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Executive Movements - February 2021

Clean Juice Promotes Dave Cuff to Chief Development Officer

February 16, 2021

Clean Juice, the first and most prolific USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise, proudly announced the promotion of Dave Cuff to the position of Chief Development Officer (CDO). Dave will continue his role in helping create turn-key franchise opportunities for people passionate about healthy, clean living. In addition to his role with Clean Juice, Dave will also serve as CDO for Clean Juice’s sister franchise brand, freecoat nails – the nation’s newest and completely non-toxic nail and beauty salon franchise.

Dave is a veteran business development professional with an educational background in exercise science. During his professional tenure, Dave has worked for BMW and several pharmaceutical companies. Dave started with Clean Juice in August 2016 as the Director of Franchising, then served as Vice President of Development starting in January 2017 before entering the C-suite earlier this year.

“I am passionate about Clean Juice and will do anything to protect and guide this brand,” said Cuff. “’Healthy in Body, Strong in Spirit’ is a core value I share with the brand and it thrills me to watch our Franchise Partners come into the Clean Juice family and develop their locations. To see their excitement when we get ready for their Grand Opening makes all of the hard work worth it.”

As Chief of Development, Dave will continue the work he’s been involved with since joining the Clean Juice corporate office in 2016. His expertise and professional ethics continue to inspire the development team as they lead in awarding new units, site selections, lease negotiations, architecture and construction.

“Kat, myself, and the entire Clean Juice and freecoat nails family is very proud of Dave and his contributions to the rapid growth Clean Juice has enjoyed,” said Landon Eckles, CEO, Clean Juice. “Dave brings an expertise, drive, and passion that is un-wavered, and we are confident in his ability to continue to the forward momentum we’ve ignited as we enter another year of record-breaking growth.”

Dave started his career with BMW as a client advisor then entering the Pharmaceutical industry in 2007. A graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, Dave’s professional career spans more than 17 years.

When Dave isn’t working with his team on developing the Clean Juice and freecoat nails brands, he can be found doting on his beautiful wife and two daughters and spending time at the beach or taking road trips to visit friends and family.

Landon and Kat Eckles started Clean Juice in 2016 as the first and only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise and is rooted in the “healthy body and a strong spirit” (3 John 1-2) scripture and highlights the importance of an organic, plant-based diet. Clean Juice offers organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies, wraps, açaí bowls, toasts, Greenoa salad bowls, and other healthy foods in a warm and welcoming retail experience. Clean Juice continues to seek and welcome qualified franchisees to its family of franchise partners.   For more information about Clean Juice, its leadership team, and its core values, please visit

View source version at Clean Juice

Taco John’s Welcomes Richard Bundy as New Chief Financial Officer

February 11, 2021

Popular quick-service restaurant appoints experienced executive to oversee all company financial actions

Cheyenne, WY  (  CEO of Taco John’s Jim Creel announced today that the company has hired Richard Bundy as its new chief financial officer.

Bundy joins Taco John’s with more than 20 years of experience in the financial field. He began his career with NASA as a project resource analyst before accepting a role with the Albertson’s grocery chain as a financial analyst. Bundy then went on to the apparel industry, where he held a variety of leadership roles at retail brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Soma Intimates and Chico’s. Most recently, Bundy served as chief financial offer for Christopher & Banks, where he was responsible for developing and executing the company’s financial strategy and oversaw all aspects of finance, accounting, distribution and logistics, internal audit and real estate.

“We are very excited to have Richard join our leadership team,” Creel said. “He is a seasoned executive who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Taco John’s. Richard’s proven track record of success includes an extensive background in leading finance teams in multi-store, high growth and turnaround retail environments. We’ve put an emphasis on expansion at Taco John’s, and we know Richard’s financial capabilities will be key in maintaining our business goals as we continue to grow.”

As chief financial officer, Bundy will lead Taco John’s financial strategy, including accounting, business analysis and financial planning. In addition, Bundy will oversee franchise development and human resources.

“My family and I have been huge Taco John’s supporters for a long time,” Bundy said. “I’ve been visiting Taco John’s since college, so it’s safe to say I’m thrilled to join this brand. I’m really proud to become a part of a dynamic leadership team within a successful company. As Taco John’s gets ready for rapid expansion, I can’t wait to apply my business acumen to help the brand scale new heights.”

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®

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

View source version at Taco John's

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Appoints Jared L. Landaw as Vice President and General Counsel

February 10, 2021 07:00 ET

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Feb. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: TAST) today announced that it has appointed Jared L. Landaw as the Company’s Vice President and General Counsel, effective February 8, 2021.

Daniel T. Accordino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Carrols, commented, “We are excited to welcome Jared to Carrols and are confident that he will be a valuable contributor to the executive team. His expertise in providing legal oversight and guidance will be indispensable to us as we build on the existing foundation of excellence provided by our legal team and move our organization forward.”

Jared L. Landaw, Vice President and General Counsel of Carrols, said, “I am honored to join Carrols as it executes on its strategy of operating two world-class restaurant brands and look forward to contributing to the Company’s strategic priorities and continued growth.”

Prior to joining Carrols, Mr. Landaw was the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Barington Capital Group, L.P., a value-oriented investment firm, where he has worked since June 2004. Prior to that, he served as the Vice President of Law at International Specialty Products Inc. (formerly NYSE: ISP) and as an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Mr. Landaw is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Costar Technologies, Inc., a publicly traded company that develops, designs, manufactures and distributes products for the security, surveillance and industrial video markets.

He holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.

About the Company Carrols is one of largest restaurant franchisees in the United States, and currently operates 1,074 restaurants. It is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States currently operating 1,009 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

Tropical Smoothie Cafe® Promotes Cheryl Fletcher To Chief Development Officer

-Fast-Casual Concept's Franchise Development Leader Named Chief Development Officer in Recognition of Fletcher's Immense Contributions to Brand's Exponential Growth-

Feb 09, 2021, 09:00 ET

ATLANTA, Feb. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC, a leading national fast-casual cafe franchise known for its smoothies and food with a tropical twist, announced today that Cheryl Fletcher has been promoted to chief development officer. Since joining the executive team in 2018 to lead the company's franchise development, Fletcher has been essential to the brand's record-breaking growth. In her elevated leadership role, she will continue to propel Tropical Smoothie Cafe development forward with her signature mix of experience, passion, and dedication.

