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Executive Movements - June 2022

Hooters Names Bruce Skala Chief Marketing Officer


Hooters Names Bruce Skala Chief Marketing Officer

ATLANTA (June 13, 2022) — Hooters, the original American wing joint, today announced

Bruce Skala has been promoted to chief marketing officer (CMO) of HOA Brands, the franchisor and operator of more than 400 Hooters restaurants. As CMO, Skala will oversee global marketing campaigns for Hooters and fast-casual concept hoots wings as well as drive national promotions for both company and franchisee restaurant locations. Skala’s roster of responsibilities in the role include traditional and social media marketing initiatives, digital customer engagement, brand licensing programs and alliances and partnerships in key categories ranging from sports betting and gaming to the beverage portfolio.

“Bruce has continually showcased his strategic thinking and first-mover instincts to celebrate and promote our restaurants through groundbreaking initiatives to uphold and extend our brands,” said HOA Brands LLC President and CEO Sal Melilli. “We are proud to have Bruce serve as our Chief Marketing Officer and to further the company’s world-renowned status.” “I am honored to be named Chief Marketing Officer and to further my stewardship of HOA Brands alongside a phenomenal team,” Skala said. “I am proud of what Hooters has accomplished in bolstering its standing as a prominent brand, and I’m eager to continue building on that success.”

Throughout his nine-year career with the company, Skala has demonstrated tremendous leadership skills and creative thinking in several roles, most recently as senior vice president of marketing. He has led several standout campaigns during a challenging time for the industry and has rallied his team to keep the brand relevant, most recently spearheading partnerships with legendary golfer and two-time major champion John Daly and John Daly II, a rising star and Hooters’ first name, image and likeness (NIL) ambassador. He recently shepherded the re-signing of Chase Elliott, NASCAR’s most popular driver, and Hooters’ sponsorship of Elliott’s No. 9 Hedrick Motorsports car. Skala also manages a successful alliance program with celebrities, influencers and sports properties which has kept the brand extremely connected with its consumers.

An industry veteran with 25 years of food service and brand marketing experience, Skala earned the prestigious 2021 VIBE Innovator Award for his efforts creating breakthrough programs to sustain business operations and meet customer demand particularly during the pandemic. Skala also helped Hooters increase brand engagement and sales by implementing Smart QR menu technology for guests to view branded video content and discover more beer and cocktail options, providing cocktails, packaged beer and wine to-go, offering take-home cocktail kits and

Hooters on the Fly, a curbside and to-go delivery space for guests to enjoy their favorite Hootersmeal. This summer he has worked with Mountain Dew on “The Ultimate Wingman” promotion. Prior to joining HOA Brands in 2013, Skala headed field marketing for Heineken USA and held multiple roles for The Coca-Cola Company. He is a graduate of Ohio University.

View source version at Hooters

Zaxby’s Names New Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer

June 13, 2022

Patrick Schwing to oversee brand experience

Athens, GA  (  Zaxby’s, the premium quick-service restaurant brand founded in Athens, announced today that Patrick Schwing has been named chief marketing & strategy officer. He joins Zaxby’s from Inspire Brands, where he has served as Arby’s chief marketing officer and president of the Franchise Association for more than two years. In his new role, Schwing will oversee marketing communications, loyalty, e-commerce, R&D, and media including digital and social to help the organization architect its future growth plans.

“As Zaxby’s focuses on brand and culinary differentiation, we are excited to add Patrick to our world-class executive team,” said Bernard Acoca, Zaxby’s CEO. “Patrick’s global brand experience, having worked for both top-tier CPG and QSR organizations, and his proven track record in effectively addressing consumers’ needs through insights, new products, and technology innovation, will serve Zaxby’s extremely well as we seek to attract new audiences and build even greater guest loyalty over time.”

At Arby’s, Schwing oversaw brand strategy and experience, including culinary innovation, calendar, media, advertising, and digital commerce. Prior to Arby’s, Schwing held domestic and international marketing roles at Procter & Gamble, where he worked across the group’s portfolio on brands such as Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Oral-B. In 2020, Schwing was named one of Business Insider’s “25 CMOs to Watch.”

Schwing has a diverse background and understands the criticality of empowering teams to be bold, creative and agile, according to Acoca. Schwing is known for his commitment to consumer-inspired innovation, which will benefit Zaxby’s as the brand connects to guests through in-store experiences as well as digital-commerce platforms.

“Transparency drives trust in all of our relationships,” Schwing said. “To truly live the Zaxby’s mission and enrich the lives of our guests, we must build strong relationships, connect through special moments and show our appreciation – all in the pursuit of showing our guests that we know and understand them better than any other brand.”

About Zaxby’s

Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. For the second year in a row, Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist’s 2022 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 18 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

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Krispy Kreme Promotes Josh Charlesworth to President, COO

He will oversee the company's major markets and global growth. The doughnut chain has started a search for a new CFO.

By Jonathan Maze on Jun. 08, 2022

Krispy Kreme on Wednesday said it has promoted CFO Josh Charlesworth to be its new global president and chief operating officer.

Charlesworth will remain as financial chief until a successor is hired. In his new role, he will oversee all of Krispy Kreme’s core markets, including the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. He will oversee IT and supply chain as well as its global expansion.

Charlesworth will continue to report to CEO Mike Tattersfield. “Throughout his five years here, Josh has proven to be essential to our success as a company,” Tattersfield said in a statement.

