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Executive Movements - January 2022

Red Lobster® Names Patty Trevino Chief Marketing Officer

Jan 18, 2022, 10:00 ET

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Lobster® announced Patty Trevino will join its Senior Leadership Team in the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer. Trevino comes to Red Lobster from CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc. where she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for both the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's brands.

"Since I joined Red Lobster a few months ago, my goal has been to build an unstoppable, aligned team of expert leaders, that come together to create amazing support for our guests and our employees. I am absolutely thrilled to have Patty join our already incredibly talented team and take on the critical role of aligning and integrating our guest analysis with our menu and message strategies," said Kelli Valade, CEO, Red Lobster.

Trevino is an accomplished marketing leader with over 20 years of restaurant industry experience with leading brands, including Burger King, Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill. She thrives on defining and building brands and strategic communication platforms. Known for her ability to innovate, lead and implement initiatives to maximize sales and profits in fast-paced retail environments, Trevino has demonstrated success in identifying untapped opportunities, successfully managing and inspiring teams, and delivering best-in-class work to meet business objectives.

"Red Lobster is an iconic brand. Everyone knows Red Lobster – and of course, the Cheddar Bay Biscuits," said Trevino. "I grew up in a small Texas border town, and I remember how excited I was when I finally got to go to Red Lobster. Now, years later, I still think the Red Lobster brand is pretty special, which is why I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join this incredible team. I think there's a great opportunity to tap into the essence of the brand and bring that to life for the next generation."

In her role as CMO, Trevino will unify and lead the Marketing, Communications, Customer Experience and Loyalty and Culinary Operations teams.

Trevino was recently named to Nation's Restaurant News' 2020 Power List. She received her BBA in Management and Marketing from Our Lady of the Lake University and earned her MBA from University of the Incarnate Word.

About Red Lobster Seafood Co. Red Lobster is the world's largest and most-loved seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. With a proud heritage and an even brighter future, Red Lobster is focused on serving the highest quality, freshly prepared seafood that is traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced. To learn more about Red Lobster's sourcing standards and where the seafood we serve comes from, please visit In 2021, Red Lobster was named to Forbes magazine's list of America's Best Large Employers and Newsweek magazine's list of America's Best Loyalty Programs. To learn more about Red Lobster, including locations and menu options, please visit or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

View source version at Red Lobster

Muscle Maker, Inc. Adds Franchise Sales and Training Team To Support Expansion Plans

January 13, 2022 08:30 ET

Brand adds two franchise sales leaders and corporate trainer to strengthen infrastructure

LEAGUE CITY, TEX., Jan. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NewMediaWire -- Muscle Maker, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRIL), the parent Company of Pokemoto, Superfit Foods and Muscle Maker Grill restaurants, today announced the addition of three new team members to support Pokemoto’s growth strategy: Mike Spavelko, Vice President of Franchise Sales; Kimberly Tauch, Franchise Sales and Development Manager and Jennifer Holden, Director of Corporate and Franchise Training.

The new team members will support franchising expansion plans and training efforts for Pokemoto, which recently announced the signing of 25 new franchise agreements.

Pokemoto is ramping up its resources and infrastructure to support its growth strategy by bringing on new team members with expertise in franchise sales and training.  The three new hires bring a combined 80+ years of restaurant growth and development experience to the company via multiple franchise brands. The Company is building its franchise sales lead generation pipeline through trade shows, social media ads, SEO and digital ad campaigns and needs resources to handle the anticipated influx of franchise sales requests.

“I think it’s very clear that we’re focusing our efforts on growing the Pokemoto brand through building up our internal team with three seasoned restaurant veterans, partnerships with franchise brokers such as Franserve which has over 600 franchise sales consultants and other various marketing resources. Expanding the franchise sales team and adding a dedicated training director strengthens our infrastructure to help us achieve our 2022 growth goals,” said Mike Roper, CEO of Muscle Maker. “We recently announced the signing of 25 new franchise deals and we still have our foot on the gas as we kick off a new year.  We now have more talent and resources behind the brand and growth strategy. Our executive team is continually reviewing new real estate site opportunities for corporate locations as well. In fact, we have two new corporate Pokemoto locations under construction and opening soon in the Miami, Florida market as well as a third location in Jacksonville, Florida that is in the design stage.  Basically, all irons are in the fire for Pokemoto expansion.”

Pokemoto currently has locations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Georgia with locations coming soon in New York, Mississippi and Florida.

For more information on Pokemoto franchising visit

About Pokemoto

Pokemoto has nineteen open locations in six states – Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland and Georgia with future franchise locations coming soon in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Mississippi.  Pokemoto offers up chef-driven contemporary flavors with fresh delectable and healthy ingredients such as Atlantic salmon, Ahi tuna, fresh mango, roasted cashews and black caviar tobiko that appeals to foodies, health enthusiasts, and sushi-lovers everywhere. Guests can choose from a list of signature bowls or be bold and build their own unique combination of a base, protein and various toppings and nine different sauces. Vegetarian options are available, and the bowl combinations are virtually limitless. The colorful dishes and modern chic dining rooms provide an uplifting dining experience for guests of all ages. Customers can dine in-store or order online via third party delivery apps for contactless delivery.

