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Executive Movements - February 2019

Shake Shack Hires Jay Livinston to be First CMOThe fast-casual chain hired marketer Jay Livingston away from the BarkBox subscription service. By Heather Lalley on Feb. 11, 2019

Shake Shack has appointed its first chief marketing officer, the company announced Monday.Jay Livingston comes to the fast-growing burger chain after serving as CMO for Bark, the parent company of dog-focused subscription box service BarkBox. Livingston also held executive marketing positions for two decades with Bank of America.Shake Shack’s marketing department had previously been helmed by Edwin Bragg, vice president of marketing and communications, who left the fast-casual chain in June for a family move.Refining Shake Shack’s touchscreen kiosks will be one of Livingston’s immediate goals, he told Adweek magazine. Livingston spent the last week working at Shake Shack units in New York City and New Jersey, according to the article. “I was working in full uniform,” he said. “I was in every station—the grill, the shake station, and I worked the front of the house.” Shake Shack, known for its extremely limited menu, made headlines earlier this month when it launched its Chick’n Bites nationwide. The bite-sized chicken pieces are cooked sous vide before being breaded and fried.

Church's Chicken® Promotes Female Leadership to Executive Team with Recent Promotions

Feb 11, 2019, 15:30 ET

ATLANTA, Feb. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As Church's Chicken® continues to refine its corporate leadership structure, the company is announcing the promotion of two key team members to officer level status. Karen Brandenburg Viera will now serve as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Internal Communications and Andra Terrell will serve as Vice President of Deputy General Counsel.

Viera was recently hired as the new Chief People Officer at Church's earlier this year. Prior to joining Church's, Viera held Chief-, VP-, and Senior-level HR positions with such Fortune 500 companies as WellCare Health Plans, Inc. and Assurant, Inc. Terrell has been part of the Church's legal team since 2016. The expanded roles for both women include additional decision-making responsibilities for future company growth, as well as overseeing their departments to ensure internal goals are achieved. The two will also bring more female presence to the Church's team of officers, which is a move that delivers multiple potential benefits to the company's overall success.

"Recognizing our best and brightest employees is vital to our strength as a brand," says Joe Christina, Chief Executive Officer for Church's. "Promoting exceptional leaders from within our organization allows us to capitalize on the insights and contributions of people who touch our business every day. As well, it demonstrates our commitment to building a positive and unique culture continued Christina, "and one in which great work is rewarded and great people are recognized." "This is an exciting time to be a leader in the Church's organization," offers Viera. "The brand is poised for achievement this year and in years to come, and I'm looking forward to playing a pivotal role in following through on our commitment to franchisees, optimizing performance, and bringing our 'Invite. Cultivate. Energize.' vision to life." "It is important to recognize how talented lawyers like Andra can become true leaders in the company," says Craig Prusher, Chief Legal Officer for Church's. Terrell also looks forward to what the future holds in her newly expanded role. "I'm eager to implement processes and procedures that reinforce the values we stand for as a brand – working together, doing the right thing, and building strong relationships with our people, our franchisees, and our guests," she explains. "I'm also excited to help develop people within this department to become real problem solvers and innovators. This is an incredibly dedicated leadership team, and I'm honored to be a part of it." About Church's Chicken®  Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church's Chicken® is one of the largest quick service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church's® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Church's® (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 23 countries and international territories and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information, visit Follow Church's® on Facebook at and Twitter at

Jeff Carcara Joins Bloomin’ Brands as President of Bonefish Grill

February 11, 2019 08:25 AM Eastern Standard Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) today announced the appointment of Jeff Carcara as President of Bonefish Grill. In this role, Carcara will be responsible for leading the operations and development for Bonefish Grill restaurants across the United States. He most recently served as the CEO of Del Frisco’s Emerging Brands. “Jeff will bring creativity, energy and thoughtful leadership to continue driving excellence at Bonefish Grill,” said Liz Smith, CEO of Bloomin' Brands, Inc. “The depth of his experience, coupled with his proven success in the polished-casual dining segment, will help ensure that Bonefish Grill remains the destination for customers seeking fresh fish and a big city bar in their neighborhood.” Carcara’s 26-year hospitality career includes extensive experience in restaurant operations, building and leading successful teams, implementing innovative changes, brand growth and development, increased productivity and asset management. Prior to serving as the CEO of Del Frisco’s Emerging Brands, Carcara was the CEO of Barteca Restaurant Group and Chief Operating Officer for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. He also held several leadership positions at Season’s 52. Carcara holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida. He is a graduate of the of the Executive Leadership Program at Rollins College. About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant concepts. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Company owns and operates approximately 1,500 restaurants in 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 22 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit

Contacts Cathie Koch Vice President, Corporate Communications (813) 830-5127

Primanti Bros. Names Adam Golomb as First CMO

February 1, 2019

Veteran Restaurant & Retail Marketer Joins Team to Deliver Sales Growth, Build Brand Awareness and Identify New Revenue Opportunities Pittsburgh, PA  (  Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar, the 86-year-old Pittsburgh-based restaurant concept, today announces Adam Golomb as the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer.  Golomb will oversee Primanti Bros.’ marketing strategy, menu development, and concept strategy, and will report to David Head, Primanti Bros. CEO. “With Adam’s unique skillset and experience, he is a natural choice to lead the marketing efforts, which will help expand the Primanti Bros. concept and we are so excited to welcome him to the team,” said Head. With more than 20 years of experience, Golomb joins Primanti Bros. from Giant Eagle where he most recently served as senior director of gift card merchandising, overseeing the grocery and convenience retailer’s more than $1 billion third-party gift card marketplace.  Prior to Giant Eagle, Adam was with Eat’n Park Hospitality Group in various marketing roles. “I am thrilled to be joining the Primanti’s team at a pivotal time in the company’s growth and to focus on a concept that I have been a fan of for more than 30 years,” said Golomb. Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University and a master’s degree from Penn State University. About Primanti Brothers In 1933, Joe Primanti opened a lunch cart in Pittsburgh’s Strip District selling sandwiches to the hungry truckers who were coming and going at all times of the night. Encouraged by sales and positive feedback, Joe expanded to a small storefront where he was joined by his brothers Dick and Stanley and their nephew John DePriter. And that’s how the very first Primanti Bros. location was born – Primanti Bros. currently has 44 locations, all dedicated to that early notion that folks deserve great food, with no pretense, for a good price. Contact: Ryan Wilkinson Director of Marketing Primanti Brothers 724-689-3696

National Restaurant Association announces 2019 board officers and directors

January 31, 2019

Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the Educational Foundation, said the new officers would provide the critical leadership necessary to ensure the restaurant industry’s continued growth and success.

The National Restaurant Association and its Educational Foundation unveiled their board officers and directors for 2019. Joe Essa, president of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., will serve as chair of the National Restaurant Association, and Geoff Hill, managing director of Roark Capital Group, will serve as chair of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the Educational Foundation, said the new officers would provide the critical leadership necessary to ensure the restaurant industry’s continued growth and success. This year’s chairs, Joe Essa and Geoff Hill, bring years of experience and passion for our industry to their new roles,” she said. “Their first-hand knowledge and dedication will provide valuable insights that will help the Association and Foundation navigate the challenges our industry faces.” In addition to Essa, Vice Chair Melvin Rodrigue, president and CEO of Galatoire’s Restaurants, and Treasurer Brian E. Casey, president of Oak Hill Tavern and the Company Picnic Company, will lead the Restaurant Association’s board. Foundation officers supporting Hill are Vice Chair Stan Harris, president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and treasurer Susan Adzick, senior vice president of sales and strategic relationships at McLane Foodservice. Each of the officers will serve a year term. In addition to naming the new officers, The Restaurant Association also added several new members to the board. The newly elected directors include: Brad Anderson, president of Anderson Management Group, Billings, Mont. Jean-Marie Clement, vice president of Food and Beverage, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. John Teza, director of NRD Capital Management, Atlanta. Jett Mehta, president and CEO of Indus Hospitality Group, Rochester, N.Y. Don Balfour, vice president of Waffle House Inc., Norcross, Ga. John Cywinski, president of Applebee's Grill & Bar, Glendale, Calif. Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart, Alexandria, Va. The Educational Foundation also added new board members. They include: Brett Ladd, CEO of Sodexo Government, Gaithersburg, Md. Derek Small, director of culinary training for Troop Café, Milwaukee. Joel Neuman, Vice President of Legal and Industry Affairs, Coca-Cola Foodservice, Atlanta. Greg Barber, Vice President of Global Business Development, PepsiCo, White Plains, N.Y. James Fripp, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Yum! Brands Inc., Plano, Texas The board is comprised of about 70 voting directors, who represent every facet of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry. They provide strategic guidance to the Association as it seeks to advance and protect the interests of the restaurant and foodservice industry.

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina Taps Industry Veteran to Lead Food and Beverage

January 31, 2019

Amy M. Smith to Bring More Than 20 Years of Expertise to Vice President of Culinary Dallas, TX  (  On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina® has announced a new Vice President of Culinary, Amy M. Smith, a proven industry leader with a strong track record for executing new menu strategies based on consumer insights, solid financials, and operational excellence. Smith will lead the culinary team and focus on innovation for the OTB menu to drive new guests. “We are delighted to have Amy join the On The Border team,” said Matt Hood, Chief Executive Officer for On The Border. “We are proud of our culinary heritage and know that Amy will be instrumental in leading On The Border to find innovative ways to introduce Mexican flavors and experiences that appeal to our guests.” Prior to joining On The Border, Smith spent five years as Senior Director of Culinary and Guest Experience Innovation for Buffalo Wild Wings. In that role, she oversaw all day-to-day product strategy, product development, and menu strategy. She also previously spent nine years with Logan’s Roadhouse as Director of Culinary, leading all food and beverage development.  Earlier career highlights include time in research and development for Pret a Manger and M&M Mars. Smith is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, where she graduated first in her class. Her accomplishments include winning Marriott’s national “North by Northwest” Culinary Challenge as well as being part of the team that won Menu Masters “Best Menu Revamp.” Smith is an active member of various culinary associations, including the International Corporate Chefs Association – where she serves as board member and President, the Institute of Food Technologists, and Women Chefs and Restauranteurs. “I am eager to make a contribution to this iconic brand that has spent decades introducing and elevating Mexican cuisine,” said Smith. “On The Border has shown that quality ingredients and fresh preparation are central to enjoying the fullness of Mexican cuisine. Now it’s time to take that experience to the next level with new menu innovation, creativity, and different ways for guests to enjoy OTB.” About On The Border On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand. Known for its award-winning Margaritas, house-made salsa, and sizzling mesquite-grilled fajitas, On The Border is a fan-favorite destination for authentic, contemporary Mexican food and vibrant good times. With over 150 restaurants in 31 states and Asia, there’s always a fiesta waiting at On The Border. Follow and ‘like’ On The Border on Facebook at, become a fan on Instagram @ontheborder and @OnTheBorder on Twitter. For more information, visit Media Contact: Kim Miller 888-869-7899