Charlesworth has been with Krispy Kreme since 2017 and has also held the chief operating officer role since 2019.

Krispy Kreme also said that Andrew Skehan, president of North America, will leave the company to become CEO “at another organization.” Skehan’s roles will be assumed by several members of the company’s leadership team.

Krispy Kreme, which also operates the cookie delivery chain Insomnia Cookies, operates in more than 30 countries serving doughnuts made in its large shops that are also sold in thousands of kiosks in retailers and smaller shops.

View source version at Krispy Kreme

RAVE Restaurant Group Promotes Mike Burns to EVP and COO

June 08, 2022 09:00 ET

DALLAS, June 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVE), the parent company of Pizza Inn and Pie Five Pizza, yesterday announced the promotion of Mike Burns, to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer effective June 27, 2022. Burns previously served as RAVE’S Chief Operations Officer.

“Mike’s influence as a leader is felt throughout the company daily. Not only does he have a reputation for creating high-performing teams, he has improved our supply chain and our franchise development initiatives,” says Mark Schwarz, Chairman of RAVE Restaurant Group. “Overall, he has helped us shore up operations and create efficiencies across both brands, contributing to our eight consecutive quarters of profitability.”

Prior to joining RAVE, Burns served as Vice President of Operations for Pei Wei where he led a team of multi-unit operators responsible for 80 restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Earlier in his career, Burns served as Regional Vice President, where he oversaw more than 175 Bojangles’ corporate restaurant locations.

“RAVE is a bold and nimble organization that gives me the opportunity to share my industry knowledge and impact two high potential brands,” says Mike Burns, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our franchisees and support team are some of the hardest working professionals in the restaurant industry and one of the many reasons we are growing.”

“Mike’s leadership has helped put RAVE in a notable position, especially in light of the operational and supply chain issues facing all brands,” says Brandon Solano, President and CEO, RAVE Restaurant Group. “The EVP and COO title befits Mike’s contributions to our business and the high regard in which he is held by our team,” adds Solano.

For more information about RAVE Restaurant Group, please visit

About RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group has inspired restaurant innovation and countless customer smiles with its trailblazing pizza concepts. The Company owns, franchises, licenses and supplies Pie Five and Pizza Inn restaurants operating domestically and internationally. The Pizza Inn experience is unlike your typical buffet. Since 1958, Pizza Inn's house-made dough, house-shredded 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese, fresh ingredients and house-made signature sauce combined with friendly service solidified the brand to become America's favorite hometown pizza place. This, in addition to its small-town vibe, are the hallmarks of Pizza Inn restaurants. In 2011, RAVE introduced Pie Five Pizza, pioneering a fast-casual pizza brand that transformed the classic pizzeria into a concept offering personalization, sophisticated ingredients and speed. Pie Five's craft pizzas are baked fresh daily and feature house-made ingredients, creative recipes and craveable crust creations. For more information, visit, and follow on Instagram @pizzainnofficial and @piefivepizza.

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Fransmart Hires for Multi-Billion Dollar Portfolio of Category-Leading Franchise Brands

June 8, 2022

Leading franchise development company fuels consistent growth with its proven formula of turning emerging franchise concepts into international success stories

Scottsdale, AZ  (  Solidifying its position as the leader in franchise development with a keen focus on growth and innovation, Fransmart has announced plans for a multi-billion dollar portfolio of category-leading franchise brands by the end of 2030.  To reach this goal, Fransmart will continue to identify and invest in concepts ripe for national and international expansion, while accelerating growth of its legacy brands.  Additionally, the company is expanding its best-in-class leadership team to support each of its brands with operational expertise and highly-effective sales and marketing strategies.

“To succeed in the world of franchising requires continual improvements to the brand’s business model, growth strategy, systems and processes,” said Dan Rowe, Fransmart CEO.  “And to sell the most franchises, you need more than great salespeople, you need brands that sell themselves with best-in-class unit economics and a large runway for growth, giving multi-unit franchisees the opportunity to double or triple their chance for success and often reinvest their profit into more units.”

World-renowned for its 30-year track record of identifying and growing standout brands like Five Guys’ Burgers & Fries, QDOBA, The Halal Guys and more, Fransmart will take its proven formula to the next level with its best-in-class leadership team and a growing pipeline of new brands with the right DNA to scale. Fransmart’s current portfolio of top emerging franchise include JARS by Fabio Viviani, Duff’s CakeMix, Taffer’s Tavern, Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, PayMore, Curry Up Now, nomoo New American Burgers & More, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, Savannah Seafood Shack, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop and more.

As part of Fransmart’s multi-billion-dollar vision, the company will grow its portfolio to 10 category-leading franchise brands with more than 200 units each.  To help drive this vision forward, Fransmart has hired Shannon Keller as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. Keller, the former CMO of True Food Kitchen, an award-winning restaurant brand that she helped grow to 40 units during her tenure, will oversee the marketing strategy focused on driving franchise sales and effective consumer marketing initiatives designed to increase unit-level sales.

“What drew me to Fransmart was the opportunity to help brands rapidly expand their reach, influence and revenue-generating potential,” said Keller.  “We do more than just sell franchises, we go deep with each brand on a marketing strategy designed to increase sales performance and fuel consistent growth.”