"Cheryl is hands down the best pipeline expert in the franchising business," said Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. "Our franchise development strategy and growth has thrived under her leadership; especially through the challenges of the past year. She is one of the primary reasons we have 600 new cafes in our opening pipeline and are on track to reach more than 1,000 operating locations in 2021. Cheryl goes the extra mile to get results that drive the business forward, all while leading an accomplished team. I look forward to seeing the new heights our brand will reach with her as our chief development officer."

Since Fletcher joined Tropical Smoothie Cafe four years ago as the vice president of franchise development strategy, the brand has sold more than 750 franchise agreements, negotiated more than 500 leases and celebrated more than 380 grand openings. Since her promotion to senior vice president of franchise development in 2018, Fletcher has been the driving force behind the Real Estate Management and Real Estate Analytics teams, the Franchise Sales and Recruiting department, as well as the Design and Construction group.

Fletcher came to Tropical Smoothie Cafe after a 17-year tenure with Popeyes where she led the company's franchise development and strategic planning. Her strong leadership background in the franchising industry, along with her financial acumen and communications skills, have made her a valuable asset to the entire Tropical Smoothie Cafe team.

"Cheryl is that rare mentor who leads with both her head and her heart," added Watson. "She's mastered the art of knowing when to push while still being kind. Passionate about business imperatives, she builds solid relationships based on deep trust and accountability within our Support Center and among our franchisees. She always puts our franchisees first and operates as if their bottom line is her bottom line. Cheryl is the type of leader and teammate who brings out the best in everyone around her and we're proud to have her as an integral part of our team."

For more information about Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise, please visit or call 770-293-8377.

About Tropical Smoothie Cafe®️ Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring a healthier lifestyle with more than 915 locations nationwide. Serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads, Tropical Smoothie Cafe also offers upgraded app technology and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities to further elevate the digital and dine-in cafe experience and emphasize the brand's focus on convenience. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including rankings in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500, Forbes' Best Franchises and Franchise Times' Fast and Serious list as well as the Franchise Times' Top 200+ ranking. Notably, the franchise was also recognized on Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Nation's Restaurant News' Top 200 and Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains, and Restaurant Business America's Favorite Chains. In 2019, the brand was recognized amongst QSR's Best Franchise Deals as well as being chosen as NRAEF's Restaurant Neighbor Award Winner.

View source version at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Women's Foodservice Forum Announces New Board Members To Advance Gender Equity And Create New Paths For Women To Succeed

Four senior executives join Board to accelerate the advancement of women

Feb 08, 2021, 06:00 ET

DALLAS, Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) has elected four senior leaders to its 2021 Board of Directors and named new positions for its Executive Committee members. The robust board of industry executives, and the global brands they represent, are steadfastly committed to increasing opportunities for women and cultivating gender-diverse leadership.

Women's Foodservice Forum announces new board members to advance gender equity and create new paths for women to succeedTweet this

"At this critical time for our industry, the need to adapt to current realities and build new capabilities is evident," said WFF President & CEO Therese Gearhart. "With bold steps and adoption of best practices, we can help Partner companies retain and grow their female talent to drive gender equity, as well as help with the distinct challenges women face during the COVID-19 crisis," Gearhart added.

Kathleen Ciaramello, Chief Customer Officer, Coca-Cola North America, and newly named WFF Board Chair for 2021, knows that WFF will hold a pivotal role for driving gender equity in the Food Industry. "With our strong and passionate Board of Directors, and under the tenacious leadership of WFF's President & CEO, Therese Gearhart, WFF is committed to help organizations accelerate the advancement of female leaders and lay the foundation for an equitable workplace," Ciaramello said.

CIARAMELLO APPOINTED CHAIR Board Chair-Elect and Chief Customer Officer, Coca-Cola North America, Kathleen Ciaramello, has succeeded to Chair. Kathleen has responsibility for customers across the full portfolio and all routes to market, including retail, drug, restaurants, hospitality, entertainment and more.  The Coca-Cola Company is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories.

SKEANS APPOINTED CHAIR-ELECT Board Treasurer and Yum! Brands Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer Tracy Skeans has been appointed Chair-Elect and will succeed to Chair in the next year. Skeans reports to the Yum! Brands CEO and is responsible for driving cross-brand collaboration on operational execution, people capability and customer experience imperatives that will fuel same-store sales and net-new unit growth. Yum! Brands operates restaurant brands including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill and has over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, making it a leader in global retail development.

ANITA ZIELINSKI APPOINTED TREASURER Board Executive Committee Member and SVP, Chief Accounting Officer at Sysco, Anita Zielinski, has been appointed Treasurer and will succeed to Chair-Elect and Chair over the next three years. Zielinski joined Sysco in 2017 and oversees the Company's accounting functions, with responsibility for financial accounting and reporting, accounting policy, tax compliance and strategy and internal controls. With more than 57,000 associates, Sysco operates 326 distribution facilities and serves more than 625,000 customer locations worldwide.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS New WFF Board members serve two successive, three-year terms beginning January 1, 2021 and concluding December 31, 2026.

Christina Clarke has served as Wingstop's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer since September 2019. Christina joined the Wingstop team in October 2018 as the Vice President of Marketing. Prior to Wingstop, Christina held many marketing positions at PepsiCo where she led various Frito-Lay North America teams across brand, foodservice, innovation, shopper, and portfolio marketing.

Catherine Fox is the Vice President of Brand and Product Marketing for Land O'Lakes, Inc.'s Dairy Foods Foodservice and Retail businesses, which include Butter and Spreads, Cheese, Kozy Shack, Licensing and New Products. Prior to joining Land O'Lakes, Catherine was a leader for 14 years in food marketing with nine years in consumer products at Pillsbury and General Mills.

Kelly Lefferts is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Bloomin' Brands, Inc. She began her career at Bloomin' Brands in 1997 as Corporate Counsel and has held positions of increasing responsibility within the Bloomin' Brands legal department. She is the Founder and Steering Committee Member of Bloomin' Brands, Inc.'s Women's' Interests Network, and an Executive Sponsor and member of the company's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Coley O'Brien has served as Chief People Officer at The Wendy's Company since March 2018, beginning his career with the Company in 2007. During his time at Wendy's, Coley has established the Top General Manager program, celebrating restaurant General Managers for their leadership, performance, and dedication to the brand. He has also implemented a new employment branding strategy, and increased focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Coley serves as the executive sponsor of Wendy's Young Professional Resource Group, which is focused on the growth and development of young professionals. Prior to Wendy's, Coley worked at Sears Holdings Corporation, where he served as Director of Retail Training and began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP as a Senior Consultant.