Brinker International Adds Cindy L. Davis And John W. Chidsey To Board Of Directors

Jan 31, 2019, 16:30 ET

DALLAS, Jan. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), a recognized leader in casual dining, announces the appointment of Cindy L. Davis and John W. Chidsey to its Board of Directors. Davis is an accomplished executive with a track record of driving innovation and profitable growth globally. She previously served as vice president of Nike, Inc. and president, Nike Golf.  Prior to that, Davis was senior vice president at Golf Channel, a division of Comcast Corporation with responsibilities for golf sponsorships, sports marketing and media, and was formerly president and chief executive officer of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, LLC. In addition to Brinker, Davis serves on the Board of Directors for Deckers Brands and Kennametal, Inc. and previously served on the board of Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Chidsey is a talented leader and experienced restaurant operator with deep industry knowledge. He most recently served as chairman and chief executive officer of Burger King Holdings, Inc. Prior to serving as CEO, he held several executive leadership positions including president and chief financial officer. Chidsey served as chairman and chief executive officer of two divisions of Cendant Corporation, including brands such as Avis, Budget and Jackson-Hewitt, and held senior leadership positions at PepsiCo, Inc. In addition to Brinker, Chidsey serves on the Board of Directors for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. and Encompass Health Corporation. "We're excited to have both Cindy and John join our team and know their perspectives and experience will be a great addition to our board," said Wyman Roberts, CEO and president of Brinker International, Inc. and president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "As we continue to differentiate the Guest experience at Chili's and Maggiano's, Cindy's global retail strategy and consumer-focus expertise and John's operations and financial knowledge will prove invaluable." Brinker International, Inc. is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies. Founded in 1975 and based in Dallas, Texas, as of Dec. 26, 2018, Brinker owned, operated, or franchised 1,685 restaurants under the names Chili's®Grill & Bar (1,632 restaurants) and Maggiano's Little Italy® (53 restaurants).

Wetzel’s Pretzels Promotes Jennifer Schuler to CEO

January 31, 2019

Brand’s Former President and CMO Named to the Nation’s Restaurant News 2019 “Power List” Pasadena, CA  (  Wetzel’s Pretzels, the innovator in the fresh-baked pretzel category, today announced that it has promoted Jennifer Schuler to CEO. Schuler, who has served as the company’s President since 2017, and previously served as Chief Marketing Officer when she joined the company in 2014, will assume global responsibility for the brand, spearheading the continued growth of Wetzel’s Pretzels. “Jenn is uniquely suited to take over the CEO role at our organization,” said Bill Phelps, co-founder Wetzel’s Pretzels. “Since joining Wetzel’s Pretzels as CMO in 2014, she has combined her marketing and operations experience with global brands to drive same-store sales, profitability for our franchise partners and further growth for the brand domestically and abroad.” Phelps will remain involved with the company as a board member and shareholder. This month, Schuler was also named to the “Power List,” Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual recognition of select industry leaders setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow. Under Schuler’s leadership, Wetzel’s Pretzels has realized a number of key accomplishments, including:

  1. Achieved comparable same-store sales increases of 2.8%

  2. Grown system-wide sales to $175 million

  3. Being named one of the fastest-growing snack concepts by Franchise Times Magazine, and a Top Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine

  4. Attracted a new genre of outstanding franchise partners who bring experience, infrastructure, capital and creativity to fuel growth and brand performance

  5. Significant domestic and international growth, including multiple locations in China “I’m looking forward to working with our partners at CenterOak, and the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s Board to continue growing this brand both domestically and internationally,” said Schuler. “By leveraging our category-leading economics, operational simplicity and unmatched unit flexibility, we’re well-positioned to track toward our goal of 500 locations by 2021.” In 2018, Schuler also became a Wetzel’s Pretzels franchisee. Along with a recently-opened kiosk, she now owns and operates two locations at the Mall of America, providing an additional unique insight which serves as a leadership filter for decision making, truly giving her skin in the game. About Wetzel’s Pretzels Armed with a vision and a tasty recipe for soft pretzel perfection, Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel opened the first Wetzel’s Pretzels bakery in Redondo Beach, Calif., in 1994. Long lines of hungry customers soon formed, attracted by mouth-watering soft pretzels that were hand-rolled, baked fresh and served hot from the oven. As word spread about these golden-on-the-outside pretzels, the company added additional offerings to its menu. Today, Wetzel’s Pretzels has grown to 350 fresh bakeries across the United States and around the world, including premier locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Every Wetzel’s Pretzels bakery adheres to the original vision of its founders; that each super-premium pretzel will be crafted from fresh dough and baked in-store consistently throughout the day, to ensure a delicious offering for each consumer, regardless of when the craving for a pretzel strikes. For additional information on Wetzel’s Pretzels or franchise opportunities, please visit the website, call (626) 432-6900, “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Media Contact: Josh Levitt Canvas Blue for Wetzel’s Pretzels 949-215-1438