About Muscle Maker, 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, ghost kitchens, delivery and direct to consumer ready-made meal prep options. Brands include Muscle Maker Grill, Pokemoto, Superfit Foods, Healthy Joe’s and multiple ghost kitchen brands such as Meal Plan AF, Wrap it up Wraps, Bowls Deep, Burger Joe’s, MMG Smoothies, Mr. Tea’s House of Boba, Gourmet Sandwich Co and Salad Vibes.  Our 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, for more information on Pokemoto visit or for more information on Superfit Foods visit

View source version at Muscle Maker Grill

Krystal Names New Chief Financial Officer To Support Growing System

January 11, 2022

David Krisher Brings Deep Restaurant Experience and Insight to New Role

Atlanta, GA  (  The year 2021 has been a year full of progress and new advancements for Krystal Restaurants. The legendary brand has completed a successful realignment of its corporate structure, strengthened its financial standing and created new, system-wide operational efficiencies that are positively impacting bottom line profitability. Now, Krystal has announced David Krisher as the team’s new Chief Financial Officer.

“We have set ambitious expansion goals for Krystal in 2022 and beyond, which makes a strong financial position top priority,” shared Thomas Stager, CEO for the brand. “David’s proven expertise in the restaurant realm coupled with his skill across multiple financial disciplines makes him the perfect addition to our leadership team.”

David Krisher is a seasoned financial professional with a solid track record in the restaurant business. Prior to joining Krystal, he served as Chief Financial Officer for Ascent Hospitality Management, the parent organization of Huddle House® and Perkins® Restaurant & Bakery, representing 600 company-owned and franchised family-style restaurants. During his time as CFO for Ascent, David led the acquisition of Perkins, significantly improving EBITDA. He also oversaw capital management and liquidity efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, including lease deferrals, renegotiation of credit agreements, and managing other essential financial needs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Georgia State University and holds an MBA from the University of Georgia.

“I know I speak for the entire company when I say we are eager to see the solutions David will bring to the company,” said Stager. “Without a doubt, we are building the kind of financial foundations that allow brands to expand quickly and effectively, while also maintaining favorable debt servicing, capital positions, and overall earnings.”

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 2019 Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List.

View source version at Krystal

Papa Johns Promotes Anne Fischer to Chief Marketing and Digital Officer

January 11, 2022

Louisville, KY  (  Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns”) today announced the promotion of Anne Fischer to Chief Marketing and Digital Officer. Fischer will expand her responsibilities to include brand and advertising; media and field activation; and menu strategy and product innovation, in addition to continuing to oversee customer experience. She reports to Max Wetzel, EVP, Chief Commercial Officer, and will join Papa Johns executive leadership team.

“Anne’s strategic thought leadership and creativity have been essential to the success of Papa Johns digital marketing success over the past three years, so we are especially thrilled with her promotion to CMDO,” said Wetzel. “Digital innovation continues to be an enormous long-term growth opportunity for our brand. Anne’s deep expertise in cutting-edge digital marketing, including leading our loyalty program, aggregator partnerships and our tech-enabled customer experience initiatives, brings a unique perspective and skill set to the CMDO role and will help Papa Johns continue to be a leader in our category.”

Fischer joined Papa Johns in 2015 as Senior Director, Digital Marketing, and most recently served as Senior Vice President, Customer Experience. Over the last seven years, Fischer and her team helped drive the growth of Papa Johns aggregator partnerships and played a critical role in doubling the company’s loyalty program, Papa Rewards, since 2019.

Fischer added, “Contributing to Papa Johns transformation and return to growth has been a highlight of my career. Papa Johns has long been a digital-first brand, leveraging technology to deliver our customers the highest quality, best value pizza and food wherever and however they want to order. Working with Max, my team and colleagues across the company, I’m very excited to continue this mission across all customer touchpoints, and help make Papa Johns the best pizza delivery company in the world.”

Prior to Papa Johns, Fischer was the Marketing Director at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, where she was responsible for its long-range marketing strategy and oversaw the department’s execution of digital communications. She began her career at Walt Disney World. She received her B.S. from University of Central Florida and her MBA from Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

About Papa Johns

Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) opened its doors in 1984 with one goal in mind: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.® Papa Johns believes that using high quality ingredients leads to superior quality pizzas. Its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Papa Johns tops its pizzas with real cheese made from mozzarella, pizza sauce made with vine-ripened tomatoes that go from vine to can in the same day and meat free of fillers. It was the first national pizza delivery chain to announce the removal of artificial flavors and synthetic colors from its entire food menu. Papa Johns is headquartered in Louisville, Ky. and is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,500 restaurants in 50 countries and territories as of Sept. 26, 2021. For more information about the Company or to order pizza online, visit or download the Papa Johns mobile app for iOS or Android.

View source version at Papa Johns

City Barbeque Promotes Mike Muldoon to CEO

Muldoon had served as president and CEO of the fast-casual since 2019. He takes over from founder Rick Malir.

By Heather Lalley on Jan. 06, 2022

City Barbeque has promoted Mike Muldoon to president and CEO, the fast-casual chain announced this week.