WFF 2021 Board Executive Committee Members

  1. Chair: Kathleen Ciaramello, Chief Customer Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

  2. CEO: Therese Gearhart, President & CEO, WFF

  3. Chair-Elect: Tracy Skeans, Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.

  4. Treasurer: Anita Zielinski, SVP & Chief Accounting Officer, Sysco Corporation

Executive Committee Members at Large

  1. Ryan Elwart, SVP, Global Sales, Georgia Pacific

  2. Sarah King, Chief Human Resources Officer, Darden Restaurants

  3. Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP Distributor Sales, Ecolab

  4. Kelli Valade, President & CEO, Black Box Intelligence


  1. Jean Chick, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, Inc.

  2. Christina Clarke, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.

  3. Catherine Fox, VP of Brand & Product Marketing, Dairy Foods, Land O'Lakes, Inc.

  4. Alisa Gmelich, Chief Brand Officer, Auntie Anne's

  5. Blaine Hurst, Vice Chairman, Panera Bread, LLC

  6. Katherine Jaspon, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Dunkin' Brands, Inc.

  7. Julie Juvera, SVP, Crew Resources, Fry Cook & Cashier, Raising Cane's

  8. Kelly Lefferts, EVP, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Bloomin' Brands

  9. Jamie McKeon, SVP, Demand Creation, Rich Products Corporation

  10. Heather Neary, Former President, Auntie Anne's

  11. Coley O'Brien, Chief People Officer, The Wendy's Company

  12. Shawn O'Grady, Group President, Convenience & Foodservice; SVP, Global Revenue Development, General Mills

  13. Salli Setta, Immediate Past Chair, WFF and Former President and Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster

  14. Merary Simeon, VP, Diversity & Engagement, PepsiCo North America

  15. Libby Wanamaker, VP, Talent Experience, Chick-fil-A

  16. Jennifer Williamson, SVP, Brand and Communications, Sodexo USA, Inc.

  17. Colleen Wolf, SVP & Chief Information Officer, Ventura Foods

  18. Loraine Yalch, SVP, Client Solutions Group & Business Development, ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions, LLC

ABOUT WOMEN'S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry's thought leader on gender equity. WFF leverages research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit

View source version at Women's Foodservice Forum

JINYA Ramen Bar Hires Mike LaRue as New Vice President of Franchise Sales

February 8, 2021

Acclaimed Japanese ramen restaurant appoints franchise veteran to oversee all aspects of development

Los Angeles, CA  (  JINYA Ramen Bar Founder and CEO Tomonori Takahashi announced today that the company has welcomed Mike LaRue as its new vice president of franchise sales.

LaRue joins JINYA with more than 14 years of experience in franchising. With an advanced understanding of franchise sales, development and onboarding processes, LaRue has played a role in launching over 15 brands, resulting in more than 1,000 units in development and several million dollars in franchise fees.

“We are very excited to have Mike join our team at JINYA,” Takahashi said. “After many years in franchising, he has developed a keen understanding that a franchisor empathizing with its franchisees is a significant driver to the success of a brand. Mike has always been exceptional at utilizing his resources to find the best real estate for his sites, as well as when it comes to recruiting prospective franchisees, he knows what elements of a brand attract exceptional people. Mike not only focuses heavily on creating a dependable franchisor/franchisee relationship, but he also believes a strong culture and impact within the company are the key ingredients to building a sustainable brand. That’s the kind of person we want at JINYA – someone who is devoted and excited to make our brand stronger in every way.”

At JINYA, LaRue will be responsible for leading and directing strategy on all aspects of franchise development, including new sales, lead generation, franchise recruiting and owner approvals. In addition to several other tasks, LaRue will collaborate with JINYA’s marketing team and outside agencies to implement effective lead generation marketing and a franchise recruitment website, build solid relationships with existing franchisees and support their enterprise expansion plans and work closely with JINYA’s real estate team to provide insights and analytics for the brand’s development pipeline. He will also manage prospects through inquiry, approval, signing, and onboarding leading up to grand openings.

“I am very excited to be joining the JINYA family and taking on this new role,” LaRue said. “For me, I don’t believe you can just work for any brand who wants to recruit franchisees; there are certain characteristics that have to be in place. For example, it’s important for a franchisor to be passionate about bringing in the right franchise partners versus someone who can just cut a check. There has to be a strong focus on company culture and spreading that culture into the system. To attract the best multi-unit operators, the economics also have to make sense. JINYA has done an amazing job adjusting through the pandemic and is positioned extremely well to continue being a category leader for years to come. The future for JINYA is incredible, and I am thrilled to be of service for a brand that has so much potential, both in franchising and as a well-rounded, extraordinary company.”

At JINYA, experience ramen like it’s meant to be – with thick, rich broth in perfect balance with flavorful noodles. Discover a wide array of authentic toppings, from tender pork chashu to a perfectly cooked and seasoned poached egg to fresh garlic. Then, elevate the experience further by pairing it with tapas or a craft beer. JINYA is ramen culture, where the relationship between broth and noodles is serious but delicious business. To learn more about JINYA’s full menu, visit

JINYA Ramen Bar: A Bowl Above All Others

About JINYA Ramen Bar

Founded in 2010 by Tomonori Takahashi – who was named among the most influential restaurant CEOs in the country in 2020 by Nation’s Restaurant News – JINYA Ramen Bar has 37 restaurants with multiple new locations in the pipeline. JINYA’s focus on kaizen – the Japanese practice of continuous improvement – means its guests will always experience the best ramen out there. From the water used to prepare its broth to the special aging process that its noodles undergo, JINYA pays meticulous attention to everything that goes into its guests’ bowls. JINYA also operates bushi by JINYA and JINYA Ramen Express. For more information, visit and follow JINYA on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. To learn more about JINYA’s franchising opportunities, visit

View source version at JINYA Ramen Bar

National Restaurant Association and Foundation Boards Name 2021 Officers and New Members

February, 8 2021

The National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) last week announced their 2021 board officers and directors.

Brian Casey, president of Oak Hill Tavern and the Company Picnic Company, will serve as chair of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors, and Susan Adzick, president of McLane Foodservice, Inc., will serve as chair of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.

“The restaurant and foodservice industry was hardest-hit by the pandemic. Brian’s experience as an independent restaurant operator and Susan’s experience leading a foodservice supply company brings together key perspectives from across the industry as we look forward towards recovery,” said Tom Bené, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the Educational Foundation.

Vice Chair Lance Trenary, president and CEO of Golden Corral Corporation, and Treasurer Scott Redler, co-founder and chief operating officer of Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, will lead the Association’s board.