STACKED: Food Well Built Names Craig Carlyle First Chief Operating Officer

January 29, 2019

Carlyle, Who Held Senior Roles with Yard House Restaurants, Joins as STACKED Ramps Up Expansion Plans Huntington Beach, CA  (  STACKED: Food Well Built, the innovative casual dining concept delivering experiential dining to allow guests to fully customize their meals and their overall dining experience, has announced that Craig Carlyle, who served in top leadership roles at Yard House Restaurants, has joined the company as its first COO. Carlyle is the latest addition to a loaded management team at STACKED, now majority-owned by two private equity firms, North Carolina-based Hargett Hunter and TriSpan of New York and London, which acquired their stakes in September 2018. Nation’s Restaurant News “Hot Concept” award winner, STACKED is building on the loyal following it has established in Southern California to expand to new markets outside the Golden State. Founded in 2011, and now with five restaurants in Southern California, STACKED pioneered user-friendly, tabletop technology that allows guests to create their own personal dining experience from ordering to paying their bill. With an inventive and delicious menu of American favorites, including burgers, salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, shakes, desserts, and much more, guests choose specific ingredients on tabletop iPads to build literally millions of combinations of menu items, and only pay for the ingredients they choose. Carlyle, who joined the leadership team at Yard House at one unit and served as president following its $585 million acquisition by Darden Restaurants in 2012, is joining STACKED to help lead the expansion efforts. He joins an impressive team, led by co-founders Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, the former co-CEOs of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc., who built the BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse concept into a national chain. STACKED is now actively targeting new locations in Texas as well as additional locations in California. “Craig’s deep industry experience and entrepreneurial expertise in building restaurant brands into America’s favorite dining spots will be invaluable as we bring STACKED: Food Well Built to more communities,” said Paul Motenko, president and CEO, STACKED Restaurants. “The combination of the incredible support of our new private equity partners and Craig’s arrival puts STACKED in an enviable position in this new phase of growth and innovation. We are very fortunate to have such a talented individual join our team.” Carlyle joined Yard House Restaurants in 1998, serving as general manager at its first restaurant in Long Beach, California, assuming greater roles over 20 years including executive vice president of operations and president. “I am tremendously excited to join STACKED on the cusp of its expansion,” said Carlyle. “I’m excited to work with Paul and Jerry, excited to join the company in this entrepreneurial stage, and excited about its potential to become a popular and loved American restaurant brand.” About Hargett Hunter Hargett Hunter is a unique private equity firm that invests exclusively in emerging and established restaurant chains generating a minimum of $10 million in annual sales.  In addition to capital, Hargett Hunter offers industry-leading resources in support of the growth plans commonly executed by emerging brands with less than 100 units.  By focusing exclusively US-based restaurant chains, Hargett Hunter offers significant hospitality industry expertise and is the preferred partner for investors looking for exposure to the restaurant industry and operators looking for a partner in growing their brands.  Hargett Hunter is headquartered in Raleigh, NC.  For more information, please visit About TriSpan – Rising Stars Fund TriSpan is an independent and management-controlled private equity firm established in 2015 with offices in New York and London, and backed by leading family groups across the US, Europe and the Middle East. Rising Stars focuses on growth investment in the global restaurant sector, and the investment in Stacked is its fourth investment to-date. For more information, please visit About STACKED: Food Well Built STACKED: Food Well Built is a full-service restaurant serving premium-quality, inventive and flavorful American favorites, where innovative and user-friendly technology allows guests to fully customize a diverse and delicious menu of appetizers, burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, shakes and desserts. Guests build their meals on tabletop tablets choosing from dozens of fresh ingredients and flavorful house-made sauces. The pioneering technology also lets guests control when they order and pay, giving the STACKED service team more time to deliver a superior level of hospitality. Each STACKED also offers a full-bar experience, replete with multiple, flat screen TVs, and stocked with rotating craft beers, premium wine selections, and top shelf liquor for inventive cocktails. STACKED: Food Well Built was founded in 2011 by the former co-CEO’s of BJ’s Restaurants, Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, who developed that brand into a national chain. STACKED has restaurants in California, including Torrance, Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Huntington Beach, and today with the support of its private equity partners, Hargett Hunter and TriSpan, will grow into new and existing markets beginning in 2019. For more information about STACKED or employment opportunities, visit, or Contact: Erin Peacock Peacock PR 949-939-1872

SHULA’S NAMES BILL FREEMAN CEOBy Peter Romeo on Jan. 28, 2019

Casual and fine-dining veteran Bill Freeman has been hired as CEO of the Shula’s Restaurants group in what the company describes as a deepening of management in anticipation of an expansion drive.

The personnel changes include the appointment of Shardul Kiri as chief brand and marketing officer for the 29-restaurant operation. Kiri was previously VP of marketing, sales and brand development for Mina Group, Michael Mina’s fine-dining operation in San Francisco. Freeman was CEO of Mina’s collection before assuming the post at Shula’s.Now overseeing menu development for Shula’s is new Corporate Culinary Director Demetrio Zavala, a New York City chef and associate of marquee names such as Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Charlie Palmer. He has also participated in several televised culinary competitions on the hit program “Chopped.”In addition, Gordon Gilbert, a former manager of several branches of the Nobu high-end Asian concept, has been named Shula’s director of operations.Shula’s said the appointments will rejuvenate the 30-year-old company and ease it into an expansion mode. The operator’s best-known brand is the 30-year-old Shula’s Steak House concept, founded by legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.Freeman succeeds Shula’s wife, Mary Anne Shula, as CEO. She remains chairman.