Muldoon takes over from the chain’s founder, Rick Malir, who will now serve as executive chairman of the board.

Muldoon came to City Barbeque in 2019 after serving as president and CEO of RMH Franchise Corp.

Dublin, Ohio-based City Barbeque was founded in 1999 and now has 53 locations.

“Twenty-two years ago, we opened the first City Barbeque in an old donut shop in Ohio, and today I’m just s eager to start this new chapter, both in my life and in the life of the company we’ve been able to build,” Malir said in a statement. “I’m excited to have Mike lead City Barbeque as we continue to grow. He embodies our values and is a terrific fit to lead us going forward.”

Muldoon said he is looking forward to leading the City Barbeque team as it gears up for “rapid expansion.” The concept has added about a dozen stores since he joined as chief operating officer.

“The culture Rick established more than 20 years ago is really why this brand has been so successful,” he said in a statement. “It’s all about the people.”

City Barbeque, which smokes its meats on-site at each unit in a process that takes up to 18 hours, is partly owned by private-equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. It made the Restaurant Business list of the fastest-growing small chains in 2017. The chain had total sales of $105.8 million in 2020, according to data from RB sister company Technomic, a 5% drop from the year before.

View source version at City Barbeque

Duck Donuts Names Eric Lavinder its First Chief Development Officer

The move comes along with several other management moves as the donut chain works to support its growth.

By Jonathan Maze on Jan. 11, 2022

Duck Donuts on Tuesday named Eric Lavinder the company’s first chief development officer as part of a handful of new hires for the Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based donut chain.

Lavinder comes to Duck Donuts from Woworks, the operator of Saladworks, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, Frutta Bowls and The Simple Greek, where he led development.

At Duck he will oversee the company’s business development strategy through franchise sales and licensing, real estate and construction.

In addition, Duck Donuts also hired for two other newly created positions. Alyssa Martin is the company’s new creative director after a career working with various food brands including Hershey Creamery and Auntie Anne’s.

Brigid Bink is the new digital marketing director, joining the company from Honeygrow Restaurant Group and having worked with Bloomin’ Brands, Iron Hill Brewery, Sodexo and Campbell’s Soup.

In November, the company added Chad White, a longtime industry executive, as VP of operations.

“As we prepare for explosive growth and look to set ourselves up for a successful year, Duck Donuts has been focused on having the right strategy, structure and people in place,” CEO Betsy Hamm said in a statement.

Duck Donuts said it expects to open 40 new shops this year. It currently has 106 in the U.S. and internationally.

View source version at Duck Donuts


Jan 11, 2022, 16:30 ET

DALLAS, Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), 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, announces the appointment of Ramona Hood to its Board of Directors.

Hood is an accomplished executive with deep experience in sales, operations, supply chain, marketing and talent management. She currently serves as president and chief executive officer of FedEx Custom Critical®. Prior to this role, Hood led teams in numerous FedEx operating companies including FedEx Custom Critical, FedEx Supply Chain and FedEx Truckload Brokerage. Additionally, Hood serves on the board of Summa Health Systems and formerly served on the board for Welty Building Company.

"Ramona brings significant business leadership, strategic thinking and a broad range of experience – from operations to marketing – to our board," said Wyman Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Brinker International. "Her expertise and experience in a dynamic, customer-facing service business, along with her proven track record of driving growth and innovation, leveraging technology to improve operations and leading a large, distributed organization, will help us continue to grow and differentiate our brands."

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 by Norman Brinker 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 people feel special, and we hope you feel that passion each time you visit one of our restaurants or invite us into your home through takeout or delivery. Learn more about Brinker and its brands at

View source version at Brinker

Muscle Maker, Inc. Expands Executive Team with New CFO Supporting Chain’s Franchise Growth Strategy

January 06, 2022 10:00 ET

Current CFO Appointed as Chief Accounting Officer

LEAGUE CITY, TEX., Jan. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NewMediaWire -- Muscle Maker, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRIL), the parent Company of Pokemoto, Superfit Foods and Muscle Maker Grill restaurants, today announced the addition of Jennifer Black as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer.  Ms. Black is replacing Ferdinand Groenewald, who is remaining with the Company and has been appointed as Chief Accounting Officer.

The addition of Ms. Black and the expansion of the executive team is designed to support the planned growth strategy of the Company.   In this upcoming year, Muscle Maker is focusing its growth strategy on franchising.  The Company has signed development and franchise agreements for 65 new franchise locations since November 1, 2021 while also adding multiple corporately owned and operated locations.

Muscle Maker Grill restaurants announced a 40-unit agreement in November 2021 for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The Company’s newest acquisition, Pokemoto, has also announced 25 new franchise agreements signed during that same period of time.