Other Foundation officers include Vice Chair Kent Walrack, executive vice president, chief strategy officer of Lyons Magnus, and Treasurer Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Each of the officers will serve a one-year term. The following is the list of 2021 board officers for the National Restaurant Association and the Educational Foundation:

National Restaurant Association

Chair: Brian E. Casey is president and owner of North Kingstown, R.I.-based Oak Hill Tavern and the Company Picnic Company. A 35-year hospitality industry veteran and lifelong resident of Rhode Island, he has deep roots in his local community. He was chairman of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and in 2013 named their Restaurateur of the Year and Caterer of the Year in 2008. A graduate of Rhode Island College, he earned a Bachelor of Science in political science.

Vice Chair: Lance Trenary is president and CEO of Golden Corral Corporation, where he has held virtually every leadership role during his 35-year career progression. Trenary also serves as a trustee for the NRAEF and as a member of the Women's Foodservice Forum CEO Advisory Council. Additionally, he serves as board chair of Camp Corral, a nonprofit summer camp for children of fallen or disabled military service members. Trenary attended Mississippi State University; Harvard Business School, where he completed the Advanced Management Program; and the University of North Carolina, where he completed the Executive Management Education Program.

Treasurer: Scott Redler is co-founder and COO of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Redler’s knowledge of restaurant ownership and operations has made him a sought-out professional in the industry. He’s a member of the board of the Kansas State University Hospitality Management program and the Butler County Community College (BCCC) Hospitality Board, where he and his wife Betsy also started a scholarship fund for hospitality students. Redler’s commitment to the industry has been recognized with the IFMA Silver Plate Award, the Fran Jabara Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and Kansas Restauranteur of the Year, among others.

The National Restaurant Association also added several new members to the board. The newly elected directors include:

  1. Germán González – CEO, Tzuco Chicago

  2. Simon Kim – Proprietor, Cote Korean Steakhouse

  3. Bob Luz – President & CEO, Massachusetts Restaurant Association

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

Chair: Susan Adzick is president of McLane Foodservice, Inc. She is active in the foodservice industry, she serves as a National Restaurant Association board member, on the Restaurant Leadership Conference Advisory Council, and served on the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Board of Directors as chair in 2018.  She started her foodservice career with PepsiCo Food Systems.  She received her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Vice Chair: Kent Walrack is a 36-year veteran of the foodservice business and currently serves as executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Lyons Magnus. Lyons Magnus is a privately held company based in Fresno, Calif., whose core business is manufacturing and marketing fruit and flavor-related products to the foodservice, dairy and contract packing industries. He also served on the executive board as past chair of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA). He graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing.

Treasurer: Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D. is president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Knight’s career includes serving as President of Kendall College, a leader in hospitality and culinary arts education. She has led student recruitment for two of the top five hospitality schools in the world and has partnered with private equity firms, associations and the U.S. government to build veteran and opportunity youth training and certification programs. Knight holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Walden University; a Master of Science in Management from Troy University in Alabama; a B.S. in Hospitality Administration from Boston University; and an A.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Newbury College.

In addition to naming its new board officers, the Educational Foundation also introduced its new board members. They include:

Dr. Walter Bumphus – President & CEO, American Association of Community Colleges

David Dittenber – CEO, Downtown Restaurant Investments

Carrie Leishman – President & CEO, Delaware Restaurant Association

View source version at National Restaurant Association

Taco John’s Promotes Industry Leader Gerard Lewis to Chairman of The Board

February 4, 2021

Popular quick-service restaurant advances seasoned executive to oversee board of directors

Cheyenne, WY  (  CEO of Taco John’s Jim Creel announced today that the company has named Gerard Lewis as chairman of the board (COB) of Taco John’s International.

Lewis joined Taco John’s Board of Directors in May 2018 with more than 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry in both corporate and franchise environments. The industry visionary’s proven track record of building brands through innovation to achieve sustainable profitable growth has proven to be a key contributor to Taco John’s success.

“When Gerard first came to Taco John’s, we knew our brand was gaining someone incredibly special,” Creel said. “His experience speaks for itself – he has brought so much additional knowledge and wisdom to our company. We are really proud to advance Gerard to COB. Our leadership team trusts his guidance, and we know he will be an integral player in Taco John’s future achievements.”

As COB at Taco John’s, Lewis will collaborate with an almost entirely new team of C-suite executives made up of recent CFO, COO and CMO hires. Lewis’ main responsibilities will include leading board of directors meetings, managing and providing counsel to the board and acting as a direct liaison between the board and Taco John’s management team.

“I’m very grateful and excited to take on this new role with Taco John’s,” Lewis said. “After spending the past couple of years contributing to business strategies and making tactical recommendations, I’m honored and ready to begin leading big-picture decisions for this brand. I look forward to working with Taco John’s dynamic leadership team as we take this bold brand to the next level.”

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®

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

View source version at Taco John's

Blaze Pizza Appoints New Chief Technology Officer

February, 4 2021

Blaze Pizza announced today that Chris Demery has joined the executive leadership team as chief technology officer. Demery brings 20 years of industry experience leading off-premises and consumer-facing platforms for nationally-recognized food service brands, and will leverage his expertise to develop and execute strategic initiatives supporting Blaze's ongoing innovation.

Demery joins Blaze Pizza at an exciting period of development for the rapidly growing franchise concept. Despite a year of unprecedented challenges for the restaurant industry, Blaze's investments in operational efficiency helped the brand navigate 2020 without slowing down its aggressive growth efforts, opening 24 new restaurants nationwide by year-end. This success has fueled a surge in franchise development and positioned the company for explosive growth in 2021 and beyond.

"Investing in a strong leadership team is paramount to Blaze Pizza's success, and our achievements over the past year are a true testament to the team of industry veterans at the helm of our brand. Providing franchisees an unparalleled level of support is a core value for our business, which is why we've continued to prioritize building best-in-class leadership," said Mandy Shaw, chief executive officer and president of Blaze Pizza. "Chris brings such a unique perspective with his deep knowledge of digital, pizza and also operational off-premise expertise and he will be invaluable in contributing to the immense growth planned for Blaze. I couldn't be more thrilled for him to join the team."

Prior to joining Blaze, Demery most recently served as senior vice president at P.F. Chang's, where he was responsible for developing the roadmap of its new Chang's GO off-premise prototypes. Demery also spent six years at Bloomin' Brands overseeing the company's external facing technology and spearheading crucial strategic initiatives, including the development and launch of the first-ever Outback app. In addition, he also previously held the role of vice president of enterprise applications at Domino's Pizza, where he helped the company obtain a 100% fill-rate on accurate deliveries by streamlining systemwide delivery processes.

