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Executive Movements - January 2024

Paris Baguette North America Appoints Full C-Suite with Several Internal Promotions as Another Monumental Year Kicks-Off

CEO Darren Tipton is investing in his team as 2024 begins, appointing strong leaders and reaffirming the franchise’s focus on people and culture.

Moonachie, NJ  (RestaurantNews.comParis Baguette has been bringing the neighborhood bakery café concept to life throughout the U.S. since 2015, serving their beloved cakes, pastries and breads to new communities across the country. After a year of staggering growth—with 43 new cafés opened across the U.S. and Canada, over 100 new franchises awarded and 50 leases signed for cafés in development—CEO Darren Tipton kicked-off 2024 with five internal promotions to round out the leadership team.

“2023 was an incredible year for growth in the Paris Baguette system, and with another big year ahead of us, it was only fitting to both celebrate these successes and prepare for ongoing growth by recognizing those who have played crucial roles all along,” said Tipton. “The team at Paris Baguette is a huge part of what makes us who we are, and these five truly embody our Brand Values. I am proud to have them by my side as we continue to work toward reestablishing the neighborhood bakery café as the heart of the community across North America.”

The promotions include:

  • Saeyong Park, who is transitioning from Vice President of Finance and Accounting to Chief Financial Officer, has been with Paris Baguette for nine years having led corporate strategy as well as strategic planning. Saeyong brings his rich and varied financial experience to the table having spent several years with Paris Baguette’s parent company, SPC Group headquartered in Korea.

  • Michelle Jagroop has taken on the role of Chief People Officer, previously the Vice President of Human Resources and training. Michelle has been with Paris Baguette for five years and brings 25 years of human resources experience from multiple retail brands including Bowlero, Macy’s and Liz Claiborne to name a few. She has led multiple facets of HR such as leadership development, performance management as well as organizational growth and talent strategies.

  • Nick Scaccio has transitioned into the Chief Operating Officer role, with nearly 20 years of operations experience and 3 years with Paris Baguette. During his time at Paris Baguette, Nick has served as Vice President of Revenue and Strategic Development, as well as Vice President of Operations. Nick is known for driving efficiencies as well as his transformative leadership skills with rapidly-expanding brands.

  • Eric Galkin has transitioned from Vice President of Supply Chain Management to Chief Supply Chain Officer, with 3 decades of experience in several high-end procurement and supply chain operations. Eric led initiatives for multiple organizations including OTG Management, Delaware North’s patina restaurant group and farm-to-table pioneer distributor D’artagnan Inc.

  • Cathy Chavenet has stepped into the role of Chief Marketing Officer having previously led marketing and culinary initiatives as SVP & Head of Marketing at Paris Baguette. Cathy has extensive experience with major QSR brands such as Dunkin’ and the Wendy’s Company. She owned and operated her own French bakery & cafe locations in New York as well as internationally in Paris, France.

In 2023, Tipton also welcomed Eric Lavinder to the system as Chief Development Officer and added in-house General Counsel, Kyle Chung to further support the growth of the Paris Baguette system.

With the completed C-Suite team in place, Tipton said there is a pathway to open 100 bakery cafés this year and award another 150 franchises in the U.S. and Canada.

“At Paris Baguette, community is at our core. We believe it’s the people that make the experience that much sweeter. As we continue to grow, we will hold fast to our Brand Values. I have full confidence that this leadership team will champion our vision as we continue to build and scale across North America,” he added.

About Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette is a bakery café franchise with more than 4,000 units across the globe. The global brand first franchised in the U.S. in 2015 and has since established over 150 locations in markets across the country, making it one of the premier franchise opportunities in its category. Paris Baguette’s primary mission, executed every day by its expert staff of bakers, cakers and baristas, is to share moments of joy with guests and help guests share moments of joy with their friends and family by providing world-class cakes, pastries, coffees, breads and other French-inspired bakery café fare. To find out more information on costs to buy this franchise, please visit


Louisville, Ky., January 12, 2024 – Kentucky Fried Chicken® (KFC) announced today that it has named Thuthuka Nxumalo Chief Operations Officer for KFC U.S., effective February 5, 2024. He will report to Tarun Lal, president of KFC U.S.

In this role, Nxumalo will be responsible for building a world-class operations strategy and enabling consistent execution in every KFC U.S. restaurant. 

“Thuthuka is a seasoned operator with a proven track record of driving operational best practices,” said Lal. “With his ability to identify opportunities for rapid improvements and rally teams to provide exceptional service, I am confident Thuthuka is the right leader to drive a winning guest experience for KFC U.S.”

Nxumalo joins KFC U.S. from KFC Africa, where he spent the past three years as chief operations officer. During this period, he drove remarkable improvements in key operations metrics across KFC in Africa.

Prior to KFC, Nxumalo was with Anheuser-Busch InBev for nearly four years as Brewery Operations Director for South Africa. Before that, he spent more than 15 years with SABMiller and South African Breweries in various roles. Nxumalo has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cape Town University and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

In addition to Nxumalo’s appointment, Christophe Poirier will join KFC U.S. as Chief New Concept Officer, on February 1, 2024, reporting to Lal. Poirier will work to continue to modernize the KFC concept in collaboration with the current leadership team. He has been with Yum! Brands since 2005 and spent the last eight years with Pizza Hut, most recently as global chief brand officer.

About KFC

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., has been serving joy through its Original Recipe® fried chicken and finger lickin' good food since 1952. KFC's Original Recipe represents the unmistakable taste of KFC – the top-secret, unique blend of 11 herbs & spices that was perfected by Colonel Harland Sanders and is still used today. Beyond bucket meals and homestyle sides, KFC specialties include KFC Chicken Nuggets, the KFC Chicken Sandwich in spicy and classic, Extra Crispy Tenders, KFC Famous Bowls®, KFC Mac & Cheese Bowls, Pot Pies and Secret Recipe Fries. There are over 29,000 KFC restaurants in nearly 150 countries and territories around the world. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE:  YUM). For more information, visit Follow KFC on FacebookTwitterInstagram and TikTok.

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Jourdan Daleo Appointed COO, Popeyes U.S. & Canada

Miami, FL – Jan. 12, 2024 – Popeyes® today announced that Jourdan Daleo has been appointed Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. and Canada to bring additional focus to operational consistency and franchisee support across more than 3,000 restaurants. 

She will oversee the brand’s field team, restaurant operations, and company-owned restaurants, and will continue to report to and work closely with Sami Siddiqui, President of Popeyes U.S. & Canada. 

“A greater focus on operational consistency is foundational to the success of our Easy to Love strategy. Jourdan is a trusted partner who works closely with franchisees to not only grow the Popeyes family with high-performing operators, but also support strong execution of system-wide operations initiatives that will take our brand to the next level,” said Sami Siddiqui, President of Popeyes U.S. and Canada. 

