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Executive Movements - February 2023

















Iron Hill Brewery Announces New Chief Operating Officer

Pennsylvania-based Brewery and Restaurant Group Taps Seasoned Restaurant Professional to Lead Operations

February 16, 2023 11:00 ET



EXTON, Pa., Feb. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iron Hill Brewery recently announced Kathryn Henderson as the new Chief Operating Officer. Henderson will oversee the individual restaurants' day-to-day operational team, as well as continue to strategically position Iron Hill as a premiere brewery and restaurant group throughout the Eastern seaboard.

"I am thrilled to announce Kathryn as our new COO," says Iron Hill CEO Chris Westcott. "The experience she is bringing to our organization will ensure that our operations continue to adapt as we grow, further elevating our reputable service and hospitality."

Most recently, Henderson served as the Senior Divisional Vice President of Earl Enterprise, which she began in 2020. Prior to this, she climbed the ranks of the industry, starting as the regional director in the Sullivan's restaurant group where she was responsible for over 40 restaurants. She has also worked with McCormick and Schmick's Seafood and Steaks, Bravo Brio Restaurant Group and Rosa Mexicano, all within the operational division. She holds a BA from Old Dominion University.

"I am honored to be joining Iron Hill, a leader in the restaurant and brewery scene for over 25 years," says Henderson. "The experience that guests receive at Iron Hill is deeply rooted in the daily operations, and I am very excited to see how we can push the boundaries and continue to reimagine how we do things."

"Kathryn's track record in restaurant operations is impressive and the strength of our team will benefit from her knowledge and experience," says Kevin Finn, Chairman of the Board and one of Iron Hill's founders. "A strong operational foundation is instrumental in our success, and with Kathryn leading the operations team, we're poised for exciting years of growth ahead."

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ABOUT IRON HILL BREWERY & RESTAURANT

Founded in Newark, Delaware in 1996 by Kevin Finn, Mark Edelson and Kevin Davies, Iron Hill is among the most enduringly successful restaurants and craft brewery concepts in the United States with 20 locations in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, and 25 years of award-winning recognition at national and international beer competitions. Each Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant boasts its own kitchen and brewery, allowing the creativity to pair the freshest ingredients with the highest quality grains and hops mere steps away from the table. For more information, visit www.ironhillbrewery.com.

View source version at Iron Hill Brewery


Joshua Kobza Appointed CEO of Restaurant Brands International



Feb 14, 2023, 06:00 ET





TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - The Board of Directors of Restaurant Brands International Inc. ("RBI") (TSX: QSR) (NYSE: QSR) (TSX: QSP) has appointed Joshua Kobza as the company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective March 1, 2023, as part of its ongoing succession planning process.

Mr. Kobza has held increasingly senior roles with the company over the last 11 years, including Chief Financial Officer (2013-2018), Chief Technology Officer and Development Officer (2018-2019) and Chief Operating Officer (2019-2023), including accountability for strategy, technology, human resources, global procurement, supply chain and international development.  Mr. Kobza was integral to the acquisitions of Tim Hortons in 2014, Popeyes in 2017 and Firehouse Subs in 2021.

Mr. Kobza will undertake his new role reporting to, and working together with, Patrick Doyle, a well-known industry veteran and Executive Chairman of RBI. José Cil will remain with the company for one year as an advisor and assist in the transition.

"Over the past several years, the Board of Directors has worked with management to build a thoughtful succession plan for key positions, so this is a natural transition for Josh to lead our next phase of growth. Personally, I'm motivated to work with and help such a talented person like Josh as he steps into this new leadership position," said Patrick Doyle.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank José for his unwavering dedication and passion for growing our restaurant brands and for the progress we have made, most recently evidenced by our latest quarterly results. José has been an exceptional partner and friend and he has all of our thanks and support as he becomes a valued strategic advisor to the company," concluded Mr. Doyle.

"We've made great progress over the past few years and I'm very proud of the team we have built at RBI. I've worked closely with Josh for many years and I am looking forward to supporting him through this transition as we work to accelerate our business further," added José Cil.

"I am excited to lead the company and work closely with our business Presidents to put our franchisees at the center of our success and accelerate the growth we know our brands are capable of," said Josh Kobza.

About Restaurant Brands International Inc.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. ("RBI") is one of the world's largest quick service restaurant companies with over $35 billion in annual system-wide sales and approximately 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. RBI owns four of the world's most prominent and iconic quick service restaurant brands – TIM HORTONS®, BURGER KING®, POPEYES®, and FIREHOUSE SUBS®. These independently operated brands have been serving their respective guests, franchisees and communities for decades. Through its Restaurant Brands for Good framework, RBI is improving sustainable outcomes related to its food, the planet, and people and communities. To learn more about RBI, please visit the company's website at www.rbi.com.

View source version at Restaurant Brands International




Papa Johns COO resigns



Published Feb. 10, 2023




Julie Littman





Papa Johns EVP and COO Max Wetzel will resign from his position effective March 17 to become CEO at another unnamed company, the pizza chain said Friday in an SEC filing. Papa Johns has not named a successor.

Wetzel has worked at Papa Johns for over three years, and has held his current position for about 10 months. He succeeded Jim Norberg, who left the COO post in 2021 but remained at the company until March 2022 to help with the transition. After being promoted to COO, Wetzel continued his duties of overseeing the company’s marketing, operations and technology functions, according to a May SEC filing.

His previous positions at Papa Johns include EVP and chief commercial officer, as well as a stint as chief commercial and marketing officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to joining Papa Johns, Wetzel worked at PPG Industries for over five years and The Kraft Heinz Company for over nine years.

View source version at Papa Johns



Whataburger Hires New Chief Operating Officer


February 10, 2023



Whataburger has hired Debbie Stroud as its new Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Debbie is a seasoned executive with more than 30 years of leadership experience in the restaurant and retail industry, most recently as Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail Operations for Starbucks Coffee Company.

During her five years at Starbucks, Debbie was instrumental in creating a strong vision for operational excellence and shared her passion to achieve results as a team. She led the regional vice president team that oversaw store operations across the country – with the responsibility and leadership for more than 10,000 Starbucks retail stores. Ms. Stroud served as a key brand leader, driving both strategy in critical workstreams and building a meaningful Starbucks experience for both partners (employees) and customers.