"After having the pleasure of working with Mandy for several years at Bloomin' Brands, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to join her team of superb leaders at Blaze and be a part of taking this trailblazing concept to new heights," said Demery. "Since the brand's inception, Blaze has gained recognition as a customer-centric pizza concept that pushes the boundaries through menu innovations, off-premises capabilities and superior restaurant operations. The brand's commitment to sustainability and quality have continually set it apart from other franchise concepts in the fast casual pizza segment, and I have no doubt that my expertise coupled with the strong foundation already in place will be a recipe for success."

Demery's appointment as chief technology officer comes on the heels of Blaze's ongoing efforts to propel development by investing in a strong executive leadership team. Throughout 2020, the brand welcomed several industry veterans, including Marie Zhang as chief supply chain officer, Rick Gestring as chief restaurant officer, Vince Szwajkowski as chief marketing officer, and Ed Yancey as vice president of franchise development. Collectively, Blaze's leadership team has more than 75 years of experience, and represents the franchise concept's unwavering commitment to providing best-in-class support.

With dozens of new locations under development, Blaze Pizza is in the midst of aggressive expansion. Franchise opportunities remain in markets across the U.S., including the Northeast and Texas.

View source version at Blaze Pizza

Tracy Skeans Promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) announced the promotion of Tracy Skeans to Chief Operating Officer. Skeans has served as Chief Transformation and People Officer since 2016, and her promotion to COO formalizes the expanded role she is already playing to drive cross-brand collaboration on operational execution, people capability and customer experience imperatives that will fuel same-store sales and net-new unit growth. Skeans will retain her current responsibilities as Chief People Officer and continue reporting to Yum! Brands Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs.

February 02, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the promotion of Tracy Skeans to Chief Operating Officer. Skeans, who has been with the Company for 20 years, has served as Chief Transformation and People Officer since 2016. Skeans’ promotion to COO formalizes the expanded role she is already playing to drive cross-brand collaboration on operational execution, people capability and customer experience imperatives that will fuel same-store sales and net-new unit growth. Skeans will retain her current responsibilities as Chief People Officer and continue reporting to Yum! Brands Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs.

“Tracy and I share a people-first vision and passion for elevating the customer and employee experience, which makes her the perfect choice for Chief Operating Officer in our next phase of growth,” said Gibbs. “Tracy has been an invaluable strategic partner to me and our global leadership team as we have navigated through some of the most pivotal milestones in our history, including our transformation to a pure play franchisor in 2019 and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Her breadth of experience and strong track record of results through people and executional excellence give the Yum! Brands Board of Directors and me great confidence that she will help us deliver strong performance across our brands and global franchise system in this fast-changing environment.”

“Yum!’s future growth and social impact rely on our ability to collaborate and execute strategies and ideas at scale across our iconic brands and global franchisee base,” said Skeans. “I’m excited to take on this expanded role partnering with David and our global leadership team, as we continue to invest in our people and customer experience, alongside critical areas that will drive future growth and improve franchise unit economics – including technology, innovation and restaurant development.”

Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs will continue leading the Company’s overarching strategies and maintain his focus on driving global growth and sales and profitability at all Yum! franchise businesses worldwide. In addition to Skeans, Yum! Brands’ functional and brand division leaders will continue reporting to Gibbs, and brand restaurant operations will continue to report to each brand respectively.

Skeans has an impressive tenure of business leadership since joining the Company in 2000, and has expertise driving results at the powerful intersection of talent, culture, finance and strategy. Under her leadership as Chief Transformation and People Officer, in 2020 Yum! integrated The Habit Burger Grill and Heartstyles, a team member leadership development program designed to transform the employee and customer experience, and championed the Company’s Unlocking Opportunity Initiative. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Skeans’ cross-functional and operations leadership was critical in mobilizing Yum! and its brands to protect the health, safety and engagement of corporate and restaurant teams. In 2016, Skeans played a central leadership role in the Yum China spinoff and Yum! Brands’ multi-year transformation strategy to accelerate the Company’s growth by moving to a heavily franchised and more profitable business model – a strategy that was successfully completed in 2019.

Prior to that, she served as President of Pizza Hut International, which at the time was a business of more than 5,900 restaurants across more than 85 countries. In 2013, as Chief People Officer, Pizza Hut, Skeans was one of the key architects of the strategy and structure to separate Yum! Restaurants International into the global brand divisions of KFC and Pizza Hut. Before leading HR, Skeans spent the first half of her career in Finance roles including strategic planning, asset development and accounting at Pizza Hut. In addition to her role at Yum!, Skeans serves on the board of directors for the Brown-Forman Corporation and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

About Yum! Brands, Inc.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, making it a leader in global retail development primarily operating the Company’s brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. The Company’s family of brands also includes The Habit Burger Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. Yum! Brands was included on the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and in 2020, Yum! Brands was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and was ranked among the top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by 3BL Media.

View source version at Yum! Brands

John Garilli, Winthrop Capital Executive, Assumes Role of Interim President and Chief Executive Officer at Luby's, Inc. While Monetization Plans Continue

Feb 01, 2021, 17:21 ET

HOUSTON, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Luby's, Inc. ("Luby's" or the "Company") (NYSE: LUB), announced that John Garilli has been appointed Luby's Interim President and Chief Executive Officer effective January 27, 2021, as Christopher Pappas stepped down as President and Chief Executive Officer as part of the Company's plan of monetizing its assets for the benefit of shareholders. Mr. Pappas remains a member of the Board of Directors of Luby's, Inc and its largest shareholder.

Mr. Garilli, age 56, has been a member of Winthrop Capital Advisors LLC ("WCA") and its affiliates since 1995 serving in various capacities, currently as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Garilli has served as Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Secretary of New York REIT Liquidating LLC ("NYRTLLC") since November 2018 and served as the Chief Executive Officer of its predecessor, New York REIT, Inc. ("NYRT"), a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust, from July 2018 to November 2018, and as Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer of NYRT from March 2017 to November 2018. Mr. Garilli served as Chief Accounting Officer of Winthrop Realty Trust ("WRT"), a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust, from 2006 until his appointment as Chief Financial Officer in 2012, a position held until its liquidation in August 2016. Mr. Garilli worked in a similar capacity at WRT's successor, Winthrop Realty Liquidating Trust, from August 2016 until its liquidation was completed in December 2019. Mr. Garilli holds an MBA from Babson College and a BA from the College of the Holy Cross.