In 2021, Fransmart hired Don Baruch as Vice President of Franchise Support Operations. With his more than 25 years of experience working with some of the top franchise brands in the world, and a multi-unit franchisee owner himself, Baruch is helping Fransmart’s franchisors and franchisees optimize operations for profitability, growth and success.

Fransmart brands are also guided by the expertise of the company’s Board of Directors, including: restaurant and hospitality expert, Joe Essa, President & CEO of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, former President of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide;  John Oswald, President & CEO of the Capital Trust Group, and responsible for its worldwide investment banking operations with experience managing an extensive portfolio of office and retail real estate; and strategic advisor David McClaskey, known for operational excellence and assisting seven companies win Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, including the only two restaurant recipients of the award.

About Fransmart

As the leading franchise development firm in the country, Fransmart turns emerging restaurant concepts into successful national and global brands. Founded by Dan Rowe, the man who identified and grew brands such as Five Guys Burgers & Fries and QDOBA Mexican Grill from single unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 5,000 restaurants worldwide and facilitated franchise investments that have cumulatively generated 1 billion dollars in revenue to date. For more information, visit

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Fazoli’s Promotes Key Leaders Within Best-in-Class Team

June 8, 2022

A pair of dynamic team members achieve new milestones at the nation’s largest Italian QSR brand

Lexington, KY  (  Fazoli’s today announced the promotions of two key executives on its leadership team – Vice President of Company Operations and Training, Tim Kimmel, and Vice President of Franchise Operations and Development, Wayne Wright.Fazoli’s Promotes Key Leaders Within Best-in-Class Team

“We’re proud and excited for Tim and Wayne to achieve these latest milestones in their Fazoli’s careers,” said Fazoli’s President Doug Bostick. “Combined they bring more than 55 years of experience to our best-in-class leadership team, and there’s no doubt that our entire business is better because of each of them. We’ve seen firsthand their integrity, passion for Fazoli’s and drive to succeed, no matter the challenge or obstacle placed in our way.”

Kimmel is a Fazoli’s team veteran, with almost 30 years of experience at the nation’s largest Italian quick-service restaurant brand. He began his career as a restaurant general manager and has proven invaluable in his multiple roles supporting the leadership team. Kimmel’s wealth of knowledge will be relied upon as he oversees the productivity of the brand and improves operational and training measures to enhance Fazoli’s overall business model.

Wright has nearly 25 years of experience in franchise investment, management and operations franchising with various restaurant brands. He has spent the past decade leading Fazoli’s franchisees to objectively analyze key performance indicators, weigh financial opportunities and improve daily operations to maximize profitability. Wright has a track record of encouraging open communication with franchisees to help customize solutions that fit their restaurant’s needs.

For more information about Fazoli’s, visit

About FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands

FAT Brands (NASDAQ: FAT) is a leading global franchising company that strategically acquires, markets, and develops fast casual, quick-service, casual dining, and polished casual dining concepts around the world. The Company currently owns 17 restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Twin Peaks, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Buffalo’s Cafe & Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses, and franchises and owns over 2,300 units worldwide. For more information on FAT Brands, please visit

About Fazoli’s: Fast. Fresh. Italian.

Founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli’s owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 27 states, making it the largest premium QSR Italian chain in America. Fazoli’s prides itself on serving premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. Menu offerings include freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts – along with its unlimited signature breadsticks. Fazoli’s is a winner of FastCasual and Steritech’s 2020 Excellence in Food Safety Award and ranked number seven on FastCasual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list in 2022. Additionally, it was named to Technomic’s “Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report” in 2022, selected  as one of the “Top 50 Global Fast Casual Innovators in 2021” by Foodable, a “Top 200 Franchises in 2021” by Franchise Business Review, and an Entrepreneur 2018 “Franchise 500.” Fazoli’s was a recipient of the 2021 American Business Awards Gold Stevie Awards in Food & Beverage for Company of the Year.

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WOWorks Adds New C-Level Roles to Drive Accelerated Growth

Jun 07, 2022, 14:42 ET

Parent Company of Better-For-You Restaurant Brands Announces New Roles and Promotions to Position its Brands for Future Expansion

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- WOWorks, the parent company of better-for-you restaurant brands, SaladworksFrutta BowlsGarbanzo Mediterranean FreshThe Simple GreekBarberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery created two new c-level roles to its leadership team to help drive accelerated growth for its brands. WOWorks created two new Chief Brand Officer positions to oversee its two groups of six restaurant brands, as well as handle their day-to-day operations.

Lauriena Borstein was chosen as Chief Brand Officer of Saladworks, Frutta Bowls and Zoup! Eatery. She previously held the position of Senior Vice President at WOWorks and General Brand Manager of Saladworks and Frutta Bowls.

"I am excited to be leading these better-for-you restaurant brands that have demonstrated tremendous growth potential for providing the kind of nutritious, fast casual food guests are seeking - from soups to salads to fruit-based menu items," said Lauriena Borstein, Chief Brand Officer of Saladworks, Frutta Bowls and Zoup! Eatery. "They also lend themselves to a fantastic opportunity for co-branding. I look forward to providing the support system to all franchisees to help them transition to WOWorks, as well as the opportunity of offering two menus at one restaurant."

John Geyerman was selected as Chief Brand Officer for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, The Simple Greek, and Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Operations for WOWorks and General Brand Manager for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek.