“While we are very excited about adding 40 Muscle Maker Grill locations in Saudi Arabia, we are focusing our domestic expansion on the Pokemoto brand.  When we acquired Pokemoto in May 2021, we had 13 open Pokemoto locations.  In a few short months, we opened six new locations bringing our total to 19 Pokemoto locations.  We have now added 25 newly signed franchise locations.  When these locations are opened, this will bring our Pokemoto store count to 44 or roughly a 238% growth rate in a short period of time,” said Mike Roper, CEO of Muscle Maker.  “Our team is working tirelessly to keep the momentum going into 2022 with new deals and prospective franchisee outreach along with launching marketing campaigns to fill the franchisee prospect pipeline.  The Company will also be expanding through strategically placed corporate owned locations.  As a matter of fact, we have signed leases and started construction on two new corporate owned and operated locations in the Miami, Florida market and have begun planning for a location in the Jacksonville, Florida market as well.”

Roper continued, “The additional resources are critical in supporting our growth strategy. We plan on growing our companies through extensive franchising efforts, especially the Pokemoto brand.  The executive team has experience selling and opening thousands of franchise locations across multiple brands in an expedited manner.  This experience provides an understanding of how to build the required infrastructure and resources to support our growth strategy.  Adding Ms. Black as Chief Financial Officer and appointing Mr. Groenewald to Chief Accounting Officer is part of the infrastructure and resources needed as we ramp up our franchising efforts in 2022.”

Pokemoto currently has locations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Georgia with locations coming soon in New York, Mississippi and Florida.

For more information on Pokemoto franchising visit

About Pokemoto

Pokemoto has nineteen open locations in six states – Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland and Georgia with future franchise locations coming soon in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Mississippi.  Pokemoto offers up chef-driven contemporary flavors with fresh delectable and healthy ingredients such as Atlantic salmon, Ahi tuna, fresh mango, roasted cashews and black caviar tobiko that appeals to foodies, health enthusiasts, and sushi-lovers everywhere. Guests can choose from a list of signature bowls or be bold and build their own unique combination of a base, protein and various toppings and nine different sauces. Vegetarian options are available, and the bowl combinations are virtually limitless. The colorful dishes and modern chic dining rooms provide an uplifting dining experience for guests of all ages. Customers can dine in-store or order online via third party delivery apps for contactless delivery.

About Muscle Maker, 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, ghost kitchens, delivery and direct to consumer ready-made meal prep options. Brands include Muscle Maker Grill, Pokemoto, Superfit Foods, Healthy Joe’s and multiple ghost kitchen brands such as Meal Plan AF, Wrap it up Wraps, Bowls Deep, Burger Joe’s, MMG Smoothies, Mr. Tea’s House of Boba, Gourmet Sandwich Co and Salad Vibes.  Our 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, for more information on Pokemoto visit or for more information on Superfit Foods visit

View source version at Muscle Maker Grill

Barfresh Announces New CFO

Lisa Roger, Former Fox Factory and FreshRealm Executive Named CFO

January 06, 2022 08:30 ET

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Barfresh Food Group, Inc. (the “Company” or “Barfresh”) (OTCQB: BRFH) (OTCQB: BRFHD), a provider of frozen, ready-to-blend and ready-to-drink beverages, today announced that its Board of Directors has named Lisa Roger as its new CFO. Ms. Roger has extensive public manufacturing company experience and has successfully managed all aspects of finance, most significantly business development and tax strategy, for numerous companies, including Fox Factory, that went from $200M to over $1 billion of annual revenues.

Riccardo Delle Coste, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “I am very excited to welcome Lisa to the team. For some time, we have been searching for a true partner who will help elevate our financial team to the next level and Lisa is that person. With her years of accumulated knowledge and experience, I am confident that she will be an integral part of our expected significant growth as we continue to penetrate our target markets. Having a seasoned financial executive as CFO is a very important part of our platform.”

“Barfresh is an innovative brand in the ready-to-drink beverage industry and I am honored to be joining the entire team at this exciting point in their journey,” said Ms. Roger. “I look forward to working with Riccardo and the team to bring their amazing product suite to schools, restaurants and food service industry.”

About Lisa Roger Before joining Barfresh, Ms. Roger served as Executive Vice President and Controller of FreshRealm and Vice President of Accounting and Tax for Fox Factory, a publicly held manufacturer. While at both companies Ms. Roger implemented strategies that resulted in significant cost and tax savings and benefits. In addition, she integrated five acquisitions including tax planning, diligence, negotiation support, financing and post-transaction operational and accounting support. Ms. Roger holds a BA, Economics and Business from University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles Anderson Graduate School of Management, and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California (inactive status).

About Barfresh Food Group

Barfresh Food Group Inc. (OTCQB: BRFH) is a developer, manufacturer and distributor of ready-to-blend and ready-to-drink beverages, including smoothies, shakes and frappes, primarily for restaurant chains and the foodservice industry. The company's proprietary, patented system uses portion-controlled pre-packaged beverage ingredients that deliver freshly made frozen beverages that are quick, cost efficient, better for you and without waste. Barfresh has an exclusive distribution partnership with the leading food distributor in North America. For more information, please visit

View source version at Barfresh Food Group

Michael Healy Appointed President of Bonefish Grill

January 06, 2022 08:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) today announced the promotion of Michael Healy to President of Bonefish Grill. The 12-year-veteran of the company will be responsible for long-term sustainable growth for more than 180 restaurants across the United States. Bonefish Grill received Newsweek Magazine’s top award for “America’s Best Customer Service” in 2020 and in 2021.