The moves come the same day the chicken-and-biscuit chain’s acquisition was finalized.

By Heather Lalley on Jan. 28, 2019

Former McDonald’s executive Jose Armario was named CEO of Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits Monday, the same day the chain’s go-private acquisition by two New York City-based investment firms was finalized.Joining Armario in the C-suite is Brian Unger, Bojangles’ new chief operating officer. Unger, who spent 20 years in executive positions with McDonald’s, also served as COO for Einstein Noah Restaurants Group Inc. and president and COO of Long John Silver’s.Bojangles’ was acquired by Durational Capital Management and The Jordan Company in a deal originally announced in November that will pay stockholders $16.10 per share.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based chain operates 759 units, of which 440 are franchised.Former CEO Clifton Rutledge resigned suddenly early last year, and Randy Kibler—who had previously served as the company’s president, CEO and director—took over as interim head.The quick-service chain weathered recent financial difficulties, closing a dozen units late last year and making plans to refranchise more than two dozen others.

YUM! BRANDS PROMOTES DAVID GIBBS TO PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICERGibbs assumes operating leadership of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell Divisions and retains CFO role as Yum! Brands launches search for top financial post

Louisville, KY, January 28, 2019 – Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the promotion of David Gibbs, 55, to President and Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Greg Creed. Gibbs, a 29-year veteran of the Company, has served as President and Chief Financial Officer for the last two years. In his expanded role as President and COO, Gibbs will assume operating leadership of global KFC Division as well as the U.S. and international businesses of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, with the respective brand leaders reporting to him. Gibbs will retain his current Yum! Brands CFO role, title and responsibilities overseeing corporate strategy, finance, supply chain and information technology, while the Company conducts a search to identify a successor CFO.“I’m happy to announce our promotion of David Gibbs to President and Chief Operating Officer. David is an extraordinarily talented commercial leader with a strong track record of results and deep experience in all three of YUM’s global brands,” said Creed. “He has been an invaluable strategic partner to me during a pivotal time for Yum! Brands, from the 2016 spinoff of the China business to driving the franchise operating, restaurant development and financial strategies that are reshaping KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell into more focused, franchised and efficient businesses. As we enter the last year of our three-year transformation, the Yum! Brands Board of Directors and I are confident David’s expanded leadership will continue to shape the next wave of growth as we strive to build the world’s most loved, trusted and fastest-growing restaurant brands,” Creed added.“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead Yum! Brands in an expanded capacity, and look forward to partnering with Greg, our global leadership team and our franchisees,” said Gibbs. “The transformation we started in 2016 is already making Yum! Brands a stronger company, franchisor and investment. We’ve achieved our stated goal of 98 percent of our restaurants being owned and operated by franchisees by the end of 2018, and are on track to deliver on our commitments for the transformation. With three category-leading brands, a uniquely diversified global business and more than 48,000 restaurants, YUM is well positioned to accelerate growth and improve franchise unit economics by leveraging our massive scale and expanding our digital technology and delivery capabilities,” Gibbs added.

Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed will continue leading the Company’s global growth strategy and culture. In addition to Gibbs, the following Yum! Brands leaders will continue reporting to Creed: Chief Marketing Strategy Officer Ken Muench; Chief Transformation and People Officer Tracy Skeans; General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Scott Catlett; and the successor CFO when hired. Since joining in 1989, Gibbs has held a variety of leadership roles in all three of YUM’s global brands, including global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Most recently, he served as Yum! Brands President and Chief Financial Officer, and was the chief architect of Yum! Brands’ financial, refranchising and restaurant development strategy to transform the company into a capital-light, pure play franchisor. Previously, he was CEO of the global Pizza Hut Division, and President and CFO of Yum! Restaurants International, responsible for growing KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outside the U.S. and China, along with having general management responsibility for several international markets. Gibbs also served as Yum! Chief Strategy Officer during which time he revamped Yum! Brands’ global restaurant operations model, as Pizza Hut U.S. CFO and in various real estate and restaurant development leadership roles in KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. About Yum! Brands Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 48,000 restaurants in more than 140 countries. The company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – are global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Worldwide, the Yum! Brands system opens over eight new restaurants per day on average, making it a leader in global retail development. In 2018, Yum! Brands was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and ranked among the top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. In 2019, Yum! Brands was named to the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year.

Tropical Smoothie Café Taps Charles Watson as CEO

January 25, 2019


Tropical Smoothie wants to reach 1,500 locations in the next four years.

Tropical Smoothie Café tapped a new chief executive officer Thursday, and isn’t being shy about setting goals. The company promoted chief development officer Charles Watson, who spent more than a decade with the brand, to the lead role. Watson’s target: Hit $1 billion in sales and more than 1,500 locations by 2023. “Charles has the tenacity, vision and passion this brand needs to continue our upward trajectory and will ensure the success of our franchisees is at the center of every decision we make,” said Scott Pressly, Tropical Smoothie’s chairman of the board, in a statement. "He has been instrumental in developing the culture of Tropical Smoothie Cafe and earning the trust of our franchisees. We look forward to realizing Charles' vision for the company." Watson has led Tropical Smoothie’s franchise development efforts since 2010 and served as CDO for the past four years. The company said Watson was directly responsible for selling more than 800 franchises.