"I am honored to lead three amazing, plant-forward restaurant brands that provide exciting global flavors to our guests," said John Geyerman, Chief Brand Officer of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, The Simple Greek, and Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina. "As our healthy-halo concepts experience explosive growth across all traditional and non-traditional foodservice venues, from grocery stores and airports to university campuses, it is vitally important all our marketing and operations initiatives are in-sync with all other restaurant brands."

In order to align marketing initiatives and processes of its six brands, WOWorks has also created two new Vice President of Marketing roles. Lori Kern was chosen as Vice President of Marketing for Saladworks, Frutta Bowls and Zoup! Eatery. She previously held the role of Director of Marketing for Saladworks and Frutta Bowls. Mark Kreiner is now Vice President of Marketing for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, The Simple Greek and Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina. He previously served as Director of Marketing for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek.

"I am thrilled to see WOWorks' corporate infrastructure expand to include these new Chief Brand Officers and Vice Presidents of Marketing, plus 10 additional staff promotions that involve expanded responsibilities and goals," said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks enterprise, fully owned by Centre Lane Partners, LLC. "In order to improve unit-level economics and drive overall growth for each restaurant brand, we are bringing senior strategic and tactical oversight on every brand. The corporate restructuring will also get these executives more ingrained with each restaurant's brand."

As a result of its recent acquisitions of Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery, WOWorks expects to end the year with over 400 restaurants and create over 10,000 job opportunities in the restaurant industry. Through shared services and plans to leverage best practices from all six brands, WOWorks will continue to increase their negotiation and purchasing power; use cost efficiencies to fuel growth productivity; and improve vendor support as they grow their portfolio of better-for-you restaurants.


WOWorks was formed in 2020 with a mission to help guests pursue their passions and live their best lives by serving healthy, nutritious and flavorful meals along with its Vow to "WOW!" guest hospitality. Fully owned by Centre Lane Partners, LLC, WOWorks' portfolio, in addition to its newest brands, Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery, consists of: Saladworks, the nation's leading fast-casual salad brand; Frutta Bowls, a unique restaurant franchise serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, protein bites and more; Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a popular Mediterranean restaurant concept; The Simple Greek, which offers a fresh and healthy take on traditional Greek recipes in a fast-casual setting. WOWorks seeks to drive explosive growth across all of its brands through a variety of channels, both traditional and non-traditional, including ghost kitchens, food trucks, grocery retail and more.

View source version at WOWorks


Jun 07, 2022, 09:00 ET

Vaughn brings 30-plus years' experience to the fast-growing quick-service restaurant brand as it eyes out-of-state expansion; Former CEO Ron Petty will stay on as a real estate advisor

TUCSON, Ariz., June 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- eegee's, the quickly expanding restaurant brand, today announced that seasoned industry veteran Jason Vaughn has been appointed its new chief executive officer (CEO). Vaughn will succeed Ron Petty, who served as eegee's chairman for a decade before becoming CEO in 2019.

Named by Nation's Restaurant News as 'One of the Most Influential CEOs in the Country', Vaughn brings over three decades of experience to eegee's. Having served as SVP, Operations at Yum! Brands, division VP at Wendy's, President and COO at Lenny's Subs and, most recently, President and CEO of Frisch's Restaurants, Vaughn's strategic leadership experience with and deep understanding of quick-service restaurants will be utilized to propel eegee's rapid growth while building on the beloved brand's 50-year history.

"The opportunity to take part in a success story like eegee's is an immense honor," said Vaughn. "The brand is nearly synonymous with Arizona, and I'm excited to help bring its unique offering and first-class customer experience to more areas across the state, and even beyond. I feel fortunate to now be part of eegee's incredible legacy — one that I take very seriously, as I know the loyalty of eegee's supporters is unmatched — and look forward to what's to come."

In his retirement, Ron Petty will continue to serve as an advisor to eegee's, focusing on his true passion of real estate to help the brand strategically expand its footprint. As eegee's CEO, he led the company through its sale and partnership with 39 North Capital and restaurant investor Kitchen Fund. Since then, eegee's has grown by nine locations and expanded into a new market, metro Phoenix.

Founded in 1971, eegee's began as a vending truck serving frozen lemon drinks at community events in Tucson. eegee's one-of-a-kind offering includes its namesake frozen drink — an ice-cold concoction packed with chunks of real fruit — award-winning French fries, and signature subs and grinders. Many of the restaurant's menu items have a devoted following, including its house-made ranch dressings and rotating menu of monthly eegee flavors.

Now with 31 locations in Tucson, Casa Grande and metro Phoenix, the restaurant brand is eyeing new areas to expand to, including outside of Arizona — answering to years of demand from out-of-state eegee's fans. Vaughn will be based in Phoenix, a key growth market for the brand.

For more information about eegee's, visit

About eegee's Since the sunny, colorful, carefree days of the early 1970s, eegee's has been serving handcrafted sub sandwiches and its now-famous frozen fruit drinks, "eegees," in Southern Arizona. In September 1971, the founders pooled their resources to purchase a vending truck and began serving a frozen lemon drink at high schools, sporting events and concerts in town. The drink was called an "eegee." Eventually, the vending truck was retired as they turned their business into a growing quick-service restaurant chain.