“Michael’s proven leadership to develop and implement strategic plans that facilitate growth will benefit the Bonefish brand,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin’ Brands. “He brings with him a breadth of knowledge gained from cross-functional experience across our brands and support teams.”

Healy joined Bloomin’ Brands in 2009 as the Director of Strategic Finance. He was promoted and served in various roles including Vice President of Development and Strategic Analytics and Chief Financial Officer for Outback Steakhouse, where he helped develop and execute the brand’s strategy, including leading the rollout of delivery in 2018. Healy also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Global Supply Chain Officer with additional responsibility for brand strategy for the casual dining portfolio.

Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands, he served in various leadership positions in corporate planning, finance, and analytics at Circuit City.

Healy earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of William & Mary.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant concepts. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Company owns and operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 47 states, Guam and 20 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit

View source version at Bloomin' Brands

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Announces Scott Shotter as Chief Operating Officer

Shotter Brings 20+ Years of Franchise and Operations Experience to His Role as COO at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

December 29, 2021 08:35 AM Eastern Standard Time

IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fuzzy’s Taco Shop announces franchise veteran Scott Shotter as Chief Operating Officer. The Texas-based restaurant group is recognized for their Baja-style fare with nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations in 17 states.

Most recently, Shotter served as President of Condado Tacos, and prior to that was CEO of Backyard Burgers. Notably, Shotter and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop CEO Paul Damico served together at Moe’s Southwest Grill as Vice President and CEO, respectively, and led the team responsible for the explosive growth of the brand between 2009-2016, growing Moe’s from 200 to 700 units.

“Scott is a tenured restaurant industry veteran and a highly skilled operator,” says Paul Damico, CEO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “With the robust growth planned for Fuzzy’s, it is beneficial to add someone to the team with extensive experience in both franchised brands and rapid expansion. Scott’s experience matches the exact needs for the operational leadership role we were looking to fill at Fuzzy’s.”

Shotter describes building relationships and trust with the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisees as one of his biggest goals in his first few months as COO. “Franchisee success is my primary focus, because the success of the franchisees is the success of the company.”

Maintaining the unique experience at Fuzzy’s is one of Shotter’s primary objectives as the brand grows. “What makes Fuzzy’s so special is that it’s a hybrid fast casual concept with a full bar approach,” explains Shotter. “The Fuzzy’s model offers a convenient and casual experience to guests while serving delicious food that’s made from scratch in house daily.”

Preserving the culture of the brand is also a key focus for Shotter in his role. “Fuzzy’s is known for its laid-back atmosphere and chill vibes. That’s what our fans love so much about us,” adds Shotter. “As we add new franchisees, retaining the ‘badass culture’ of the brand is going to be a crucial part of my role.”

Lastly, Shotter plans to implement the infrastructure, processes, and procedures to ready the brand for its anticipated growth over the next five years.

For more information on Fuzzy’s Taco Shop please visit

About Fuzzy’s Taco Shop:

Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. The laid-back atmosphere pairs perfectly with signature Baja-style tacos, famous chips and queso and icy-cold beverages always served at a chill price. With nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations in 17 states, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was ranked a Top Food Franchise, Top Franchise for Culture, and Top Multi-Unit Franchise for 2021 by Franchise Business Review, recognized in Entrepreneur’s 2021 Franchise 500 Ranking and Nation’s Restaurant News’ #10 “Fastest Growing Chains” of 2018, and was included on Franchise Business Review’s “Top Franchises” list in 2017. For franchising information, please visit

View source version at Fuzzy's Taco Shop

California Pizza Kitchen Announces Changes to Its Board of Directors

Michael P. O’Donnell to Succeed Robert Webster as Board Chair

December 29, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

COSTA MESA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the creator of California-style pizza, today announced that Board Chairman Robert Webster will be voluntarily stepping down from the company’s Board of Directors to spend more time on other business interests. Webster, co-founder and Senior Managing Director at Twin Haven Capital Partners, LLC, joined the board as chairman in November 2020 and was instrumental in building the company’s overall strategic growth plan and delivering CPK’s strong performance results in its first year following restructuring.

“Rob’s leadership and experience were critical to the development of our long term growth strategy and the incredible momentum we’ve created for the business in 2021,” said Jim Hyatt, CPK’s CEO and a board member since 2018. “We want to extend our deep appreciation to Rob for his service and contributions. We at CPK owe him an incredible debt of gratitude for helping us through this initial phase of transition and growth.”

The Chairman position will be filled by current board member Michael P. O’Donnell, who has served on the company’s Board of Directors since November 2020. Mr. O’Donnell is the former Chairman & CEO of Ruth’s Hospital group Inc. having served in those roles from 2008 through 2018. He then became Executive Chairman until December 2020 and concluded his role as Chairman of the Board in April 2021. He also served on other private and public company boards including Hickory Tavern, a Rosser Capital portfolio company, Logan’s Roadhouse, Cosi, Sbarro, The Ground Round, and Champps Entertainment. Mr. O’Donnell holds a BA in English from Rollins College and served on the Rollins College Board of Trustees leaving in January 2020 after 10 years of service finishing as Vice Chairman.