Daleo has been with Restaurant Brands International since 2016, holding senior roles in franchising, business development, field operations, analytics, and franchise performance across the portfolio of brands. 

About Popeyes®

Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes® has over 50 years of history and culinary tradition. Popeyes® distinguishes itself with a unique New Orleans style menu featuring fried chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and other regional items. The chain’s passion for its Louisiana heritage and flavorful authentic food has allowed Popeyes® to become one of the world’s largest chicken quick service restaurants with over 4,000 restaurants in the U.S. and around the world. To learn more about the brand, please visit the Popeyes® brand website at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Layne’s Chicken Fingers Welcomes Eric Reed to the Corporate Team as New Chief Development Officer

January 12, 2024

The part-owner of the brand is joining the corporate team full-time, leveraging his previous restaurant and real estate experience to power the growth of the franchise system.

Frisco, TX  (  Layne’s Chicken Fingers, the Soon to be Famous™ chicken franchise with 13 restaurants open and another 113 sold, is following an incredible growth trajectory. Now, part-owner Eric Reed is joining the team as Chief Development Officer, bringing decades of real estate experience and a deep love for the brand, to support the system’s ongoing growth.

“My ultimate, long-term goal is to get Layne’s to the point that all we have to do is put an Astro Chicken on the sign in front of the restaurant and people know who we are,” said Reed. “If we can get to that level of brand awareness, we’ve made it. That’s all we need to reach all of our future goals.”

As a principal with Main & Main Capital Group, a development group that works closely with Layne’s, and a College Station, Texas native, Reed knew and loved Layne’s long before he officially joined the leadership team. Stepping into the CDO role simply allowed him to be even more involved in an incredibly meaningful opportunity, working alongside his brother and CEO of Layne’s, Garrett Reed.

“I’ve known Garrett my whole life, and we’ve been close our entire lives. We were always looking for ways to make money during elementary school, and we’ve had our little entrepreneurial ventures,” said Reed. “We push each other and help each other, and he has been my biggest cheerleader. Even though I’ve been a part of successful companies in my past roles and have a huge passion for development, this is just better. It’s not just development, it’s developing a brand that my brother and I have built together and are building a legacy for our own kids. It’s so compelling and exciting.”

Prior to joining Layne’s full-time, Reed worked with Dutch Bros, Chili’s and Starbucks, driving development pushes through careful market analysis and real estate strategy.

“As I support franchisees in their growth with Layne’s, I’ll be pulling from my previous development experience,” explained Reed. “To drive development optimally, we need to analyze the markets we want to enter, identify key trade areas and find the best site possible within those trade areas. I’ll be bringing all of those skills to Layne’s so that when a franchisee approaches us and says, ‘I want to enter this market,’ I have the resources to support them in choosing a site that will be successful, help them meet their obligations and empower them to open as many successful restaurants as they can, as quickly as they can.”

“We’re excited for Eric to be joining us. As he’s started laying the foundation for growth, we’re already seeing a difference in our real estate and development processes,” said Samir Wattar, COO at Layne’s. “We’re seeing excitement among the franchisees, and with Eric on the team, our goal of 12 new restaurants opening next year is not far-fetched whatsoever. He brings more expertise to the real estate aspect of development than we’ve ever had by ourselves — there’s a science and expertise to it now.”

After an incredible growth surge in 2023, Layne’s continues to work toward awarding restaurants in key markets, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Reed will provide valuable support for franchisees during this development process, working with the team to make Layne’s — and the Astro Chicken — well-known nationwide.

About Layne’s Chicken Fingers

Founded in 1994 in College Station, the original location became a Texas A&M legend known for its small-town charm, friendly service, iconic chicken fingers and secret sauce. While opening corporate locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the leadership team focused on fine tuning its operations and starting to franchise.

Franchise opportunities range from $545,000 to $1,190,000 with different buildout options available. Learn more about franchising here.

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Joe Park Promoted to Yum! Brands Chief Digital & Technology Officer

Park Succeeds Clay Johnson, Who Will Continue as a Senior Advisor

Yum! Brands, Inc. announced the promotion of Joe Park to Chief Digital & Technology Officer, effective March 1, 2024.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced the promotion of Joe Park to Chief Digital & Technology Officer, reporting to Chris Turner, Yum! Brands Chief Financial Officer, effective March 1, 2024. Park, who most recently served as Chief Digital & Technology Officer for Pizza Hut Global, succeeds Clay Johnson, who will continue with Yum! Brands as a Senior Advisor. As CDTO, Park will join the Yum! Brands Global Leadership Team and oversee the Company’s global technology strategy, partnering with the KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and the Habit Burger Grill divisions to ensure the Company provides a best-in-class digital experience for customers and restaurant team members and strong economics for franchisees.

“We’re ingraining digital and technology into all aspects of our business with exciting new capabilities that make things easy for customers and restaurant team members, while driving profitable growth for Yum! and our franchisees,” said Turner. “We’ve made great progress enhancing digital ordering, implementing technologies to improve restaurant operations, leveraging data to enable smart decision-making and piloting emerging technologies, and Joe Park has been an exceptional partner on this journey over the past few years. Joe is an energizing and visionary leader with a proven track record of rapidly deploying modern eCommerce and data platforms and scaling innovative technologies like Dragontail and HutBot across Pizza Hut’s global system. I’m confident that Joe will help Yum! continue to strengthen our technology ecosystem and scale our digital solutions at a rapid pace to deliver leading-edge capabilities to our franchisees with advantaged economics.”

Yum!’s strategy is to own differentiated technology platforms tailored for each brand and market that enable Easy Experiences for customers, Easy Operations for restaurant teams and Easy Insights to drive outsized growth. In 2022, Yum! Brands reached a new high of $24 billion in digital sales – doubling its digital business since 2019 – demonstrating the power of its digital ecosystem and capabilities of its brands to meet changing consumer needs around the world. Yum! Brands’ digital sales continue on a trajectory toward the next milestone of achieving $30 billion in annual digital sales.

Park joined Yum! Brands in 2020 as its first Chief Innovation Officer and has served as Chief Digital and Technology Officer for Pizza Hut Global since 2021. In his most recent role, Park was responsible for leading omnichannel customer experiences, e-commerce and restaurant technologies for more than 19,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in more than 100 countries. At Pizza Hut, Park oversaw the rollout of Dragontail’s AI-based platform for optimizing and managing the entire food preparation process from order through delivery, and HutBot, Pizza Hut’s “coach-in-your-pocket” app for managers, both of which have been deployed in thousands of restaurants across multiple markets. In his previous role as Chief Innovation Officer for Yum! Brands, Park led the development of emerging technologies, including leveraging artificial intelligence and automation to streamline operations in the Company’s restaurant kitchens and enhance the experience for team members and customers. Prior to joining Yum! Brands, Park held executive leadership positions at Walmart and GE. At Walmart, Park was VP of Associate Digital Experience and Enterprise Architecture, overseeing 2,000 employees and providing technology to the largest private sector workforce in the world, modernizing platforms, digitizing processes and transforming user experiences.