Over 50 years later, there are 31 eegee's locations across Arizona: in the greater Tucson area, in Casa Grande, and in 2021, the restaurant expanded its footprint north with a location in Gilbert. Over the years, eegee's has also grown its menu and now offers French fries, salads and signature ranch dressings, available in original, chipotle and buffalo flavors. eegee's has continued to keep community at the core of its brand values, donating time, food and funds to local charities, instituting a community recycling program ("Green for Green!"), and running a program for training and employing people with developmental disabilities. And while eegee's will always call Tucson home, it has become known on a national level, receiving nods from publications such as Food & Wine Magazine, which named it the "Best Fast Food" in Arizona, as well as BuzzFeed, which honored the eegee as the "Dessert Staple" of Arizona. For more information, visit or follow eegee's on social at @eegees.

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Blaze Pizza Names Ed Yancey as Chief Development Officer

June 7, 2022

Leading Fast Casual Pizza Concept Promotes Industry Veteran to Leadership Team

Los Angeles, CA  (  Blaze Pizza, the nation’s leading fast casual franchise pizza concept, announced today that Ed Yancey has been promoted to chief development officer. Previously serving as vice president of franchise development, Yancey joined the company in 2020 and has been highly instrumental in driving the brand’s ongoing development efforts throughout his tenure. In his new role, Yancey will be responsible for spearheading Blaze’s growth through franchising and real estate development in key target markets across the country, as well as fueling the company’s new franchisee recruitment efforts.

“Over the past two years, Blaze has experienced a surge in franchise development, and Ed has been a driving force behind the strategies that have boosted this ongoing success. We’re very pleased to announce this well-deserved promotion, and have no doubt that in his new role, Ed will continue leveraging his tremendous experience and industry knowledge to take Blaze to new heights,” said Mandy Shaw, chief executive officer and president of Blaze Pizza.

Yancey has been in the foodservice industry for more than 25 years, working in leadership roles at nationally-recognized food brands, including Jersey Mike’s, B. Good and Dunkin’ Brands. Since joining Blaze, he has led company growth endeavors through strategic mergers and acquisitions, franchise sales and licensing brand development. In 2021, Yancey helped Blaze achieve significant nationwide growth with the opening of 14 new restaurants in key target markets including Texas, Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and California, which translated to an 18 percent increase in same-store sales by year-end. Blaze also added 34 new restaurants to its growth pipeline. Additionally, Yancey continues to support Blaze’s aggressive expansion as he and his team explore franchise opportunities in markets, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, and key regions throughout the Northeast.

“My time at Blaze has been nothing short of amazing. In just a couple of years, we have expanded the company’s footprint into new states and markets, including our first-ever Alaska locations,” said Yancey. “Blaze is a brand that easily appeals to the masses and continues to deliver on its promise of quality food and evolving innovation. With this promotion, I aspire to continue growing this trailblazing concept, while reinforcing good communication and supportive relationships with our franchise owners.”

Yancey’s promotion as chief development officer comes on the heels of Blaze’s ongoing efforts to propel development by investing in a strong leadership team. In 2022, the brand welcomed Andrew Nuñez as director of architecture, as well as promoted Andrew Verhagen to director of franchise development. With dozens of new locations under development, Blaze Pizza is in the midst of vigorous expansion. For more information about development opportunities with Blaze Pizza, please visit or contact Ed Yancey at

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 guest experience and unparalleled high-quality products. Known for its savory artisanal pizzas and customizable made-to-order in 180 seconds menu featuring fresh, natural ingredients free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, 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 spots on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers and Franchise Times’ Fast and Serious list. Visit for additional information and stay connected on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok @BlazePizza.

View source version at Blaze Pizza

El Pollo Loco Appoints Ira Fils as Chief Financial Officer

June 02, 2022 16:05 ET

COSTA MESA, Calif., June 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or “the Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain, today announced that Ira Fils has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of El Pollo Loco, effective June 27, 2022.

“I am very excited to welcome Ira to the El Pollo Loco team,” said Larry Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. “He is a well-rounded and accomplished executive with a successful 20-plus year track record of business acumen and strong leadership. Combined with his deep knowledge of and passion for the restaurant industry, I believe Ira is the perfect complement to our management team and I look forward to his contributions as we execute our strategic priorities and endeavor to accelerate growth in 2022 and beyond.”

Mr. Fils joins El Pollo Loco from The Habit Burger Grill, a division of YUM! Brands. He joined The Habit Restaurants, LLC in August 2008 as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary, where he helped lead the Company’s successful IPO in 2014, and actively participated in the sale of Habit to YUM! Brands in 2020. During his tenure, he was a key member of the Executive Team that grew Habit restaurants from 20 locations to over 300 locations. He also played a key role in transitioning the Company’s business model to be more franchise driven. Prior to his time at Habit, Mr. Fils served as Chief Financial Officer of Mimi’s Café from 2005 to 2008, after joining the company as Vice President of Finance in 2003. From 1998 to 2003, he served in various financial capacities with increasing responsibility which led to him becoming Chief Financial Officer at Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.

“I am thrilled to accept the appointment of El Pollo Loco’s Chief Financial Officer and to be a part of the family during this exciting time for the Company,” said Fils. “I look forward to working closely with Larry and the entire El Pollo Loco team as we look to further strengthen the brand and deliver long-term growth.”