Prior to Starbucks, Debbie spent 27 years with McDonald’s, where she served in numerous financial roles and transitioned to operations in 2003, ultimately serving as vice president and general manager in the U.S. Southeast.

Debbie will join Whataburger on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, and will be based out of Whataburger’s San Antonio Home Office.

“I’m so excited that Debbie will be our new COO. She brings 30 years of high-impact leadership in the restaurant industry to Whataburger,” says Whataburger President and CEO Ed Nelson. “Her experience leading operations in a time of accelerated growth will truly benefit our brand as we continue to grow across 15 states and deliver bold flavors, extraordinary hospitality, and meaningful communities in our 930+ locations. She has a great energy and passion around connecting with people and building great teams, and I know our 51,000 Family Members are going to benefit from her knowledge.”

Debbie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University and has previously served on the Women’s Foodservice Forum and other nonprofit organizations. She and her husband Bob have three daughters.

“There is something truly unique about Whataburger. It’s a family-founded, beloved brand with a strong legacy and a wildly loyal fan base – and it is in a truly exciting phase of growth,” Debbie says. “There is incredible pride among the Whataburger Family Members and in the brand’s fresh, high quality made-to-order food. I’m excited to contribute in a way that enhances the culture of pride, care & love through the experience for both Family Members and customers.”

Stroud will report to Whataburger President & Chief Executive Officer Ed Nelson and be part of the senior leadership team that also includes: Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Office Elena Kraus,  Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Rich Scheffler, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer James Turcotte, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Janelle Sykes, Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer Peggy Rubenzer, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy & Supply Chain Officer Alexander Ivannikov and Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer Joe Shannon.

View source version at Whataburger


Krystal Names Jermaine Walker Vice President of Operations

February 9, 2023



Iconic brand builds key leadership for continued expansion plans

Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Krystal, the original home of the slider in the South, recently announced that seasoned restaurant and hospitality leader Jermaine Walker is their new Vice President of Operations. The legacy brand has been undergoing aggressive growth plans, having opened their first international location last year and continues on this trajectory with a new restaurant that opened in Alabama this past January and more on the way.

“I am honored to join Krystal and be part of their expansion efforts,” said Jermaine Walker, Vice President of Operations for Krystal Restaurants LLC. “I’ve spent my career supporting companies in their growth and putting the right teams in place to help achieve various brands’ goals. This is a very exciting time for Krystal and I am delighted to be part of its evolution!”

In his new role with Krystal, Jermaine Walker will be focused on building solid crews through recruitment, in addition to designing new processes to further improve quality, increase productivity, and profitability. He will also work with key department heads to improve efficiencies in operations.

Jermaine Walker has an in-depth understanding of the food and beverage space through his impressive career. His most recent endeavor was Vice President Operations for Slutty Vegan, an Atlanta-based burger brand. He joined Slutty Vegan to help set the brand on a course toward global recognition.

Walker spent nearly 10 years with GPS Hospitality, a franchisee of Burger King, Popeyes and Pizza Hut with close to 500 restaurants across 13 states. He worked alongside founder Tom Garrett in 2012 to set the course for GPS to become a billion-dollar company, while striving to cultivate the company’s vision of being the ‘favorite fast-food destination’ for their guests. GPS is a top-performing company in the QSR space when it comes to growth of people, sales, and profits.

He also served as Director of Operations for TGI Fridays, the full-service restaurant brand that serves up authentic American food and legendary drinks. During his tenure with TGI Fridays, he oversaw the $5 million Camp Creek Pkwy restaurant, while also assisting with the hiring of 500 new team members for multi-unit openings within a seven-month period.

For more than 14 years, Jermaine Walker served as Area Director for Arby’s, the second largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world. One of his career highlights includes opening the first and only Arby’s/Wendy’s dual concept in the world.

Walker launched his career as a General Manager PepsiCo in Louisville, KY, where he dedicated more than eight years.

For more information, visit Krystal.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @Krystal.

About Krystal Restaurants LLC

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Krystal Restaurants LLC is the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South. Krystal hamburgers have been served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun since 1932. The company proudly sticks to the classics, but over the years, they’ve never been afraid to innovate.

Krystal has grown to be in 10 states with nearly 300 restaurants and continues to deliver a one-of-a-kind taste experience through their unique menu items that are offered at a great price. The company’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of more than 3,500 employees. In 2019, the company was selected to USA Today’s Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List. Krystal has also been named one of the “Most Craveable Burgers” and in 2022 was named a “Breakout Brand.”

For more information, visit Krystal.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

View source version at Krystal







ULYSES CAMACHO NAMED PRESIDENT OF TACO CABANA



Feb 09, 2023, 13:00 ET





- Effective Immediately, Camacho to Assume Role as Brand President - 

Link to Image (Courtesy of Taco Cabana): https://giantnoise.box.com/s/lp8gdzfmryqh11gi2wnr0rbcvewupx7v

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Announced today, Taco Cabana has named Ulyses Camacho as its new President. Camacho will assume his new role as President leading all aspects of Brand TC including overseeing operations. Camacho, a 15-year TC veteran, began his career nearly 30 years ago as a restaurant entrepreneur and has remained in the industry ever since.

During his 15-year career with Taco Cabana, Camacho established himself as an integral and trusted field operations leader, working his way up through the organization to Chief Operating Officer in 2021. Most recently, Camacho helped drive the privatization of Taco Cabana, including establishing an independent Brand headquarters in San Antonio. Since that time, he has led rebranding, restructuring and refocus efforts at all levels of the company including Brand, operations, R&D, R&M, training and HR, finance and off-premise. Camacho has been instrumental in guiding the recent innovations around the Taco Cabana menu as well. Brand TC, under Camacho's leadership, has brought back many original recipes and popular items while still retaining its reputation as a culinary innovator.

"Ulyses is an invaluable member of the TC family," said Anil Yadav, CEO of Yadav Enterprises. "His experience, expertise and leadership have made an incredible impact on the Taco Cabana brand over the years. With Ulyses established at the helm as President, we see a solid and bright future for the TC brand and our TC family. We could not be more excited to take the TC brand to new heights, both in our home state of Texas and beyond, as we work together on our franchise model."

