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Executive Movements - June 2021








Planet Fitness Appoints Sherrill Kaplan Chief Digital Officer

Strengthens Leadership Team with a Focus on Digital Innovation



Jun 09, 2021, 08:15 ET

HAMPTON, N.H., June 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Planet Fitness, Inc. (NYSE: PLNT), one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S. with more members than any other fitness brand, announced that Sherrill Kaplan has been appointed Chief Digital Officer. Ms. Kaplan joins the brand this month leading the Company's digital vision and strategy, including the continuous evolution of its mobile app, with a focus on consumer engagement, loyalty and a differentiated omni-channel experience to accelerate Planet Fitness' growth and success. She will report directly to Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer.



"Sherrill has a strong track record of leading digital acceleration efforts and enhancing consumer experiences for well-known consumer brands across various industries," said Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer. "This appointment and newly created leadership role, demonstrates our continued commitment to digital innovation and is a key part of our bricks with clicks growth strategy. Sherrill's unique background that spans digital marketing, innovation, e-commerce, branding, and customer loyalty, will make her an instrumental addition to our team as we continue to enhance our digital offerings and engage with our members inside and outside our four walls."


Most recently, Ms. Kaplan served as Global Marketing Operations Advisor for Advent International, a global private equity firm. Previously, she served as Head of Marketing and Sales for Zipcar, the world's leading car-sharing network, where she was a key member of the executive leadership team responsible for demand and revenue generation and all marketing functions. Prior to that, she served as the Vice President of Digital Marketing & Innovation at Dunkin' Brands where she was responsible for developing and marketing Dunkin's digital platforms, including the DD Mobile app and the DD Perks loyalty program. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kaplan held several digital and marketing leadership roles at global brands including American Express and Citi, Inc. She serves as an independent member of the Fiesta Restaurant Group Board of Directors, as well as the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX). Ms. Kaplan holds a B.S. from Boston University and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business.

"As Planet Fitness continues to lead the fitness industry, I am thrilled to join the Company at such an exciting time," said Sherrill Kaplan. "I've long admired Planet Fitness' mission to introduce more people to fitness, enhance their lives, and ultimately create a healthier world. Planet Fitness has an unrivaled value proposition which has only been enhanced by their recent digital offerings. I look forward to building upon this momentum and leading the next generation of digital innovation."

About Planet Fitness

Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of March 31, 2021, Planet Fitness had more than 14.1 million members and 2,146 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company's mission is to enhance people's lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone®. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and operated by independent business men and women.

View source version at Planet Fitness


Shake Shack Appoints Katherine Fogertey as Chief Financial Officer


June 09, 2021 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shake Shack Inc. (“Shake Shack” or the “Company”) (NYSE:SHAK) today announced that Katherine Fogertey has been appointed to serve as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, effective June 14, 2021. Katie joins Shake Shack’s executive leadership team and will be responsible for leading financial operations across the Company, including accounting and control, financial planning and analysis, operations finance, investor relations and external reporting.

Katie brings to Shake Shack more than 15 years of financial and investment experience, including equity and derivatives research, financial modeling and forecasting, and a deep understanding and focus on the restaurant industry.

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, stated, "I am excited to welcome Katie to the Shake Shack leadership team as CFO. She brings extensive financial experience, knowledge of our brand and deep industry and capital markets insights. I know Katie will be a natural fit in our Shake Shack culture, and I’m looking forward to working with her and our entire team as our business enters a new phase of exciting growth ahead.”

Prior to joining Shake Shack, Ms. Fogertey spent over 15 years at Goldman Sachs in New York City where she rose to lead analyst covering the restaurant sector. In this position, she had a heavy focus on the impact of technology and growth opportunities in the sector. Prior, she was a lead analyst for Derivatives and ETF research. She has held various leadership roles during her tenure at Goldman Sachs, including co-head of the Global Investment Research Women's Network. Katie is from St. Louis, MO and holds a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis in Accounting, Finance and International Business.

"I have always admired the incredible brand Shake Shack has built and maintained, while accelerating its expansion and growth across the globe. I am beyond thrilled to be joining the team at such a pivotal time in the Company’s journey. The Shack brand is stronger than ever and well positioned to capitalize on all the many opportunities ahead,” said Katie Fogertey.

Katie will be based in Shake Shack’s home office in New York City.

Photo available here.

About Shake Shack

Shake Shack is a modern day "roadside" burger stand serving a classic American menu of premium burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, crinkle cut fries, shakes, frozen custard, beer and wine. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal. Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand for Something Good®, from its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its inspiring designs and deep community investment. Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the Company has expanded to approximately 330 locations in 32 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, including more than 100 international locations including London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Philippines, Mexico, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Seoul and more.

View source version at Shake Shack


Pieology Names Bijan Sami New Chief Operations, Information Officer

June 9, 2021


Tustin, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Pizza innovator Pieology has announced the appointment of Bijan Sami as the company’s new Chief Operations and Information Officer. He will be responsible for leading both the global operations and technology roadmap for the Company.

After spending over a decade in the semiconductor industry, with global brands like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and Conexant, Mr. Sami spent the last 17 years launching and building Luna Grill from its first location to 52 locations nationwide in a wide capacity of responsibilities, including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Procurement Officer and overall responsibilities for technology and systems throughout his entire tenure.

“Bijan brings a wealth of leadership and operating experience, along with the critical technical knowledge we need to continue our global growth and expansion,” says Gregg Imamoto, Pieology’s Chief Executive Officer. “It goes without saying that Bijan’s full spectrum of restaurant systems expertise will be a great addition to the Pieology team.”