About El Pollo Loco  El Pollo Loco (Nasdaq:LOCO) is the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain renowned for its masterfully citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken and handcrafted entrees using fresh ingredients inspired by Mexican recipes. With 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Louisiana, El Pollo Loco is expanding its presence in key markets through a combination of company and existing and new franchisee development. Visit us on our website at

View source version at El Pollo Loco

Former VP of Franchise Sales & Development for Marco’s Pizza, Joins PizzaForno

June 2, 2022

The 24/7 Automated Pizzeria Adds Chief Development Officer as Rapid Expansion Continues

Toronto, Ontario  (  PizzaForno, one of North America’s only automated pizzerias, appoints Travis Edmonson, former Vice President of Franchise Development at Mr. Gatti’s Pizza and former Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development at Marco’s Pizza, as Chief Development Officer.

Edmonson joins as the second former Marco’s Pizza business leader this year to get behind this 24/7 digital pizzeria designed to combat labor shortages, food costs and rent rising. A strategic executive, Edmonson brings over 19 years of experience with an enthusiastic, resourceful, and creative approach to drive growth.

Passionate for the lucrative pizza industry, Edmonson brings years of experience in identifying market opportunities, site selection, contract negotiations, lease management, and sales analysis. Having worked with a variety of pizza brands, including Simple Simon’s Pizza, Cheezies Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, he has a proven track record of success at devising strategies in the industry. In addition, he’s worked with Pollo Campero, Gigi’s Cupcake Franchise, and ExecuFran, LLC.

“We’ve built up our senior leadership team because we know we’re headed across the entire U.S. in a short amount of time and needed the right support to take us there,” said Les Tomlin, Co-founder and President of PizzaForno. “As we continue to break into major U.S. markets, we know that Travis’s background in franchise development will turn our easy-to-scale business model into the next fastest growing pizza brand.”

The new Chief Development Officer specializes in business developments, market identification, brand exposure, and more.

“We have something the pizza industry has never seen before, as we have the units, technology and support in place to make PizzaForno a household name,” said Travis Edmonson. “We know this small square footage required pizzeria can fit perfectly in high-traffic areas all around cities, vacation spots, universities, hospitals and more.”

PizzaForno projects to open a minimum of 50 units in the U.S. by yearend, with two new units launching in the coming weeks in New Orleans at the LSU Medical Center (433 Bolivar St 6th Floor Nola, LA 70112) and the University of New Orleans (2000 Lakeshore Drive New Orleans, LA 70148). The company will also be launching two new units in Houston at a Chevron gas station (1520 College Ave, South Houston, TX 77587) and in a parking lot at 212 Milam Street.

As PizzaForno expands throughout California, Texas, and Louisiana, potential licensees now have the chance to be one of the first to break into the registered U.S. markets with the high-demand, turnkey business opportunity. PizzaForno not only offers a high ROI but has the ability to operate 24/7 with zero on-site labor costs, limited waste and gives the option for licensees to scale quickly.

To learn more about PizzaForno and their licensing opportunities, visit

About PizzaForno

Founded in 2018 by Canadian entrepreneurs William Moyer and Les Tomlin, PizzaForno is North America’s only automated pizzeria which introduces gourmet artisanal pizzas in less than three minutes. Accessible 24/7 at the tap of a digital screen, PizzaForno offers a selection of innovative menu options, each made with high quality ingredients, with an authentic approach. In 2020, PizzaForno was honored with the Restaurants Canada 2020 Innovation Award. Utilizing technology made popular in France by ADIAL, PizzaForno exclusively owns all North American distribution rights for the technology. The brand is rapidly growing throughout North America and backed by a landmark partnership with one of the leading food service providers, Aramark. The agreement is set to bring cutting-edge food innovation and a quality meal solution to various facilities with technology, sustainability, safety, and convenience at the forefront. PizzaForno currently has 40 operating locations and over 100 additional locations committed – with the first U.S. locations already established in Michigan. To learn more about PizzaForno, visit To inquire about the licensee opportunity, visit

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Tracy Kim Joins DIG as Chief Operating Officer

The vegetable-centric, multi-format restaurant group appoints former Aaptiv and Shutterstock executive to lead operations

June 01, 2022 11:30 ET

New York, NY, June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DIG, the vegetable-centric, multi-format restaurant group, has hired Tracy Kim as its new Chief Operating Officer. Tracy brings decades of operational and general management experience to the growing 30-unit restaurant group. Most recently, she was Chief Executive Officer at Aaptiv, a popular fitness mobile app, where she brought the company to profitability leading to the successful acquisition by PEAR Sports in 2021. Prior to joining Aaptiv, Tracy held numerous executive positions during the early stages of Shutterstock, including leading growth strategy initiatives, HR and ultimately Chief of Staff to the CEO.

As COO of DIG, Tracy is responsible for overseeing all facets of the core business, including restaurant operations, product and technology development, procurement, labor, and support operations.

“After being a devoted DIG customer for years, I’m thrilled to be joining this authentic, inspired and talented leadership team,” says Tracy Kim, COO of DIG. “I’ve been a big believer in DIG’s mission to help rebuild the food system through vegetable-forward cooking, responsible and thoughtful sourcing, and intentional community-building. It brings me great joy to serve every guest and employee with the DIG experience as we expand in current and future markets.”

