achieving operational excellence, and elevating brands." Bertolone is originally from Monaco and speaks fluent Italian, French and English. "The opportunity to helm the Maggiano's brand is an honor, and I can't wait to continue building on its incredible growth and potential," Bertolone said. "This role will allow me to blend my passions for amazing people, team culture, food, drinks, and Guest service standards – all rooted in my own Italian roots. I've heard incredible things about the Brinker team and culture and look forward to joining the team." Bertolone also previously served as MGM Resorts Vice President of Food and Beverage Development. Before moving into corporate leadership, he worked at Bellagio Resort & Casino for 15 years, during which he became a respected thought leader and expert on restaurant operations and service standards. He served as the property's Director of Service, Executive Director of Food and Beverage, and Vice President of Food and Beverage. Before moving to Las Vegas and beginning his 20+ year career with MGM Resorts, he worked at the SBM Hospitality Group in Monaco, where he assumed different roles in several palaces and resorts such as Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo Beach, Monte Carlo Golf Club and Palais Princier de Monaco. 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

Sprinkles Promotes Justin Murakami to Chief Operating Officer of Sprinkles Bakeries and Picnik Restaurants 25 Year Hospitality Veteran to Spearhead Global Growth Strategies

Justin Murakami, COO of Sprinkles Bakeries and Picnik Restaurants (Photo: Business Wire)

November 29, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sprinkles Bakeries and Picnik Restaurants proudly announce the promotion of Justin Murakami to Chief Operating Officer, recognizing his exemplary contributions and leadership in steering operational growth and innovation. His promotion signals a pivotal phase in executing Sprinkles’ growth strategies domestically and internationally. Dan Mesches, President and CEO of Sprinkles Bakeries and Picnik Restaurants, lauded Justin's appointment, affirming, "Justin’s strategic foresight and operational expertise have been instrumental in our company's success, especially in expanding Sprinkles’ global footprint and Picnik’s domestic expansion. We're confident that under Justin's leadership, we'll continue to exceed expectations, scale efficiently, and solidify our position as industry leaders." Since joining Sprinkles in 2017, Justin swiftly became an integral part of the company's evolution. His instrumental role in developing and implementing foundational systems and processes laid the groundwork in expanding the brand’s physical footprint with both company-owned and franchised locations, domestically and internationally. Notably, under his stewardship, Justin took the brand’s iconic cupcake ATMs beyond their brick and mortar locales and launched the non-traditional Cupcake ATM business. With over 50 ATMs and counting, Sprinkles ATMs can be found in airports, malls and lifestyle centers across the country. Justin was also instrumental in the successful launch of Sprinkles’ National Shipping Program, creating another channel for significant growth. With an impressive career spanning 25 years in the hospitality sector, Justin has navigated through the ranks starting as a host, then becoming a GM at the Cheesecake Factory to an Area Director overseeing multiple brands with Lettuce Entertain You and Hopdoddy Burger Bar. His vast experience has honed his abilities and insights, propelling him to craft and fortify infrastructures conducive to sustained business growth. As Chief Operating Officer, Murakami will lead operations, training, supply chain, culinary, franchise operations, and new bakery and restaurant openings. His responsibilities include partnering with cross-functional departments, identifying opportunities and gaps, formulating and implementing robust processes and systems to ensure scalability and ease for the team. Justin Murakami expressed his enthusiasm about the promotion, stating, "Assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer at Sprinkles and Picnik is a tremendous honor. I am devoted to leveraging our team's strengths, harnessing operational excellence, and charting a growth trajectory that maintains our commitment to exceptional guest experiences. I am excited about the opportunity to not only drive innovation and sustainable expansion for our business, but to continue nurturing and developing the people I work with every day.” ABOUT SPRINKLES Sprinkles offers premium cupcakes, cakes and cookies that are baked fresh in small batches throughout the day and handcrafted with only the finest ingredients. Sprinkles opened its first bakery in Beverly Hills in 2005, drawing long lines of loyal cupcake fans and celebrity endorsements. Passionate innovators, in 2012, Sprinkles debuted the world’s first Cupcake ATM and has grown to over 70 bakeries and ATMs coast to coast. In 2021, Sprinkles launched its first ever line of chocolates inspired by the iconic cupcakes’ best-selling flavors. For additional information and a list of future locations, please visit

Tyler Nelson Named President of Savory, Richie Stevens Named VP of Finance for Savory Fund