Starting in 1997, Mr. Sami deployed his engineering experience towards the design and implementation of hardware at some of the world’s top companies. Beginning in 2004, he migrated to the food service industry and leveraged his engineering and manufacturing skills to implement technology enhancements, operational improvements and procurement optimization for Luna Grill.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and I’m absolutely thrilled to join this incredible brand,” says Mr. Sami. “I’m looking forward to working hands-on with franchisees, team members within our restaurants, and all Pieology stakeholders as we continue our momentum and growth for the Company.”

About Pieology Pizzeria

Founded in 2011, the 130-restaurant franchise Pieology was created from the simple idea to turn America’s most craveable food into an affordable and interactive experience that is tailored to each individual. Pieology’s vision is to serve individuality in a positive atmosphere where guests can safely gather with family and friends, while enjoying their delicious pizza creations. Along with providing great food and a memorable dining experience, Pieology is committed to making a positive difference in the communities it serves, one pie at a time. Our guests can enjoy high quality, custom pizzas at home with Pieology delivery, curbside pickup and takeout, available at participating locations.

View source version at Pieology


Black Bear Diner Names Chad Corrigan as Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development - Focuses on 2-pronged Development Approach, Franchise and Corporate


New Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development Chad Corrigan brings successful record of development leadership to the family-focused diner



June 08, 2021 08:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time


REDDING, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Black Bear Diner, the one-of-a-kind, bear-themed dining concept offering a family-friendly atmosphere and classic, home-style comfort food, today announced the appointment of restaurant industry veteran Chad Corrigan in the newly-created role of Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development.

With more than 14 years of franchise development strategy experience with well-known restaurant franchises, including Jack in the Box, Qdoba, Tokyo Joe’s, and Quiznos, Corrigan’s experience will be invaluable as Black Bear Diner looks to bring its popular diner model to new markets and expand its footprint in existing markets. The company will open three diners in 2021 – two corporate diners in Texas and one franchise location in California.

“Chad joins Black Bear Diner at an exciting time for our brand. We’re experiencing a strong recovery and our current franchise partners are reigniting their growth plans, which is contributing to the overall health of our business,” said Anita Adams, CEO of Black Bear Diner. “Our eastward expansion over the last five years has validated the relevance of Black Bear Diner and Chad’s expertise with supporting and growing franchise operations is exactly what we need as we look to partner with new operators and introduce the Black Bear Diner experience to new regions.”

Prior to joining Black Bear Diner, Corrigan held the role of Vice President of Real Estate and Franchise Development for Nashville-based Restaurant Growth Services, LLC, which provides a variety of management and operational services to four restaurant brands. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

Corrigan’s appointment comes as Black Bear Diner is currently experiencing a strong recovery following operational shifts to comply with local ordinances and regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, the company provided significant support to its franchise partners to help operators withstand the financial impact. All 143 currently operating restaurant locations – including six new diners that opened in 2020 – have fully reopened their dining rooms while also offering guests takeout and delivery.

About Black Bear Diner Black Bear Diner is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country. Founded in 1995 by Bruce Dean and Bob Manley in Mt. Shasta, California, Black Bear Diner brings home-style comfort food classics and personal service to the dining experience. The quickly growing family dining concept, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers a vast, enticing menu anchored in hearty portions and excellent value, with service rooted in genuine hospitality.

The franchise now operates 143 locations in 14 states and growing. Black Bear Diner has been consistently recognized for its significant growth and outstanding performance – Winner of FSR Magazine’s 2021 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Legacy Brand, Top 10 Customer Service Winner, Top 10 Fastest-Growing Chain and Top Disruptor from Nation’s Restaurant News. Franchise Times has called Black Bear Diner one of the “smartest-growing brands” in the country. The company is a disruptor in the family-dining segment for its growth and performance and will continue to focus on serving home-style comfort food classics and bringing personal service back to the dining industry as the brand continues to execute its expansion plan.

View source version at Black Bear Diner




QDOBA Mexican Eats Appoints Jim Sullivan to Chief Development Officer

Former CKE Restaurant Holdings executive to bolster premier fast-casual restaurant chain's leadership and help drive future growth and expansion



Jun 07, 2021, 08:00 ET



SAN DIEGO, June 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- QDOBA, the company voted best fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain in 2019, 2020, and 2021 by USA Today 10Best, announced today the appointment of Jim Sullivan, a seasoned restaurant industry executive with more than 25 years of experience in real estate, franchise development, and site acquisition management, to chief development officer. In his new role, Sullivan will lead all restaurant development activities, including market planning, site selection, real estate negotiations, franchise sales and more to support the company's aggressive growth plan.



"Jim brings a unique perspective and strong leadership approach, backed by a proven track record of successfully accelerating franchise growth for some of the nation's leading restaurant concepts," said Keith Guilbault, CEO of QDOBA. "His expertise and years of experience in growing brands similar to ours in size and scale will serve us well in connecting with new franchise partners, expanding our nationwide footprint, and reaching new heights as a company."


Sullivan's accomplishments span 25 years and several prominent restaurant brands. Prior to joining QDOBA, Sullivan held leadership positions at CKE Restaurant Holdings, parent company to Carl's Jr, Hardee's, Green Burrito and Red Burrito Concepts, including executive vice president of domestic development and, most recently, chief development officer. There, Sullivan was responsible for all domestic development, real estate and construction activities such as design, restaurant maintenance, real estate, market planning, asset management, franchise sales strategies, compliance and more. Previously, he served in multiple leadership positions, including chief development officer of Friendly's Ice Cream Corporation and was the director of franchise sales, marketing and real estate at American Hospitality Concepts. Sullivan received his Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Mini M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN.