Tracy joins DIG during an exciting period of growth for the 11-year-old company. In October 2021, DIG announced its series F raise of $65 million in a round supported by existing investors including EHI (the fund affiliated with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group), Monogram Capital Partners, and Avalt, as well as new investors Kitchen Fund, Eminence Capital, LP and Inherent Group. The funding round has enabled DIG to re-open key locations temporarily closed due to COVID-19, as well as expand its footprint in established and new markets, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, with the goal of bringing its total restaurant count from 30 to 60 over the next three years. In April 2022, DIG began offering a four-day workweek schedule option to all hourly restaurant employees in a move that is, to their knowledge, the first and largest of its kind in the restaurant industry.

In the near future, DIG will debut new kitchen technology innovations and new format releases that aim to enable and empower people, instead of replace them. One such program is already taking shape at DIG on 4th, the team’s latest venture that opened in May 2022 in Manhattan’s Union Square and combines the best of their quick-service, full-service, and delivery capabilities to provide an entirely new dining experience.



DIG is a multi-city, multi-format restaurant group with a core focus on vegetable-forward cooking served from their portfolio of fast-casual restaurants, annex programs, strategic partners, their dining & innovation space, 232 Bleecker in New York City, and their latest venture, DIG on 4th in Manhattan’s Union Square. Behind their food is responsible and thoughtful sourcing, much of which is grown in their upstate NY farm, DIG Acres, or sourced from their close network of regional farmers and partners. Founded by CEO Adam Eskin in 2011, DIG is on a mission to rebuild the food system not only through creating supply chain, operational, and environmental efficiencies but by changing overall consumer perception of vegetables from a daily necessity to a craveable meal.

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BRIX Holdings, LLC Appoints New Chief Financial Officer Pamela Hunt

Jun 01, 2022, 09:37 ET

DALLAS, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- BRIX Holdings, LLC, a Dallas-based multi-brand restaurant management and franchising company specializing in chains with superior products and attractive growth prospects, today announced the appointment of Pamela Hunt as its chief financial officer. Hunt has more than 20 years of experience as a financial and operational leader for global organizations. In her new position, Hunt will oversee the BRIX Holdings' finance organization and all financial activities including accounting, financial planning and analysis, treasury, and tax for the BRIX Holdings' portfolio companies, which includes Friendly's Restaurants, Orange Leaf, Red Mango, Smoothie Factory and other brands.

"This is an exciting time to be joining BRIX Holdings. With its strong management team,  portfolio of quality brands, and solid shared-services platform, the company is poised for growth," said Hunt. "I look forward to working with the entire BRIX team to support our restaurants and franchise owners and to expanding the BRIX portfolio."

Hunt was most recently vice president of finance and accounting at Bioworld Merchandising, a manufacturer and distributor of headwear and related accessories, where she led all aspects of the company's financial activities. Prior to that, Hunt oversaw the accounting operations of On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, a chain of Tex-Mex casual dining restaurants, as the brand's vice president and controller.

"We are delighted to have Pam join the BRIX team as we reimagine and expand the great consumer brands in our portfolio. Her proven financial expertise and leadership skills, as well as her operational experience, will help drive our next phase of growth," said John Antioco, Chairman of BRIX Holdings.

For more information about BRIX Holdings, visit

About BRIX Holdings, LLC: 

BRIX Holdings, LLC is a Dallas-based multi brand restaurant management and franchising company specializing in chains with superior products and attractive growth prospects. BRIX Holdings focuses on brands that are both attractive to the rapidly expanding single-unit owner/operator franchise market segment and have the potential to grow into national and international award-winning chains. The current BRIX Holdings' portfolio includes the Red Mango® Yogurt Café Juice Bar, Smoothie Factory® Juice Bar, Orange Leaf® and Friendly's®.

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Chowly Appoints Kristin Peterson as Senior Vice President of Marketing

Veteran Digital Marketing & Brand Strategist to Amplify Awareness and Build Product Demand

Kristin Peterson joins Chowly as senior vice president of marketing.

June 01, 2022 10:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chowly, a restaurant technology company that integrates third-party delivery marketplaces with point-of-sale (POS) systems, today announced Kristin Peterson as the company’s senior vice president of marketing. Her in-depth understanding of the restaurant industry, coupled with her vast experience as a digital marketer, will allow her to further elevate the Chowly brand – highlighting how the company can provide streamlined technology solutions for restaurants of all sizes.

“I’ve always enjoyed this industry and love the emotional connections people can have when sharing a meal, so I’m thrilled to be a part of a growing team who recognizes the importance of redefining the restaurant space by digitizing the ordering process,” said Kristin Peterson, SVP of Marketing, Chowly. “The restaurant industry can be notoriously slow to adopt new technology, but we’ve undergone years’ worth of innovation since COVID-19. Chowly presents a compelling solution to a very real, present-day problem and we want restaurants to focus on what they do best: focusing on the food and patrons, while running their business efficiently.”

In this role, Peterson will focus on positioning Chowly as a brand that goes beyond its functional role of enhancing a restaurant’s operations and touches the hearts of its customers and employees alike. Peterson also seeks to expand the brand narrative and will continue to build trust with small, midsize and enterprise restaurant operators, demonstrating how Chowly is at the forefront of industry-wide changes and is a scalable technology solution that can continue to accelerate revenue growth in a post-pandemic future.

