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Executive Movements - February 2020

Inspire Brands Names New President of Rusty Taco

February 17, 2020

Inspire Brands today announced that Brendan Mauri has been named President of Rusty Taco.

As President, Brendan will set the strategic direction for Rusty Taco and is responsible for the growth and success of the brand’s company-owned restaurants as well as its relationships with the Rusty Taco franchise community. He will report to Inspire Chief Growth Officer Christian Charnaux.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brendan as President of Rusty Taco,” said Christian. “His strong industry background and marketing expertise will be instrumental in driving innovation and long-term success as the brand embarks on its next chapter of growth.”

“Since opening our first restaurant in 2010, Rusty Taco has become one of the most exciting fast casual concepts with an authentic, handcrafted menu and community atmosphere,” said Brendan. “As we look to the next decade, I am excited to build upon the brand’s momentum as we bring the Rusty Taco experience to new communities across the country.”

Brendan previously served as Senior Director of Marketing for Rusty Taco. Prior to joining the brand, he was Senior Director of Marketing for Main Event Entertainment. He previously worked for Brinker International, where he served as Director of Marketing for Chili’s, and for Applebee’s, where he held a variety of marketing and consumer insights positions.

View source version at Inspire Brands

Checkers & Rally's Names Frances Allen CEO

Feb 17, 2020, 16:00 ET

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Checkers & Rally's, an iconic and innovative drive-thru quick service restaurant chain, announced today that Frances Allen has been named Chief Executive Officer and a member of the company's Board of Directors, effective February 17, 2020. Ms. Allen succeeds Rick Silva, who has decided to leave the company after 13 years as CEO and President.

Ms. Allen comes to Checkers & Rally's with a proven track record of success in the restaurant industry and deep expertise across brand strategy, menu and marketing, franchising, restaurant technology, and restaurant operations, among other disciplines. Most recently, Allen served as Chief Executive Officer of Boston Market, where she implemented a multi-faceted transformation plan setting up the brand for future growth. Prior to Boston Market, Allen served as President of Jack-in-the-Box from 2014 to 2018, where she held full strategic and operational responsibility for the 2,200-unit, $3 billion hamburger quick service restaurant chain, generating superior results and upgrading the quality of the menu.  Allen's prior leadership experience includes successful tenures as Chief Brand Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Denny's Corporation, where she helped lead a successful turnaround and repositioned the brand as "America's Diner," and as Chief Marketing Officer of Dunkin' Donuts USA, where she played a key role in elevating the brand from a regional to a national player.  She has also held leadership roles at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, PepsiCo, and Frito-Lay.

Kevin Mailender, member of the company's Board of Directors and Partner at Oak Hill Capital, said: "We are delighted that Frances will be leading Checkers & Rally's through its next leg of growth. She is an accomplished leader in the restaurant industry.  Her wealth of experience with leading brands and impressive set of skills will be highly valuable to our business and its outstanding franchisees. With a demonstrated ability to develop and inspire winning teams, Frances is the right leader to guide Checkers & Rally's to its full potential." Mr. Mailender added, "On behalf of the entire Checkers & Rally's family, I would like to thank Rick Silva for his partnership and many years of leadership. Rick has played a key role in positioning the system for long-term success, and we wish him well on his future endeavors."

Ms. Allen said: "I am thrilled to be joining this unique brand with so much potential for growth.  Checkers & Rally's will continue its tradition of putting the customer first and serving its communities by delivering high quality, craveable food at exceptional values. There is much work to do, but I am eager to build on the company's recent momentum and set out on this exciting journey alongside Checkers & Rally's passionate employees and talented franchisees."


Based in Tampa, Florida, Checkers & Rally's Restaurants, Inc. operates and franchises Checkers® and Rally's® quick service restaurants.  For over 30 years, Checkers & Rally's has been known for its delicious craveable food, convenient drive-thru service, exceptional value, and a people-first approach.  With nearly 900 restaurants and room to grow, Checkers & Rally's is a proven brand with flexible building formats that is aggressively expanding across the country.  In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry's most prestigious awards including: Ranking #88 on Entrepreneur's 2019 Franchise 500, Top Food and Beverage Franchise by Franchise Business Review, 2016, 2017, & 2018, Best Franchise Deal and "Best Drive-Thru in America" by QSR Magazine, the "Hot! Again" award from Nation's Restaurant News, and "#1 Most Craveable Fries" by Restaurant Business. For more information about franchise opportunities with Checkers & Rally's, please visit

View source version at Checkers & Rally's

Carl Mittleman Named Chief Operating Officer, International for Aramark

February, 17 2020

Carl Mittleman has been named Aramark's Chief Operating Officer, International. Mittleman, who has been with the Company for 25 years, most recently served as President, Sports & Entertainment.

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) has named Carl Mittleman Chief Operating Officer, International succeeding Brent Franks, who leaves Aramark after a successful 7-year tenure. Mittleman, who has been with the Company for 25 years, most recently served as President, Sports & Entertainment. Alison Birdwell, a sports and hospitality industry veteran, has been promoted to President, Sports & Entertainment.

Mittleman joined Aramark as a college intern and held positions of increased responsibility in sales and operations in Aramark Germany, Leisure and Sports & Entertainment. He moved through the ranks of General Manager, District Manager and Regional Vice President, and for the last 5 years has led Sports & Entertainment as President.

“Carl has a history of building strong and enduring partnerships with clients and developing a leadership team that has led the business to a position of prominence in the industry,” said John Zillmer, Aramark Chief Executive Officer. “I am confident that under Carl’s leadership, the International business will create additional opportunities to drive strong performance with a focus on innovation and hospitality.”

Mittleman was recognized by Sports Business Journal’s list of “Forty Under 40,” and was recently named to the VenuesNow inaugural list of “Industry All-Stars.” He serves on the Board of Directors for The Cholula Food Company, Spurs Sports and Entertainment and is Chairman of the Board of the TEAM Coalition (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management).

He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and earned his MBA from the Daniels College of Business at University of Denver.

Birdwell joined Aramark in 2002 as a General Manager and advanced through the ranks in Sports & Entertainment, holding multiple District Manager and Regional Vice President roles. She led several high-profile client events, including numerous Super Bowls, MLB World Series and NCAA Final Four Championships.

“Alison has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of the Sports & Entertainment business,” said Marc Bruno, Aramark’s Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Food & Facilities. “She is an excellent leader who motivates her teams to deliver superior results for our clients and customers.”

Prior to joining Aramark, Birdwell held leadership roles with Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham Hotels. She serves on the board of Boston University’s School of Hospitality. She has a degree in hospitality management from Boston University and earned her MBA from the University of Miami.

View source version at Aramark

Experienced Industry Leader Amanda Clark Joins Papa John’s as Chief Development Officer

February 17, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) today announced the appointment of Amanda Clark as its Chief Development Officer. Ms. Clark will lead the company’s strategy to continue expanding its restaurant footprint in North America and internationally.

“Amanda is a passionate leader with a proven track record of driving growth at one of the restaurant industry’s biggest success stories over the past 10 years,” said Papa John’s President and CEO Rob Lynch. “I had the pleasure of working with Amanda during my time at both Procter & Gamble and Taco Bell, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to Papa John’s. Her energy, ideas and expertise will help us to achieve our goal of driving continued net unit growth through expansion in both the US and around the world.”

As Chief Development Officer, Ms. Clark will oversee franchise development and sales, building design and new concepts, and the programs and personnel that provide ongoing facilities support to existing restaurants.

“I believe Papa John’s is on a path to be one of the great brand turnaround stories, and I’m excited to a be a part of it,” said Ms. Clark. “I’m passionate about helping companies grow. Continuing to open more units is one of the key metrics that define the health of a restaurant brand. I’m looking forward to working with Rob and the leaders of Papa John’s to write the next chapter in the company’s history.”

Ms. Clark joins Papa John’s from Taco Bell, where she was Executive Vice President of Restaurant Experience. In her role there, she oversaw the entire customer experience of Taco Bell’s 7,000 restaurants, including design, consumer facing technology, merchandising, customer marketing, new concepts and company development. She served in other leadership roles during her nearly seven years at Taco Bell, including Senior Vice President, North America Development, where she helped Taco Bell deliver more net new units during those two years than any other QSR chain in North America. In addition, Ms. Clark served as General Manager for Taco Bell Canada, where she delivered record double digit same store sales growth for two years in a row. She also built the first free-standing Taco Bells in Canada for the first time in 17 years. Prior to joining Taco Bell, she worked at Procter and Gamble for nearly 12 years on some of P&G’s biggest brands, such as Olay, Pampers and Oral-B.

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 2019, consumers rated Papa John’s No. 1 in product and service quality among national pizza chains in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). For 18 of the past 20 years, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among national pizza chains in the ACSI. For more information about the company or to order pizza online, visit Papa John’s at

View source version at Papa John's

Bloomin' Brands consolidates leadership, shifts board

by Lauren Stine, Feb. 14, 2020

Dive Brief:

  1. Bloomin' Brands named Gregg Scarlett as EVP and chief operating officer of casual restaurants and placed him in charge of Outback, Carrabba's and Bonefish Grill's domestic operations, which were previously managed by three separate executives, according to an SEC filing. Jeff Carcara and Michael Kappitt, EVPs of Bonefish Grill and Carrabba's, respectively, left the company on Thursday.

  2. Bloomin' Brands also appointed Brett Patterson president of Outback Steakhouse, filling Scarlett's vacancy, according to Restaurant Business.

  3. Former CEO Elizabeth Smith will step down from her position as executive chairman, but will remain on the board as a director. The board's lead independent director, James Craigie, will assume her role.

Dive Insight:

Bloomin's recent executive shuffle could indicate that the brand is engaging in a new strategy from the top down. Consolidating leadership of three of its banners under one executive signals that it wants to create more consistency across its portfolio. The company has also been criticized for what some view as its bloated overhead, with Bloomin' having nearly twice as many corporate employees as comparable organizations like Brinker International, Texas Roadhouse and The Cheesecake Factory.