"As a fan of the company, I'm thrilled to be joining QDOBA at such a pivotal moment in its next phase of expansion," adds Sullivan. "In my new role, I will be focused on entering new markets and strengthening our brand presence in existing markets."

Sullivan will serve on the company's Executive Leadership Team. For more information on QDOBA, visit www.QDOBA.com.

About QDOBA Mexican Eats QDOBA is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with more than 740 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Committed to bringing flavor to people's lives, QDOBA uses ingredients prepared in-house, by hand, and fresh throughout the day, to create delicious menu options. Guests can experience QDOBA's delicious flavors by enjoying one of its signature menu options that are chef-crafted for convenience and ease or by customizing their burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and salads to fit their personal tastes. For three years running, QDOBA has been voted the "Best Fast Casual Restaurant" as part of the USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. Discover more at www.QDOBA.com or on the QDOBA app, which is available for download on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Fans can also connect with QDOBA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

View source version at QDOBA




Jon Gilliam Joins Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen as Chief Executive Officer



Jun 03, 2021, 14:33 ET



TORRANCE, Calif., June 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen, known for its insanely craveable Japanese-inspired rice bowls, announces Jon Gilliam as its Chief Executive Officer. As the brand prepares to rapidly accelerate store growth, Gilliam will play a pivotal role in guiding the brand evolution, streamlining operations, and serving up freshly prepared, enhanced menu offerings.



With nearly 20 years in the restaurant industry, Gilliam's vast experience leading operations, innovation and brand management for large-scale restaurant brands across domestic and international footprints will undoubtedly be instrumental as Yoshinoya expands its U.S. locations and fanbase, further strengthening its position as the go-to restaurant for freshly prepared, customizable bowls. Under his direction, the brand is already testing a new kitchen layout to increase throughput and enhance the guest experience.


Gilliam joins from Moe's Southwest Grill, where he served as Vice President of Operations and Retail Technology. There he spearheaded modernization initiatives, driving innovation across technology, design, training and operations. Prior to Moe's, Gilliam's successful track record includes leadership roles at Jamba, SusieCakes Bakery and Starbucks.

"Yoshinoya is a strong brand with a devoted fanbase and mouth-watering menu items, made from high-quality ingredients and cooked with care in our kitchens daily. Building on the company's rebranding initiative and establishment of off-premise sales channels, I look forward to leading it's continued evolution, while staying true to our rich Japanese heritage." said Gilliam. "I'm excited to join the Yoshinoya team and look forward to guiding the company to new heights."

About Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen Fresh, wholesome Japanese-style cuisine is the essence of Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen. Dating back to 1899 with the opening of its first restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, Yoshinoya is among the oldest quick-service restaurant chains in operation. Throughout its century of experience, Yoshinoya continues to grow aggressively while operating or franchising more than 2,000 restaurants in Japan, Mainland China, Shanghai, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and the United States, including over 100 locations in California. Guests can customize their bowl from a variety of insanely craveable menu options, including the original Beef Bowl® that started it all. For more information, visit the company's website.

View source version at Yosinoya




Blaze Pizza Appoints Johnny Jones as Senior Vice President of Development

- Leading Fast Casual Pizza Concept Welcomes Franchise Development Veteran Amid Rapid Expansion in Texas and the Southeast -



Jun 02, 2021, 11:28 ET



LOS ANGELES, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Blaze Pizza, the nation's leading fast-casual franchise pizza concept, announced today that Johnny Jones has joined the executive leadership team as Senior Vice President of Development. Jones has spent more than 20 years in the franchise industry leading real estate development, market planning, property negotiations, and asset management for nationally recognized restaurant brands. In his new role with Blaze Pizza, Jones will utilize his depth of experience to support the brand's ambitious growth plans for 2021 and beyond.

"We are excited to welcome Johnny as the newest member of our Blaze family. His proficiency in real estate development coupled with a deep understanding of the restaurant industry will undoubtedly fuel our ongoing efforts to rapidly expand Blaze's footprint across the country," said Mandy Shaw, chief executive officer and president of Blaze Pizza. "Blaze has cultivated an exceptional leadership team led by industry veterans, and we have no doubt that adding Johnny's expertise will be a tremendous asset as we accelerate our unit growth and welcome new franchisees to the brand."

Prior to joining Blaze, Jones served as Vice President of Real Estate and Development for SONIC Drive-In and Inspire Brands, a top-tier holding company for popular franchise brands such as SONIC Drive-In, Jimmy Johns, and Buffalo Wild Wings, among others. In this previous position, Jones led all aspects of real estate development and construction management, including executing profitable franchise development deals and growth strategies, and real estate negotiations. Under his leadership, the fast-food restaurant chain grew to over 1,000 units. Additionally, Jones held positions at SONIC Drive-In as senior director of real estate and development and manager of graphic information systems, working closely with the real estate team to identify potential restaurant locations, strategic placements and optimize market penetration.

"In the restaurant industry, you rarely come across a brand like Blaze Pizza that appeals to the masses, delivers on their promise to only use quality food products, and provides a selection of menu items that will appease the array of dietary preferences we see in today's world. When I had the opportunity to join the team in charge of growing this trailblazing concept, it was an easy yes for me," said Jones. "After fourteen months of navigating a pandemic, now's a great time to accelerate the momentum Blaze has built and expand the brand's footprint in markets nationwide."