“We are thrilled to have Michael lead our board going forward. His deep leadership and category experience coupled with his intimate understanding of our post restructuring growth plan will help us build on our successful 2021 performance year and deliver an even stronger 2022,” said Hyatt.

On the heels of a successful year of steady growth, California Pizza Kitchen has returned to pre-pandemic performance levels, assisted by continued momentum in off-premise dining, strong returns in the company’s investments in digital guest experience upgrades, and continued emphasis on culinary menu innovation. The brand also recently launched its first domestic franchising program and announced international franchise partnerships in Canada and Hong Kong, with many more partnerships in development around the globe.

California Pizza Kitchen is actively seeking a new board member as the company continues its strong performance trend following its restructuring.

About California Pizza Kitchen

In 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened its first restaurant in Beverly Hills and introduced diners to innovative California-style pizza. With a passion for combining fresh, seasonal ingredients with flavor inspirations from around the world, today CPK is a global brand serving creative California cuisine in nearly 200 restaurants in 8 countries and U.S. territories. From signature, hand-tossed pizzas and high-quality main plates to inventive better-for-you options, Lunch Duos, premium wines, and handcrafted beverages, CPK adds an imaginative twist to create a memorable dining experience. For more information, visit Chat with us on Twitter at @calpizzakitchen, Instagram at @cpk, and Facebook at Download the CPK Rewards® app for iOS and Android to earn & redeem delicious rewards, order online, and enjoy exclusive pizza perks all year long.

View source version at California Pizza Kitchen

Darden Restaurants Announces Upcoming CEO Transition

CEO Eugene I. Lee, Jr. to Retire; Board Elects Ricardo Cardenas as Successor; Lee to Continue as Executive Chairman

Dec 17, 2021, 07:05 ET

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) announced today that Eugene (Gene) I. Lee, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will retire as CEO effective May 29, 2022. Lee, 60, will continue to serve on Darden's Board of Directors as Executive Chairman until the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. At that time, Lee is expected to stand for re-election to the Board and continue to serve as Chairman in a non-executive capacity.

The Board has unanimously elected Ricardo (Rick) Cardenas, 53, Darden's current President and Chief Operating Officer, as Chief Executive Officer, as well as a member of the Board effective May 30, 2022.

"The Board and I are delighted that Rick will serve as Darden's next CEO," Lee said. "He has deep knowledge of our company and the industry, and has been a valued strategic thought partner to me and the senior management team. I am confident that he has the integrity, vision and leadership skills necessary to ensure Darden and its brands continue to successfully grow and be of service to our team members, our guests and our shareholders."

Charles (Chuck) M. Sonsteby, Darden's Lead Independent Director, said, "On behalf of the entire Darden board, I want to thank Gene for his strong leadership as CEO. During Gene's tenure, Darden's revenues increased by more than $2 billion and market capitalization increased approximately three-fold to nearly $20 billion. At the same time, total shareholder returns were 1.5x the S&P 500 Index. Gene has successfully led the company through significant change and unpredictability - most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic -  with an unwavering focus on our guests and our team members. We look forward to continuing to work with Gene as Chairman of the Board."

"It has been a privilege to serve as Darden's CEO for the past seven years and to work with the most dedicated and talented team members and management team in the industry," said Lee. "As Chairman, I look forward to collaborating with Rick and our Board to help Darden achieve even higher levels of success."

Cardenas was named President and Chief Operating Officer in January 2021. Previously, he served as Darden's Chief Financial Officer since March 2016. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Cardenas began his career with Darden as an hourly team member in 1984, before joining the restaurant support center team in 1992. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in Finance & Accounting. He also earned an MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.

"It is an honor to be appointed Darden's next Chief Executive Officer, and I am grateful to Gene and the Board for their confidence in me," said Cardenas. "It is humbling to lead 170,000 outstanding team members who nourish and delight everyone we serve.

"I was incredibly fortunate to work with each of Darden's previous CEOs, so I have a strong appreciation for the legacy of leadership I am inheriting. By upholding our commitment to operational excellence and maximizing the power of the Darden platform, we will continue to execute our strategy to drive growth and shareholder value."

About Darden Restaurants Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's. For more information, please visit

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King Returns to Donatos in President’s Role Beginning January 4th

December 16, 2021

Pizza Concept Features Record Two-Year Sales Growth and Expanded Coast-to-Coast Reach

Columbus, OH  (  Known for piling fresh, premium toppings Edge to Edge® on its famous thin crust pizzas for over 58 years, Donatos has seen unprecedented growth the past two years as the family-owned company has grown sales to record levels and doubled its reach all while in the midst of challenging times.

To help lead its continued growth, Donatos has announced that Kevin King will be rejoining the company in the role of President beginning on January 4.  Donatos CEO Tom Krouse, who has also served as President since October of 2010, is excited to be welcoming King back to the Donatos family that he was part of from 1990 through 2003.

“Kevin brings a keen awareness of what creates success for franchise partners and combines that with a deep understanding of the Donatos brand and family,” said Krouse.  “We are fortunate to have him returning home to help lead us into our exciting future.”