In November, Bloomin' indicated that it was considering strategic alternatives, which included a potential sale, merger, or other major step that could breathe new life into its operations. The executive shifts could also signal moves to make itself more appealing for a potential sale or to secure a specific type of deal.

It may soon have its wish. Activist investor Jana Partners stated in securities filings that it is nominating two to three people to Bloomin's board. The investor has pushed for  Bloomin’ to break up into two individual holdings in the past. It would prefer to see Outback as a standalone company while the portfolio's less mature holdings would remain with a second company. Outback is reportedly closer to divesting its Outback Brazil holdings, recently selecting three potential bidders.

Bloomin's executive changes could be in response to activist investor pressure of this nature, but whether it is a defensive or welcoming move, remains to be seen. It does appear that Bloomin' is taking some feedback from activist investors to heart. Investor group Barington Capital Group commented last year that the chain's disappointing share performance was likely attributable to Smith's "poor operating execution and poor strategic and capital allocation decisions." Smith left her post as CEO March 2019, sparking several of the subsequent leadership and strategic changes.

Outback Steakhouse's performance remains strong despite the shifts over the last year while other banners like Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Carrabba's Italian Grill saw sluggish improvements or downturns, which could make it more difficult to fight back against future activist investors.

View source version at Bloomin' Brands

Starbucks names new CMO focused on bridging physical, digital experience

Peter Adams, Feb. 14, 2020

Dive Brief:

  1. Starbucks promoted Brady Brewer to CMO from VP of digital customer experience, CEO Kevin Johnson announced in an internal letter to employees that was reported in Adweek.

  2. In his new role, Brewer, who's been with Starbucks since 2001, will oversee the coffee chain's marketing plans, digital customer experience, data and analytics and food and beverage portfolio. He will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Roz Brewer.

  3. Brady Brewer fills in for Matthew Ryan, who will stay on in an advisory role until November for transitional purposes, a spokesperson told Adweek. Ryan's departure was a "personal decision," the spokesperson said.

Dive Insight:

Brady Brewer's prior experience at Starbucks keys into where the chain is looking to center its marketing strategy moving forward, namely in making the in-store and digital experience more seamless.

As VP of digital customer experience, the 18-year company veteran helped guide the brand's efforts in areas that are driving growth for Starbucks and the QSR category broadly, including pick up and delivery. Before that, Brewer also helped oversee the development of the Starbucks app that lets customers pay for orders via their smartphone, per Adweek.

In particular, Starbucks is looking to ramp up its consumer-facing efforts around delivery. Delivery is now available at 75% of U.S. locations, COO Roz Brewer announced during a recent call discussing Q1 earnings, and the brand has started to rollout a national marketing program supporting the push. In January 2019, Starbucks had delivery at 115 stores, but no marketing behind the service, as noted in Restaurant Dive.

Starbucks was an early innovator in the mobile space, but has seen the QSR category quickly catch up as the demand for digital capabilities grows among consumers, especially desirable young audiences like millennials and Gen Z. Chief rival Dunkin' has also ramped up its transformation efforts in recent years, including through a revamp of its app, loyalty program and in-store digital offerings.

Dunkin' earlier this month promoted Jill McVicar Nelson to a newly-created VP of marketing strategy position as part of a team realignment that looks to better link strategic and go-to-market functions. Nelson helped guide the brand's transformational Blueprint for Growth project that included dropping "Donuts" from the company name. Dunkin' is still searching for a CMO to replace Tony Weisman, who stepped down last year.

View source version at Starbucks

Taco John’s Hires Kelly Hopper as New Chief Financial Officer

February 14, 2020

Industry veteran joins popular quick-service restaurant

Cheyenne, WY  (  Taco John’s International, Inc., the franchisor of Taco John’s – the restaurant that has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors since 1969 – announced today the hiring of Kelly Hopper as its new chief financial officer.

“Kelly brings a wealth of financial knowledge to Taco John’s,” said CEO Jim Creel. “She is a seasoned leader with a successful background, and we are all thrilled to welcome her to our team. I have no doubt that Kelly will add tremendous value to our company.”

Hopper, an experienced executive, joins Taco John’s with an extensive background in finance and the restaurant industry. She began her career with Ernst & Young before progressively moving up to higher-level responsibilities at Yum! Brands. She first served as senior internal audit analyst at Yum! Brands before taking on controller and finance responsibilities in Western Europe. She also worked in Yum! Brands as a dealmaker in mergers and acquisitions, divesting of groups of company stores and working with financially troubled franchisees. She then moved into a Pizza Hut role, primarily working to help franchisees improve profitability.

After leaving Yum! Brands, Hopper consulted for TGI Fridays, serving in the role of project CFO for a major initiative that included a focus on menu mix analysis. She served in the multi-unit health care industry as controller, and most recently, she was senior director at 7-Eleven in Dallas, where she held responsibility for much of the accounting in the U.S. and Canada and where she also held a senior role in franchising.

At Taco John’s, Hopper will manage the financial actions of the brand, including tracking cash flow and financial planning, as well as analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions.

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

About Taco John’s®

Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 quick-service restaurants in 23 states. Privately owned, the business opened its first restaurant in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyo. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions, menu items prepared fresh to your order, high quality ingredients and special recipes, seasonings and sauces. For more information or to apply for a position, visit

View source version at Taco John's

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Names Markus Hartmann as General Counsel

February 14, 2020 07:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: TAST) today announced that it has appointed Markus Hartmann as the Company’s Vice President and General Counsel effective February 18, 2020.

Daniel T. Accordino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Carrols, commented, “Markus is a great addition to the Carrols executive team and we look forward to benefiting from his varied industry experiences and history of effective leadership. We are excited for Markus to be joining us as we strengthen Carrols' foundation of operating two world-class brands with significant scale advantages and execute on growth opportunities across our multiple attractive markets. We look forward to his building on the existing foundation of excellence provided by our legal team.”

Accordino concluded, “We would also like to thank Bill Myers for his 19 years at Carrols and for serving as our General Counsel since 2012. Bill will serve in a transitionary role for a period of time after February 18, 2020.”

Mr. Hartmann is a business-oriented legal leader with experience in both public and private companies. He has practiced law in both domestic and international settings. Markus is a driven executive with experience as both a commercial and legal leader, with a distinguished career spanning more than three decades.

Mr. Hartmann most recently was the Vice President for Technical Compliance at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (a Daimler Company) (XETR: DDAIF). During his tenure, he was responsible for establishing the technical compliance function in North America for Daimler’s passenger car and vans division. Mr. Hartmann previously served as the North American General Counsel for Sandoz, Inc. (a division of Novartis) (NYSE: NVS), as well as the European and North American General Counsel for Reckitt Benckiser (LSE:RB) while living and working as an expatriate in the Netherlands.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Hartmann flew CH-46 Helicopters as a Marine pilot during Desert Shield/Storm. After graduating from law school, then Major Hartmann was designated a Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps Reserve and served as the Staff Judge Advocate to the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (Djibouti) in 2005. Mr. Hartmann retired from the Marine Corps Reserve at the rank of Colonel in 2014.

He holds a JD from Harvard Law School, an MBA from Le Moyne College and a BA from The Colorado College.

About the Company

Carrols is one of largest restaurant franchisees in the United States, and currently operates 1,100 restaurants. It is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States currently operating 1,035 BURGER KING® restaurants and also operating 65 POPEYES® restaurants. It has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976. For more information on Carrols, please visit the company's website at

View source version at Carrols Restaurant Group

Whataburger Hires New CFO and Appoints a New Chief Data and Analytics Officer

FEB. 10, 2020 -- Whataburger has appointed Janelle Sykes as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Senior Vice President. A San Antonio native, Sykes is a seasoned executive who worked the last 30 years at Alamo City-based C.H. Guenther & Son, most recently as CFO.

During her tenure at C.H. Guenther, Sykes not only oversaw all aspects of accounting, tax, treasury and internal audit, she also helped with the due diligence, financing and change management involved with 10 acquisitions.

Sykes’ first day on the job at Whataburger is Monday, Feb. 10th. Whataburger’s President Ed Nelson, who previously served as the company’s CFO, says Sykes has the business mind and people heart that matches the brand’s values.

“Whataburger is growing and expanding, and Janelle has deep knowledge and experience around a wide range of business areas – not just finance – that will help the brand reach new heights,” Nelson says. “Janelle also embodies Whataburger’s core values and practices people-centered leadership, which is extremely important to our company as we serve our 45,000 Family Members and 14 million customers.”

To further strengthen its leadership team, Whataburger recently promoted Sylvester “Sly” J. Johnson to Vice President, Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO). Johnson previously served as Whataburger’s Chief Accounting Officer for the last four years.

Johnson will oversee the strategic development for Whataburger’s data analysis and reporting across the entire enterprise.

“Sly has been a trusted member of our Strategy Council and leadership team and well loved by our Family Members for being personable and energetic,” Nelson says. “Sly’s ability to analyze and synthesize data and explain it in a way that people can understand is incredible. In this new role, he will be critical to helping Whataburger unlock the value of our data and put it to use as we continue to serve our loyal customers and attract new ones.”


Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 830 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2 billion annually. Whataburger has 45,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. Visit for more information.

View source version at Whataburger

Coolgreens Welcomes Mary Beth McGehee as VP of Business Development

February 10, 2020

Healthy lifestyle eatery hires industry veteran to fuel growth

Oklahoma City, OK  (  Robert Lee, CEO of coolgreens – the healthy lifestyle eatery that “feeds your life” – announced today that Mary Beth McGehee has joined the team as vice president of business development.