This latest new hire announcement comes at an exciting period for Blaze Pizza. The popular franchise pizza concept recently announced a surge of franchise development with new deals signed to expand across Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, among other key target markets. With dozens of new locations under development, Blaze Pizza is in the midst of aggressive expansion. Franchise opportunities remain in markets across the U.S., including the Northeast and Texas. For more information about development opportunities with Blaze Pizza, please visit www.blazepizza.com or contact Ed Yancey at ed.yancey@blazepizza.com.

About Blaze Pizza Founded in 2011, Blaze Pizza is the nation's leading fast-casual pizza franchise concept with more than 340 restaurants across 38 states and 6 countries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Blaze Pizza is committed to delivering a one-of-a-kind customer experience and unparalleled high-quality products. Known for its savory artisanal pizzas and customizable made-to-order menu featuring fresh, natural ingredients free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners, Blaze leads the industry in menu innovation and product excellence. The rapidly-growing franchise has received numerous accolades including Entrepreneur's Franchise 500, as well as #1 spot on Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers and Shakers and Franchise Times' Fast and Serious list. Visit blazepizza.com for additional information and stay connected @BlazePizza.

View source version at Blaze Pizza



Bloomin’ Brands Promotes Danielle Vona to Executive Leadership Team


June 01, 2021 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time


TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) today announced the promotion of Danielle Vona to Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Bloomin’ Brands. She will also join the Executive Leadership Team. As CMO, Vona will oversee marketing from brand strategy to implementation. She will guide a team responsible for consumer insights, brand marketing, food and beverage development and field marketing.

Vona previously held senior marketing positions at PepsiCo and Sonic. She returned to Bloomin’ Brands in 2019 as CMO for Outback Steakhouse; she earlier held the same position at Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

“Danielle has been instrumental in the evolution of our marketing strategy, helping us shift to a more effective digital approach,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin' Brands. “Her consumer-centric expertise will bring renewed insight to the executive team.”

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 bloominbrands.com.

View source version at Bloomin' Brands



Potbelly Corporation Appoints Larry Strain as Chief Development Officer

Highly regarded retail development expert brings 20 years of success to this key position

May 26, 2021 17:00 ET

CHICAGO, May 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, today announced the appointment of Larry Strain as its Chief Development Officer (“CDO”) effective immediately. Potbelly is contracting with Restaurant Development Experts (RDE), LLC in connection with Mr. Strain’s engagement for this role and Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Potbelly, will have oversight responsibility for him in this leadership position. Mr. Strain will oversee four key areas of shop development including Corporate Development Services, Franchise Sales & Development, Brokerage Services & Tenant Representation, and Strategic & Trade Area Level Market Planning.



Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Potbelly commented, “The addition of Larry and his wealth of experience in real estate and franchise development is critical in advancing Potbelly to our next phase of growth. Larry is a highly regarded retail development and business strategist with the necessary background to advance Potbelly in the next stage of our ‘Traffic-Driven’ Profitability Strategic Plan. I could not be more excited to welcome him to our executive team.”

Larry Strain added, “I am thrilled to join the Potbelly family and participate in its pivot to longer-term sustainable growth. I look forward to partnering with Potbelly’s hardworking franchisees and over 6,000 Potbelly associates. I am highly confident in my ability to leverage my experience and look forward to contributing to Potbelly’s future success.”

Mr. Strain is a Founding Partner of RDE, LLC and creator of a revolutionary market intelligence platform that provides retailers with customized growth and optimization plans. Prior to RDE, he was the CDO for INQUE and Senior Vice President of Real Estate & Store Development for Global Partners, LP. Previously, Mr. Strain held real estate and store development roles with McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Brands and Starbucks.

Mr. Strain holds a CCIM designation from the CCIM Institute.

About Potbelly

Potbelly Corporation is a neighborhood sandwich concept that has been feeding customers’ smiles with warm, toasty sandwiches, signature salads, hand-dipped shakes and other fresh menu items, customized just the way customers want them, for more than 40 years. Potbelly promises Fresh, Fast & Friendly service in an environment that reflects the local neighborhood. Since opening its first shop in Chicago in 1977, Potbelly has expanded to neighborhoods across the country - with approximately 400 company-owned shops in the United States. Additionally, Potbelly franchisees operate over 40 shops in the United States. For more information, please visit our website at www.potbelly.com.

View source version at Potbelly


Peter Ortiz Joins Huddle House’s Parent as Chief Development Officer

The franchise veteran previously helped to expand Qdoba, Moe's and Potbelly.

By Peter Romeo on May 24, 2021

The parent company of the Huddle House and Perkins family dining chains has hired Peter Ortiz as chief development officer for both brands.

Ortiz brings extensive experience in franchising to his new position at Ascent Hospitality Management, most recently at Qdoba, the limited-service Tex-Mex brand. His earlier employers included Moe’s Southwest Grill, Potbelly and Schlotzsky’s.

Ortiz’s current priority will be to line up multi-unit franchise deals across the U.S., according to Ascent.

“Peter’s strong work ethic, determination and reputation for successfully growing notable franchise concepts make him just the right fit for Huddle House and Perkins,” Michael Abt, Ascent’s CEO, said in a statement.