“I’m incredibly excited to continue working with the talented and dedicated digital and technology team members around the world, and to partner with our world-class franchisees to execute the company’s global technology strategy,” said Park. “I’m grateful to have worked alongside Clay Johnson at Yum! Brands since 2020 and look forward to continuing to help the Company drive its initiatives to deliver a best-in-class digital experience for customers and restaurant team members alike.”

“In the past few years, we have elevated the Company’s digital strategy, working with our brand technology teams in combination with Yum!’s digital and technology teams, both creating and acquiring a distinctive set of technology capabilities and driving tremendous growth in our digital sales,” Turner added. “We are grateful for all that Clay has done during that time and we appreciate that he will be continuing in the role as a senior advisor to our company.”

About Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, and its subsidiaries franchise or operate a system of over 57,000 restaurants in more than 155 countries and territories under the company’s concepts – KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the Habit Burger Grill. The Company's KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands are global leaders of the chicken, Mexican-style food, and pizza categories, respectively. The Habit Burger Grill is a fast casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. In addition, in 2023 Yum! Brands was included on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America; Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity; TIME Magazine’s list of Best Companies for Future Leaders; and Newsweek’s lists recognizing America’s Most Responsible Companies, America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity, America’s Greenest Companies and America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women.

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MOD Pizza Appoints Beth Scott as Its New CEO, Welcoming the Restaurant & Hospitality Veteran

As Part of Planned Transition, Co-Founder Scott Svenson Becomes Executive Chairperson

Beth Scott joined MOD Pizza as CEO and a member of the Board.

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 Beth Scott has joined the Company as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board. Scott Svenson, who co-founded MOD in 2008 with his wife Ally and has led the business for the past 15 years, will assume the role of Executive Chairperson. In his new role, Scott Svenson will remain fully committed to MOD with a focus on supporting Beth Scott and the leadership team, while also leading the Board.

Beth Scott comes to MOD as a people-first, visionary leader with over two decades of experience driving growth and improved customer experiences at leading restaurant and hospitality brands. Most recently, she served as Chief Restaurant Officer at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a half-billion-dollar revenue business where she oversaw Operations and Development Teams. Scott previously spent four years at Bloomin’ Brands (Nasdaq: BLMN), as President of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. In the hospitality sector, as Vice President at Hilton Hotels, she led the food and beverage strategy across their luxury and full-service hotel brands, and with Disney Parks & Resorts, she led food and beverage experience planning and integration as a Global Vice President.

“When Ally and I founded MOD, we knew we would eventually transition out of the daily operations of the business to focus on those things we are most passionate about – our purpose of serving people, time in stores with the Squad and the future of MOD,” said Scott Svenson. “After an extensive search, Ally, I, and the entire Board were deeply impressed by Beth’s track record and inspired by her commitment to operational excellence, world-class customer service and upholding the values that have always embodied the spirit of MOD. Beth is the perfect person to lead MOD in its next chapter, and she has all that it takes to ensure MOD fulfills on its enormous potential.”

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to join MOD, a powerful brand that is known for its enlightened approach to doing business and is celebrated for the impact it has made on the people and the communities it serves,” said Beth Scott, Chief Executive Officer, MOD Pizza. “I look forward to working with Scott, Ally and the entire team to build upon the remarkable legacy they have forged, while maximizing our impact and driving the business forward.”

Ms. Scott will be based in MOD’s Support Center in Bellevue, WA.


MOD Pizza is a purpose-led, people-first brand founded in Seattle in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. As the pioneer of the fast-casual pizza category, MOD introduced speed, individual style and compelling value to the world of pizza. The Company 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 40 toppings and sauces, all for one incredible price. Today, MOD is the largest fast casual pizza concept in North America. With over 540 system-wide* across 29 states and Canada, MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work by providing community and opportunity to over 10,000 Squad members. For more information, please visit or connect with the brand via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Name 2024 Boards

Washington, D.C. – The National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) today announced their 2024 board officers, directors, and trustees. 


Jeff Lobdell, president and founder of Restaurant Partners Management, LLC., will serve as chair of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors, and Shaun Beard, senior vice president of SAVOR Hospitality, will serve as chair of the NRAEF Board of Trustees. 

“The restaurant industry is changing along with the expectations of the customers and communities we serve,” said Michelle Korsmo, president & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the NRAEF. “As chairs of the Association and Foundation Boards, Jeff and Shaun bring a passion for exceptional dining experiences and community-based leadership. We’re also pleased to welcome our newly elected Board members who represent the breadth and depth of our industry. Their collective knowledge and insights will be critical as we work to advance a thriving restaurant and foodservice industry.”  

Vice Chair Richard Schneider, chief development officer of Areas USA, and Treasurer Mike Axiotis, CEO and president of the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, complete the Association’s 2023 Board leadership. 

“The restaurant industry has provided more than sixty percent of the adult workforce in this country with skills that have added to their value in the professional world. The NRAEF is dedicated to keeping those skills on the restaurant industry career ladder. I look forward to working with Shaun and the Trustees to develop the opportunity and support needed for today and tomorrow’s workforce,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF.  

Other NRAEF officers include Vice Chair Bill Kohl, principal of Greenwood Hospitality Group, and Treasurer Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association.   

Each of the officers will serve a one-year term. The following is the list of 2024 board officers:  

National Restaurant Association 

Chair: Jeff Lobdell is the president and founder of Restaurant Partners Management, LLC. Lobdell has been passionate about the hospitality industry, his restaurant businesses, and the communities that they operate in for more than 35 years. He supports many local non-profits focused on supporting local kids and families. He also serves as a member of the Grand Rapids Police Foundation Board and is active within the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association. Lobdell is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality.  

Vice Chair: Richard Schneider is chief development officer of Areas USA, where he is responsible for company growth, government affairs, community affairs, brand and concept development, and construction. Throughout his career, Schneider has developed many strong culinary relationships across the country in multiple verticals to help design award-winning concepts. He helped to create the Areas Cares program to support the communities they serve and has also led the company’s community education program supporting local high school culinary programs to help build opportunities for students. 

Treasurer: Mike Axiotis is CEO and president of the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, a locally owned and operated franchisee of Red Robin. Through tireless hard work, love of the hospitality business and people, and his commitment to excellence, Axiotis worked his way up the ranks at LVRG, eventually being elected as CEO in 2018. His history in the industry extends back nearly 40 years, starting with his family’s restaurant. Axiotis believes his success is an opportunity to give back through impactful community involvement and support of the team members of LVRG.  