"Taco Cabana has given so much to me and my family," said Camacho. "I am thankful to Anil and honored for the opportunity he has given me to lead the Brand as President. In this new position, I look forward to continuing to lead and develop a great team of passionate TC individuals in operations and the San Antonio corporate support center as we work together to build Brand TC and scale-up through franchising, while continuing to prioritize the commitment to our roots."

For more information on Taco Cabana, visit TacoCabana.com.

About Taco Cabana: Taco Cabana, a subsidiary of YTC Enterprises, LLC, was founded in 1978. The brand specializes in enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas, flautas, tacos, double crunch pizzas, flour tortillas and a selection of made-from-scratch salsas and sauces. Restaurants feature open-display cooking, a selection of bottled beer and $3 tequila margaritas, patio dining, drive-thru windows, curbside pick-up, delivery and catering. As of February 9, 2023, Taco Cabana operates 143 company-owned restaurants in Texas. For more info, visit www.tacocabana.com.

View source version at Taco Cabana


Brinker International Names New Supply Chain Leader

February 9, 2023



James Butler Joins as Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer

Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Brinker International, Inc. recently announced James Butler has joined the company as Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer. In his new role, Butler oversees all supply chain functions, including procurement, food safety and quality assurance, distribution and logistics, brand program management and supply chain systems for Brinker’s corporate-owned restaurants.

“James is a visionary leader who builds collaborative, integrated teams and coaches future leaders to continually improve and drive results,” said Kevin Hochman, President and CEO of Brinker International. “He will play a key role in executing on our new strategic pillars, working cross-functionally to help us improve and innovate on the core Chili’s food categories we want to win on – including burgers, fajitas, chicken crispers and margaritas – to improve our Guests’ experience and increase traffic.”

Prior to joining the Brinker family, Butler was Senior Vice President, KFC Supply Chain, at Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, LLC (RSCS), where he led the supply chain management organization for several national restaurant brands. Before RSCS, Butler served as Vice President, Strategy and Integrated Business Planning at Georgia Pacific and spent several years as a leader and management consultant with Deloitte Consulting, LLC. He has a strong track record of linking operational strategies with commercial objectives to deliver lasting value and inspiring a shared vision that transforms organizations.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with the Brinker teams on exciting new initiatives to help transform supply chain and procurement strategies that will drive growth, impact the bottom line and maintain operational excellence,” Butler said. “This is an exciting time for Brinker, and I’m thrilled to join the team on this new journey.”

About Brinker International, Inc.

Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) is one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies and home of Chili’s® Grill & Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy® and two virtual brands: It’s Just Wings® and Maggiano’s® Italian Classics. Founded in 1975 in Dallas, Texas, we’ve ventured far from home, but stayed true to our roots. Brinker owns, operates or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants in 29 countries and two U.S. territories. Our passion is making everyone feel special, and we hope you feel that passion each time you visit one of our restaurants or invite us into your home through takeout or delivery. Learn more about Brinker and its brands at brinker.com.

View source version at Brinker




Buffalo Wild Wings Names Tristan Meline as CMO



REPORTERS ARE WELCOME TO USE INSPIRE STORIES MATERIAL. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT PRESS@INSPIREBRANDS.COM


February 6, 2023


Buffalo Wild Wings today announced that Tristan Meline has been named Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Buffalo Wild Wings.

As CMO, Tristan will guide advertising, brand marketing, field marketing, strategic planning, menu development, and overall brand experience for Buffalo Wild Wings.

“Since joining Buffalo Wild Wings, Tristan has worked with the team to refine and develop the brand’s innovation strategy and pipeline and has partnered with the Inspire Commercial Group to evolve media strategy while deepening engagement with key influencers,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Inspire. “I look forward to Tristan continuing to advance the marketing team culture as he develops industry-leading marketing for the brand.”

Meline previously served as VP of Brand Management at Buffalo Wild Wings and brings more than sixteen years of experience within a diverse array of marketing disciplines, including advertising, digital, field marketing, and innovation. He has worked on the brand and agency side for several iconic brands across the beverage, alcohol, and healthcare categories, including Coors Light and Biofreeze.

“I am thrilled to lead marketing for such an iconic brand,” said Meline. “I’ve had the privilege of working with an incredible team of marketers, operators, and franchisees for the last year and a half, and I am excited to be a part of the next chapter.”

Buffalo Wild Wings, founded in 1982, is the largest sports bar brand in the United States. Globally, there are more than 1,200 restaurants in nine countries. Buffalo Wild Wings is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. For more information, visit BuffaloWildWings.com and InspireBrands.com.

View source version at Buffalo Wild Wings


Little Caesars® Pizza Names Leigh Burnside Chief Financial Officer



Feb 06, 2023, 09:30 ET





DETROIT, Feb. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Little Caesars, the global family-owned pizza chain, announced today that Leigh Burnside will take over the role of chief financial officer for the company. Leigh joins Little Caesars with 30 years of experience in the accounting and finance industry and has held several senior leadership roles, most recently as senior vice president, chief accounting officer and chief financial officer - U.S. at The Wendy's Company.

Leigh will be supporting the continued strategic global growth of the Little Caesars brand and serve as a key member of the organization's senior leadership team. She will replace outgoing CFO Darrell Snygg, who recently retired after 34 years of dedicated service, and will work closely with newly named senior vice president of accounting, Allison Bieri.  Bieri, an industry veteran who most recently served as vice president of accounting at Little Caesars, will spearhead the development and expansion of the brand's existing first-class accounting team.  Little Caesars will also add several new leadership roles in finance and accounting, as well as across the organization, to support recent international and domestic growth.

"Leigh is a driven strategic leader and effective collaborator who will make a strong positive impact on our business," said David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars. "Her extensive experience in the QSR industry, coupled with her expertise in finance and accounting, make her an excellent fit for the role."

A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's degree in accounting, Leigh has served on the board of directors for The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and is on the Board of Advisors of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland-College Park. She will be based at the Little Caesars Global Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.

"Little Caesars is a storied brand with such rich history," said Burnside. "The brand is experiencing tremendous growth and I'm looking forward to playing a key role in continuing to solidify the company's leadership in value, quality, and convenience."