Charles Watson has spent more than 10 years with the company.

"I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to lead such an incredible brand that has truly become a part of my DNA over many years," Watson said. "I am forever grateful to our franchisees, support center team and our Board of Directors for their confidence in me as the leader who can guide Tropical Smoothie Cafe into a new era." Tropical Smoothie has more than 720 locations nationwide. So the goal is essentially to double the chain’s footprint in the next four years. The company’s performance has been on the rise in recent years. When former CEO Mike Rotondo, who held the job for five years, left for Edible Arrangements in July, Tropical Smoothie said the top 50 percent of its franchise owners had average gross sales north of $873,254—a 30 percent increase over the last four years. Same-store sales were up 36 percent over the past five, and more than 345 locations had opened in that span. Also, it’s reported average-unit volumes of $681,000 were the highest in the company’s 20-plus years of history. When Rotondo joined Tropical Smoothie as VP of operations in 2008, comps were down about 6 percent and another 2 percent in 2009. AUVs hovered around $400,00. By 2015, same-store sales increased 11.2 percent, year-over-year, and the brand ignited a growth spurt with 199 signed franchise agreements that hasn’t slowed much since. It inked close to 100 in 2017. The year Rotondo was appointed CEO, in 2012, BIP Capital invested in Tropical Smoothie.

Restaurant Brands International Announces Exciting Leadership Changes and Sales Report

Jan 23, 2019, 06:30 ETSummary:

  1. Daniel Schwartz promoted to Executive Chairman of RBI and Co-Chairman of RBI's Board of Directors after serving as CFO and CEO over the past 8 years

  2. Jose Cil promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RBI, following 18 years with Burger King

  3. Josh Kobza promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) of RBI to oversee the global development, technology and operational teams responsible for supporting the growth of RBI's brands

  4. RBI pre-releases fourth quarter comparable sales: 2.2% Canada and 1.9% global at Tim Hortons; 0.8% U.S. and 1.7% global at Burger King; and (0.1%) U.S. and 0.1% global at Popeyes

  5. RBI pre-releases fourth quarter net restaurant growth: 2.1% at Tim Hortons; 6.1% at Burger King; and 7.3% at Popeyes

  6. Board approves Q1 2019 dividend increase to $0.50; targeting a 2019 dividend of $2.00 vs. $1.80 in 2018

  7. RBI to hold its first Investor Day Conference in New York City in May 2019 to provide more detail on its plans for long-term growth and value creation

  8. RBI will host an investor conference call and webcast at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time today - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - Restaurant Brands International Inc. ("RBI" or the "Company") (TSX/NYSE: QSR, TSX:QSP) today announced three leadership promotions that strengthen the Company's focus on accelerating its global growth. In addition, the Company pre-released comparable sales and net restaurant growth results, demonstrating the continued growth and performance in these key operational metrics. Reflecting its confidence in the long-term outlook for the Company, the RBI Board of Directors has declared a dividend increase to $0.50 per common share and partnership exchangeable unit for the first quarter of 2019 and the Company also announced it is targeting $2.00 in dividends per common share and partnership exchangeable unit in 2019, compared to $1.80 in 2018. The dividend will be payable on April 3, 2019 to shareholders and unitholders of record at the close of business on March 15, 2019.

Further, the Company also announced its first Investor Day Conference, which will be held in New York City in May 2019to provide more detail on its plans for long-term growth and value-creation. Leadership Promotions Daniel Schwartz, who was the Chief Executive Officer of Burger King in 2013 and has been the Chief Executive Officer of RBI since its formation in 2014, has been promoted to Executive Chairman of RBI and Co-Chairman of RBI's Board of Directors, and will also take a more active role as a Partner at 3G Capital. Daniel will remain deeply involved in the RBI business and will continue to focus on talent acquisition, capital allocation and major strategic initiatives. Daniel, who has served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer over the past 8 years, has been instrumental in the creation of RBI through the acquisitions of Burger King in 2010, Tim Hortons in 2014 and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2017. Jose Cil, who has been the President of Burger King since 2014, has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of RBI. Accelerating the global growth of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes will be a top priority for Jose in his new role, in addition to delivering an exceptional guest experience, increasing franchisee profitability and building the power of our restaurant brands with our guests. Jose has been with Burger King for over 18 years and has driven the growth of the brand to more than $20 billion in system-wide sales and more than 17,000 restaurants in over 100 countries and territories across the globe. Josh Kobza has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of RBI following seven years as an executive in the business, including as Chief Financial Officer from 2013 through 2017 and as Chief Technology & Development Officer in 2018. As the head of global development, he has set up many of the international franchise partnerships that have supported the Company's growth in recent years and he was also responsible for leading the acquisitions of Tim Hortons in 2014 and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2017. In his new role, Josh will continue to oversee the establishment of new international franchise partnerships as well as the implementation of the Company's technology initiatives, and will now also ensure that RBI's various operational teams best support the global growth of the Company's three brands.