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

  • Madelyn Alfano, Maria's Italian Kitchen 

  • Dagmar Boggs, The Coca-Cola Company 

  • Greg Flynn, Flynn Restaurant Group 

  • Michael Gonda, McDonald’s Corporation 

  • Victoria Gutierrez, Sysco 

  • GJ Hart, Red Robin International 

  • John Horne, Oysters Rock Hospitality, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, and Café L’Europe 

  • Bill Kitsilis, Axios Hospitality 

  • Amber Moshakos, LM Restaurants 

  • Sam Sanchez, Third Coast Hospitality 

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation 

Chair: Shaun Beard is the senior vice president of SAVOR Hospitality, where he is responsible for establishing and growing the SAVOR brand for parent company ASM Global Facility Management, while increasing operating income through operating restaurants, catering, concessions and large special events. He previously served as vice president at CENTERPLATE in Spartanburg, S.C., where he directed planning and executed strategies across the U.S. and Canada. Beard holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado, has completed the Executive Management Program at the University of Florida, and earned certificates at the Culinary Institute of America.  

Vice Chair: Bill Kohl oversees the strategic and operational direction of Greenwood Hospitality Group's portfolio of hotels. Additionally, he directs the company's activities in restaurant development, concept design, and re-positioning. During his 35-year career, Kohl has received several honors including The Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association's General Manager of the Year and the American Hotel and Lodging Association's State Leadership Award. He is founder of Très Bonne Année, a series of wine and food events and international wine auction for charity, which raises more than $400,000 annually. A native of Springfield, Pa., Kohl is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management. 

Treasurer: Carrie Leishman is president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) and the Delaware Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Leishman is a passionate and fearless advocate for the industry and is credited with strengthening the DRA into one of the most influential business organizations in the state. The DRA created the first industry training for substance abuse awareness and prevention, and for this work, received recognition from the White House in 2018. Leishman grew up in upstate New York and graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

In addition to naming its new board officers, the NRAEF also introduced its new board trustees. They include: 

  • Mateo Cidre, Sobao Bakery & Restaurant 

  • Damian Hanft, Inspire Brands 

About the National Restaurant AssociationFounded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises nearly 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show(Opens in a new window)); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe(Opens in a new window)); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart(Opens in a new window)). For more information, visit in a new window) and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter(Opens in a new window), Facebook(Opens in a new window) and YouTube(Opens in a new window).

About the National Restaurant Association Educational FoundationAs the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development, and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower, and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit in a new window). Click here(Opens in a new window) for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2021 Annual Impact Report.

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Hard Rock International Appoints John P. Rees as Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations

03 Jan, 2024, 09:15 ET

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Jan. 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Hard Rock International has appointed John Rees as its new Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations. In this role, Rees is responsible for leading and supporting all facets of hotel operations across the Hard Rock International portfolio, including both corporate-managed and franchised locations. Rees reports directly to Jon Lucas, Chief Operating Officer of Hard Rock International.

Hard Rock International Appoints John P. Rees as Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations.

"We're thrilled to have John lead the Hard Rock Hotel team as we continue to elevate our position as one of the world's most recognized global hospitality brands," said Lucas. "His depth of experience guiding world-class luxury and lifestyle hotels paired with his results driven leadership style makes John an invaluable addition to our company."

Rees is an accomplished hospitality industry veteran with over 30 years of experience and a multi-faceted skillset to lead operations with excellence. His passion for innovation paired with his extensive experience has inspired him to target industry challenges such as procuring and incubating hospitality talent through impactful leadership programs and ensuring quality control across key hospitality verticals.

Rees completed his hospitality studies at Newbury College and has since gained various certifications in restaurant management, leadership training and wine studies from top accredited institutions and universities such as Cornell University (Restaurant Management) and Wine and Spirits Institute UK. He completed his hospitality training at the Hotel Bellevue Palace in Bern, Switzerland and also holds an Honorary Degree in Culinary Arts from the Long Island Culinary Federation. His career path began as an Executive Chef where he honed his fine-cooking and leadership skills at some of the world's most prestigious hotels which led him to take on Food & Beverage Director positions before moving into his current focus in Hospitality Operations. He also previously held senior hotel operations leadership roles at Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton where he managed operations in more than a dozen different countries on four continents. In his most recent role as Vice President of Resort Operations and Guest Experience at Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Rees was responsible for driving operational excellence for over 130 properties and guests worldwide across all disciplines.

"I'm thrilled to join Hard Rock at this pivotal point of the Hard Rock Hotels brand journey," said Rees. "Our future pipeline of hotel projects is very robust which will allow me to work with my teams to innovate and create more of the special brand touchpoints and guest experiences our fans expect. My goal is to make Hard Rock Hotels feel like the coolest place to stay with the best vibe and where every guest around the world is made to feel like a VIP."

Additional information on Hard Rock Hotels can be found by visiting For more information regarding open roles at Hard Rock Hotels and Hard Rock International, please visit

About Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos®:Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos is internationally recognized as a leader in the hospitality industry – offering world-class entertainment, contemporary designs, incomparable service and one-of-a-kind brand amenities, catering to modern travelers who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable hotel experiences. Driven by integrity, philanthropy and unparalleled guest experiences, the brand adorns 37 distinctive Hotels & Casinos in the world's most enviable destinations. Hard Rock Hotels provide amazing live music, dining options that make guests' taste buds sing, head-to-toe wellness services and many more amenities, in addition to offering best in class protocols for health and safety which Hard Rock deems SAFE+ SOUND. For more information on Hard Rock Hotels, visit

About Hard Rock®:Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in over 70 countries spanning 290 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 87,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock Hotels has been honored by J.D. Power's North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study as the number one brand in Outstanding Guest Satisfaction for two consecutive years, and among the top Upper Upscale Hotels for four consecutive years. HRI became the first privately-owned gaming company designated a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal in 2021, and has since been honored threefold. Hard Rock was also honored by Forbes among the World's Best Employers, as well as Best Employers for Women, Diversity and New Grads and a Top Large Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. In the 2022 Global Gaming Awards, Hard Rock was named Land-Based Operator of the Year for the second time in four years. In 2021, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos received first place ranking in the Casino Gaming Executive Satisfaction Survey conducted by Bristol Associates Inc. and Spectrum Gaming Group for six of the last seven years. Hard Rock International currently holds investment grades from primary investment rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB) and Fitch Ratings (BBB). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit or

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Good Times Restaurants Inc. Welcomes Keri August as Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting

Good Times names Keri August Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting

GOLDEN, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Good Times Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIM) (the “Company”), operator of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, today announced that Ms. Keri August has been named Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting.