View source version at Huddle House



Bojangles Expands Executive Team with Two Tenured Development Leaders to Support Company Growth


Former McDonald’s executive Byron Chandler joins famous chicken and biscuits chain to lead real estate and construction while Bojangles’ Jose Costa will focus on franchising growth







Bojangles announced today that Byron Chandler, an experienced QSR industry real estate executive, has been named chief development officer for the restaurant chain. Chandler will be responsible for leading Bojangles’ real estate, construction and design teams and implementing the company’s strategic plans to build its real estate portfolio for future growth.

May 24, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bojangles announced today that Byron Chandler, an experienced QSR industry real estate executive, has been named chief development officer for the restaurant chain best known for its chicken, biscuits and Legendary Iced Tea®. In this new role, he will be responsible for leading Bojangles’ real estate, construction and design teams and implementing the company’s strategic plans to build its real estate portfolio for future growth. Chandler will begin on June 7.

“With recent strategic growth announcements, it’s clear that demand for the Bojangles brand is growing,” said Jose Armario, CEO of Bojangles. “Byron’s proven track record of leadership in restaurant development will further fuel our pipeline and strengthen our presence in new and existing markets.”

Chandler has a history of success in real estate development and construction management with McDonald’s, where he most recently served as head of the new site acquisition team for the U.S. and was with the fast-food chain for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, he spent six years as real estate and construction manager for BurgerBusters, a Yum! Brands franchisee, leading real estate acquisition and construction management of new and remodeled Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.

“Joining the Bojangles team is a natural fit for me,” said Chandler. “They have great leadership, great employees, great food, a growing iconic brand with a culture of hospitality and authenticity. What’s not to get excited about? I am truly humbled to be part of this brand and look forward to working with Jose and the team to build on its success.”

Chandler received his undergraduate degree from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and an MBA from the University of Mississippi.

In addition to Chandler’s appointment, Jose Costa will now become Chief Growth Officer to focus on national franchising and international growth. Costa has led franchise development at Bojangles for the past two years and achieved success with recent deals such as Love’s Travel Stops, long-time Bojangles’ franchisee Jeff Rigsy and Chaac Foods to expand Bojangles’ presence in new and existing markets.

“There is nothing more important in our goal of becoming a Southern Powerhouse than securing experienced, high-quality franchisees to grow our brand,” said Armario. “Jose has done a great job in this area, and we look forward to continuing this momentum of strategic growth as he works closely with Byron.”

Chandler and Costa will report to Armario and serve on the company’s Executive Leadership Team made up of a diverse group of veteran business, retail and restaurant leaders with more than 100 years of combined experience. The company was recently named to Forbes’ list of the Top 500 Places to Work for Diversity.

About Bojangles, Inc.

Bojangles, Inc. is a highly differentiated and growing restaurant operator and franchisor dedicated to serving customers high-quality, craveable food made from our Southern recipes, including breakfast served All Day, Every Day. Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., Bojangles® serves menu items such as made-from-scratch biscuit breakfast sandwiches, delicious hand-breaded bone-in chicken, flavorful fixins (sides) and Legendary Iced Tea®. Currently, Bojangles has approximately 760 system-wide restaurants in 14 states. For more information, visit or follow Bojangles on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

View source version at Bojangles


Domino’s Announces CFO Transition Plan

May 20, 2021


Ann Arbor, MI  (RestaurantNews.com)  Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, has announced that Stuart A. Levy will be leaving the Company to pursue other opportunities. While he is stepping down from his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective immediately, Mr. Levy will continue with the Company in an advisory capacity until August 31, 2021 to ensure a smooth transition.

The Company has commenced a search for the next CFO with the assistance of Heidrick & Struggles. Effective immediately, Ritch Allison, Domino’s Chief Executive Officer, will assume oversight of a newly established Office of the CFO comprised of Ryan Goers, Vice President, Finance, Global Financial Planning and Analysis; Juan Jose Joachin, Vice President, Finance Operations; and Jessica L. Parrish Vice President, Corporate Controller and Treasurer until the new CFO is in place.

“At Domino’s, we have a talented and dedicated finance and accounting team – and I have great confidence that we will continue to execute on our financial objectives as we identify a new CFO,” said Mr. Allison. “We continue to focus on providing outstanding food and service to our customers worldwide, as evidenced by robust retail sales growth and another record-setting year of franchisee profitability. The Domino’s brand and value proposition is as strong as it has ever been and we remain confident in our long-term outlook.”

“On behalf of everyone at Domino’s, I would like to thank Stu for his contributions, including his leadership throughout the complex challenges of the pandemic,” Mr. Allison continued. “We maintained and built on our financial strength, invested in the capacity required to support the long-term growth of the brand, and delivered significant shareholder value, all while putting our team members and customers first.”

“Domino’s is in a great position to continue its impressive track record of global growth,” said Mr. Levy. “It’s been a privilege to work with the amazing team members and franchisees who make Domino’s such an iconic brand and I’m confident this will be a smooth transition.”

Mr. Levy’s departure did not result from any disagreement regarding the Company’s financial reporting or accounting policies, procedures, estimates, or judgments.