Brent Erwin Named SVP of Finance for Capriotti's Sandwich Shop

January, 23 2019

Las Vegas-based Capriotti's Sandwich Shop has tapped finance and restaurant industry veteran, Brent Erwin as Capriotti's Senior Vice President of Finance as the brand looks to further its strategic growth. With more than a decade of experience in finance, Erwin is equipped to develop a sound unit economics strategy to continue driving Capriotti's to the forefront of the franchise space. Erwin comes to Capriotti's most recently from hospitality behemoth, Compass Group (Levy Restaurants division) where he served as Director of Finance Operations for the East Coast sports and entertainment division. He has also held leadership roles at global law firm, Mayer Brown where he focused on developing a robust business analytics department, and also at tech consulting firm, Accenture, where he spent nearly a decade gaining valuable mergers and acquisitions, transactional and corporate finance experience. "Capriotti's stood out to me for the overwhelming sense of goal alignment and passion that emanates from the team all the way up to the CEO," said Erwin. "The brand started as a family-run business more than 40 years ago and it still has that familiar feeling. I am excited to add value to the team not only in a business capacity but also in its passionate and genuine culture." As Senior Vice President of Finance, Erwin will be responsible for overseeing finance, accounting and human resources departments, implementing a full suite of forecasting processes, striving to increase value for Capriotti's franchise partners and enhancing the brand's culture internally. He will also work to further establish a sense of accountability, visibility and efficiency across the brand from a finance and accounting perspective. Looking ahead, Erwin hopes to make franchise partners feel supported financially by implementing a strategy that will continue to further enhance the brand's unit economics. "We are thrilled to welcome Brent into the Capriotti's family," said David Bloom, Capriotti's Chief Development Officer. "With his expertise in finance and working closely with restaurant brands, we know that he is poised to play a vital role in helping take Capriotti's to new heights as we continue to grow."

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant Names Kevin Armantrout Chief Executive Officer

Restaurant Industry Veteran to Grow Brand and Lead Worldwide Expansion

Jan 23, 2019, 10:07 ET

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant (Lucy's), the popular beach and surf bar concept headquartered and owned by Kirkendoll Management in New Orleans, announced today that Kevin Armantrout will be the brand's new Chief Executive Officer. Armantrout's decades of experience in the restaurant industry will be instrumental as the brand prepares for momentous growth and development. "As we set our sights on major expansion plans, we've realized the need to add senior management depth to our executive management team," said President & Founder of Kirkendoll Management John Kirkendoll. "I'm excited for Kevin to join our corporate team and continue to drive Lucy's growth and profitability." As a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Armantrout is no stranger to helping brands reach their growth potential. Armantrout began his executive management career with Acme Oyster House in 1995.  From there, Armantrout joined Ruth's Chris Steak House, where he served in multiple executive leadership roles. In his most recent role as Chief Operating Officer of Another Broken Egg of America, Inc., Armantrout was responsible for turning the company into one of the fastest-growing brands in the breakfast/brunch segment across the U.S. and leading a capital investment partnership. As CEO of Lucy's, Armantrout's primary goal will be to build out an internal team of personnel, systems, and processes that will help prepare the brand for significant growth. Armantrout will focus on fine-tuning the F&B to ensure Lucy's is well-positioned for maximum success. "I am excited to return to New Orleans and join the Lucy's team," said Kevin Armantrout. "This is a fantastic opportunity to build upon the brand's legacy and accelerate growth over the next five to ten years." Over the past three years, the Lucy's concept has grown to four locations in three countries, including domestic restaurants in Louisiana and Florida and international restaurants in Aruba and Costa Rica. A fifth location is set to open in Foley, Alabama in Summer 2019. The brand has plans to grow to 20 locations by 2024. About Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant got its start in 1985 on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In 1992, Lucy's opened in New Orleans' iconic Warehouse District, quickly becoming a staple of the downtown nightlife scene. The New Orleans-headquartered beach and surf bar concept, fueled by its tropical drinks, zany staff, and fun atmosphere, includes domestic locations in Louisiana and Florida and international locations in Aruba and Costa Rica. Visit for more information. CONTACT INFO Avery Gray (985) 714-0077

Shari’s Announces New Executive Chef and Senior VP of Supply Chain, Stan Frankenthaler

January 23, 2019

Portland, OR  (  Shari’s Restaurants starts the New Year with a fresh face, Stan Frankenthaler, who was recently named Executive Chef and Senior Vice President of Supply Chain for the company. Frankenthaler will oversee and implement their new Northwest Fresh menu, as well as all other culinary aspects of their 92 locations. Bringing his extensive experience from CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Dunkin’ Brands and Whole Foods, Frankenthaler is well-placed to apply his background in assisting Shari’s with their overall brand refresh. “As a kid, everything we ate was seasonal, and when I worked at Jasper’s I shopped our neighborhood in Boston’s North End daily for seasonal ingredients and daily specials … we offered ‘farm to table’ before our industry developed it as a tagline,” said Frankenthaler. “I believe in a guest-centric and on-brand balance, with a large helping of community involvement, and am thrilled to join the Shari’s team.” “It is exciting to welcome Stan Frankenthaler to our Senior Management Team. As Executive Chef and Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, Stan will be filling a critical gap in our ability to successfully grow our brands. Stan’s extensive knowledge, industry experience, professional skills and successful career are well-known within the restaurant and hospitality industries,” said Sam Borgese, Shari’s CEO. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have Stan on our team.” Frankenthaler has received multiple James Beard Foundation award nominations and an organizer and presenter at Research Chefs Association and the World of Healthy Flavors.  To learn more, please visit us at: or call Jeannie Parkman at 949.442.0500. About Shari’s Shari’s began in Hermiston, Oregon, in 1978, with Ron and Sharon Bergquist, proprietors. By 1999, Shari’s Restaurants had grown to be the ninth-largest family restaurant chain in the U.S. in total sales and sixth in growth. Since that time, Shari’s has continued its growth under the recent reins of CapitalSpring, which acquired the enterprise in 2016. Currently, Shari’s continues to enjoy a fine reputation in family dining in 92 locations throughout the Northwest United States. Shari’s welcomes guests of all ages to enjoy locally sourced ingredients served in deliciously prepared meals specially created for those who crave comfort food and scrumptious pies. Media Contact: Jeannie Parkman Brandtailers – PR 949-442-0500