Ms. August, age 48, joins the Company, having served as a consultant to the Company providing accounting leadership from August 2023 through the date of her appointment. Prior to that, Ms. August was employed by InfoSync Services, a restaurant-focused accounting outsourcing services firm where she was most recently a Vice President FAO, a position she held since April 2022, having held progressive leadership roles at InfoSync Services between September 2011 to April 2022. Previously, Ms. August served in a variety of individual and supervisory finance and accounting roles within the hospitality and manufacturing industries, having begun her career in public accounting with the professional services firm EY.

"I am delighted to officially welcome Keri to the Good Times Restaurants team," said Ryan Zink, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Keri has impressed me in her role as a consultant, in particular how quickly she has been able to understand the financial nuances of our business. Keri brings over twenty-seven years of strong finance and accounting leadership with a proven track record of managing financial capabilities in a variety of industries, but especially in the restaurant industry. She is a perfect fit for our team, both with respect to her skills and her alignment with our culture."

Keri stated, "I’ve enjoyed working with the Company as a consultant and was thrilled to receive an offer to join the team permanently. I am excited to be part of this successful growth story and lead the finance team in the creation of shareholder value. Joining the unique, and sometimes edgy, Good Times and Bad Daddy’s culture is a perfect fit with my personality, although I am passionate about my professional life, I also enjoy good food, live music, aviation and off-roading with family and friends."

Good Times Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIM)

Good Times Restaurants Inc. owns, operates, and licenses 41 Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants through its wholly owned subsidiaries. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is a full-service “small box” restaurant concept featuring a chef-driven menu of gourmet signature burgers, chopped salads, appetizers and sandwiches with a full bar and a focus on a selection of craft beers in a high-energy atmosphere that appeals to a broad consumer base. Additionally, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Good Times Restaurants Inc. owns, operates and franchises 31 Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard restaurants primarily in Colorado. Good Times is a regional quick-service concept featuring 100% all-natural burgers and chicken sandwiches, signature wild fries, green chili breakfast burritos and fresh frozen custard desserts.

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19 Dec, 2023, 16:30 ET

LEBANON, Tenn., Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® (Nasdaq: CBRL) today announced that John Garratt, 55, has been elected to the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately. 

Mr. Garratt is the former President and Chief Financial Officer of Dollar General Corporation, a leading national retail chain operating over 19,000 stores in 48 states. Mr. Garratt began his tenure with Dollar General, as Senior Vice President, Finance and Strategy and later served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2015 to 2022 and ultimately President, CFO from 2022 to 2023. Mr. Garratt retired from Dollar General as President in 2023. Prior to joining Dollar General, Mr. Garratt served as Vice President, Finance and Division Controller for Yum! Brands, the world's largest restaurant company. Mr. Garratt also serves on the Board of Directors of Humana, Inc. and Papa John's International, Inc.

Carl Berquist, Lead Independent Director of the Cracker Barrel Board of Directors, stated, "John brings significant financial expertise and decades of corporate leadership experience to our Board, as well as a deep understanding of the retail and restaurant industries. We look forward to working with John and are confident that his insights will contribute to our success going forward."

About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) provides a caring and friendly home-away-from-home experience while offering guests high-quality homestyle food to enjoy in-store or to-go and unique shopping — all at a fair price. Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel and its affiliates operate over 660 company-owned Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations in 45 states and own the fast-casual Maple Street Biscuit Company. For more information about the Company, visit

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19 Dec, 2023, 10:00 ET

BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, the renowned restaurant and sports bar concept, is proud to announce the appointment of two industry veterans with Jamie Davis being named the Vice President of Supply Chain & Procurement and Tyler Schack stepping in as the Vice President of Technology. These strategic moves reinforce Walk-On's commitment to excellence as the brand continues its path of expansion and growth.

Jamie Davis, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Vice President of Supply Chain & Procurement

Tyler Schack, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Vice President of Technology

"We are thrilled to welcome Jamie Davis and Tyler Schack to the Walk-On's family. Their extensive experience and proven track records in their respective fields align seamlessly with our commitment to delivering top-notch experiences for our guests and assembling a high-caliber team to drive Walk-On's to new heights." said Chris Dawson, CEO of Walk-On's.

As the VP of Supply Chain & Procurement, Davis brings over fifteen years of invaluable experience in the Foodservice industry to her role at Walk-On's. Her previous experience includes positions as the VP of Supply Chain & Procurement at Insomnia Cookies, VP of Supply Chain at Edible Brands, Director of Supply Chain at Focus Brands (Cinnabon), and Director of Supply Chain at Tropical Smoothie Café. She's a proven procurement strategist who excels at building scalable distribution networks as a foundation for rapid revenue growth.

"I'm elated to embark on this exciting journey as the VP of Supply Chain & Procurement for Walk-On's. The energy and passion that define this brand resonate with me, and I'm eager to contribute my experience and strategic vision to elevate the supply chain and procurement processes.," said, Jamie Davis, Vice President of Supply Chain & Procurement. "I look forward to making a meaningful impact, ensuring the continued success and growth of this brand in the dynamic and ever-evolving restaurant industry."

Tyler Schack, the VP of Technology comes to Walk-On's previously from Focus Brands, where he served as the Director of Retail IT, overseeing all retail technology and new store openings for seven brands and over 3000 locations. Tyler's journey in the industry began at Buffalo Wild Wings, where he started as an hourly team member and worked his way up through various roles before transitioning to corporate as an administrator.

"I am honored to step into the role of Vice President of Technology at Walk-On's, a brand known for its commitment to leveraging technology to enhance the guest experience," said, Tyler Schack, VP of Technology at Walk-On's. "I look forward to building on the technological foundation already here and am excited to explore new avenues to incorporate the latest tech advancements to ensure that our valued Walk-On's guests continue to enjoy an unparalleled dining experience."

The Walk-On's team is confident that Jamie Davis and Tyler Schack will play instrumental roles in advancing the brand's mission to provide an exceptional dining experience for all guests.