King began his career in operations at Domino’s Pizza after graduating from Miami University.  He served first in store operations, then multi-unit supervision, and finally in international operations in Australia.  He then joined Donatos in 1990 to start the Franchising department and served as the Vice President of Development until 2003.

After leaving Donatos in 2003, King went on to hold positions at JP Morgan Chase as a regional Vice President and Papa Murphy’s as both the Senior Vice President of Operations and the Chief Development Officer.  He led the strategic and tactical efforts for Papa Murphy’s expansion into the world’s largest take and bake chain.  Most recently, he has served as the Chief Development Officer at Smoothie King, the highly successful and fast-growing smoothie company.  Over his career, King has been part of building nearly 1,500 restaurants across the United States and around the world.

“Rejoining Donatos for me is so exciting,” said King, who grew up in Columbus.  “To be back with this powerful brand at this important time to continue its growth and to give more than it receives is a dream come true.”

“We are thrilled to have Kevin rejoining our family,” said Jane Grote Abell, the Executive Chairwoman of the Board and Chief Purpose Officer at Donatos. “He is a perfect culture fit and we are happy he is coming back home. Combining his level of expertise and leadership with the strategic vision of Tom Krouse as our CEO, we have set the stage for a very bright future.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Donatos has opened 12 new traditional restaurants, including five in the Florida market where there were previously none.  New franchise partners have signed on with more development plans for 2022 as for the first time in the company’s history franchising possibilities exist all across the country.  Not to be outdone, existing franchise partners are also adding new locations.  Additionally, the brand has undertaken a massive remodeling initiative as both company and franchise-owned restaurants maximized the time when inside dining was closed to refresh their look and better serve their customers moving forward.

During the same time, the Donatos partnership with Red Robin has grown from 45 locations in four states to now 197 locations in 13 different states with another 200 locations expected to be added to the partnership in 2022.  The brand also opened its first location with REEF Kitchens in Nashville with plans for more to follow in other cities around the country.

“Our ability to adapt to rapid industry changes while continuing to provide the quality, consistent product we are known for has led to our success the past two years,” said Krouse.  “The hard work of our associates starting at the store level has been tremendous as we’ve had two-year sales growth of 22.2 percent in a time when so many businesses have been struggling.”

As 2021 draws to a close, the future is very bright as Donatos is poised to continue its growth in the new year.  The continued expansion of its partnerships with both Red Robin and REEF Kitchens combined with new traditional locations being opened by franchise partners will help the family-owned brand top the 500-location mark in 2022.

About Donatos

Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963.  With 377 locations in 22 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 169 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 208 non-traditional locations (197 locations with Red Robin, 10 sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen).  For more information about Donatos, visit, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram.

View source version at Donatos Pizza

Golden Corral Welcomes Skip Hanke as New Chief Marketing Officer

December 16, 2021

America’s largest buffet chain hires marketing veteran to lead brand strategy and marketing

Raleigh, NC  (  President & CEO of Golden Corral Lance Trenary announced that Skip Hanke has joined the team as chief marketing officer (CMO).

Hanke brings extensive marketing knowledge and people leadership experience to his new role at Golden Corral.  In his most recent position at Applebee’s as executive director of brand marketing, he had responsibility for brand strategy, menu/product innovation, marketing calendar development, and creative direction to partner agencies. Hanke previously served as Applebee’s media director with direct responsibility for their substantial national media budget.  Prior to joining Applebee’s, Hanke worked in several brand management and leadership roles at The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) where he directed global strategy, brand communication and media efforts on several leading P&G brands, such as Crest, Oral-B, and Pampers. Hanke also proudly served as a United States Naval Officer, where he had restaurant general manager/operations responsibility aboard ship.  Hanke earned his BA in Economics with distinction from Duke University cum laude, and his MBA with distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he was co-valedictorian of his class.

“Skip is an excellent fit for our marketing leadership role, and I’m confident in the impact he will have on our brand,” Trenary said. “He comes at the perfect time as we continue to launch innovative initiatives like our virtual brand and drive-thru service, and build incredible positive comp sales momentum as we move into next year.  His marketing expertise will play a critical role as we gear up for a strong 2022.”

“I’m thrilled to join Golden Corral during such an exciting renaissance of the brand,” Hanke said. “The past 21 months have been very difficult for restaurants across the board, but Golden Corral persevered, and continues to thrive as America’s #1 buffet. The brand innovated and evolved in order to offer the best experience possible for guests, both off premise and in our welcoming dining rooms.  I look forward to working with our franchisees to deliver even better hospitality, choice, convenience, wholesome food, and value to our guests.”

Golden Corral’s legendary endless buffet features an abundant variety of quality, made-from-scratch food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can choose from over 100 items including USDA grilled to order steaks, pork, seafood and shrimp alongside traditional favorites like pot roast, fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, fresh salads and more. Golden Corral is a restaurant where there’s something for everyone and guests can come together to eat as they please.