ABOUT LITTLE CAESARS® Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, Little Caesars was founded by Mike and Marian Ilitch in 1959 as a single, family-owned restaurant. Today, it is the third-largest pizza chain in the world, with stores in each of the 50 U.S. states and 27 countries and territories.

Known for its HOT-N-READY® pizza and famed Crazy Bread®, Little Caesars uses quality ingredients, like fresh, never frozen, mozzarella and Muenster cheese and sauce made from fresh-packed, vine-ripened California crushed tomatoes. The brand is known for innovation and is home of the exclusive Pizza Portal® pickup, a heated, self-service mobile order pickup station. Little Caesars is also the Official Pizza Sponsor of the National Football League.

An exceptionally high-growth company with over 60 years of experience in the $145 billion worldwide pizza industry, Little Caesars is continually looking for franchisee candidates to join the team in markets around the world. In addition to providing the opportunity for entrepreneurial independence in a franchise system, Little Caesars offers strong brand awareness with one of the most recognized and appealing characters in the country, Little Caesar.

View source version at Little Caesars


Another Broken Egg Cafe Expands Its Coop with Key Executive Promotions

February 6, 2023



Nation’s Leading Upscale Breakfast, Brunch, and Lunch Restaurant Brand Bolsters Dynamic Leadership Team Amidst Impressive Growth Efforts

Orlando, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Another Broken Egg Cafe, the award-winning, upscale breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant, announced today the promotion of existing team members Brandy Blackwell and Tom Robertson to the positions of vice president of marketing and chief operating officer, respectively.

Blackwell joined the Another Broken Egg Cafe team in May of 2022, bringing her extensive knowledge of brand marketing, digital marketing and off-premise from previous positions with notable brands such as Jimmy John’s, Dunkin’, McAlister’s Deli and Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex. Promoted after only six months, Blackwell will continue to oversee all national and local store marketing strategies, as well as the brand’s approach to culinary and beverage innovation.

“I am honored to be a part of the Another Broken Egg Cafe team. We have an amazing story, and have only just begun to scratch the surface of our potential,” said Blackwell, who is spear-heading initiatives to increase the brand’s investment into new digital media channels in 2023. “With a tremendous amount of momentum and plenty of runway ahead of us, I am looking forward to contributing to the continued success and growth of the company.”

Likewise, Robertson’s contributions to the brand have earned him continuous recognition throughout his five years with Another Broken Egg Cafe. Initially brought onboard as a regional franchise consultant in 2018, he quickly rose through the ranks to vice president of operations by the end of 2021. His penchant for identifying and leading several new critical operations initiatives for the brand, including a labor efficiency study, improved labor model and the rollout of a food cost management system, stems from the time he spent in various company and franchisee-focused roles at restaurant concepts including Applebee’s and Huddle House.

“Though my role has changed as COO, I can assure you that my plans to constantly improve our operational performance and deliver inspired guest experiences have not,” said Robertson. “I am thrilled to continue to play a role in promoting this amazing brand, culture and talented team at all levels of the organization. We are just getting started here at Another Broken Egg Cafe, and I can hardly wait to see what we accomplish next.”

Another Broken Egg Cafe’s growing leadership team is rapidly making headway toward its goal of expanding the brand’s footprint nationwide. Further cementing its status as a leading player in the “NextGen Casual” category, the daytime-only restaurant wrapped up 2022 with 82 open cafes, eight new franchise groups, 20 signed leases and 13 cafes under development. It is projected to more than 15 new cafes in 2023.

For more information on the Another Broken Egg Cafe franchise opportunity, please visit anotherbrokeneggfranchise.com.

View source version at Another Broken Egg



Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Announces Katie Fitzgerald as New President and CEO


Fitzgerald Joins Global Children’s Charity After Serving as President and COO of Feeding America


February 02, 2023 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time


CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Global Board of Trustees appoints Katie Fitzgerald as President and CEO, effective March 6. In her new role, Fitzgerald will lead the strategic vision for the Charity’s long-term growth, global impact and delivery of mission at RMHC Chapters around the world. Fitzgerald succeeds former President and CEO Kelly Dolan who announced her retirement in June.

“On behalf of the RMHC Board of Trustees, we are pleased to welcome Katie Fitzgerald as President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Global,” said Ginger Hardage, Chairman of the RMHC Board of Trustees. “Katie’s leadership experience in the nonprofit sector will be critical to the organization’s continued success as we approach the 50th anniversary of RMHC and build out our strategy for our next 50 years.”

Fitzgerald brings more than 25 years of experience to the role, most recently serving as President and Chief Operating Officer at Feeding America, the nation’s largest non-profit organization working to end hunger. Prior to joining Feeding America, she held leadership positions at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Make-a-Wish Oklahoma, Center for Children and Families in Norman, Oklahoma, among other organizations.

“RMHC plays a vital role in enabling, supporting and facilitating family-centered care to provide vital resources and access to health care for families with children who are sick,” said Fitzgerald. “I’m honored to join the team and support the incredible work being done by the RMHC system to help keep families together when they need it most.”

Katie will also be a member of McDonald's Global Impact Leadership Team, partnering with the brand’s leadership to ensure continued alignment and partnership across both organizations.

“McDonald’s ongoing support of RMHC plays an important role in delivering on our commitment to feed and foster communities all around the world," said Jon Banner, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer at McDonald’s. “As the Charity’s founding and forever mission partner, we are excited to welcome Katie to the McDonald's system. Her extensive nonprofit background will undoubtedly help advance the RMHC mission and strengthen our joint efforts moving forward.”

Fitzgerald has spent her career in the nonprofit sector, working to improve outcomes for children, youth and families. She received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. She will be based in the organization’s Chicago office.

About RMHC

Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Through a global network of over 260 Chapters in more than 60 countries and regions, RMHC enables, facilitates and supports family-centered care through three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®. RMHC programs help families with ill or injured children stay together and near leading hospitals and health care services worldwide, ensuring they have access to the medical care their child needs while fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care. For more information, visit RMHC.org.