McGehee brings more than 20 years of experience in selling office coffee and vending services to her new role at coolgreens. She started her career with Aramark Refreshment Services where she worked for 23 years and was chosen as Aramark’s first key account manager to span seven states. Also during this role, she achieved average annual sales of $1,412,000 on plan of $1,100,000. Then, prior to joining coolgreens, McGehee worked as the Hospitality Channel Manager for Accent Food Services where she was involved in all aspects of their program.

“I was drawn to coolgreens after I learned about the Coolgreens Market® – smart fridges that serve quick, delicious and affordable options for on-the-go,” McGehee said. “This quality of food does not exist in the traditional vending industry, so I couldn’t be more thrilled than to be on the ground floor of this groundbreaking innovation! We have a goal to open 150 locations in the next 18 months and I’m ready to use my expertise to help make that happen.”

As VP of business development, McGehee will seek spaces within office buildings, medical and corporate campuses, airports, rail stations, college campuses and mixed-use developments where the Coolgreens Market would thrive.

“Mary Beth is a visionary leader that has a proven track record of success in maximizing business growth,” Lee said. “We are excited to have her join our team and have no doubt that she will play an instrumental role in the growth of coolgreens.”

For more information, please visit For more information on coolgreens franchising opportunities, visit

About Coolgreens

Coolgreens is a healthy lifestyle eatery committed to making the communities it serves a better place to live by creating healthy, fresh, made-to-order creations. The menu caters to a variety of lifestyles and diets, featuring signature salads, wraps, grain bowls and sandwiches. Founded in 2009, coolgreens currently has nine locations throughout Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Dallas-Fort Worth. Coolgreens was recognized on QSR Magazine’s 40/40 List for 2020, was named one of Fast Casual’s 2019 Top 100 Movers & Shakers and one of USA Today’s Best Airport Grab-And-Go Dining destinations.

View source version at coolgreens

Taco Bell Appoints Nikki Lawson As Global Chief Brand Officer

February 10, 2020

Irvine, CA  (  Taco Bell Corp. today announced that it has named Nikki Lawson as Global Chief Brand Officer, responsible for continuing the success of the Taco Bell brand in the US and across the world.

Lawson, former Managing Director, KFC SOPAC (South Pacific), will join the brand effective this April, reporting to Mark King, Chief Executive Officer, Taco Bell Corp. Lawson comes to Taco Bell after nearly 20 years at KFC, having held numerous marketing leadership roles, first in the KFC Africa business, and later in SOPAC, where she served as Chief Marketing & Development Officer and, most recently, Managing Director.

“One of our biggest opportunities moving forward is positioning Taco Bell as the powerhouse global brand that it is, pushing us to continue to be a brand beyond QSR,” said King. “With her proven track record and unbelievable heart, I can’t think of anyone better for the job than Nikki, and I know her addition will strengthen Taco Bell’s position for another decade of global growth.”

Through building and leading strong teams, Lawson has significantly elevated the KFC brand and customer engagement through insights-driven advertising and customer touchpoints, upping social media engagement and corporate social responsibility practices, and delivering a record number of asset upgrades. Lawson is also passionate about making the world better, and through the KFC Youth Foundation and programs, KFC has helped young people by building confidence to work towards personal and career goals.

“I’ve loved every moment of leading the KFC brand in the SOPAC region and working with the dynamic people and franchise partners who are at the heart of the success we have enjoyed. To now have the opportunity to join the incredible Taco Bell brand is beyond exciting,” said Lawson. “I’m so impressed by their innovative culture and strong connection with customers and look forward to driving the next chapter of Taco Bell’s growth and purpose across the globe.”

About Taco Bell

Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), is the world’s leading Mexican-inspired quick-service restaurant brand. Taco Bell serves made-to-order and customizable tacos and burritos and other specialties with bold flavors, quality ingredients, breakthrough value, and best-in-class customer service to over 46 million customers weekly across the globe. Globally, Taco Bell and its franchisees operate more than 7,100 restaurants, including more than 600 restaurants across 30 countries outside of the U.S.

View source version at Taco Bell

Newk's Eatery Announces Joe Pate as Chief Operations Officer

Feb 10, 2020, 13:19 ET

JACKSON, Miss., Feb. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Newk's Eatery today announces Joe Pate as Chief Operations Officer. This is a new position at Newk's that was created to expand the company's operations team as part of a plan for continued growth. Pate comes to Newk's with 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, serving more than 20 years with la Madeline, most recently as vice president of operations, where he oversaw la Madeline's largest franchise group.

At la Madeleine, Pate oversaw operations, catering and support functions. Pate led and grew with the quick-casual concept from 12 to 85+ units, where he helped transition the company from a commissary-based concept to a more profitable unit production concept in 2001, as well as moving the company from a corporate based concept to a franchise driven growth company in 2017. As Vice president of the largest franchise of la Madeleine Pate and his team grew the franchise from 25 to over 40 units in just three years with company leading results.

"I am confident that Joe will be instrumental to the growth and continued success of Newk's' restaurant operations with his exceptional track record and deep-rooted knowledge in restaurant leadership," said Chris Newcomb, CEO of Newk's Eatery. "Joe has proven to excel in building and growing cross-functional teams with both corporate and franchise operations, combining strategic, results-driven programs, while also cultivating his passion for great food."

Pate began his food service career at a hometown restaurant in Alvin, Texas and later joined the U.S. Coast Guard where he continued to hone his skills in foodservice at the U.S.C.G. Culinary Specialist Academy. After six years of military service, he returned to the private sector where he ran a privately-owned restaurant and catering company as well as a Houston based Cici's Pizza as franchise district manager; collecting a breadth of experience working with corporate and franchise multi-unit companies, and sole proprietorships.

At Newk's, Pate will oversee both company and franchise operations, as well as catering and operations services. Major initiatives he will lead point on in his new role include performance of new restaurants, food and labor improvement, growth in delivery and catering and restaurant and menu innovation.

"I'm thrilled for the opportunity to join the operations team and bring industry-leading innovation and systems to a brand I truly believe in," said Pate. "My focus is to use my experience and passion for the food and restaurant industry to propel the growth of our people and our restaurants, setting the bar high in growth and operational excellence."

About Newk's Eatery Newk's Eatery is a fast-casual chain founded on family values and wholesome made from scratch meals. Our Co-Founder Chris "Newk" Newcomb has curated his family's original, wholesome and craveable recipes, as well as new twists on classic favorites, all while providing guests with a generous portion of hospitality.

Newk's takes no shortcuts at all, except in our name. Our kitchen is an open book where we make every meal to order from scratch. We hand prep over 50 fresh ingredients daily for hand-crafted salads, sandwiches and pizzas, and marinate, flame grill or oven-roast our protein in-house, with no fryers or microwaves, ever. We bake delicious treats and signature Dozen-Layer Cakes in our very own bakery.

We offer catering for events, easy online ordering, and fresh salads, sandwiches, soups and delicious treats in our Express Market open-air coolers, so our guests can nourish their bodies and the relationships that matter most to them no matter what the occasion.

Founded in 2004 and based in Jackson, Mississippi, Newk's Eatery currently operates and franchises 120+ restaurants in 16 states and is gaining national attention for its accelerated growth and commitment to make a difference and Feed What Matters in its communities.

Newk's Cares, the philanthropic arm of Newk's Eatery, was founded in 2014 and is committed to supporting early detection and symptom awareness of ovarian cancer to give every woman a fighting chance. To date, Newk's Cares has raised over $1.4M to support Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA).

In 2019, Newk's Eatery has ranked in Nation's Restaurant News Top 200 Countdown, as well as Restaurant Business' Top 500 Chains. Newk's has also been selected as a Top Food Franchise by Entrepreneur and is ranked among the Best Franchise Deals by QSR.

View source version at Newk's

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. Appoints Tim Hackbardt as Chief Marketing Officer

February 10, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

LAKE FOREST, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (“Del Taco” or the “Company”), (NASDAQ: TACO), the second largest Mexican-American quick service restaurant chain by units in the United States, today announced that Tim Hackbardt has been appointed Chief Marketing Officer.

Mr. Hackbardt is a restaurant industry veteran with over 27 years of experience and has led or advised numerous restaurant chains as a marketing executive and brand consultant across the quick-service, fast-casual, family dining, casual and polished-casual categories. Among these brands are BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Rubio’s, Pieology, Steak ‘n Shake, Johnny Rockets, and Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. He has a proven track record of driving sales and traffic profitably while building strong differentiated brands.

Mr. Hackbardt’s experience also includes four years (1999-2003) leading marketing for Del Taco. During this time, the Company had some of its most successful years, setting records across many financial and brand metrics, including over 20% comparable restaurant sales growth during his tenure. He has also consulted with Del Taco on a range of projects from marketing technology to new prototype design over the past five years.

John D. Cappasola, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Del Taco, commented, “We are pleased that Tim has rejoined Del Taco permanently as our Chief Marketing Officer. Over the last three decades, he has successfully driven strategies and innovation to attain one of the best track records in the industry for consistent, long-term performance. Tim also has a deep, hands-on appreciation of Del Taco’s differentiated QSR+ positioning and of the importance of being nimble. I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset to our Company.”

Tim Hackbardt, Chief Marketing Officer of Del Taco, added, “I am excited to be returning to Del Taco on a fulltime basis and to be resuming my work with the Company’s talented management team. We have an incredible opportunity to take our distinct platform of fresh food, value, and convenience to build unique experiences that will drive strong consumer loyalty and increased visit frequency. I look forward to helping Del Taco reach new levels of growth and market share.”

Mr. Hackbardt is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BAA in Broadcast & Cinematic Arts.

About Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO) offers a unique variety of both Mexican and American favorites such as burritos and fries, prepared fresh in every restaurant's working kitchen with the value and convenience of a drive-thru. Del Taco's menu items taste better because they are made with quality ingredients like fresh grilled chicken and carne asada steak, hand-sliced avocado, hand-grated cheddar cheese, slow-cooked beans made from scratch, and creamy Queso Blanco. The brand's campaign further communicates Del Taco's commitment to providing guests with the best quality and value for their money through cooking, chopping, shredding and grilling menu items from scratch. Founded in 1964, today Del Taco serves more than three million guests each week at its more than 580 restaurants across 15 states. For more information, visit

View source version at Del Taco

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Appoints Allison Page to Its Board of Directors

February, 7 2020

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) today announced it has appointed Allison Page to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Ms. Page currently serves as the Co-Founder and President at SevenRooms, a data-driven operations, marketing and guest engagement platform that has successfully enabled restaurant and hospitality operators to deliver exceptional guest experiences, streamline operations and drive repeat visits with a fully integrated approach to relationship management. Since SevenRooms’ inception in 2011, Ms. Page has led the company’s strategic vision, product strategy and user-experience design.

“Allison is an accomplished, forward-thinking executive with a deep understanding of technology’s potential to positively impact the hospitality industry,” said David A. Pace, Red Robin’s Board Chair. “She brings a unique consumer lens to revolutionizing the restaurant guest experience. The Board and management team look forward to benefiting from Allison’s expertise as we continue to execute our strategic plan, accelerate Red Robin’s turnaround and transform the business to create significant long-term value for our shareholders.”

Ms. Page said, “I am honored to join Red Robin’s Board and look forward to working with my fellow directors and the Company’s management team to realize the full potential of the iconic Red Robin brand, cultivate meaningful relationships with guests and deliver exceptional dining experiences.”

In the last six months the Company has added four new independent Directors to its Board. The appointment of Ms. Page will expand the Red Robin Board to ten Directors, nine of whom are independent. As previously announced, Director Stuart Oran has decided not to stand for re-election at the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Following Mr. Oran’s retirement from the Board, the Company expects that the Board size will be reduced again to nine members.

View source version at Red Robin

Pizza Hut names new interim President, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Brand Officer

Peter Adams, Feb. 7, 2020

Dive Brief:

  1. Pizza Hut, the pizza chain owned by Yum Brands, has named a new chief marketing officer and new chief brand officer amid a broader shakeup to company leadership. Kevin Hochman, president of sister brand KFC U.S., is also joining as interim president, Yum Brands announced in its Q4 earnings report.

  2. Two KFC marketers will help fill out Pizza Hut's leadership team: George Felix, KFC global marketing director, will act as Pizza Hut's CMO and David Graves, KFC's director of marketing strategy and innovation, will step up as chief brand officer, Ad Age reported.

  3. Pizza Hut's prior chief brand officer, Marianne Radley, suddenly parted ways with the company in December, with no reason given for her departure. The company has not had a CMO since Zipporah Allen made the switch to Taco Bell last year, per Ad Age.

Dive Insight:

With the latest leadership shakeup, Pizza Hut looks to capture some of the marketing magic that has made KFC a stand out in the crowded QSR category. The news is the latest indication that embattled legacy marketers are turning again to brand-building to capture consumer attention and spark a turnaround in their businesses.

Pizza Hut has remained the underdog of the Yum Brands family, trailing KFC and Taco Bell despite retro-minded rebranding efforts, new menu innovations and a pricey partnership as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL that was forged two years ago after controversy-laden Papa John's was cut by the football league. Pizza Hut reported this week that Q4 same-store sales, a key metric for restaurant business health, slid 4% in the U.S. and 2% overall, weighing on Yum Brands' financial performance.

"Pizza Hut U.S. continues to be a business in transition. And for the last three years, we've made improvements in food quality, speed of service, our loyalty program and upgrading our technology for online ordering and delivery," David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands, told analysts on a call discussing Q4 results. "However, significant opportunity remains in three years."

Historically focused on the dine-in experience, Pizza Hut was sluggish to adopt many of the digital and mobile tools that have become must-haves for QSR brands. Rivals, namely Domino's, helped popularize the type of online and app offerings that are now standard in the industry and increasingly essential for capitalizing on consumer interest in online delivery and pick-up.

However, technological innovation alone isn't enough for QSRs to standout in a competitive field. KFC's brand has only become stronger since the reintroduction of its mascot, Colonel Sanders, in 2015. The fried chicken chain has leveraged a mix of celebrity ambassadors playing Sanders and absurdist humor to differentiate its marketing from rivals, a strategy that has supported business growth.

KFC CMO Andrea Zahumensky previously described her strategy to Marketing Dive as building "brand over time and sales overnight." It's an approach that Yum Brands appears to be trying to translate to Pizza Hut, including through the appointment of interim president Hochman, who previously helped spearhead KFC's turnaround in the U.S.

View source version at Pizza Hut

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. to Appoint Andrew Rechtschaffen to the Board as Independent Director

February 06, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Fiesta” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FRGI), parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® fast-casual restaurant brands, today announced that Andrew Rechtschaffen will be added to the Board of Directors as a new independent director. The Board will expand to nine directors and Mr. Rechtschaffen will be appointed as a director during an upcoming Board meeting later this month.

Mr. Rechtschaffen founded AREX Capital Management, LP (“AREX”), a value-oriented investment firm, in October 2017. Prior to founding AREX, he was a partner at Greenlight Capital, founder and portfolio manager of Obrem Capital, and a managing director in the Principal Strategies Group at Citadel Investment Group.

“Fiesta has a long history of constructive engagement with all of our shareholders, including AREX,” said Stacey Rauch, Chair of the Board of Fiesta. “The Board looks forward to working collaboratively with Andrew as the Company continues to review all strategic options to unlock the value of its brands.”

“We are pleased to welcome Andrew to the Board,” said Richard Stockinger, Chief Executive Officer and President of Fiesta. “He brings financial expertise that Fiesta looks forward to leveraging as we drive value for the Company and our shareholders.”

“We appreciate the proactive and productive approach by Fiesta’s Board and management in its engagement with shareholders,” said Mr. Rechtschaffen. “I look forward to working with the rest of the Board to help Fiesta maximize shareholder value.”

Fiesta also announced today it has entered into a cooperation agreement with AREX and certain of its affiliates. The cooperation agreement provides for, among other things, Mr. Rechtschaffen’s appointment to the Board as well as AREX’s commitment to abide by certain customary standstill and voting provisions.

About Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. is the parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® restaurant brands. The brands specialize in the operation of fast-casual restaurants that offer distinct and unique tropical and Mexican inspired flavors with broad appeal at a compelling value. For more information about Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., visit the corporate website at

View source version at Fiesta Restaurant Group

Bojangles’® Makes Key Culinary Hire with Accomplished Chef, Marshall Scarborough

Restaurant’s New Menu Innovation Leader to Create Even More Chicken and Biscuits Magic

February 06, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bojangles’ today announces Chef Marshall Scarborough as the chain’s new vice president of menu and culinary innovation. With his keen understanding of both the brand’s Southern roots and ever-changing food and consumer trends, Scarborough will lead efforts to modernize Bojangles’ menu and build on the quality fans have come to know and love.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such a passionate and experienced chef join our menu innovation team,” said Ken Koziol, Bojangles’ Chief Restaurant Support Officer. “We are now positioned to build on what we’re known for – delicious, flavorful food – and create exciting new reasons for consumers to visit Bojangles’.”

Chef Scarborough brings more than 23 years of culinary and research and development experience to Bojangles’, working for companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Popeyes and Jack in the Box. Most recently, he served as director of culinary innovation for Wendy's, where he led a team of chefs and food scientists to design new menu items and contribute to the company’s growth.

“I grew up loving Bojangles’ just as any Southerner should, so I couldn’t be more excited to bring my passion, creativity and experience to this Southern gem,” said Scarborough, who is originally from Clemmons, North Carolina. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and start creating Bojangles’ food that will take us to the next level.”

He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, and since 2007, has volunteered with the Research Chefs Association and Pro Start to bring students and restaurant industry professionals together to inspire each other and the food they create.

About Bojangles’, Inc.

Bojangles’, Inc. is a highly differentiated and growing restaurant operator and franchisor dedicated to serving customers high-quality, craveable food made from our Southern recipes, including breakfast served All Day, Every Day. Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., Bojangles’® serves menu items such as made-from-scratch biscuit breakfast sandwiches, delicious hand-breaded bone-in chicken, flavorful fixin’s (sides) and Legendary Iced Tea®. Currently, Bojangles’ has approximately 750 system-wide restaurants in 11 states. For more information, visit or follow Bojangles’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

View source version at Bojangles'

Roti Modern Mediterranean Appoints Justin Seamonds as New CEO

Feb 05, 2020, 06:00 ET

CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Rōti Modern Mediterranean, the fast-casual Mediterranean brand is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Seamonds as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago based restaurant concept, to strengthen the organization and position the business for long-term growth of its restaurant footprint, digital offerings, delivery, and best-in-class catering business.

Prior to joining Rōti, Mr. Seamonds served as the CEO of Snack Street and President of Dean and DeLuca, where he led the organization to a $140M buyout after making substantial improvements to the business.

"I believe that Roti sits at the center of the current food and wellness culture zeitgeist. Rōti's Food that loves you back™ and our Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle of sharing and celebrating are extremely rare qualities to combine in a single business," said Mr. Seamonds. "My passion for food, my devotion to hospitality and people, and my die-hard enthusiasm for what Rōti has built has really connected me with the brand, the team and the board. I'm beyond excited to dig in (no pun intended) and help everyone move us into a very bright future together."

According to Rōti Executive Chairman Mats Lederhausen, "We've gotten to know Justin over the last few years, and have become really excited about him, his track record, and his passion for people, food and the entrepreneurial journey. We're so excited to have found what we think is an unbelievable match for a unique brand and a unique person that can unlock possibilities we are all excited to pursue. We couldn't be happier to welcome him into our Rōti family."