November 27, 2023 The private equity firm promotes two top leaders amidst acquisitions, multi-state development, and exponential job growth Lehi, UT ( Savory, an innovative private equity firm that invests in emerging restaurant concepts, has announced two pivotal promotions: Tyler Nelson is now president of Savory (the value-add platform of the fund), and Richie Stevens is now VP of Finance for Savory Fund. These advancements come during a high-growth time for the firm, as it just announced its 11th portfolio investment with Houston TX Hot Chicken, operates more than 170 restaurants in 12 states, and has more than 70 restaurant openings to come in 2024. Nelson, formerly Savory’s CFO, has 23 years of experience in accounting and finance, capital structure advisory, development of infrastructure and controls, and strategic mergers and acquisitions. He has a bachelor’s of accounting from BYU – where he also played football on scholarship. “Tyler is a powerful asset,” said Shauna K. Smith, CEO of Savory. “He has been my partner in this work for many years, and he has been a vital player in Savory’s pivotal and strategic decisions. I have leaned on him for his analytical perspective, and I’m grateful to work shoulder to shoulder with such a supportive, strong leader.” “Savory is like family to me,” said Nelson, president of Savory. “The past 12 years have been the best of my career, and I’m looking forward to this next chapter of growth, challenges, and triumphs. The best is truly yet to come for Savory and its portfolio of brands.” Stevens, who was previously Director of Finance for Savory, has 13 years of experience in finance and accounting for growth companies, as well as M&A diligence and post-acquisition integration. He has been instrumental in building and implementing systems for hyper-growth brands, and he has also developed the financial reporting framework that elevates and strengthens the strategic decision-making process. Stevens started his career at Deloitte, and he has a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Utah. “Richie continually demonstrates unparalleled leadership and vision,” said Andrew K. Smith, managing director and co-founder of Savory Fund. “He is an integral part of the acquisition, growth, and development of our brands, and he has been a true partner, power player, and change-maker.” “There’s no place like Savory,” said Stevens, VP of Finance for Savory Fund. “I’m grateful for our team, for impeccable mentors, and for the trust, growth, and friendship I’ve had the opportunity to experience here. It’s been an incredible ride at an incredible company – and we’re just getting started.” About Savory Fund Savory is an innovative private equity firm that combines over $600 million in assets under management with a growth playbook and expertise that has been developed over 15 years of operating in the restaurant industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands, to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, growth and revenue opportunities, profitability enhancements and new location development. The Savory team contributes directly to all aspects of growth and replication by using a proven playbook and methodology. Founder involvement in the expansion of a brand is a central theme of the Savory approach as founders carry the tribal knowledge around the uniqueness that has energized early success and is essential to future growth. The Savory Fund is currently invested in 11 brands: Swig, R&R BBQ, PINCHO, Via 313 Pizzeria, Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food, 86 Repairs, Saigon Hustle, Hash Kitchen, The Sicilian Butcher, and Houston TX Hot Chicken. For more information, visit

ZIPS Car Wash Welcomes New Chief Marketing Officer 20 Nov, 2023, 10:03 ET

PLANO, Texas, Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- ZIPS Car Wash welcomes Rebecca Latacz as its new chief marketing officer (CMO). Latacz will be responsible for brand and promotional strategy, and helping the chain expand its digital and membership platforms. ZIPS Car Wash Chief Marketing Officer, Rebecca Latacz, comes to the growing express car wash brand with over 15 years of QSR marketing experience. "We're honored to have Rebecca join our growing brand to enhance our retail traffic driving efforts and transform our marketing to a more localized approach to benefit the communities we serve," said Gene Dinkens, CEO, ZIPS Car Wash. "Rebecca has a proven track record with both established and growth brands leading marketing strategies that we feel can amplify the foundational work we've done over the last year to update our tunnel systems and products to provide the best car wash experience to every customer we serve," he added. Latacz comes to ZIPS following five and half years serving as the Vice President of Marketing for Raising Canes Chicken Fingers leading the Restaurant Marketing department including the areas of new restaurant openings, promotions, sponsorships, and activations. During her tenure, the brand experienced tremendous expansion, growing from 250 to over 750 Restaurants. Latacz's marketing career includes former Marketing leadership roles with Yum! Brands Inc. (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), TGI Fridays and McDonald's. As CMO, Latacz will oversee all marketing efforts including digital, loyalty, sponsorships, and new site openings. "I'm excited to join the ZIPS family and be a part of this growing brand. My goal is to help bring unique and profitable traffic driving initiatives to our business," said Rebecca Latacz, CMO, ZIPS Car Wash. "Along with the talented support team at ZIPS, we will work to enhance the customer journey at our nearly 280 locations," she added. Latacz has a B.A. in Communication Arts and Spanish and a Minor in Business Administration from Villanova University, and a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. ABOUT ZIPS CAR WASH ZIPS Car Wash, headquartered in Plano, Texas, is the largest privately held car wash operator nationwide, operating nearly 280 locations across 25 states under three brands: ZIPS Car Wash, Rocket Express Car Wash, and Jet Brite Car Wash. With nearly 20 years of car washing experience, ZIPS prides itself on providing the highest quality express tunnel car wash in the industry. ZIPS uses the latest industry technology to provide a clean, dry, and shiny vehicle and exceptional customer experiences every day. The ZIPS team aims to positively impact the communities we live and serve in. To learn more visit

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