View source version at Ronald McDonald House Charities


Muscle Maker Inc. Appoints Two New Members to Its Board of Directors

February 02, 2023 09:00 ET



Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Muscle Maker, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRIL), (“the Company”), today announced the appointment of Ms. Hannah Oh and Mr. Ray Shankar to its Board of Directors effective March 1, 2023.

“I am very pleased to welcome Ms. Oh and Mr. Shankar as new Board members,” commented Mr. Michael Roper, CEO of Muscle Maker, Inc. “Both individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their fields and will be a tremendous asset as we continue to advance the Company’s new growth phase that has brought our Sadot subsidiary across the $150 million revenue milestone in its first 60 days of operation in Q4, 2022.”

Hannah Oh is currently the Head of Marketing Excellence with Bayer Crop Science for the Asia region. She is an experienced (15+ year) agri-food business leader who has held various senior roles at Bayer. She is a certified nutritionist and a sustainability professional, with broad experiences spanning across the APAC, EMEA and USA regions, with expertise in supply chain strategies, operational integrated business planning, commercial development, and branding campaigns.

Hannah is also an active member of the global Agri-tech and food tech start-up ecosystem by providing mentorship to entrepreneurs and start up companies.

Ray Shankar is currently a Partner at Oon & Bazul LLP. Ray specialises in advising on the establishment of family offices, which includes legacy and estate planning, wills, trusts, family charters/constitutions, tax efficient structures and succession planning.

Ray’s practice is based in Singapore where he advises an international clientele. He possesses an in-depth understanding of the commercial, political, and cultural landscapes, which allows him to provide practical and effective solutions to complex legal issues.

The two board additions satisfy performance terms outlined in the Company’s recent 8-K filing.

About Muscle Maker Grill Inc.

Muscle Maker, Inc. is the parent company of “healthier for you” brands delivering high-quality healthy food options to consumers through traditional and non-traditional locations such as military bases, universities, delivery and by direct to consumer ready-made meal prep options. Brands include Muscle Maker Grill Restaurants, Pokemoto Hawaiian Poke and SuperFit Foods meal prep. The menus highlight healthier versions of traditional and non-traditional dishes and feature grass fed steak, lean turkey, chicken breast, Ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, tofu and plant-based options. For more information on Muscle Maker, Inc., visit www.musclemakergrill.com, for more information on Pokemoto visit www.pokemoto.com or for more information on SuperFit Foods visit www.superfitfoods.com.

View source version at Muscle Maker Grill


Farmer Bros. Co. Names Vice President of Direct Store Delivery; Reports Inducement Grants Under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

February 02, 2023 16:05 ET



NORTHLAKE, Texas, Feb. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ: FARM) (“Farmer Brothers” or the “Company”) today announced Tom Bauer has been appointed as the Company’s new Vice President of its Direct Store Delivery (DSD) segment. Mr. Bauer will be responsible for leading the entire DSD function moving forward with the goal of driving growth and efficiencies while improving focus and profitability in this key area of the business.

Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Bauer worked in several sales and operational roles including leading the largest U.S. Coffee Division and Water Division at DS Services. Most recently, he worked as Vice President of Sales and National Accounts at Emerald Brand, a manufacturer of sustainable disposable products, where he led national distribution and sales.

In conjunction with this appointment, the Company announced the issuance of the following restricted stock unit award consisting of a total of 9,980 shares of the Company’s common stock under the Farmer Bros. Co. 2020 Inducement Incentive Plan (the “Inducement Plan”) through an award of 9,980 restricted stock units on January 3, 2023, to Tom Bauer, its new Vice President, DSD. This award will ratably vest over three years on each anniversary of the award date, subject to Mr. Bauer’s continued employment with the Company through each vesting date.

The Inducement Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity awards to individuals who were not previously employees of Farmer Brothers, as an inducement material to such individuals entering into employment with the Company, pursuant to Rule 5635(c)(4) of the Nasdaq Listing Rules.

About Farmer Brothers

Founded in 1912, Farmer Bros. Co. is a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, equipment servicer 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, department and convenience store chains, hotels, casinos, healthcare facilities, and gourmet coffee houses, as well as grocery chains with private brand coffee and consumer branded coffee and tea products, and foodservice distributors.

Headquartered in Northlake, Texas, Farmer Bros. Co. generated net sales of $469.2 million in fiscal 2022. The Company’s primary brands include Farmer Brothers®, Artisan Collection by Farmer Brothers™, Superior®, Metropolitan™, China Mist® and Boyds®.

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Red Robin Names Brian Sullivan as VP of Culinary & Beverage Innovation

February 2, 2023




The former California Pizza Kitchen executive will be leading the brand’s menu revamp strategy

Englewood, CO  (RestaurantNews.com)  Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews is excited to announce the hiring of Brian Sullivan as its new Vice President of Culinary & Beverage Innovation. Sullivan will be leading the brand’s efforts to elevate the guest dining experience, which include investing more in food quality and refreshing the menu, as part of the recently-unveiled “North Star” five-point turnaround plan to drive stronger results for the business.

Sullivan is well-positioned to lead this initiative as a visionary leader with over 40 years of industry-leading expertise in food and beverage innovation, menu strategy, franchise partnerships and retail food development.

In his 34-year career at California Pizza Kitchen, culminating in his role as Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation, he led the company’s creative development and deployment of new menu items, infusing flavors from his global travels – to Thailand, China, Italy, Japan, and France – into craveable, iconic dishes and recipes. He also authored three cookbooks featuring his unique spin on California cuisine and California-style pizzas. From the farmers’ market to the table, Brian has inspired many to put on an apron and create amazing food. As he likes to say, “If you cook with love, your food always tastes better!”

“I enjoyed working with Brian during my time at California Pizza Kitchen and consider him one of the best culinary minds in the industry,” said G.J. Hart, Red Robin President and Chief Executive Officer. “I am excited he has joined Red Robin and will be leading our culinary and beverage strategy.  Menu quality and innovation is a major component of our comeback plan and Brian and his team are making great progress on menu enhancements we will roll out later this year.”

Sullivan added, “I am excited to join an iconic brand like Red Robin, known for their wide variety of gourmet burgers, bottomless fries, and creative beverages. It has been a blast diving in my first few weeks here, meeting the team and our operators, and identifying upside on quality and innovation. We are going to create an amazing menu and have a lot of fun!”

About Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB)

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (www.redrobin.com), is a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 that operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Red Robin International, Inc., and under the trade name, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews. We believe nothing brings people together like burgers and fun around our table, and no one makes moments of connection over craveable food more memorable than Red Robin. We serve a variety of burgers and American favorites to Guests of all ages in a casual, playful atmosphere. In addition to our many burger offerings, Red Robin serves a wide array of salads, appetizers, entrees, desserts, signature beverages and Donatos® pizza at select locations. It’s now easy to enjoy Red Robin anywhere with online ordering available for to-go, delivery and catering, or you can download our new app for easy customization, access to the Red Robin Royalty® dashboard and more. There are more than 510 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including those operating under franchise agreements. Red Robin… YUMMM®!

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Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard Adds Industry Leader to Team

February 1, 2023



Mark Jenkins Named as Vice-President of Marketing for Leading Frozen Treats Brand

Philadelphia, PA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard, the beloved brand known for its delicious Italian Ice and Frozen Custard treats, has added Mark Jenkins as Vice-President of Marketing, bringing his years of brand management experience and consumer behavior expertise to the iconic franchise brand.

In his new role, Jenkins will lead the development, implementation and performance of Rita’s consumer marketing. His key objective will be to optimize omni-channel marketing efforts to build the brand, drive guest loyalty, promote Rita’s shops, and reach new and existing guests across the country. Other initiatives include leveraging the brand’s online ordering, delivery, and drive-thru offerings and drive a media strategy that addresses core markets like Philadelphia, and growth markets alike.

“Having spent time in restaurants as a general manager, franchise consultant, and marketing leader at some of the nation’s largest restaurant brands, I understand that to grow units and increase sales, you must work alongside operators to facilitate an effective and actionable brand strategy,” said Jenkins. “With a coordinated approach, we can further strengthen brand equity in familiar markets like Philadelphia and Maryland and expand the reach of this iconic brand to current and new markets. Our passion is to create amazing experiences for our guests through our unmatched Italian Ice and frozen custard.”

No stranger to the restaurant industry, Jenkins previously served as Senior Director/Head of Marketing for Roy Rogers Restaurants, overseeing and developing strategy for the brand in all aspects of marketing, including brand management, field marketing, media strategy, new product introductions, calendar development, agency management, digital & social marketing, and creative direction.

He also served as Director of Brand Marketing for CKE Restaurants, managing the annual marketing calendar, brand, menu, and product offerings for 3,000+ Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants using consumer insights, new product introductions, and brand strategy. Jenkins also spent time as Director of Product Marketing for Hardees Restaurants, where he managed existing and new product offerings for 1,800 Hardee’s restaurants. Jenkins holds a doctorate in marketing from Grand Canyon University and an MBA from Texas Tech.

“Mark joins us at a key time for our brand, as we are approaching the unofficial kick-off to the frozen treats season, a time when we will soon celebrate new and existing shops opening across the country and host our annual First Day of Spring FREE ice giveaway,” said Linda Chadwick, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard. “With a wealth of marketing and brand experience in the restaurant space, we’re extremely excited to welcome him to the Rita’s family as he has the abilities to thrive in this role.”

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is actively looking to grow with business minded individuals, who are passionate about the brand and are active members of their community. To learn more about franchise opportunities, please visit: www.ownaritas.com.

About Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard opened its doors in Bensalem, Pa. in 1984, and has been dedicated to spreading “Ice, Custard, Happiness!” ever since. Now, Rita’s is the largest Italian Ice concept in the world with approximately 600 shops. Guests around the world visit Rita’s to celebrate their everyday moments with freshly made cool treats in a fun-filled atmosphere. Known for its famous Italian Ice, made daily featuring real fruit, and award-winning Frozen Custard, Rita’s serves a taste of happiness with each delicious treat. For more information about Rita’s Italian Ice, please call 1-800-677-7482 or visit www.ownaritas.com.

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Swig Names Geoffrey Alter Director of Supply Chain

January 30, 2023



Customized beverage brand welcomes the former Sysco, Costa Vida executive amidst unprecedented growth

Lehi, UT  (RestaurantNews.com)  Swig, Home of the Original Dirty Soda™, has welcomed Geoffrey Alter as its Director of Supply Chain. This pivotal hire comes as Swig experiences exponential growth with both corporate stores and newly-announced multi-unit franchising.

Alter comes to Swig with more than two decades in the food and beverage industry. After working as a chef at high-end French and Mediterranean restaurants, he joined Sysco — the world’s largest food distributor — where he served as both a regional and district sales manager for more than three years. Most recently, he excelled at Costa Vida, where he worked for more than a decade as executive chef, supply chain director, and safety director.

“I chose Swig because of the people. It is a brand with an incredible upside for growth, but none of that matters without the people — and Swig’s team is phenomenal,” said Geoffrey Alter, who lives in Utah with his wife and three kids. “I am thrilled to join this amazing company and utilize 20-plus years of experience in cooking, sourcing, and food safety to create the best possible experience for our teams and customers. My philosophy has always been to anticipate and deliver customers’ needs before they even know they need them.”

Alter’s impeccable record shined during the Covid-19 pandemic, where at Costa Vida he led the Risk Response team and expertly managed supply chain difficulties. His leadership will be put to good use at Swig, which is expanding across the country with plans to open more than 25 corporate stores in 2023 and has multi-unit franchising contracts well underway. Swig was acquired by The Larry H. Miller Company in November 2022 and will also expand with a Swig experience at Megaplex theaters.

“We are thrilled to be able to add such tenured Supply Chain experience to our existing bench of exceptional talent,” said Rian McCartan, CEO of Swig. “With multi-unit franchising growing at full speed, Geoff’s contributions and leadership will be instrumental in expanding our supply chain and product development.”

About Swig

Swig, Home of the Original Dirty Soda™, is one of the fastest-growing and most successful drink brands in the country. It got its start in 2010 in Saint George, Utah. Owner and Founder Nicole Tanner was brainstorming one night about possible business ideas and came up with the idea for a drive-by customized beverage shop. From that small beginning, Swig has expanded to nearly 50 stores in five states, becoming thousands of people’s go-to destination for drinks and sweets.