About Domino’s Pizza®

Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world’s top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 17,800 stores in over 90 markets. Domino’s had global retail sales of over $16.1 billion in 2020, with nearly $8.3 billion in the U.S. and over $7.8 billion internationally. In the first quarter of 2021, Domino’s had global retail sales of over $4.0 billion, with nearly $2.0 billion in the U.S. and over $2.0 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino’s stores as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino’s achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2020 from digital channels. In the U.S., Domino’s generated more than 70% of sales in 2020 via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Twitter and more. In 2019, Domino’s announced a partnership with Nuro to further its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In mid-2020, Domino’s launched a new way to order contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino’s Carside Delivery®, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

View source version at Domino's


Jack in the Box Names New Vice President of Investor Relations

May 20, 2021


14-year franchise restaurant industry veteran Chris Brandon, IRC, to join company June 7

San Diego, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) continues the strategic transformation of its leadership team with the addition of 14-year franchise restaurant industry veteran Chris Brandon, IRC, as vice president of investor relations, effective June 7, 2021.

Brandon joins Jack in the Box from Domino’s Pizza, where he served in a variety of communication roles over the past 14 years, including most recently as director of investor relations. His past roles at Domino’s included responsibility for legislative affairs as well as media and public relations and franchisee events. Previously, Brandon held various sales and marketing positions with NASCAR between 2003 and 2007.

“Chris has proven his ability to build trusting relationships with key members of the investment community and brings deep knowledge of the franchise restaurant industry, with more than a decade of experience communicating growth strategies,” said CFO Tim Mullany. “I’m confident he will be a valuable addition to our team as we embark on a new growth chapter to extend Jack’s reach within existing markets and into new territories over the coming years.”

Brandon said, “I look forward to sharing Jack in the Box’s exciting story of renewed growth. Jack’s new leadership team is instilling a strong culture of service to its guests and franchisees, and I plan to extend that same approach toward members of the investment community.”

Brandon is a 2002 graduate of the University of Kansas with a journalism degree in strategic communication and a degree in psychology. He also completed a master’s degree in sports business from New York University in 2006. He has been rated as a top IR professional nationally by Institutional Investor and earned the Investor Relations Charter (IRC) certification in 2018.

About Jack in the Box Inc.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), based in San Diego, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box® restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. For more information on Jack in the Box, including franchising opportunities, visit www.jackinthebox.com.

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Denny’s Corporation Appoints Olu Beck to Board of Directors

May 19, 2021 16:05 ET



SPARTANBURG, S.C., May 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Denny's Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN), franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, today announced that Olu Beck has been appointed to its Board of Directors. Ms. Beck is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of boutique management consulting firm, The Beck Group NJ LLC and brings more than 25 years of portfolio business management and direct experience driving transformational and strategic growth to her new role.

“Olu brings a valuable perspective to Denny’s Board,” said Brenda J. Lauderback, Chair of Denny's Board of Directors. “Her leadership and expertise in consumer-facing businesses combined with her understanding of finance and overall brand building will be critical to the continued success of Denny’s.”

Previously, Ms. Beck was the CEO of Wholesome Sweeteners Inc. and held senior executive positions at two Fortune 50 companies, Mars Inc., and Johnson & Johnson. She is an Oxford University Alumna and is currently a Board Member of Freshpet, Inc. and Hostess Brands Inc. She was named as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women CEO’s of the Mid-Market in the USA by CEO Connection in 2017 and 2018.

“It is an honor to join Denny’s Board and I’m looking forward to helping drive and shape corporate strategy as we emerge from this pandemic and find new and exciting ways to engage with our guests,” Ms. Beck said.

Denny's CEO John Miller said, “As we continue to revitalize our brand and position Denny’s for its next chapter of growth, Ms. Beck’s experience driving successful brand transformation and business growth will be an immediate value add to our Board of Directors and shareholders.”

Diversity equity and inclusion is a core part of Denny’s business strategy and plays a vital role in delivering the great dining experience our guests expect as well as establishing a workplace culture built around belonging. Underrepresented groups make up two-thirds of the total Denny’s workforce, including half of restaurant management level employees. On Denny’s board, 55 percent of members are people of color and 44 percent are women. For more information, please visit https://www.dennys.com/company/social-responsibility.

About Denny's: Denny's Corporation is the franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, based on the number of restaurants. As of March 31, 2021, Denny’s had 1,649 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world including 148 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Honduras, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Guam, Guatemala, El Salvador, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. For further information on Denny's, including news releases, please visit the Denny's website at www.dennys.com or the brand’s social channels via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinkedIn or YouTube

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FAT BRANDS BEEFS UP SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM

May 18, 2021 06:00 ET

Three additions to executive suite bring decades of experience and expertise as global restaurant franchise company moves to make further acquisitions



Los Angeles, May 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc., parent company of Fatburger, Johnny Rockets and seven other restaurant concepts, has added additional depth to its senior management team with three new hires: Allen Sussman, General Counsel; Ken Kuick, Chief Financial Officer; and Rob Rosen, EVP Capital Markets.

“FAT Brands has experienced remarkable growth in spite of the pandemic, opening new restaurants around the world, and we’re not done yet,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “Bringing these three talented professionals on-board will bring additional intellectual capital and practical expertise to our executive team as we explore new opportunities and consider other acquisitions.”

Although Allen Sussman is newly appointed as General Counsel, he has worked with FAT Brands for several years and shepherded the company through its IPO and multiple acquisitions. He joins FAT from Loeb & Loeb LLP in Los Angeles, where he was a partner in the Capital Markets and Corporate Practice Groups. “I’m very excited to be joining FAT Brands in-house at this key juncture in the company’s evolution,” he said. “The company has a compelling story to tell, and I am eager to help build upon the impressive growth the company has achieved, in particular, over the last several years.”