About Walk-On's Sports BistreauxWalk-On's Sports Bistreaux, celebrated as the #1 Sports Bar in America by ESPN, is a nationally recognized restaurant and sports bar that brings together the love of food, sports, and community. Concepted on the back of a napkin by LSU walk-on basketball players Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux opened its doors in 2003 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, right in LSU's backyard. With a winning culture inspired by the grit, hustle and true spirit of a college walk-on, the brand has become a beloved destination for sports enthusiasts, families, and friends to celebrate any occasion. The menu boasts scratch-made dishes including hand-patted burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and Louisiana favorites, paired with a wide selection of unique cocktails and beers. Walk-On's, grounded in genuine Louisiana hospitality, ensures that guests feel right at home the moment they step into the restaurant. Entering its 20th year with nearly100 restaurants in the U.S., Walk-On's is accelerating nationwide expansion – ranked #1 by Entrepreneur for Top New Franchise and consistently ranking in Top 500 lists for Restaurant Business, Entrepreneur, Franchise Times, and Nation's Restaurant News. Walk-On's success and growth are a testament to its passionate franchise partners, including renowned athletes in co-owner Drew Brees, as well as franchisee's Dak Prescott, Derrick Brooks, and football coach Dabo Swinney. To learn more about Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux or to get more information on becoming a franchisee, please visit

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Enrique Ramirez Mena Joins Jack in the Box Inc. Board of Directors

December 19, 2023 04:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced that Enrique Ramirez Mena has joined the company’s Board of Directors, effective January 15, 2024. Ramirez Mena currently serves as president and chief financial officer of Buff City Soap, a franchisor offering handmade and plant-based personal care products with over 250 locations across the country. Before joining Buff City Soap, he spent 12 years at Yum! Brands in various executive leadership roles, both domestically and internationally. As the chief financial officer and chief growth officer of Pizza Hut, he helped lead an 18,000-store system with over $12 billion in sales. As the general manager of Pizza Hut Latin America & Iberia, he oversaw a business unit with 2,600 stores and system sales exceeding $1.5 billion. During his tenure at Yum! Brands, he consistently exceeded unit development and operating profit plans, setting records for the company's new store growth. He currently serves as Board Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee at Six Flags.

Ramirez Mena joins the Jack in the Box Inc. Board with more than two decades of financial and strategic development experience in the QSR and retail industries. Before his tenure at Yum! Brands, he held various senior leadership roles in marketing and strategic growth at FedEx Office Print & Ship Services Inc., formerly Kinko’s Inc., where he helped lead the accelerated growth of the Kinko’s store base following the merger between FedEx and Kinko’s.

“We are excited to welcome Enrique to our Board and look forward to leveraging his financial expertise as we execute our long-term strategic plan for the Jack in the Box and Del Taco brands,” said Darin Harris, CEO at Jack in the Box Inc. “In addition to Enrique’s strong financial leadership, his strategic development expertise leading the rapid acceleration of unit growth at Pizza Hut will play a critical role in guiding how best to achieve our growth goals for fiscal year 2024 and beyond and create shareholder value.”

Originally from Mexico City, Ramirez Mena holds a B.A. in Economics from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Jack in the Box Inc.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), founded and headquartered in San Diego, California, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box®, one of the nation's largest hamburger chains with approximately 2,200 restaurants across 21 states, and Del Taco®, the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the U.S. with approximately 600 restaurants across 16 states. For more information on both brands, including franchising opportunities, visit and

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BRIX Holdings Bolsters Executive Leadership Team with New CFO

Rick Brown joins C-suite of rapidly expanding multi-brand franchising company

Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.comBRIX Holdings LLC today announced the appointment of Rick Brown as its Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. In this pivotal role, Brown will spearhead the financial and accounting functions across all brands under the BRIX Holdings umbrella, including Friendly’s Restaurants, Red Mango, Orange Leaf, Smoothie Factory + Kitchen, SouperSalad and Pizza Jukebox.

With a 30-year track record in executive roles within the retail and restaurant industries, Brown brings a wealth of experience to his new position. Most recently, Mr. Brown served as the CFO for TGI Fridays until September of this year, where he had responsibility for all financial functions for the global brand.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the BRIX team,” said Brown. “We have an exceptional group of brands, team members and franchisees that all contribute to our success. I see this as a great opportunity to guide this high-growth restaurant group to its next level of performance, and I am ready for the challenge.”

Brown’s hiring comes at a strategic moment for BRIX Holdings, which has been experiencing rapid growth in its legacy, newly acquired and internally created franchise concepts.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick to our robust leadership team as we continue to expand our portfolio of brands through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” said Sherif Mityas, CEO of BRIX Holdings. “I am confident that Rick’s financial and industry expertise will be invaluable assets to our efforts and a key driver of our success moving forward.”

With Brown at the financial helm, BRIX Holdings is well-positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities, strengthen its market presence and achieve new milestones in the dynamic restaurant industry.

For more information, visit

About BRIX Holdings LLC

BRIX Holdings, LLC is a Dallas-based, multi-brand franchising company specializing in food service chains with superior products within better-for-you segments. Our mission is to provide superior franchise opportunities. We focus on brands that are both attractive to the rapidly expanding single-unit owner/operator franchise market and have the potential to grow into national and international award-winning chains. The current BRIX Holdings’ portfolio includes Red Mango® Yogurt Café Smoothie & Juice Bar, Smoothie Factory + Kitchen, Pizza Jukebox, Orange Leaf® Frozen Yogurt, Humble Donut Co.®, Souper Salad®, and Friendly’s® Restaurant Group.

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Seminole Hard Rock Promotes Elena Alvarez to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Brand Partnerships

December 15, 2023

Hollywood, FL  (  Seminole Hard Rock has appointed Elena Alvarez as the new Senior Vice President of Marketing and Brand Partnerships for Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International. In this new role, the company veteran will be responsible for the development of brand activations and integrating assets across Hotels, Cafes, Retail, and Casinos including overseeing the development of new revenue-generating platforms. Alvarez will also continue to oversee the global marketing of the Cafe division of Hard Rock International. She reports to Jeff Hook, Executive Vice President of Marketing/CMO of Seminole Hard Rock Support Services and, with respect to brand partnerships, to Keith Sheldon, President of Entertainment.

“Elena is an essential senior marketer with a proven track record elevating the Hard Rock brand for our Cafe division that includes spearheading F&B innovation and initiating and evolving the company’s successful multi-faceted partnership with Lionel Messi,” said Hook. “With nearly 20 years of experience at Hard Rock alone, we have the utmost confidence that Elena will continue to elevate the Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming brands in new and exciting ways.”

Alvarez began her career with Hard Rock International as a Sales & Marketing Manager for Hard Rock Cafe Barcelona in 2005. Since then, Alvarez held key sales and marketing roles in the Europe, U.K. and U.S. Cafe divisions where she developed regional and global marketing strategies, brand programs, and corporate sponsorships across the company and franchise Cafe portfolio to drive top-line sales while heightening consumer awareness. In 2019 after her move to the U.S., Alvarez was promoted to Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for the Cafe division where oversaw marketing in more than 150 Hard Rock locations (which will continue in her new role) and has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Hard Rock brand.

“I couldn’t be more excited to take this next step in my journey with Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming with the support of our incredible leadership and marketing team,” said Alvarez. “I’ve had the privilege of building my career with the iconic Hard Rock brand and I’m excited to continue in an era of excellence for Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming through impactful brand partnerships for our guests and fans.”