About Savory Fund

Savory Fund is an innovative private equity firm that combines over $700 million in assets under management with a growth playbook and expertise that has been developed over 15 years of operating in the restaurant industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands, to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, growth and revenue opportunities, profitability enhancements and new location development. The Savory team contributes directly to all aspects of growth and replication by using a proven playbook and methodology. Founder involvement in the expansion of a brand is a central theme of the Savory approach as founders carry the tribal knowledge around the uniqueness that has energized early success and is essential to future growth. The Savory Fund has invested in 10 brands: Swig, R&R BBQ, Pincho, Via 313 Pizzeria, The Crack Shack, Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food, 86 Repairs, Saigon Hustle, Hash Kitchen, and The Sicilian Butcher. For more information, visit SavoryFund.com.

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Church’s Texas Chicken® Hires Procurement Industry Leader Will Cash for Vice President, Purchasing Role


Cash brings years of valuable experience and leadership to the brand as it seeks to continue executing its dynamic growth plans



January 24, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time


ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Church’s Texas Chicken®, one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the world, has hired Will Cash for the brand’s Vice President, Purchasing role. Cash will implement his extensive procurement and supply chain expertise starting this week as he takes on this new role with the brand.

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to join a talented team, particularly as this iconic brand is positioned for its next phase of growth,” said Cash. “Amid current supply chain challenges and the overall pace of innovation in the QSR industry, it’s an exciting time to join this company and make an impact on the business.”

In this role, Cash will oversee the company’s purchasing function, leading the organization’s ability to efficiently source ingredients, equipment, and raw materials that are needed to support its growing operations. He will report to Randy Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Supply and QA.

Before joining Church’s Texas Chicken®, Cash held previous Procurement and Supply Chain leadership roles of increasing responsibility with Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, flyExclusive, and Pinkbox Doughnuts.

“Will brings valuable experience gained from years in the procurement industry and he will be a great asset to our team,” stated Joe Guith, CEO. “As an accomplished leader with a variety of skills and vast industry knowledge, we are confident Will can seamlessly take on this role and we are thrilled to welcome him.”

About Church’s Texas Chicken® / Texas Chicken™ Founded in San Antonio, TX, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Texas Chicken®, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken™ primarily outside of the U.S., is one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the world. The brands specialize in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, tenders, sandwiches, Honey-Butter Biscuits™ made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Texas Chicken™ and Church’s Texas Chicken® have more than 1,500 locations in 26 countries and global markets and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information about Church’s Texas Chicken®, visit churchstexaschicken.com. For information on Texas Chicken™, visit texaschicken.com. For information on how to become a Church’s Texas Chicken Franchisee, visit https://www.churchs.com/franchising/.

View source version at Church's Texas Chicken







Focus Brands Bolsters Leadership Team with Three New Additions



Jan 19, 2023, 09:00 ET





ATLANTA, Jan. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne's®Carvel®Cinnabon®Jamba®McAlister's Deli®Moe's Southwest Grill® and Schlotzsky's®, announced today the appointments of three senior leaders across two areas of the business.

Effective immediately, the following executives will be leading these key business functions within the company:

  1. Julie Younglove-Webb, Chief Brand Officer, Auntie Anne's

  2. Jim Cannon, SVP of Design and Construction

  3. Chris Newman, SVP of Real Estate

"One of the most important investments a leader can make is in recruiting the best talent and assembling the right teams," said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands. "Each of these three new leaders bring an impressive depth of talent and expertise to their respective areas of the business and will be critical in driving our continued success. We look forward to seeing all that they'll accomplish at Focus Brands."

Julie Younglove-Webb joins the company as Chief Brand Officer of Auntie Anne's. She will lead the brand's overall strategy and execution of both marketing and operations. With a proven track record of success at major corporations in the retail and restaurant industries, Julie's extensive experience leading businesses, teams, operations and customer experience initiatives will drive Auntie Anne's forward. She joins Focus Brands from Domino's Pizza, where she served as SVP of Corporate Operations in the United States. Prior to her tenure at Domino's, Julie spent 11 years at Potbelly Sandwich Works in various senior leadership positions, including Chief Restaurant Operations Officer.

Jim Cannon is Focus Brands' new SVP of Design & Construction. In this role, he will provide strategic leadership to the design and construction department in developing and managing our brands' prototypes, ensuring locations are successfully designed, built and opened on time and within budget. Boasting a 40-year career in the construction industry, Jim has held a number of noteworthy roles in design & development for quick-service restaurant brands, including Inspire Brands, Arby's, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Jack in the Box. His in-depth knowledge of design & construction, paired with decades of successful team leadership, will help him lead this team in continually enhancing Focus Brands' presence and growth through consistent optimization of brands' locations, space, functionality and attractiveness.

Chris Newman has been named SVP of Real Estate, overseeing all aspects of Focus Brands' real estate strategy to fuel long-term portfolio growth across all seven brands. Chris comes to Focus Brands from Next Chapter Properties LLC, where he led the development of multifamily communities in 4 states as the group's Director of Real Estate. Prior to Next Chapter, Chris spent 12 years as the Director of Real Estate for Jimmy John's. His expertise in real estate transactions and deep industry knowledge will set him up for success in his new role on this critical team.

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 6,400 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and over 55 foreign countries under the Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's® brand names, as well as the Seattle's Best Coffee® brand on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

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Pokeworks Adds Seasoned Presence to Leadership Team

January 18, 2023



Veteran industry executives bring 29 years of experience to groundbreaking fast-casual brand to lead marketing and culinary strategies

Irvine, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Pokeworks CEO Steve Heeley announced today that the leading premium fast-casual poke brand has named Abe van Beek as Director of Culinary and Michele LaMont as Director of Marketing.

On the culinary side, van Beek will be responsible for culinary development, including long-term menu expansion and optimization as well as the creation and implementation of limited time offers and new menu items.

LaMont will lead the day-to-day execution of national marketing programs and brand marketing while supporting both corporate and franchised locations. She will lead a team assisting operators with new restaurant openings, local store marketing and merchandising.

“Abe and Michele have proven themselves to be talented business leaders throughout their careers, and we are fortunate to have them join our team,” Heeley said. “With Abe’s eye for culinary perfection and Michele’s track record across the entire marketing spectrum, we believe they will help drive Pokeworks to continued success in the years ahead.”