Chief Financial Officer, Ken Kuick, most recently served as Chief Financial Officer for Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS). Prior to that, he was Chief Accounting Officer for VICI Properties (NYSE: VICI), a real estate investment trust. Ken also served as Chief Accounting Officer for Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) from 2014 to 2017 and as Vice President, Assistant Controller beginning in 2011.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Kuick said, “I am thrilled to join Andy and the entire FAT Brands team and play a role in helping to lead the organization as it continues its growth strategy. FAT Brands has an impressive portfolio of brands, tremendous growth potential and a dedicated team. Along with joining the strong FAT Brands team, I am equally looking forward to working with the amazing franchisees and serving as a resource for them.”

Rob Rosen, EVP Capital Markets, is a Wall Street veteran with over 30 years of experience in structured finance, banking, lending and on the portfolio management buy-side. Rob has worked on the banking side for Fleet Bank, Kidder Peabody and Bank of Tokyo and has spent over 20 years working with Black Diamond Capital Management in a variety of management, board level and advisory capacities.

“FAT Brands’ multi-brand platform has reached a critical mass in terms of quality holdings and infrastructure to enable additional brand acquisitions and internal growth to be significantly accretive from day one,” explained Rob Rosen. “A large component of executing FAT’s organic growth strategy as well as the acquisition roll up plan is effective use of the credit and capital markets and a disciplined approach to future purchases. I look forward to working with the group on all of these aspects.”

About FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands

FAT Brands (NASDAQ: FAT) is a leading global franchising company that strategically acquires, markets and develops fast casual and casual dining restaurant concepts around the world. The Company currently owns nine restaurant brands: Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, Buffalo’s Cafe, Buffalo’s Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Elevation Burger, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses, and franchises approximately 700 units worldwide. For more information, please visit www.fatbrands.com.

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Restaurant Growth Services, LLC Promotes Mark Spurgin to Chief Supply Chain Officer

Spurgin Commended for His Leadership During the COVID-19 Challenges and Improving Store-level Margins for Over 400 Restaurants



May 18, 2021, 09:00 ET



NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Restaurant Growth Services, LLC ("RGS"), a management services company that operates over 400 restaurant locations including O'Charley's Restaurant + Bar, 99 Restaurant & Pub, Village Inn and Bakers Square along with Legendary Baking, announced today that Mark Spurgin has been promoted to Chief Supply Chain Officer. Spurgin previously held the role of Senior Vice President of Supply Chain since joining the company in 2018.

Over the last two and a half years, Spurgin has delivered sustainable cost reductions contributing to improved store-level margins and cash flow for the brands managed by RGS. He was also crucial to the company's COVID-19 response and its ability to withstand the devastating impact within the supply chain while ensuring each brand was positioned for growth post-pandemic.

"Having a strong leadership team is paramount to RGS's success. This promotion is a well-earned recognition of Mark's meaningful and significant contributions to our brands during his tenure, particularly in navigating the unimaginable challenges of the last year to ensure each brand had comprehensive supply chain support to emerge stronger as we moved through the COVID-19 challenges," said W. Craig Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant Growth Services, LLC. "We are blessed to have Mark as part of our senior leadership team with absolute confidence he will continue to create value for the brands supported by RGS through his best-in-class supply chain leadership."

Spurgin is widely recognized for his domestic and international supply chain expertise and served as a board member of the Global Supply Chain Summit, collaborating with restaurant executives worldwide to manage global supply chains to foster learning and resource development across the industry. Prior to joining Restaurant Growth Services, LLC, Spurgin was Vice President, Global Procurement, Logistics and Compliance for The Cheesecake Factory, Inc., where he led the development and execution of strategies for The Cheesecake Factory, RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen, and Grand Lux Café brands.

"Helping Restaurant Growth Services and our 400 plus units not only successfully navigate the pandemic but emerge stronger has been the pinnacle of my career and I am thrilled to be part of this exceptional senior leadership team," said Spurgin. "I'm grateful to Craig for the opportunity to share a significant role through RGS for our strong brands and look forward to continuing to work alongside him along with others on our amazing senior leadership team to propel the company's growth in the years to come."

For more information about Restaurant Growth Services, LLC, please visit https://www.restaurantgrowthservices.com/.

ABOUT RESTAURANT GROWTH SERVICES, LLC Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Restaurant Growth Services, LLC ("RGS") is a management services company providing support to a variety of casual and family dining restaurant brands, as well as a pie manufacturing company. RGS currently supports the operations of over 400 restaurants under four concepts, including O'Charley's Restaurant + Bar, 99 Restaurant & Pub, Village Inn, and Bakers Square. Additionally, RGS also supports Legendary Baking, an award-winning baker of over 15 million gourmet pies and premium desserts annually sold to restaurants, independent bakers, retail/grocery customers, and other foodservice customers.

The company's services include executive leadership, strategy, operational oversight, supply chain, technology services, human resources, benefits, financial reporting, treasury management, legal counsel, training, and more. Restaurant Growth Services, LLC is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cannae Holdings, Inc.(www.cannaeholdings.com).

View source version at Restaurant Growth Services


Tony Darden Named Chief Operating Officer for Jack in the Box

May, 18 2021

Darden joins Jack in the Box from MOOYAH Burgers Fries and Shake, where he served as president for the past two years.


Jack in the Box, Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) continues the strategic transformation of its leadership team with the addition of new Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tony Darden, who brings more than 25 years’ experience in multi-unit, quick-service restaurant operations.