Papa John’s Appoints Marvin Boakye as First Chief People Officer

January 23, 2019 10:02 AM Eastern Standard Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John’s International, Inc., (NASDAQ: PZZA) one of the world’s largest pizza delivery companies, announced today the appointment of Marvin Boakye as its first Chief People Officer. He will serve as a member of the Papa John’s Executive Leadership Team and report to President and CEO Steve Ritchie. Boakye has more than 20 years of human resources experience, as well as expertise in change management and culture transformation. He has held human resources leadership roles for organizations across the United States, Canada and Latin America. Boakye joins Papa John’s after serving as vice president of human resources at petroleum company Andeavor in San Antonio, Texas, which was recently acquired by Marathon Petroleum. Prior to Andeavor, he was chief human resources officer for MTS Allstream, a telecommunications company now part of Bell Canada, and held senior human resources positions at Goodyear, Pulte Group and The Home Depot. “Boakye’s expertise will help us to continue to push Papa John’s forward in our transformation to become a better place to work for our 120,000 corporate and franchise team members,” said Papa John’s President and CEO Steve Ritchie. “In our search for a Chief People Officer, our goal was to identify a proven talent development leader with expertise in driving organizational change. Boakye’s impressive background will be an important asset to Papa John’s growth strategy, especially as we continue to focus on our business outside of North America.” Boakye will play a critical leadership role in implementing the company’s talent management strategy, which includes overseeing people operations; compensation and benefits; and learning and development. He replaces Senior Vice President of People Operations Bob Smith, who retired from Papa John’s in August 2018 after serving 15 years with the company. About Papa John's Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) is the world's third-largest pizza delivery company. In 2018, consumers rated Papa John’s No. 1 in product and service quality among national pizza chains in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). For 17 of the past 19 years, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among national pizza chains in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). For more information about the company or to order pizza online, visit Papa John's at

Contacts Madeline Chadwick Vice President of Communications (O) 502.261.4189

Jamba Juice Rounds Out Top Executive Team With External Hires And Internal Promotion

Jan 22, 2019, 14:44 ET

ATLANTA, Jan. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- FOCUS Brands announced today that the executive leadership team for its Jamba Juice brand is now complete with the hiring of Geoff Henry as the company's President, Shivram Vaideeswaranas Chief Marketing Officer and the promotion of Jaime Denney to VP of Operations. Consistent with FOCUS Brands' structure, Henry will report to Kat Cole, President and COO, North America, FOCUS Brands. FOCUS Brands acquired Jamba Juice in a tender offer transaction in September of 2018, taking the company private. Since the acquisition, FOCUS Brands has built a talented Jamba Juice leadership team and accelerated key planned investments, including an integrated, elevated consumer-facing digital ecosystem and consumer-driven healthier menu innovation, as well as a refreshed brand and store design that will enhance the guest experience. "I am thrilled to have a strong leadership team in place to advance the innovation, growth and fan love in this beloved brand," said Kat Cole, COO and President, North America. "Leadership of our brands is critical to building guest-centered businesses," said Steve DeSutter, CEO of FOCUS Brands. "Geoff, Shivram and Jaime are excellent additions. Their talent and industry experiences, combined with their passion for health and wellness, will be a powerful combination in fueling Jamba's continued success." Geoff Henry comes to Jamba from Coca Cola, where he led lifestyle and beverage business growth in the water, tea and coffee divisions with large brands such as Honest Tea and Honest Kids, and entrepreneurial brands like Peace Tea. He previously held marketing and brand roles at Colgate-Palmolive and finance roles at JP Morgan in real estate investment banking. Shivram Vaideeswaran was most recently CMO of Blaze Pizza following his time at Tender Greens and Taco Bell, where he held menu, innovation and marketing roles during high growth years, building lifestyle food brands in primarily franchised environments. Jaime Denney has been promoted to VP of Operations after previous operations and leadership roles at Jamba Juice, Tropical Smoothie Café, Aramark and Starbucks. She brings over 16 years of experience in the food and beverage industry to her new role. About Jamba Juice® Jamba Juice is a global lifestyle brand that serves freshly blended fruit and vegetable smoothies, bowls, juices, cold-pressed shots, boosts, snacks, and meal replacements. Jamba Juice, through its subsidiaries, is the franchisor and operator of more than 800 locations worldwide. Please visit to learn more. About FOCUS Brands Inc. Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky's®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne's®, McAlister's Deli® and Jamba Juice®, as well as Seattle's Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

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