Chris Pappas, commented, "With Luby's planned liquidation under way, including its Luby's operations, the franchisor of Fuddruckers, its Culinary Contract operations, and extensive real estate holdings, the time has come for me to step aside as CEO. I am pleased John Garilli is joining the Company, for he brings extensive executive experience in real estate transactions as well as management of corporate liquidations. I have great admiration and gratitude for the guests, dedicated employees, and stakeholders I have had the privilege to serve and work with over the past two decades. I will remain on the Board and continue to be a shareholder of the company and regular Luby's customer."

Gerald Bodzy, Chairman of Luby's, Inc., on behalf of the Board, thanked Mr. Pappas for his more than 20 years of dedication and leadership at Luby's Cafeterias, Fuddruckers and Culinary Contract services, as well as his tireless commitment to the many generations of loyal guests and team members.

The Company continues to operate 58 Luby's Cafeterias and 24 Fuddruckers, as well as Culinary Contract Services at 26 locations, while pursuing sales of these businesses as part of its liquidation plan. Operationally, it is busines as usual as we progress through this plan to find new stewards for these iconic brands.

About Luby's Luby's, Inc. (NYSE: LUB) operates two core restaurant brands: Luby's Cafeterias and Fuddruckers. Luby's is also the franchisor for the Fuddruckers restaurant brand. In addition, through its Luby's Culinary Contract Services business segment, Luby's provides food service management to sites consisting of healthcare, corporate dining locations, sports stadiums, and sales through retail grocery stores.

View source version at Luby's

Ryan Ostrom to Join Jack in the Box Inc. as New Chief Marketing Officer

January 28, 2021 04:01 PM Eastern Standard Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced today that Ryan Ostrom will join the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, effective February 1, 2021. Ostrom joins the company with over 15 years of marketing and branding experience, with a passion for driving innovation through creative consumer strategies. Most recently, Ostrom served as Chief Brand Officer for General Nutrition Centers (GNC), where he helped lead the transformation of GNC from a traditional retailer to a global digital brand by modernizing their marketing, eCommerce, innovation, and product development. Previously, Ostrom served roles at Yum! Brands, Kenmore, Craftsman & DieHard at Sears Holding Corporation, and Reebok. During his time at Yum! Brands, Ostrom helped KFC enhance their global store and ecommerce customer experience through new delivery, curbside, and loyalty solutions, while also partnering with global markets to modernize their marketing tactics.

“We’re very excited to have Ryan join the team. His experience and leadership demonstrate a proven track record of transforming brands through unique campaigns, all while leveraging digital platforms to modernize how consumers engage with brands. He will be an integral part of helping evolve the future of how Jack in the Box builds lasting relationships with our consumers,” said Darin Harris, Chief Executive Officer.

Adrienne Ingoldt, current Senior Vice President, Chief Brand & Experience Officer, will take on a new role as Senior Vice President, Chief Customer & Strategy Officer. Ingoldt’s new role will focus on strategic planning oversight, restaurant concept evolution, project management, corporate performance management, and internal and external communications.

About Jack in the Box:

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), based in San Diego, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box® restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states. Known as the pioneer of all-day breakfast, and the late-night category, Jack in the Box prides itself on being the curly fry in a world of regular fries. For more information on Jack in the Box, including franchising opportunities, visit

View source version at Jack in the Box

Roz Brewer is Leaving Starbucks

The coffee giant’s chief operating officer is stepping down next month to take the CEO job at Walgreens.

By Jonathan Maze on Jan. 26, 2021

Roz Brewer, chief operating officer at Starbucks, is stepping down from her position next month to take a job as the CEO of another publicly traded company, the Seattle-based coffee giant announced on Tuesday.

Brewer was named CEO of the pharmacy retailer Walgreens later on Tuesday.

Her return to the top job at a corporation is not a surprise. Brewer has been with Starbucks since 2017, when she came to the company from Sam’s Club, where she had been CEO.

As Starbucks’ chief operating officer, Brewer leads the company’s operating business in the U.S., Canada and Latin America and has become an increasingly prominent figure at the company. She helped further integrate technology into the chain’s stores, including using artificial intelligence to free labor hours so employees can work with customers.

The efforts helped the company’s coffee shops return to transaction growth after a period of weakness largely blamed on service challenges related to the influx of customers ordering through Starbucks’ smartphone app.

Brewer’s departure will represent the second major executive to leave Starbucks in recent weeks, following the recent announcement that CFO Patrick Grismer is leaving the company.

Brewer is one of the most prominent Black is executives in the U.S., and certainly in a restaurant business that has seen the departure of several Black chief executives in recent years.

Brewer will leave Starbucks effective Feb. 26. The company said in a federal securities filing that Rossann Williams, president of the chain’s U.S. company operated business, will assume responsibility for the company’s U.S. licensed stores. Brady Brewer, the company’s chief marketing officer, will lead technology, analytics and insights.

View source version at Starbucks

Focus Brands Announces New Addition to Board of Directors

Digital Transformation Leader Gurmeet Singh Brings More Than 20 Years of Digital Innovation Experience

Jan 26, 2021, 11:10 ET

ATLANTA, Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli® and Schlotzsky's®, today announced the addition of Gurmeet Singh to its Board of Directors, effective immediately. Singh, a digital transformation executive, brings more than 20 years of digital innovation and project management experience launching many digital and technology initiatives across various industries, including retail, financial services, auto and software sectors.

"We are thrilled to have Gurmeet on our Board, and we believe his digital expertise will bolster our path to increased accessibility and convenience for our guests," said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands. "Our digital growth will be critical as we expand our global footprint, and Gurmeet will be an incredible thought partner and leader as we navigate the digital road ahead for our brands."

As a digital transformation expert, Singh has established and led various key transformation functions across digital products management, technology, user experience, data science and digital marketing. He currently serves as group chief digital officer for conglomerate Al-Futtaim Group, where he leads technology, digital, data and AI, innovation and group marketing. He previously served as a senior advisor for Boston Consulting Group and in various leadership roles for 7-Eleven, including EVP, chief digital, information and marketing officer and member of the executive committee. Additional credentials include Capital One, Intuit and FedEx.

Singh holds a Ph.D. from Rice University in engineering and bachelor's in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is the recipient of several accolades including 2019 Retail Tech Innovator award, 2019 Stevie International Business award (Vienna) for Innovator of the Year, and Restaurant Business Magazine 2019 Tech Accelerator award. CSP Magazine recognized Singh as 'The Digital Gardner' on their 'Power 20 Change Makers 2018' list. He was also recognized by Constellation in the elite list of Top 150 global executives driving business transformation through digital. Singh is also a sought-after speaker on digital business transformation.