A veteran in the industry, van Beek has spent 15 years specializing in project management, innovative sales development and menu analysis. He has created and implemented many new menu enhancements driven by his business-driven acumen as a corporate executive chef at Gelson’s Markets, director of culinary operations at Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop and menu innovation executive chef with IHOP.

LaMont brings 14 years of senior management experience in multiple facets of restaurant marketing and promotions. She has led branding and marketing strategies through product innovation, new business development and interactive technical design with IHOP and 911 Restoration.

To learn more about Pokeworks, its locations and view its full menu, visit pokeworks.com.

About Pokeworks

Pokeworks was founded in 2015 with the simple mission of spreading its love of poke – the crisp, fresh, healthy Hawaiian favorite – with the world. Pokeworks’ innovative Poke Your Way™ approach is groundbreaking, offering guests limitless ways to customize their poke order to match their eating preferences including vegan, gluten-free, and other mindful diets. The Poke Burrito has developed a cult-like following, much like Pokeworks’ proprietary sauces, which range from sweet and spicy to savory. Pokeworks believes in living a healthy lifestyle and eating meals made from the freshest, highest quality ingredients from sustainable food sources. In 2022, the brand was honored to be named the “Top Poke Franchise” by Startups Magazine. Pokeworks has quickly expanded to become the leading fast-casual poke brand in the world with three consecutive years on Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list. The brand has more than 60 locations across 20 states, with Taiwan, Mexico and Canada coming soon. For more information, visit pokeworks.com or follow Pokeworks on FacebookTwitterInstagram and TikTok.

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Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Welcomes Nirmal Kumar (Trip) Tripathy to Its Board of Directors


January 17, 2023 04:05 PM Eastern Standard Time


DALLAS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Fiesta” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FRGI) announced today that the Board of Directors has appointed Nirmal Kumar (Trip) Tripathy as its newest member, effective January 16, 2023. With his appointment, the Company’s Board stands at eight members. The Company also announced that Mr. Tripathy will immediately join the Company’s Audit Committee and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee.

“Trip's deep financial and accounting expertise and leadership experiences as CEO, CFO and COO of a number of leading retail and consumer products organizations, make him a strong addition for our Board,” said Stacey Rauch, Chairperson of Fiesta’s Board of Directors. “Additionally, given Trip’s extensive Florida and Miami connections, he is keenly aware of our brand’s strong presence and importance in the region.”

Mr. Tripathy currently serves as a Principal at Kaufman Rossin, a Miami-based firm providing accounting and other business advisory services, in its C-Suite and Board Advisory practice. Previously, Mr. Tripathy served as Chief Financial Officer of The Limited and as Corporate Chief Financial Officer of The TJX Companies. Mr. Tripathy also served as President of Macy’s $2 billion Florida business, Chief Strategy Officer of Yildiz, owner of Godiva Chocolatier and McVitie’s UK, and Chief Executive Officer of its US-based business, Pladis Americas.

Mr. Tripathy is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Christian University. Mr. Tripathy currently is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County and is a Board Member and past Chair of the Neeley Board of Advisors at Texas Christian University’s business school.

About Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., owns, operates and franchises the Pollo Tropical® restaurant brand and prior to August 16, 2021, owned, operated, and franchised the Taco Cabana® restaurant brand. The brands specialize in the operation of fast casual/quick service restaurants that offer distinct and unique flavors with broad appeal at a compelling value. The brands feature fresh-made cooking, drive-thru service and catering. For more information about Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., visit the corporate website at www.frgi.com.

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Chili’s Grill & Bar Names New Vice President of Marketing

January 17, 2023




Wieden+Kennedy Vet Jesse Johnson Joins Chili’s Marketing Team

Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) today announced that Jesse Johnson has joined the company as Vice President of Marketing. In this newly created role, Johnson will develop and execute marketing strategies for Chili’s® Grill & Bar and bring the brand to life across multiple touchpoints, including advertising, media, PR and the Guest experience.

An accomplished brand director with over 16 years of experience, Johnson spent much of his career at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) leading award-winning marketing initiatives and campaigns for top brands such as Procter & Gamble, Nike Golf and KFC, including the highly acclaimed “Return of Colonel Sanders” campaign.

“As we look to be more commercially aggressive, Jesse’s expertise and passion for building culturally relevant brands will be a driving force in putting Chili’s back in the cultural zeitgeist,” said George Felix, Chili’s Chief Marketing Officer. “What gets me even more excited is the fact that he’s a servant leader, has a passion for coaching, and my belief that he will be a great fit and addition to our ChiliHead culture.”

During his time at W+K, Johnson managed client relationships and leveraged his strategic vision for creative evolution to support the agency’s growth and business development through his campaign work. Most recently, he served as the Director of Growth and helped drive significant growth of W+K’s social arm, Bodega, in Portland, Ore.

“I have a deep-rooted love for the Chili’s brand, and I can’t wait to work with our marketing and leadership teams, as well as our Team Members, to elevate Chili’s prominence,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to use my brand strategy and creative background to help Chili’s disrupt the casual dining space.”

In 2018, Ad Age named Johnson “Account Director of the Year” and named KFC’s campaign “Campaign of the Year.” Johnson also led the development of P&G’s globally acclaimed “Proud Sponsor of Moms” Olympic campaign for the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, which earned an Emmy, Gold Effie and six Gold Lions.

About Chili’s® Grill & Bar

Hi, welcome to Chili’s! We’re a leader in the casual dining industry and the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT). We’re known for our Big Mouth Burgers, full-on sizzling Fajitas, Crispy Chicken Crispers and hand-shaken Margaritas. We take our food seriously – but not ourselves – because dining out should feel like a celebration even if there is nothing to celebrate. Our passion is making every Guest feel special, and every day, our ChiliHeads make it their job to spread #ChilisLove across our more than 1,600 restaurants in 29 countries and two territories. And Chili’s cares. We host local Give Back Events to support kids, education and hunger and have raised more than $100 million benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through generous Guest donations. Find more information about us at chilis.com, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, like us on Facebook or join us on TikTok.

View source version at Chili's

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