About Rōti Modern Mediterranean: Rōti Modern Mediterranean, headquartered in Chicago, IL, operates 42 locations nationally, including Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Dallas, Houston and Minneapolis. Inspired by the bold flavors and wholesome ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine, Roti's food philosophy is straightforward, serve Food That Loves You Back. Roti's menu features sandwiches, salads, rice plates and numerous sides & toppings that allow customers to curate their perfect meal matched to their food mood. For more information about Rōti, visit or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

View source version at Roti Modern Mediterranean

JAB Investors Announces JDE Peet’s Appointment of CFO and Names Future Directors

Industry leaders Denis Hennequin, Stuart MacFarlane, Aileen Richards and Luc Vandevelde selected as future non-executive directors of JDE Peet’s

Scott Gray, veteran global finance and capital markets executive, appointed CFO of JDE Peet’s

February 05, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

AMSTERDAM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JAB Investors (JAB) today announced that Denis Hennequin, Stuart MacFarlane, Aileen Richards and Luc Vandevelde have agreed to be appointed as non-executive directors of JDE Peet’s, the global coffee and tea powerhouse recently created through the combination of Peet’s Coffee and Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE). Appointments will follow in due course. In addition, JAB announced the appointment of Scott Gray as Chief Financial Officer of JDE Peet’s, effective 24 February 2020.

JDE Peet’s is the world's largest pure-play coffee and tea group, serving approximately 130 billion cups of coffee and tea in 2019 in more than 100 countries in both developed and emerging markets. Through its portfolio of over 50 leading global, regional and local coffee and tea brands, JDE Peet’s offers an extensive range of high-quality and innovative coffee and tea products and solutions to serve consumer needs across markets, consumer preferences and price levels. JDE Peet’s established brand portfolio is the largest in the coffee and tea industry, and includes Peet's, Jacobs, L’OR, Senseo, Tassimo and TiOra, Douwe Egberts, Stumptown, Super, Pilão, OldTown, Moccona, Mighty Leaf and Pickwick as well as Maison du Café in France, Marcilla in Spain, Harris in Australia and Bravo in Greece.

“At JAB, we believe in world-class governance and board expertise across industries and geographies. The attractiveness of JDE Peet’s as a business is demonstrated by our ability to welcome highly qualified individuals who have agreed to be appointed as non-executive directors of the business,” said Olivier Goudet, JAB Investors’ Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer.

Casey Keller, Chief Executive Officer of JDE Peet’s, in commenting on the appointment of Scott Gray as CFO for JDE Peet’s, said, “Scott’s experience with the capital markets and in managing global financial operations make him the ideal executive to lead the JDE Peet’s finance operation. I look forward to working closely with Scott and know that his financial leadership will be invaluable as JDE Peet’s continues to evolve and grow.”


Scott Gray, Chief Financial Officer

Scott Gray spent more than a decade in increasingly important roles in finance at Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev), most recently as Vice President, Global Treasury and Risk Management. In this role, Mr. Gray led ABInBev’s global treasury organization with responsibilities that included capital structure, funding, currency, commodity, equity and interest rate exposure, pensions, insurance, bank relations, fixed-income investor relations, and rating agency relations.

Prior to this role, Mr. Gray was Vice President Finance for the European Operations and Vice President for Global Procurement Operations, both based in Belgium. He also served as Global Director, Funding and Financial Markets out of New York for the company.

Prior to ABInBev, Mr. Gray worked as a Vice President for Deutsche Bank Securities in their Financial Institutions Group. He spent six years with GMAC where he began his career, moving into a role as a Senior Manager/Senior Analyst for Capital Markets and Derivatives before leaving to join Deutsche Bank.

Mr. Gray is a graduate of Wake Forest University and received his MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

Denis Hennequin, Non-Executive Director

Denis Hennequin is the founding partner of French Food Capital and a founder of The Green Jersey consulting firm. From 2014 to 2016, Mr. Hennequin was a partner for Cojean International. He began his career at McDonald’s in Paris and advanced up through the organization to be named President and Managing Director of McDonald’s France. After that, he had the distinction of being the first non-American to serve as president of McDonald’s Europe.

In 2009, Mr. Hennequin joined the Accor Board as an Independent Director and became Executive Director of Accor SA in December 2010 before assuming the CEO role in January 2011, which he held until 2013.

Mr. Hennequin has served on the boards of John Lewis Partnership and SSP Group PLC.

He currently serves as a non-executive director for Eurostar, Bakkavör Group Ltd., KellyDeli, Pret A Manger and Picard. Mr. Hennequin is a French national and a graduate of Panthéon-Assas University.

Stuart MacFarlane, Non-Executive Director

Stuart MacFarlane joined the Whitbread Beer Company in 1992, which was later acquired by Interbrew and, subsequently, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev). At ABInBev, Mr. MacFarlane held various senior roles throughout the course of his career, including in Finance, Marketing and Sales. He gained his first general management role as Managing Director for the company’s business in Ireland and was appointed President of ABInBev UK & Ireland in 2008. In 2011, Mr. MacFarlane became a member of the Global Executive Board of Management, serving as President of Central & Eastern Europe based in Moscow. He most recently served as ABInBev’s President of Europe & the Middle East from 2014 to 2019.

Mr. MacFarlane currently serves as a director of NOMAD Foods. He was previously a director of Anadolu EFES, a Turkish drinks company, until May 2019 and also as a director of ABI-EFES Russia & Ukraine, a joint venture of Anadolu EFES & ABInBev.

Mr. MacFarlane was born in Scotland. He holds a degree in Business Management from Sheffield University and is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant.

Aileen Richards, Non-Executive Director

Aileen Richards was a senior global executive with Mars, Incorporated until 2015. As executive vice president of Mars, Incorporated, Ms. Richards was responsible for the Human Resources strategy for the company’s 85,000 associates and she also led Mars Global Services (Mars IT, Mars Financial Services and Mars Associate Services). She and her family were based near Washington, DC from 2008-2015. In her 30 years with Mars, Ms. Richards also held senior international roles in Procurement and Manufacturing.

She is currently an independent non-executive director on several boards, including Mars Netherlands, Pret A Manger and Samworth Brothers. She is also the first woman on the Board of the Welsh Rugby Union.

She is a graduate of Surrey University with a degree in Business & Tourism Management.

Luc Vandevelde, Non-Executive Director

Luc Vandevelde is the founder and chairman of Change Capital Partners, which manages private equity funds focused on buy-outs of middle market consumer-related companies across Europe. He is also the chairman of Majid Al Futtaim Ventures.

He was a senior independent director of Vodafone Group Plc. He retired from the Vodafone board in 2015 following 12 years as a non-executive director and served as a board member of Bank Société Générale until 2012.

Mr. Vandevelde is a former chairman of Carrefour and Marks & Spencer. He left Carrefour in 2000 to join M&S but returned in 2005 for two years as chairman of the supervisory board, leading a major overhaul of the management structure.

He started his career with Kraft where he worked for 24 years in Europe and the US in finance, business development and mergers & acquisitions, working in 30 countries across a number of operational, strategic and management roles. After the successful acquisition and integration of Jacobs Suchard he became chief executive of the Kraft Jacobs Suchard French and Italian operations.

Mr. Vandevelde joined Promodès in 1995, initially as president and chief operating officer, and became chairman and was the driving force behind the merger of Promodès with Carrefour.

A Belgian national, Mr. Vandevelde speaks fluent Dutch, English, French, Spanish and German and has lived and worked globally throughout his career.

About JAB Investors

JAB Investors (“JAB”) is a leading investor in consumer goods and services. With almost 200 years of heritage, JAB is focused on long-term value creation, and today has controlling stakes in companies across four consumer sectors: non-alcoholic beverages (Keurig Dr Pepper, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Peet’s Coffee & Tea), food retail (Panera Bread, Pret A Manger, Caribou Coffee Company, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Espresso House), indulgence (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Insomnia Cookies), and petcare (Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, National Veterinarian Associates). JAB Holding Company is also an investor in beauty via its controlling stake in Coty.

About JDE Peet’s

JDE Peet’s is the world's largest pure-play coffee and tea group, serving approximately 130 billion cups of coffee and tea in 2019 in more than 100 countries in both developed and emerging markets. Through its portfolio of over 50 leading global, regional and local coffee and tea brands, JDE Peet’s offers an extensive range of high-quality and innovative coffee and tea products and solutions to serve consumer needs across markets, consumer preferences and price levels. JDE Peet’s established brand portfolio is the largest in the coffee and tea industry, and includes Peet's, Jacobs, L’OR, Senseo, Tassimo and TiOra, Douwe Egberts, Stumptown, Super, Pilão, OldTown, Moccona, Mighty Leaf and Pickwick as well as Maison du Café in France, Marcilla in Spain, Harris in Australia and Bravo in Greece.

View source version at JAB

Union Square Hospitality Hires its 1st CMO

The multiconcept operator also added a new chief people officer.

By Heather Lalley on Feb. 04, 2020

Multiconcept powerhouse Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) announced additions to its C-suite Tuesday, hiring its first CMO as well as a chief people officer.

Rani Yadav becomes the New York City-based company’s chief marketing officer, joining the business after several years with the Blue Apron meal kit brand. Yadav was Blue Apron’s first marketing hire and saw the company through its IPO in 2017. She also worked in venture capital.

Patti Simpson is the new chief people officer for USHG. An industry veteran, she has led human resources at a number of restaurant brands including Ruby Tuesday, TGI Fridays and Ignite Restaurant Group.

Last April, USHG hired Chip Wade as president, following six years as EVP of operations for Red Lobster.

Restaurateur Danny Meyer founded USHG in 1985 with the opening of Union Square Cafe. The company, which created Shake Shack, operates a number of restaurant concepts in New York City, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

View source version at Union Square Hospitality Group

Denny’s Corporation Realigns Leadership Team

February 04, 2020 16:05 ET

- Promotes Mark Wolfinger to President -

- Promotes Robert Verostek to Chief Financial Officer -

- Promotes John Dillon to Executive Vice President, Chief Brand Officer -

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Feb. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Denny’s Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN), franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, is realigning its leadership team to position the company for continued growth.  All of these promotions are effective February 6, 2020.