About Focus Brands Atlanta-based Focus Brands is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's®, as well as Seattle's Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

View source version at Focus Brands

Planet Fitness Expands Board of Directors with Two New Appointments

Jan 20, 2021, 16:15 ET

HAMPTON, N.H., Jan. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Planet Fitness, Inc. (NYSE: PLNT), one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S. with more members than any other fitness brand, today announced that it has appointed Bernard Acoca, Chief Executive Officer and President for El Pollo Loco, and Christopher Tanco, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for 7–Eleven, to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

"We are pleased to welcome Bernard and Chris as new independent directors to the Planet Fitness Board," said Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer. "They join Planet Fitness at a pivotal time in the business and complement our existing board of director's skills and expertise. Together they bring decades of leadership experience in key areas, including international and domestic operations, franchising, brand development, and leveraging digital to enhance the customer experience, which will be vital to our long-term strategy to bring non-intimidating, affordable, high-quality fitness to first time and casual gym goers."

Stephen Spinelli, Jr. (Ph. D.), Chairman of the Board stated, "Today's appointments reflect our ongoing commitment to strengthening our board with a variety of viewpoints and expertise. We look forward to gaining valuable insights and perspectives from Bernard and Chris, given their impressive backgrounds, and are confident they are well-suited to join our Board and oversee Planet Fitness' future growth, the many opportunities that lie ahead for our brand, and drive meaningful value for our shareholders."

Mr. Acoca currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and President for El Pollo Loco, the nation's largest restaurant brand specializing in fire-grilled chicken. Before joining El Pollo Loco, Mr. Acoca spent seven years at Starbucks Corporation in various capacities as a member of its executive team, most recently as President of Teavana, Starbucks' global tea brand. In this role he was responsible for the overall strategy and operations of more than 375 Teavana specialty retail stores in North America, as well as its e-commerce business. During his tenure, he oversaw the expansion of the Teavana brand to 26,000 Starbucks stores globally. Mr. Acoca also served as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Category for the Americas, Starbucks' largest division, where he was responsible for managing categories totaling $9B in sales. Additionally, he served as Chief Marketing Officer for L'Oréal and spent 10 years at Yum! Brands in marketing roles of increasing responsibility. Mr. Acoca currently serves on the board of El Pollo Loco.

"I've long admired the Planet Fitness brand and how it revolutionized the fitness landscape as we know it today," said Acoca. "The company is well positioned to capitalize on both industry and consumer trends and I look forward to joining the Board at such an exciting time in its history."

Mr. Tanco is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for 7 Eleven, Inc. As COO, he leads Franchise and Corporate Operations for 15,000 stores, the company's Digital initiatives, Restaurant expansion, Operations Support, Field Merchandising and Sales, Store of the Future, Fuels and the Canada Business Unit. Previously, Mr. Tanco was as an Executive Vice President and led 7 Eleven's international business across 18 countries. Before joining 7 Eleven, he was the Chief Franchise Officer for Pizza Hut. With nearly 20 years of experience, he served in various operations, international, general management and franchise leadership roles with Yum! Brands. Mr. Tanco currently serves on the boards of 7 Eleven, Inc. and Urban Air Adventure Parks.

Tanco said, "Planet Fitness is a market leader, with a nationally recognized brand, and a highly attractive franchise system and model that is built for long-term growth. I am excited to work with the Board and leadership team to leverage my experience and insights and help execute against the many future, value-creating opportunities that lay ahead for the brand."

The appointments of Bernard Acoca and Chris Tanco bring Planet Fitness' Board to eight total directors.

About Planet Fitness Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of September 30, 2020, Planet Fitness had more than 14.1 million members and 2,086 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company's mission is to enhance people's lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone®. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and operated by independent business men and women.

View source version at Planet Fitness

Long John Silver's Promotes COO to CEO

Blain Shortreed, a longtime Yum Brands executive, will run the quick-service seafood chain as it prepares for digital growth.

By Heather Lalley on Jan. 19, 2021

Long John Silver’s promoted its president and chief operating officer to CEO, the chain announced Tuesday.

Blain Shortreed, who joined the quick-service seafood chain two years ago, spent nearly 30 years in a variety of leadership roles at Yum Brands, including vice president of operations for Pizza Hut USA and managing director of Pizza Hut’s Middle East/North Africa Division.

In June 2019, Shortreed was promoted to president of Long John Silver’s, adding marketing, human resources and development to his responsibilities.

The chain has nearly 700 units nationwide and is readying for reinvention, according to a news release.

“While our core offerings still enjoy popularity with people across the country, we knew it was time for new investments and leadership to ensure we’re serving treasured moments to every guest,” Rick Duffy, chairman of the brand’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Based on the progress we’ve made since Blain came aboard, we’re confident he is the right person to lead this charge of change.”

Long John Silver’s has closed underperforming corporate and franchised locations in recent years and is focused on renewing its relationships with its franchisees, as well as investing in technology.

“We’re moving the brand from surviving to thriving,” Shortreed said in a statement. “We’re restructuring the business for growth; reinvesting in assets; strengthening training, development, marketing and technology; and focusing on giving our core consumers—and new customers—a better experience only Long John Silver’s can provide.”

During the pandemic, Louisville, Ky.-based Long John Silver’s has focused on its drive-thru business, delivery and Family Meal offerings.

“Our ability to adjust course and enhance our drive-thru and delivery capabilities was the game changer,” Shortreed said.

View source version at Long John Silver's

Growing Fast Food Chain Appoints Chief Financial Officer

Plant Power Fast Food taps Edmund Har, seasoned hospitality and QSR finance executive, to rapidly scale operating efficiencies

Jan 18, 2021, 10:15 ET

Plant Power Restaurant Group has announced the appointment of Edmund Har as its new Chief Financial Officer.

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18, 2021 Plant Power Restaurant Group has announced the appointment of Edmund Har as its new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Har was the former Director of Finance for the W Hotel in San Diego and Senior Finance Director for Paradigm Investment Group, one of the largest franchisees in the Hardees fast-food restaurant system.

Simultaneously focusing on operating efficiencies and growth initiatives, Har has deep experience securing a profitable bottom line for private equity backed companies like Plant Power Fast Food. Har served with the US Department of Energy's Restaurant Subcommittee to provide critical data for energy usage demands of retail QSR boxes which subsequently led to the development of sustainable best practices.

Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jeffrey Harris said that the Company has been on a search for the right CFO for over a year. "We knew that we needed a strong CFO at the helm to guide us through the process of regional and then national expansion. Ed has an amazing skill set, which obviously includes his tremendous experience in QSR, but it's his passion for the brand that really set him apart."