Additional information on Hard Rock International can be found by visiting For more information regarding open roles at Hard Rock International, please visit

About Hard Rock®

Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in over 70 countries spanning 290 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 87,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock Hotels has been honored by J.D. Power’s North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study as the number one brand in Outstanding Guest Satisfaction for two consecutive years, and among the top Upper Upscale Hotels for four consecutive years. HRI became the first privately-owned gaming company designated a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal in 2021 and has since been honored threefold. Hard Rock was also honored by Forbes among the World’s Best Employers, as well as Best Employers for Women, Diversity and New Grads and a Top Large Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. In the 2022 Global Gaming Awards, Hard Rock was named Land-Based Operator of the Year for the second time in four years. In 2021, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos received first place ranking in the Casino Gaming Executive Satisfaction Survey conducted by Bristol Associates Inc. and Spectrum Gaming Group for six of the last seven years. Hard Rock International currently holds investment grades from primary investment rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB) and Fitch Ratings (BBB). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit or

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Wingstop Names Chris Fallon Chief Information Officer

14 Dec, 2023, 08:15 ET

DALLAS, Dec. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING) named Chris Fallon as SVP, Chief Information Officer today, charged with leading the brand's enterprise and restaurant technology solutions, IT infrastructure and information security.

Chris is an experienced technology leader, where his responsibilities spanned retail back-of-house, corporate, licensed stores and CPG technologies at Starbucks over his 14-year tenure. Most recently, Chris served as Chief Information Officer at Fortune Brands Water Innovations, overseeing the Moen and House of Rohl businesses.

"Wingstop's category of one position is further strengthened by our tech-forward strategy and vision to digitize every transaction," said Wingstop's President & CEO, Michael Skipworth. "Having Chris onboard will build on our strong foundation, and take our enterprise and restaurant technology solutions to the next level."

Chris joins Wingstop on the heels of Q3 earnings, reporting 66.9% digital sales, and a system-wide sales increase of 26.5%.

"Wingstop is supercharged for growth, and I'm excited to join at such a dynamic time for the brand," said Fallon. "Wingstop has established itself as a technology leader, and I look forward to the journey as this best-in-class team continues to scale globally."

About WingstopFounded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises more than 2,050 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and use of a best-in-class technology platform, all while offering classic and boneless wings, tenders, and chicken sandwiches, always cooked to order and hand sauced-and-tossed in fans' choice of 11 bold, distinctive flavors. Wingstop's menu also features signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly made ranch and bleu cheese dips.

In fiscal year 2022, Wingstop's system-wide sales increased 16.8% to approximately $2.7 billion, marking the 19th consecutive year of same store sales growth. With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, Wingstop's system is comprised of independent franchisees, or brand partners, who account for approximately 98% of Wingstop's total restaurant count of 2,099 as of September 30, 2023.

A key to this business success and consumer fandom stems from The Wingstop Way, which includes a core value system of being Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun. The Wingstop Way extends to the brand's environmental, social and governance platform as Wingstop seeks to provide value to all guests.

Rounding out a strong year in 2022, the Company made Technomic 500's "Fastest Growing Franchise" list, was ranked #16 on Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500," won Fast Casual's Excellence in Food Safety award, and was named to Fast Company's "The World's Most Innovative Companies" list ranking #4 in the dining category.

For more information visit or and follow @Wingstop on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Learn more about Wingstop's involvement in its local communities at

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The Wendy's Company Announces Election of Wendy Arlin to Board of Directors

14 Dec, 2023, 16:30 ET

Joseph Levato Will Not Stand for Re-Election at Wendy's 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Changes Reflect Wendy's Previously Disclosed Commitment to Ongoing Director Refreshment and Promotion of Board Diversity

DUBLIN, Ohio, Dec. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wendy's Company (Nasdaq: WEN) today announced that on December 13, 2023, its Board of Directors increased the size of the Board from 12 to 13 members and elected Wendy C. Arlin to serve as an independent director of the Company, effective immediately. In addition, Joseph A. ("Joe") Levato has notified the Board that he intends to retire from the Board and not stand for re-election at Wendy's 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Following Mr. Levato's retirement at the Annual Meeting, the size of the Board will be reduced to 12 directors. Today's announcement reflects the Wendy's Board's continued commitment to ongoing director refreshment and promoting board diversity. In its 2023 proxy statement, the Company noted its commitment to continuing to promote Board refreshment and diversity, including actively working to add at least one additional director to the Board in 2023 after electing Richard (Rick) Gomez in November 2021 and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera in March 2023.

Ms. Arlin brings more than three decades of experience in corporate finance, financial reporting, oversight and accounting, with deep expertise in the consumer industry. From August 2021 through July 2023, Ms. Arlin served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Bath & Body Works, Inc. ("BBWI"), a home fragrance, body care and soaps and sanitizer products retailer. Prior to her role as Chief Financial Officer of BBWI and prior to the spin-off of BBWI, Ms. Arlin served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Corporate Controller of L Brands, Inc., where she led the corporate finance, financial reporting, accounting and financial shared services functions from 2005 to 2021. Ms. Arlin is a certified public accountant, and prior to joining L Brands, she spent 12 years at KPMG LLP in the audit practice and ultimately held the position of partner in charge of the central Ohio consumer and industrial/information, communications and entertainment business practices. In addition to the Wendy's Board, Ms. Arlin also serves as a director of WK Kellogg Co. where she is Chair of the Audit committee.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Chairman Nelson Peltz said Arlin provides the Board with substantial expertise in corporate finance, financial reporting, oversight and accounting. "We are confident that Wendy's experience and financial acumen will bring immense value to the Board. We look forward to her fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our growth playbook to achieve our vision of becoming the world's most thriving and beloved restaurant brand."

Peltz continued, "We are very grateful to Joe for his many contributions over his many years of service and will always consider him a member of the Wendy's family."

Arlin said, "I'm thrilled to join the Wendy's Board at such an exciting time. The brand is positioned to unlock accelerated global growth, and I look forward to working alongside the Board and management team to drive progress across the Company's strategic growth pillars."

Levato said, "The Board and I have been contemplating my retirement for some time, and, with the addition of Wendy and the financial expertise she will provide, I believe our 2024 Annual Meeting is the right time to step back. I am proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure and confident the Company is well positioned for continued success."