Darden joins Jack in the Box from MOOYAH Burgers Fries and Shake, where he served as president for the past two years. He has also held chief operating officer titles at Taco Bueno and Sun Holdings, the fourth largest franchisee in the U.S. with a portfolio of more than 1,000 restaurants for brands including Burger King, Popeyes, Krispy Kreme and Arby’s. Additionally, Darden held operations leadership roles at Panera Bread and Metromedia Restaurant Group/Bennigan’s.

“I’ve known Tony professionally through the years and I know he is the right person to lead operations at Jack in the Box by partnering with our franchisees to focus on operations excellence and restaurant profits,” said Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris. “He cares deeply about people, franchisee success and giving our guests a consistent brand experience.”

“I look forward to building strong relationships with our corporate team members and franchisees to drive Jack’s long-term growth initiatives,” said Darden. “Jack’s future success will be a function of enabling our franchisees in delivering exceptional guest experiences that enhance brand loyalty and accelerate their growth.”

Darden’s first day on the job is planned for June 7, 2021. He is the fifth new C-suite hire for Harris, who joined Jack in the Box as CEO in 2020. The company last week reported strong Q2 earnings and revenue, which included total revenue growth of 19% over Q2 2020 and 20.6% growth in system same-store sales.

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Shipley Do-Nuts Expands Executive Leadership Team

New CEO and chief operations officer join the iconic chain



May 17, 2021, 09:05 ET



HOUSTON, May 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Shipley Franchise Company and Shipley Do-Nut Flour & Supply Co. has expanded its senior leadership team with the addition of new Chief Executive Officer Clifton Rutledge and Chief Operating Officer Hank Simpson.

Rutledge, who formerly served as executive chairman at Shipley, brings more than three decades of top restaurant leadership experience to the company. He previously served as COO at Jack's Family Restaurants, president/CEO at Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits, and COO at Whataburger, in addition to other key roles throughout his career.



Simpson joins Shipley from Panera Bread, where he most recently was senior vice president, chief development and franchise officer.

Founded in 1936, Shipley Do-Nuts is a leading quick-service restaurant franchisor with a diverse franchisee and consumer base and over 300 locations in nine states. Headquartered in Houston, the company has built a strong reputation for its do-nuts, kolaches, beverages and guest service. It was purchased in late 2020 by an affiliate of Peak Rock Capital, which announced plans to invest in the company's growth. The company has plans to double its store count over the next five years in existing and new geographic areas.

"Clifton and Hank bring to Shipley impressive track records across numerous restaurant industry leadership roles," said Robert Strauss, a Shipley board member. "Their experience and talent will help drive significant growth in the business through new unit expansion, same-store sales growth and enhanced operations."

"Our team is fully committed to the success of all of our current and future franchisees, guests and communities, and together, we will accelerate Shipley's growth trajectory by continuing to invest in our franchisees' success with industry-leading ingredients, equipment, technology and service," Rutledge said. "I look forward to building on the strong foundation established at Shipley over the last 85 years."

"We have a tremendous group of current franchisee partners, and I look forward to helping drive their success and bring new franchisees into the brand as we seek to further grow our footprint," added Simpson.

Current Shipley President Craig Lindberg remains in his role as a senior member of the leadership team.

Shipley is actively recruiting additional employees and franchisees. For more information, visit www.shipleydonuts.com.

ABOUT SHIPLEY DO-NUTS Founded in 1936, Shipley Do-Nuts is a leading do-nut restaurant franchisor and manufacturer of specialty food products. Shipley franchises over 300 restaurants to a diverse group of operators across nine states. Shipley has served its do-nuts, kolaches and beverages to generations of guests who value the brand's do-nuts, kolaches, beverages, and guest service. For information on franchising, visit shipleydonuts.com/franchise.

View source version at Shipley Do-Nuts


Bojangles Hires Seasoned Supply Chain Leader Katie Radtke

May, 17 2021

Bojangles announced today it has named Katie Radtke as vice president of supply chain. An accomplished supply chain leader with global credentials, Radtke will oversee food and packaging, distribution, logistics and quality assurance in her new role.


Bojangles announced today it has named Katie Radtke as vice president of supply chain. An accomplished supply chain leader with global credentials, Radtke will oversee food and packaging, distribution, logistics and quality assurance in her new role.

“Katie is a transformational supply chain leader, and her extensive experience in developing strategies to optimize the supply chain for nationally recognized restaurant franchise brands will be critical as Bojangles continues to grow and meet increased demand for our delicious Southern food,” said Ken Koziol, Bojangles’ chief restaurant support officer.

Prior to joining Bojangles, Radtke served as senior director of global procurement for multi-brand restaurant company Inspire Brands and led efforts for Arby’s in Canada, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW), Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco and Sonic. She managed global procurement exclusively for BWW prior to Inspire’s acquisition and previously held supply chain positions with Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical.

“I’m excited to join a company with Bojangles’ solid reputation, dynamic leadership team and passionate fans,” said Radtke. “I look forward to contributing my expertise to align our supply chain strategies to support the brand’s growth, and ultimately, deliver our guests a great experience.”

Her appointment comes on the heels of major franchise development deals recently announced with Chaac Foods Restaurants and longtime Bojangles franchisee Jeff Rigsby that include opening more than 80 new locations over the next seven years.

Radtke earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Latin University of Costa Rica, a law degree from the Free School of Law University in Costa Rica and a master’s degree from Swiss Business School in Zurich. She currently serves as vice chair for women in leadership with the Institute of Supply Chain Management (ISM) and volunteers with Hispanic Star to support Hispanic-owned small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs and independent workers.

View source version at Bojangles

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