States Edmund: "I wanted to be part of building a company that was really making a difference in the world and when I found these guys, I knew that this was it. They've built an impressive business for sure, but it's their intention to offer something truly revolutionary in the fast-food space that inspired me. I'm thrilled to be part of the team."

Har received his Bachelors of Arts in Economics from UC Santa Barbara and a Master of Business Administration from UC Irvine where he currently serves as a board member.

UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH Harris shared that the company achieved 2020 brand-wide retail net sales of $14.5 million, representing a 52% increase over the previous year and 1216% growth since the end of their first year in 2016.

ABOUT PLANT POWER FAST FOOD Headquartered in San Diego, California, The Plant Power Restaurant Group, LLC (parent company of Plant Power Fast Food) is a privately held company whose goal is proliferating convenient, sustainable and healthier plant-based and non-GMO fast food options without sacrificing taste and satisfaction. The company was founded by Mitch Wallis, Zach Vouga and Jeffrey Harris. Visit for locations, hours and menu items.

View source version at Plant Power Fast Food

Christiana Figueres Joins Impossible Foods’ Board of Directors

  1. Costa Rican diplomat, former United Nations’ leader and global climate and conservation activist becomes Impossible Foods’ newest board member

  2. Figueres brings decades of experience in international diplomacy, climate change policy, and sustainable development

  3. Demand for Impossible™ Burger is at an all-time high as the leading startup continues to expand to new retailers, new countries, and new products

January 15, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Impossible Foods Inc. announced today that Christiana Figueres has joined the food tech startup’s board of directors.

An internationally renowned leader on global climate change policy, Figueres has decades of experience in collaborative diplomacy. She is currently a Founding Partner at the Global Optimism Group, which works to build a resilient mindset around the climate crisis, and inspires leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society and grassroots groups to join the cause.

Previously, Figueres was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016, where she rebuilt global climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009 and brought together governments, corporations, activists, financial institutions and NGOs to deliver the unprecedented Paris Agreement of 2015.

“I’ve devoted my career to fighting climate change with optimism and collaboration, and joining the board of Impossible Foods enables me to amplify my lifelong environmental advocacy,” said Figueres. “The company’s innovative and market-driven approach empowers people to be part of the solution to our climate crisis.”

In addition to Figueres, Impossible Foods’ board members include:

  1. Pat Brown, Impossible Foods’ CEO, Founder and Chairman of the Board

  2. Fedele Bauccio, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Bon Appétit Management Company

  3. Samir Kaul, Founding Partner and Managing Director at Khosla Ventures

  4. John Marren, Senior Managing Director, North America, of Singapore-based global investment company Temasek

  5. Tal Ronnen, Founder and Chef of Los Angeles-based Crossroads Kitchen and author of the New York Times bestseller The Conscious Cook

  6. Bart Swanson, Advisor at Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based private investment fund of Mr. Li Ka-Shing

  7. Vanessa Wittman, Chief Financial Officer, Glossier

  8. Mary Beth Laughton, President & CEO, Athleta

“Christiana has tremendous influence as a global leader in the movement to avert catastrophic climate change,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “We are thrilled to have her guidance as we pursue our essential environmental mission, especially as we accelerate our international expansion. Her experience and insights into working with the global community on climate change solutions will be invaluable in our fight to save the planet.”

Impossible Hypergrowth

Figueres’ appointment to the board comes at a critical moment in Impossible Foods’ growth trajectory and highlights the company’s focus on aligning business growth to positive climate outcomes. The Redwood City, Calif.-based startup continues to dramatically expand its retail presence, global footprint, product portfolio and team.

One year ago, the company’s flagship Impossible Burger was available in about 150 grocery stores. Now it’s in about 17,000 stores in all 50 states – a more than 100x increase in 2020 alone. Impossible Burger can now be found in Walmart Supercenter and Neighborhood Market locations across the United States, as well as Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Gelson’s, Publix, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Vons, and Wegmans, and many others.

In July, Impossible Foods launched Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants – the company’s first new product since the 2016 launch of its flagship Impossible Burger. Impossible Sausage is already on the menu at more than 15,000 restaurants globally.

In September, Impossible Burger debuted in Canada at the award-winning restaurants of world-class chefs, and shortly after in 600 Sobeys locations in Canada. The same month, Impossible Sausage Made from Plants debuted in Asia.

In October, the company announced plans to double the size of its R&D Team in the next year, to further expand its multifaceted technology platform and accelerate next-generation product development.

Impossible Foods’ scalable approach to manufacturing has allowed the company to dramatically increase production capacity to support surging demand for Impossible Burger and Impossible Sausage over the last year. The company’s hypergrowth has profound implications for the environment and enables Impossible Foods to achieve economies of scale. Earlier this month, as part of its aim to compete against animal-derived meat in every way that matters to consumers, including affordability, Impossible Foods lowered the price of Impossible Burger for US foodservice distributors by approximately 15% on average. Driving down prices is key to the company’s mission of eliminating the need for animal agriculture by 2035.

Delicious, nutritious, sustainable -- and insanely popular

Impossible Burger debuted in 2016 at some of America’s most acclaimed restaurants. It soon became a popular menu item at the world-class establishments of chefs such as David Chang, Traci Des Jardins, Chris Cosentino, Frédéric Morin, Mark McEwan, Matty Matheson, David Myers, Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck and May Chow. Impossible Burger was named top plant-based burger by the New York Times and received the Food and Beverage (FABI) Award from the National Restaurant Association.

Impossible Burger has as much bioavailable iron and protein as a comparable serving of ground beef from cows, and has macronutrients like fiber and micronutrients like folate, B12, thiamin and iron. The quarter-pound patty has 0 mg cholesterol, 14 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 240 calories; the third-pound patty has 0 mg cholesterol, 19 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 320 calories. (A conventional “80/20” patty from cows has 80 mg cholesterol, 23 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 290 calories in a quarter-pound patty, and 110 mg cholesterol, 30 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 390 calories in a third-pound patty.)

Impossible Burger contains no animal hormones or antibiotics and is gluten-free certified. It uses 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% less greenhouse gas emissions to produce compared to conventional beef from cows -- environmental benefits that also translate to economic efficiencies.

About Impossible Foods:

Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held food tech startup was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Mirae Asset Global Investments, Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

Impossible Foods was Inc. Magazine’s company of the year and one of Time Magazine’s 50 Genius companies. The flagship product, Impossible Burger, was named top plant-based burger by the New York Times and received the Food and Beverage (FABI) Award from the National Restaurant Association.

View source version at Impossible Foods

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