About Golden Corral

Founded in 1973 and based in Raleigh, N.C., Golden Corral is the nation’s largest grill-buffet restaurant chain. Golden Corral strives to make pleasurable dining affordable for all families. While its commitment begins each day with preparing delicious food, Golden Corral also believes in providing outstanding hospitality and giving back. Service to others is a hallmark of the Golden Corral brand. Golden Corral restaurants nationwide have long been strong supporters of the U.S. Military and DAV (Disabled American Veterans). Golden Corral is also the founding sponsor of Camp Corral, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation, which provides free, one-of-a-kind summer camp experiences for children of wounded, injured, ill or fallen service members. For more information, visit and follow Golden Corral on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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MOD Pizza Welcomes Neisha Strambler-Butler to Board of Directors

Veteran Human Resources Leader Further Strengthens MOD Board

December 16, 2021 05:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD Pizza”, “MOD” or the “Company”), the purpose-led, people-first fast casual pizza pioneer, today announced the addition of Neisha Strambler-Butler to its Board of Directors. Strambler-Butler has led human resources, benefits and compensation, and total rewards for Fortune 500 companies over the past 25 years.

Strambler-Butler is currently Senior Vice President, Total Rewards at McKesson Corporation, where she leads their comprehensive rewards strategy including employee compensation, health and retirement benefits, and mergers and acquisitions for 77,000 global employees. For three years, she served as Vice President of Total Rewards and Shared Services at American Airlines. Prior to that, Strambler-Butler spent two decades at Texas Instruments, serving in a range of human resources positions, including Head of Global Benefits and Human Resources Programs. She has been named a Top Human Resource Professional by the National Diversity Council, one of the Most Influential Women in America by Savoy magazine, and a Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Neisha to the MOD board and are excited about the contribution she will make as we continue to build a business focused on putting people first. Her deep human resource experience and expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives will be immensely helpful as we work to further enhance the MOD experience for our Squad, and continue to lean into our commitment to provide opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD.

MOD currently has more than 500 locations system-wide* across 28 states and Canada.

**The term “system-wide” refers to all company-operated and franchised store locations. The trademarks MOD, MOD Pizza, and the MOD Shield, are owned by ,MOD Super Fast Pizza, LLC.


MOD Pizza is a purpose-led, people-first brand founded in Seattle in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. MOD serves individual artisan-style pizzas and salads that are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads with any combination of over 30 toppings, all for one price. With 500+ locations system-wide**, MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work. MOD recently earned a spot on the Fortune 2019 “Change the World” list, for its purpose-led culture and commitment to provide opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. The Company has also been named America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic for four years running and named the most loved pizza brand by Foodable Network. MOD has earned a spot on the Inc. 5000 list and has been recognized by Fortune as one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail,” a “Best Workplace for Women,” a “Best Workplace for Millennials,” and a “Best Workplace for Diversity.” For more information, please visit

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Thecla Sweeney to Join the Board of Directors of Restaurant Brands International

Dec 16, 2021, 17:15 ET

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - The Board of Directors of Restaurant Brands International Inc. (TSX: QSR) (NYSE: QSR) (TSX: QSP) ("RBI") announced today that Thecla Sweeney is joining the RBI Board of Directors as an independent member effective January 1, 2022.

Ms. Sweeney is currently Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer for Motion LP, a privately-held provider of complex mobility and accessibility solutions in Canada, and Operating Partner for Birch Hill Equity Partners Management Inc., a private equity firm, both based in Toronto, Ontario.  She has held the position with Motion LP since April 2018 and has been with Birch Hill since April 2004, with a number of positions of increasing responsibility prior to beginning her current Operating Partner role in November 2020.  Prior to joining Birch Hill, Ms. Sweeney worked in busines development for Regional Airlines Holdings Inc. and was a consultant for Bain & Company. She serves on the board of directors of Motion LP, Mastermind LP, a privately-held specialty toy retailer, since 2010 and FlexNetworks LP, a privately-held telecom business, since 2019. From 2012 to 2017, she served on the board of Sleep Country Canada, a specialty retailer of mattresses and accessories.

Ms. Sweeney will fill the vacancy created when Carlos Sicupira retires from the RBI Board effective December 31, 2021 following over a decade of dedicated service.

"We are fortunate to add Thecla to our Board of Directors and will benefit from her extensive experience in Canadian retail, human resources and compensation, logistics and distribution and managing government and regulatory issues," said Daniel Schwartz, Co-Chair of the RBI Board.  "We deeply value diversity of thought and experience, and I look forward to working with Thecla in her new role," added Jose Cil, CEO of RBI.

"We want to thank Carlos for his immeasurable advice, support and service to our brands over the years, including his time on our Board of Directors since 2010.  He is a valued partner and friend and has played an important role shaping the company, including our long-term compensation philosophy and attracting new talent to our Board as part of our nominating and corporate governance committee," said Alex Behring, Co-Chair of the RBI Board.

"It's an honour to join the RBI Board of Directors and advise this great management team as they work to build the most loved restaurant brands in the world," said Thecla Sweeney.

About Restaurant Brands International

Restaurant Brands International Inc. is one of the world's largest quick service restaurant companies with approximately $35 billion in annual system-wide sales and over 28,000 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.

View source version at Restaurant Brands International

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