“These key leadership changes represent the culmination of a multi-year planning process,” said Brenda Lauderback, Denny’s Board Chairwoman.  “As Chief Executive Officer, John Miller will continue to focus on our brand revitalization initiatives through his strategic and visionary leadership, while Mark Wolfinger will become more involved with broader aspects of daily business operations as President.  Given Robert Verostek’s strong financial acumen, his leadership will further strengthen our financial team in his new role of Chief Financial Officer, and John Dillon adding the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer will provide additional leadership on our brand efforts around the globe as we move into the future.”

John Miller has been Chief Executive Officer and President since joining Denny’s in 2011.  Prior to joining the company, he was Chief Executive Officer and President of Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc. starting in 2005, and held various officer roles at Brinker International, Inc. starting in 1987.  Mr. Miller will continue to lead the strategic direction of the company and remain a member of the Denny’s Corporation Board of Directors.

Mr. Wolfinger will succeed Mr. Miller as the President of the company.  Mr. Wolfinger has been Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer since April 2008 and Chief Financial Officer since joining Denny’s in 2005.  He will also continue to serve as a member of the Denny Corporation’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Verostek becomes Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President.  He has been Senior Vice President, Finance since late in 2016, and previously was the Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis and Investor Relations starting in 2012.  Mr. Verostek served in various additional financial leadership roles since joining Denny’s in 1999.

Mr. Dillon will be Denny’s Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer.  He has been Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer since December 2018.   Previously, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer starting in 2014, and Vice President, Brand and Field Marketing starting in 2013.  Mr. Dillon served in various additional marketing leadership roles since joining Denny’s in 2007.

About Denny’s

Denny's Corporation is the franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, based on the number of restaurants.  As of December 25, 2019, Denny’s had 1,703 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world including 144 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Honduras, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Guam, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Aruba, and Indonesia.  For further information on Denny's, including news releases, links to SEC filings, and other financial information, please visit the Denny's investor relations website at

View source version at Denny's

Dunkin' Brands Announces New Vice President Of Marketing Strategy

Feb 04, 2020, 07:00 ET

CANTON, Mass., Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, today announced the promotion of Jill McVicar Nelson to Vice President, Marketing Strategy.

In her new position as Vice President, Marketing Strategy, Dunkin' U.S., Nelson will lead a newly reorganized team responsible for brand marketing & planning as well as value and pricing strategies. She will report on an interim basis to Dunkin' Brands CEO Dave Hoffmann. Most recently, Nelson served as Director of Corporate Strategy and Chief of Staff to the CEO.

"We are combining our strategic, go-to-market functions into one team in order to accelerate the growth of Dunkin' U.S. through a more integrated marketing approach, and I am delighted to announce the appointment of Jill as the Vice President to lead this group," said Dave Hoffmann, Dunkin' Brands CEO. "Jill has been intimately involved in the creation and execution of our Blueprint for Growth, the multi-year plan to transform the Dunkin' U.S. business. She has consistently demonstrated a deep knowledge of the business, sound strategic vision, and has built strong relationships throughout the organization and franchisee community. With Jill at the helm, I am confident we will be able to respond more quickly to changes in the consumer landscape, provide better support to our franchisees, and, ultimately, better serve our guests."

Nelson joined Dunkin' Brands in 2011 as a member of the business analytics finance team, where she was responsible for measuring the effectiveness of marketing promotions and new product introductions. She left the company in 2014 to earn an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, and returned to Dunkin' in 2016 holding various strategic roles. In 2019, she was promoted to Director of Corporate Strategy. Nelson earned her bachelor's degree in public policy from Duke University.

About Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc.

With more than 21,000 points of distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) is one of the world's leading franchisors of quick service restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. At the end of the third quarter 2019, Dunkin' Brands' 100 percent franchised business model included over 13,000 Dunkin' restaurants and more than 8,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. is headquartered in Canton, Mass.

View source version at Dunkin' Brands

Boston Market Names Eric Wyatt As Chief Executive Officer

Feb 03, 2020, 08:00 ET

GOLDEN, Colo., Feb. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Market® has named Eric Wyatt as Chief Executive Officer as the "rotisserie everything experts" sets forth on a new growth phase.  He succeeds Frances Allen, Boston Market's CEO since 2018, who is departing for a new venture.

Having served as the company's Chief Operating Officer, Wyatt will oversee a newly created "Office of CEO" that includes Chief Financial Officer Caryn Doyle and Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Randy Miller. Under Allen's leadership, this C-suite team has been instrumental in implementing a multi-faceted transformation plan designed to ensure long-term sustainability, enhance brand relevance, accelerate innovation, improve guest satisfaction, increase overall profitability and create a clear growth plan to propel the company forward.

"The significant progress Boston Market has achieved in a short period of time and in the face of very challenging market conditions would not have been possible without the commitment and efforts of our entire team; this company is in a very different place than it was in 2018," said Allen. "Most importantly, there is a robust game plan in place to take the brand forward.  The foundation is here.  The structure is here.  The plan is here.  And the people are here.  There is a tremendous amount to feel proud of – and excited about – looking ahead.  While the decision to take on this new opportunity was extraordinarily difficult, I am confident I am leaving the brand in outstanding hands."

"The renewed energy and excitement now surrounding Boston Market is palpable from the restaurants to the support center," said Wyatt.  "The fun has returned in multiple ways, from investments in our workforce to our fresh new marketing and messaging, to more contemporary recipes, to delivering an entirely new, more compelling experience for guests that has dramatically improved satisfaction levels. I am honored to take on the role as CEO and work collaboratively with this dynamic C-level team to build on our momentum and execute on our plans for moving forward."

Prior to joining Boston Market, Wyatt served as Operations Partner/Vice President of Operations for Panera Bread, where he was responsible for all aspects of operations, including retail, marketing, recruiting, catering, facilities and bakery at more than 40 cafes in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.  Before that he was Vice President, Store Operations Support for Bath & Body Works, where he oversaw multiple functions supporting more than 1,500 company operated stores. Earlier, he held several senior positions at Starbucks Coffee Company, most recently as Vice President, Global & Americas Operations.  He also previously worked with Taco Bell Corporation and Mobil Oil Corporation.

About Boston Market Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, Boston Market Corporation has given time back to busy families and individuals for more than 30 years with quality, home style meals at a convenient value in more than 350 U.S. locations. Known as the experts in rotisserie cooking, the company prepares fresh chicken and USDA choice Prime Rib in signature rotisserie ovens and features an extensive selection of home style sides and made-from-scratch cornbread. As one of the country's largest providers of catering services, Boston Market offers convenient, same-day orders and delivery for corporate and personal events of all sizes. In January 2017, Boston Market officially launched its "Quality Guarantee," which acts as a continued commitment to all guests that Boston Market will serve all-natural and fresh, never frozen, gluten-free, whole chicken with no added hormones, steroids, antibiotics or MSG. For more information, visit the company's website at For the latest news and deals, follow @bostonmarket on Twitter or join us on Facebook.

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Dunkin' Brands Announces Appointment Of Three International Vice Presidents

Jan 30, 2020, 07:00 ET

CANTON, Mass., Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, announced the appointment of three vice presidents to its international team. Rini Ernawati has been promoted to Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, Caner Gursoy has been promoted to Regional Vice President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia, and Ashish Asthana has joined the company as Vice President of International Marketing. All three vice presidents will report to John Varughese, Senior Vice President, International.

According to Dave Hoffmann, Dunkin' Brands CEO, "We are thrilled to add these three executives with their deep industry and global experience to help lead key growth segments for both Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin'. These appointments are another measure of our efforts to make Dunkin' Brands a more field-centric organization so that our decision-making process is more nimble and occurs closer to the consumer."

With more than 15 years of multinational experience as a finance and general management executive before joining Dunkin' Brands, Rini Ernawati was responsible for driving growth at some of the world's most renowned global brands, including McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Carl Zeiss. Alongside consultancy and advisory experience with multiple startups in the fast-casual restaurant and e-commerce space. Ernawati earned her Bachelor of Economics from Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, and her M.B.A. from the Australian School of Management. "Rini is an absolute proven leader in one of the most diverse and dynamic parts of the globe. Her talent in building infrastructure for growth and assessing new market entry, along with a strong balance between financial acumen and commercialization, will be key to our growth plans across the APAC region," said Hoffmann.

Caner Gursoy began his career with Dunkin' Brands as an International Business Manager in 2012 and has subsequently held the roles of International Operations Director, Middle East, Africa and Australia, and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia. Prior to joining Dunkin' Brands, he was the head of Gloria Jean's Coffees, UAE Operations for the Master Franchisee where he was responsible for all aspects of operations, restaurant development, marketing human resources and finance. Earlier in his career, he served as the regional promotions manager for the Accor Vacation Club in Australia. Gursoy earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Near East University in Cyprus and his M.B.A. in Marketing from Central Queensland University in Australia. Hoffmann said, "Caner is an extremely experienced retail executive, with a deep global knowledge across many areas, who knows how to build teams, work with franchisees across multiple markets, and create business plans that drive results."

Before joining Dunkin' Brands, Ashish Asthana was an executive with The Coca-Cola Company for more than 20 years in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. During his time at The Coca-Cola Company, Ashish built and led successful marketing teams and implemented world-class marketing initiatives that drove record sales. Having lived and worked in Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and India, he has a deep knowledge of the consumer mindset across the globe. Prior to joining Dunkin' Brands, Ashish co-founded The Pure Winery, the world's first global zero-sugar wine company, based out of Europe. He holds an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from India's XLRI School of Management and a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. "Ashish is an innovative marketing leader with a strong entrepreneurial sense who knows how to build brands, introduce highly differentiated products, and implement transformative marketing programs," said Hoffmann.

About Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. With more than 21,000 points of distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) is one of the world's leading franchisors of quick service restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. At the end of the third quarter 2019, Dunkin' Brands' 100 percent franchised business model included over 13,000 Dunkin' restaurants and more than 8,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. is headquartered in Canton, Mass.

View source version at Dunkin' Brands

Fresh Brothers Names Geoffrey Goodman CEO

January 30, 2020

Fresh Brothers has 20 locations in Southern California offering a dietary inclusive, premium pizza with delivery options or a classic sit-down experience.

Fresh Brothers has named Geoffrey Goodman as its new Chief Executive Officer. Goodman will oversee company performance and operations while the brand ramps up for strategic growth.

With more than 20 years of dynamic strategic leadership experience, Goodman has previously worked with pizza chains CiCi’s and Round Table, making him a natural fit for Fresh Brothers. Goodman also has experience working with other well-known brands such as Rita’s Italian Ice, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream and Remarkable Brands Co, LLC. As CEO, Goodman plans to position Fresh Brothers at the forefront of the booming pizza industry.

“Fresh Brothers’ premium product, dedicated fan base and brand ethos stand out in a crowded pizza field,” says Geoffrey Goodman, new CEO of Fresh Brothers. “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to continue on the great foundation that has been built.”

"We were impressed with Geoff’s talent and tenacity to grow our brand, so it’s a pleasure to welcome him to the Fresh Brothers executive team," adds Peter Nolan, chairman of Fresh Brothers’ investment group Nolan Capital, Inc. "We look forward to achieving many brand milestones with Geoff’s expertise and dedication leading the charge."

Fresh Brothers has 20 locations in Southern California offering a dietary inclusive, premium pizza with delivery options or a classic sit-down experience.

View source version at Fresh Brothers

Paris Baguette Names Pete Bell CMO

JANUARY 29, 2020

On the heels of announcing a new CEO, Paris Baguette USA Inc. has named Pete Bell chief marketing operator. Earlier this month, Darren Tipton was promoted to CEO of American operations, replacing former CEO Jack Moran, who had been promoted to global CEO.

Bell will oversee all company marketing efforts for the bakery-café as it opens new restaurants in the U.S. He previously served as CMO at several other restaurant companies, including Twin Peaks Restaurants and Specialty Brands Holding Corp., owner of the Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwich chains.

Related: Paris Baguette plants flag in Manhattan to redefine the bakery-café

“We’re thrilled to have Pete join our senior leadership team as we bring the Paris Baguette brand to new markets,” said Jack Moran, Global CEO of Paris Baguette, in a news release. “He is a progressive and consumer data driven marketer who understands how to create effective and targeted campaigns that drive sales and awareness.”

Paris Baguette was founded in South Korea in the 1980s and is now a global brand that operates more than 80 corporate and franchise locations throughout the U.S., and over 3,500 internationally.

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MOD Pizza Announces Leadership Promotions

John Maguire Becomes President and Chief Operating Officer

January 28, 2020 // // SEATTLE - MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD Pizza”, “MOD” or the “Company”) today announced two executive-level promotions. Effective immediately, John Maguire has been named President and Chief Operating Officer and Steve O’Neill has been elevated to Vice President of Partnerships. MOD also announced a series of strategic leadership promotions to strengthen nationwide operations as the brand looks towards the opening of its 500th store later this year.

Maguire joined MOD as COO in 2018 and adds the title of president after the recent retirement of Paul Twohig. Maguire will continue to oversee all aspects of company and franchise operations and will also lead operations services & excellence, training, supply chain and franchising; he reports directly to Scott Svenson, MOD co-founder and CEO. Prior to MOD, Maguire was President and Chief Executive Officer of FIC Restaurants Inc. (Friendly’s restaurants), President and Chief Executive Officer of Johnny Rockets Group, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Panera Bread.

“John has made an incredible impact since joining MOD, helping to strengthen day-to-day operations across the system, as well as shape the path for our next phase of growth. One of John’s best qualities is that he is a people person first, and carries the MOD culture of servant leadership through everything he touches. We feel very lucky to have him as part of the team as we embark on an ambitious path for the future,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD. “We’d also like to give a huge, heartfelt thanks to Paul for the innumerable contributions he’s made to the business. Without a doubt, MOD is stronger because of the time Paul spent with us. Thankfully, he will remain on our advisory board – and active as a MOD franchisee – helping to guide us as we continue to write the story of MOD as the leader in fast casual pizza.”

O’Neill has been with MOD since 2013, building and leading the operations services & excellence teams. In his new role as VP of Partnerships, he will oversee the MOD franchise partnership group, which currently consists of 9 franchise partners and 92 locations in the US and Canada. O’Neill previously spent 10 years with Starbucks in various leadership positions, and 20 years in operations with The Walt Disney Company.

In addition, MOD announced a series of senior operations team promotions:

  1. Kristen Driscoll, promoted to Senior Director of Operations Services & Excellence

  2. Mo Chowdhury, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (Mid-Atlantic and Florida)

  3. James Holguin, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (California, Arizona and Utah)

  4. Aaron Johnson, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (Texas and Missouri)

Additionally, Shanna Taylor was promoted to Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and People Systems.

About MOD Pizza

MOD’s individual artisan-style pizzas are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads with any combination of over 30 toppings, all for one incredible price. With 470+ locations system-wide*, MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work. MOD recently earned a spot on the Fortune 2019 “Change the World” list, for its purpose-led culture and commitment to provide opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. The Company has also been named America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic for four years running and named the most loved pizza brand by Foodable Network. MOD has earned a spot on the Inc.5000 list and has been recognized by Fortune as one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail,” a “Best Workplace for Women,” a “Best Workplace for Millennials,” and a “Best Workplace for Diversity.” For more information, please visit or connect with the brand via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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FoodFirst Global Restaurants Names Steve Layt as the new Chief Executive Officer

January 28, 2020 12:00 ET

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FoodFirst Global Restaurants announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Steve Layt as Chief Executive Officer, effectively immediately. He will assume day-to-day leadership of the Company and will also join FoodFirst’s Board of Directors.

Steve is an accomplished restaurant executive with more than 30 years of global experience. Most recently, Steve was President and CEO of Pizza Hut for NPC International, the nation’s largest Pizza Hut Franchisee. Prior to that, Steve was the President of Applebee’s, the world’s largest Casual Dining Restaurant Chain with more than $4.5 Billion in annual revenues. Steve is a world-class operator and has extensive experience driving sales growth, reshaping organizations, building and inspiring teams.

“We’re excited to have an operator and executive of Steve’s caliber join our team and we look forward to all we will achieve under his leadership,” said Antonio Bonchristiano, CEO of GP Investments, FoodFirst’s main investor. “The Board and I are confident Steve is the right leader to build on current momentum and continue to drive our operations towards industry-leading excellence.”

FoodFirst’s founder, Brad Blum, has stepped down from his role as Chairman & CEO and will remain engaged as an owner-partner. “I would like to personally thank Brad for his outstanding leadership and contribution in setting up the foundation for FoodFirst’s success,” said Mr. Bonchristiano.

Steve’s first priorities will be to deliver outstanding operational excellence and to consistently delight FoodFirst guests. Given his operational expertise, Steve will directly oversee FoodFirst’s operations team.

Steve Layt Steve is an accomplished restaurant executive with more than 30 years of global experience. Most recently, Steve was President and CEO of Pizza Hut for NPC International, the nation’s largest Pizza Hut Franchisee where he led the operations of more than 1,230 Pizza Hut Restaurants across the country.

Prior to that, Steve was the President of Applebee’s, the world’s largest Casual Dining Restaurant Chain with more than $4.5 Billion in annual revenues. In this role, Steve not only drove consistent comp sales growth, but also led a customer defection and repositioning study of the Applebee’s brand which delivered improved guest experience measures across the Applebee’s system.

Having started his career as a restaurant level employee, Steve has held numerous other operations and executive leadership positions within the restaurant industry, including senior roles within YUM! Brands.

As an internationally certified Executive Performance Coach, Steve has a real passion for developing high performance teams and driving world-class results.

About FoodFirst Formed in 2018, FoodFirst Global Restaurants, Inc. Is a restaurant company whose mission is to provide Good Food for the Planet™. The company is building a platform to own a variety of brands and businesses in the restaurant and food industry. Its first two brands are BRIO Tuscan Grille, which is being repositioned in the polished, upscale segment of casual dining as BRIO Italian Mediterranean and BRAVO Cucina Italiana, which will be renamed BRAVO Italian Mediterranean as a core casual dining brand. We are passionate about good food, know good food, enjoy good food, and are dedicated to always improving upon and consistently providing good food. For more information, visit

View source version at FoodFirst Global Restaurants

Farmer Brothers Board of Directors Appoints New Chairman

January 23, 2020 08:30 ET

NORTHLAKE, Texas, Jan. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ:FARM) (the “Company” or “Farmer Brothers”) today announced that its Board of Directors has named Christopher Mottern as Board Chairman, effective January 22, 2020. Mr. Mottern, who has served as a director on the Farmer Brothers Board since 2013, succeeds Randy Clark, who will continue to serve as a director of the Company.

Mr. Mottern was appointed to Farmer Brothers’ Board in 2013 and recently served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Brothers from May 7, 2019 until October 31, 2019.

Mr. Mottern said, “I am honored to be appointed by my fellow directors to the role of Chairman of the Board, as we continue to execute on our turnaround strategy to position the Company for the long term. I want to thank Randy for his tremendous leadership and contributions to the Company during a period of significant transformation for Farmer Brothers. We are fortunate to have Randy remain on the Board, which will continue to benefit from his skills and experience.”

Mr. Clark said, “It has been a privilege to serve as the Company’s Chairman for the last four years. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Chris, along with the rest of the Board and management team to enhance Farmer Brothers’ operational and financial performance.”

In addition, Hamideh Assadi has resigned from the Board for personal reasons, effective immediately.