ABOUT WENDY'S Wendy's® was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, "Quality is our Recipe®," which remains the guidepost of the Wendy's system. Wendy's is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef*, freshly-prepared salads, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy's Company (Nasdaq: WEN) is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company's support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy's Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find a loving, forever home for every child waiting to be adopted from the North American foster care system. Today, Wendy's and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across over 7,000 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world's most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. For details on franchising, connect with us at

Visit and for more information and connect with us on X and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook at

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SPB Hospitality Promotes Kristen Hohl to Vice President of Marketing

December 14, 2023

Strengthens leadership to continue growing brands

Houston, TX  (RestaurantNews.comSPB Hospitality, a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants across the U.S., recently announced the promotion of Kristen Hohl to Vice President of Marketing. Hohl previously served as Senior Director of Marketing for the organization. She is a career restaurant professional with extensive experience in marketing and operations.

“Kristen has been vital in our growth over the past five years, and we are proud to have her take on this new leadership role to further expand the presence and relevance of our brands,” said Josh Kern, CEO of SPB Hospitality. “She consistently demonstrates exceptional leadership, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of our industry. Her dedication and expertise make her the ideal candidate to lead our marketing efforts as we move forward.”

Kristen Hohl joined Logan’s Roadhouse in 2018 as Marketing Manager and in 2020 continued with SPB Hospitality as Marketing Director. She was promoted to Senior Director of Marketing in 2022 before taking on her current role as Vice President of Marketing. In this capacity, she will oversee all aspects of marketing strategies and initiatives to ensure marketing efforts align with the company’s long-term objectives and provide support to franchise partners. Hohl will be responsible for the marketing and brand development of the diverse portfolio of SPB Hospitality including J. Alexander’s Stoney River Steakhouse, Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.

A graduate of Ohio State University, Hohl has dedicated her career to restaurants.  Having previously served as Marketing Manager for O’Charley’s Restaurant & Bar, and Local Store Marketing for Claim Jumper Restaurants, Kristen has gained a reputation for bridging the gap between operations and marketing.

Hohl launched her career in restaurant operations in 2002 when she joined Thomas and King (Applebee’s) as a Corporate Trainer. It was here that she gained an understanding of every role in the restaurant and how to develop strong teams for the organization. She also served as Kitchen Manager for Thomas and King, where she continued to train staff while also successfully managing budgets and food costs.

“I am incredibly honored to step into this new role with SPB Hospitality,” said Kristen Hohl, Vice President of Marketing for SPB Hospitality. “These are very exciting times for our exceptional brands and our team is poised to enter this new era of marketing and support the growth of our restaurants.”

For more information about SPB Hospitality, visit

About SPB Hospitality

SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants across 38 U.S. states and territories. With a national footprint encompassing hundreds of restaurants and breweries, SPB Hospitality is dedicated to delivering exceptional dining experiences. SPB Hospitality’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and an impressive collection of high-end restaurant brands such as J. Alexander’s and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill.

As one of the country’s largest operators of craft brewery restaurants, SPB Hospitality takes pride in its craft beer expertise. SPB Hospitality proudly owns and operates renowned craft brewery restaurant brands like Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.

Visit our website at to explore the exceptional flavors, inviting atmospheres, and unparalleled dining experiences that await you at SPB Hospitality’s restaurants and breweries.

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TGI Fridays® Bolsters Leadership Team with Appointment of Ray Risley to U.S. President & Chief Operating Officer and Nik Rupp to President of International Markets and Chief Financial Officer

13 Dec, 2023, 09:30 ET

The addition of both leaders follows the announcement of Weldon Spangler as Chief Executive Officer as the brand's revitalization plan continues in the U.S. and globally

DALLAS, Dec. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- TGI Fridays®, the world's first casual bar and grill, announced today the hiring of Ray Risley as U.S President and Chief Operating Officer and Nik Rupp as President of International Markets and Chief Financial Officer. Both will report directly to CEO Weldon Spangler as the company continues to implement a growth plan to revitalize the iconic brand globally.

In the role as U.S. President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Risley will be responsible for the supervision and management of the operational facets and performance standards of all TGI Fridays establishments within the United States, encompassing both Company-owned and Franchised entities. Risley joins TGI Fridays after serving as CEO of Via 313 Pizzeria, where he doubled the brand's number of units and successfully positioned the award-winning independent pizza chain for significant future expansion. Prior to that, he was President and COO of Front Burner Society, where he was integral to the growth of the Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar concept. Mr. Risley notably spent nearly 20 years in a variety of leadership roles at Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc, including most recently as President of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse.

TGI Fridays is also announcing the hiring of Nik Rupp as Chief Financial Officer and President of International. In this role, Mr. Rupp will oversee the financial strategy of TGI Fridays with an emphasis in accounting, finance and capital structure, as well as focus on growth and managing relationships with International franchisees. Mr. Rupp most recently held the role of COO at Papa Murphy's International, subsequent to serving as the company's CFO. Throughout his tenure at Papa Murphy's, he played an instrumental role in driving a clear vision, strategy, and growth for the international pizza company. Previously, Mr. Rupp held leadership positions at esteemed global consumer brands, among them, Specialized, Nike and Converse.

"We have a significant opportunity to lead this much-loved, heritage brand through a revitalized new chapter, and by bringing on Ray and Nik to our leadership team, we are confident in what we can accomplish in the coming year," said Weldon Spangler, CEO of TGI Fridays. "Not only do Ray and Nik have tremendous experience in the restaurant industry that will drive growth for our brand and our franchisees, but their enthusiasm and passion for TGI Fridays will also be a cornerstone to our vision for the company."

This news comes as TGI Fridays continues the revitalization of its brand, including reinvigorating many of its legacy menu offerings. Most recently, TGI Fridays unveiled its most innovative bar menu to date with the launch of its "Claus for Celebration" menu, offering up an incredible 14 new cocktails and mocktails for the holiday season. In addition, the brand revamped its world-renowned appetizers menu and rolled out its new Grilled & Sauced™ platform earlier this year.

With a laser focus on operational excellence and compelling menu offerings, TGI Fridays will continue to execute its growth-oriented business plan focused on revitalizing TGI Fridays. Delivering on "That Fridays Feeling™" has been synonymous with the iconic brand for nearly 60 years.

TGI Fridays operates and franchises nearly 700 restaurants across 51 countries. The company saw total system wide sales of $1.6B in 2022 with same US sales growing at +8% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). The company announced its most significant deal in September of last year, consisting of 75 new franchised restaurants to be opened throughout South and Southeast Asia over the next 10 years representing an additional $500MM in restaurant revenue.

About TGI Fridays®As the world's first casual bar and grill, TGI Fridays® is the birthplace of fun, freedom, and celebration, bringing people together to socialize and experience "That Fridays Feeling™" – a sense of celebrating the fun in everyday moments, big and small. For over 50 years, Fridays® has been lifting spirits around the world with over 700 restaurants in 51 countries, serving high-quality, classic American food and iconic drinks backed by authentic and genuine service. Visit for more information and join Fridays Rewards®. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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