Mr. Mottern added, “On behalf of the Board and management team, I want to express our appreciation for Hami’s many contributions to the Company and years of distinguished service. We wish her the best in the future.”

Following these changes, the Board comprises seven people, six of whom are independent. The Board committee chairs are as follows: Allison Boersma, Chair of the Audit Committee; David Ritterbush, Chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee; Chuck Marcy, Chair of the Compensation Committee.

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

Headquartered in Northlake, Texas. The Company's primary brands include Farmer Brothers®, Artisan Collection by Farmer Brothers™, Superior®, Metropolitan™, China Mist® and Boyds®.

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Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar Names Katie Borger New Vice President of Marketing

January 22, 2020

National Casual Dining Brand Enhances Leadership Team While Gearing Up for Strategic Growth

Dallas, TX  (  Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar (Boston’s), a national casual dining brand that combines a family-friendly casual dining restaurant and an energetic sports bar under one roof, has named nine-year pizza industry veteran, Katie Borger, as the brand’s Vice President of Marketing. As the Boston’s gears up for momentous development and growth, Borger will play a vital role in driving the brand to the forefront of the casual dining space.

Borger brings more than a decade of public relations and marketing experience in the pizza industry to her new role at Boston’s. She started with the brand in 2004 as a marketing intern and has since worn many hats, growing with the brand as it works to expand in its U.S. operations. Her previous roles in include serving as Boston’s Social Media Coordinator, Communications Manager, Director of The Boston’s Pizza Foundation – Boston’s charitable foundation benefitting youth in the communities in which the brand operates, and most recently, Senior Director of Marketing.

“As Boston’s continues its strategic growth, evolving and protecting the brand is a key focus in expanding our footprint,” said Jeff Melnick, President of Boston’s. “We are confident that Katie’s experience with the brand and extensive marketing background will play an essential role in the future of the brand.”

In her new role, Borger will oversee marketing and IT from both the national brand perspective and the restaurant level. In addition, she will continue oversight over the national public relations and media relations strategy for the brand’s U.S. operations. As the Vice President of Marketing, Borger will work in tandem with the leadership team as the brand gears up for a major brand refresh and continued growth across the nation.

“Boston’s has a 50+ year legacy starting in Canada and over 20 years of operation here in the States and Mexico, so it’s critical we protect and grow upon our history while also asking the hard questions to evolve and remain relevant,” said Borger. “It’s an honor to represent our Franchisees and internal team in driving the brand forward. Starting as the intern, it goes to show that hard work really can pay-off and I’m so grateful to Boston’s for their commitment to developing career paths and fostering passion for this industry and support to our Franchisees from within.”

Boston’s and its franchisees are backed by 50+ years of industry-leading operational systems. Throughout North America, Boston’s sees $1.1 billion in system-wide sales, with more than 400 locations across Canada, the United States and Mexico. To find a Boston’s near you, visit For more information about the Boston’s franchise opportunity, please visit

About Boston’s

Boston’s is both a family-friendly casual dining restaurant and an energetic sports bar, all under one roof. For over 50 years, Boston’s has specialized in providing a relaxing atmosphere and food from scratch to parties of all sizes. With Boston’s brand promise, “We’ll make you a fan,” and 80+ menu items, primarily made in-house, they deliver on having something for every occasion and taste. Boston’s is recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top three full-service restaurant brands. The company is also currently listed at No. 176 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2017 Franchise 500 list and was named as the No. 1 Restaurant & Sports Bar in the Sports Bar/Pubs category by the magazine. Additionally, the brand is ranked No. 162 on the magazine’s ‘Top Global Franchises” list and No. 93 on the 2017 Franchise Times Top 200 (Plus 300) list. With sales exceeding $1 Billion in system-wide gross sales, Boston’s grows through franchising and is currently looking to expand around the US and Mexico. Visit today.

View source version at Boston's Pizza

CEC Entertainment, Inc. Announces Appointment of David McKillips as Chief Executive Officer

Jan 21, 2020, 14:58 ET

IRVING, Texas, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- CEC Entertainment, Inc. today announced that, effective immediately, its Board of Directors has appointed David McKillips as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Tom Leverton who has resigned as CEO. The Board of Directors of CEC thanks Mr. Leverton for his service as CEO over the last five years and offers him best wishes in his future endeavors.

McKillips has more than 25 years of experience in the family entertainment, media and theme park industries. Most recently, he was President of the International Development Company for Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, responsible for the operational management of all properties outside the United States. In addition, McKillips served as Six Flags Senior Vice President, In-Park Services, leading the food & beverage, retail, games and procurement functions across all U.S. Six Flags parks. Prior to joining Six Flags, he served as Vice President of Advertising & Custom Publishing Sales for DC Comics, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and home to some of the world's most iconic brands. McKillips has also held multiple leadership roles within Sea World Entertainment and Sesame Place. McKillips holds a B.A. degree in Communication Studies from the University of Georgia and received post-graduate certificates in Marketing and Finance from New York University.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am excited to welcome David to the CEC team," said Andrew S. Jhawar, Chairman of the Board at CEC and Senior Partner and Head of the Consumer & Retail Industry Team at Apollo Global Management, Inc. "David is a proven executive with a lifetime of experience and success in the family entertainment industry, both domestically and around the world. He has demonstrated an ability to drive revenue growth through innovation, marketing, licensing, improved operations and corporate partnerships, which are skills that make him the ideal candidate to lead CEC into its next phase of growth."

McKillips stated, "I am thrilled to join CEC and look forward to working with the team to continue creating memorable experiences for CEC's guests. As a national leader in family dining and entertainment, CEC is recognized for its high-quality food, fun and wholesome family entertainment. With the iconic Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza brands, dedicated employees and strategic partnerships, the Company is well positioned to expand and provide an even better guest experience going forward. I look forward to being part of the Company's future success as we accelerate CEC's growth nationally and globally. In addition, I look forward to working alongside Apollo, which has a long track record of success in building value in consumer and retail businesses."

About CEC Entertainment, Inc.

CEC Entertainment, Inc. is the nationally recognized leader in family dining and entertainment with both its Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants. As the place where over one million happy birthdays are celebrated every year, Chuck E. Cheese's goal is to create positive, lifelong memories for families through fun, food, and play and is the place Where A Kid Can Be A Kid®. Committed to providing a fun, safe environment, Chuck E. Cheese helps protect families through industry-leading programs such as Kid Check®. As a strong advocate for its local communities, Chuck E. Cheese has donated more than $16 million to schools though its fundraising programs and supports its national charity partner, Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Peter Piper Pizza features dining, entertainment and carryout with a neighborhood pizzeria feel and "pizza made fresh, families made happy" culture. Peter Piper Pizza takes pride in delivering quality food and fun that reconnects family and friends. With a bold design and contemporary layout, an open kitchen revealing much of their handcrafted food preparation, the latest technology and games, and beer and wine for adults, Peter Piper Pizza restaurants appeal to parents and kids alike. As of September 29, 2019, the Company and its franchisees operated a system of 610 Chuck E. Cheese and 128 Peter Piper Pizza venues, with locations in 47 states and 15 foreign countries and territories. For more information, visit and

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Edible Brands® Promotes Cheikh Mboup to President

COO takes expanded role to oversee organizational shift towards the growing QSR segment and full Edible menu offering

Jan 17, 2020, 13:00 ET

ATLANTA, Jan. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Edible Brands®, the parent company of Edible®, the world's largest franchisor of fresh fruit arrangements and all-natural fruit snacks and dipped treats, has expanded Chief Operating Officer Cheikh Mboup's role to include that of President, effective immediately.

In this expanded role, Mboup will oversee the final stages of Edible's evolution beyond gifting and arrangements into a true QSR destination featuring an expanded menu of wholesome offerings, gifts and treats.

"During his tenure at Edible, Cheikh has influenced almost every area of operations, real estate, construction and more," Founder and CEO Tariq Farid said in making the announcement. "His depth of experience and knowledge of our network will be critical in guiding our amazing franchisees through this evolution and helping them expand Edible's presence within their local communities."

Among his top priorities as President and COO of Edible, Mboup will focus on implementing the expanded Edible menu across the system as well as the rollout of a new Edible store prototype, with a flagship location expected this year.

Prior to his new role, Mboup served several years as vice president of operations, construction and real estate for Edible. Before that, he was head of operations for the Edible network in the United States.

He first joined Edible after a long career developing, growing and overseeing his own multi-unit restaurant organization across the Northeast U.S.

"We are more than arrangements, and our menu already reflects that. We are also more than e-commerce and our brick and mortar strength already reflects that," Mboup said. "My focus will be on helping franchisees take advantage of the full Edible experience to capture more market share as we advance beyond gifting by offering a growing variety of wholesome foods for immediate consumption both on and off premises."

Today, the Edible® brand has expanded to include Dipped Fruit™, Froyo Fruit Blends™, all-natural, fresh fruit salads and other Edible® Treats. In addition, the organization recently announced a partnership with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to begin offering its gourmet premium chocolates. Edible also has debuted a new Incredible Edibles® hemp-derived CBD product line that includes smoothies and chocolate-dipped fruit at select locations.

About Edible Brands® Edible Brands is the parent company of Edible, the world's largest franchisor of stores offering all-natural fruit snacks, dipped treats and fresh fruit arrangements with more than 1,100 locations worldwide. Since its founding in 1999, the company has been recognized as an industry leader, ranking first in its category in Entrepreneur magazine's annual "Franchise 500," Entrepreneur's Top 40 of "Fastest Growing Franchises" and "America's Top Global Franchises" as well as being included among the "Inc. 5000" list of the fastest growing privately-held companies. Edible fresh fruit arrangements, chocolate Dipped Fruit™ and fresh fruit smoothies can be ordered through any local Edible store or online at Edible has franchise opportunities available in a number of key markets in the United States and Canada.  For more information about owning an Edible please visit

View source version at Edible Brands

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