“Chowly is at an inflection point in its journey to change the hospitality space, and Kristin is here to tell the story of how we’ve become a foundational problem solver for some of the biggest challenges that restaurants face,” said Sterling Douglass, co-founder and CEO, Chowly. “Kristin’s understanding and firsthand experience at leading tech-forward restaurant brands showcases her familiarity with the industry’s most inherent struggles. She is joining a team committed to breaking down the technological barriers in our space and acting as an unapologetic advocate for restaurants, both big and small.”

Peterson joins the Chowly team with nearly two decades of marketing, advertising and branding experience. Peterson has held several leadership positions at The Richards Group, working as a team lead and group director for brands like Corona Beer, Red Lobster and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Most recently, Peterson served as Chief Marketing Officer for Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, the largest barbecue franchise in the United States, where she worked with Chowly as a key technology partner.

About Chowly

Chowly is a leading POS integration company that enables restaurants to expand and maintain their off-premise capabilities. Chowly seamlessly integrates orders from the industry’s largest platforms – such as Grubhub, Ubereats, Doordash, Google and hundreds more – directly into POS. Chowly's solution features over 12,000 restaurants and continues to solidify the company's mission of simplifying technology for restaurants. To learn more, visit

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Robeks Appoints Franchise Veteran Todd Peterson to Chief Development Officer Role

June 1, 2022

Former Wingstop Executive Brings 25 Years of Experience and Relationships to Help Grow the Popular Juice and Smoothie Brand

Los Angeles, CA  (  Robeks, the popular destination for creatively crafted fresh smoothies, juices, acai bowls and more, today announces the next phase of its aggressive franchise efforts with the appointment of industry veteran Todd Peterson to the newly created position of Chief Development Officer. Peterson will oversee all aspects of the company’s franchise development and market expansion.

“Robeks boasts stronger unit-level economics than many brands in this segment and with impressive same-store-sales results and a solid base of profitable restaurants across multiple states, the company is very well positioned to accelerate growth. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to lead the development efforts for this iconic brand,” said Todd Peterson.

Peterson’s background includes more than 25 years of experience directing domestic and international franchise restaurant development for both full and limited-service brands. Most recently he served as the vice president of franchise development for Wingstop Restaurants, a leading 1,700-unit publicly traded global restaurant brand.

“The strength of our brand, the appeal of our category, and the return on investment for Robeks franchisees were key to helping us attract someone of Todd’s caliber. We are very excited to have Todd join the Robeks team to lead and accelerate our development efforts in both new and existing markets,” said David Rawnsley, president and CFO of Los Angeles-based Robeks.

In 2021 Robeks marked its 25th anniversary and the company has reinforced its foundation to set the stage for the next 25 years. Menu innovation with premium toasts, including various avocado and nut butter versions, have helped attract new guests and drive sales. Expansion into new markets has increased the company’s footprint across the United States. The company’s top 25% locations now have industry-leading annual unit volumes exceeding $1 million*.

“Robeks has the world’s best franchisees who deliver every day for every guest with enthusiastic customer service and a commitment to exceptional quality, and with Todd’s leadership we look forward to significantly and meaningfully growing our system,” said Rawnsley.

About Robeks

Robeks, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021, is a preeminent leader in the wholesome juice and healthful smoothie category using fruits and vegetables at the peak of their freshness for a delicious taste and quality nutrients. Also known for its fresh Acai bowls and now adding premium toasts, Robeks continues to innovate with creatively crafted flavor combinations with fresh, high quality ingredients that make people happy. With more than 100 locations open and in development across thirteen states and the District of Columbia, Robeks continues its stellar growth with franchise opportunities in select markets across the country. For more information, visit and for franchising details visit

* This number represents the average net sales for the top 25% stores for the 52-week period ended 12/26/2021 (“Fiscal Period”). See Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) for more information, including net sales date for all stores for all traditional Robeks stores in operation during the Fiscal Period. Your results may differ. There is no assurance that you will earn as much. The franchise sales information here does not constitute an offer to sell a franchise. An offer of franchise can only be made through the delivery of an FDD. Certain states require that we register the FDD in those states. The communications here are not directed by us to the residents of any of those states. Moreover, we will not offer or sell franchises in those states until we have registered the franchise (or obtained an applicable exemption from registration) and delivered the FDD to the prospective franchisee in compliance with applicable law.

View source version at Robeks

Dog Haus Enlists Industry Veteran Tim Perreira to Help Combat Supply Chain Challenges

May 31, 2022

Acclaimed gourmet hot dog, sausage and burger concept teams up with seasoned restaurateur to support franchisees during supply chain crisis

Pasadena, CA  (  Committed to supporting its franchisees during good times and difficult times, Dog Haus is providing a new resource for its operators as a way to battle the uncharacteristic, industry-wide supply chain shortage.

The acclaimed gourmet hot dog, sausage and burger concept is partnering with industry leader and Principal of Prime Costs, LLC Tim Perreira to help with all tasks related to the supply chain, including purchasing, logistics, vendor relations, product development and operational efficiency. By enlisting Perreira as a consultant, Dog Haus continues to strive for excellence by improving in all areas of its business model.

“Dog Haus is dedicated to offering top-notch services that position our franchisees for success,” said Dog Haus Partner Hagop Giragossian. “We want to change the trajectory of the current operating environment and not allow industry supply chain shortages to be an ongoing issue for our brand. So, we’re being proactive and supporting our current operators by teaming up with Tim. He’s a strategic leader with extensive experience, and we look forward to having him work with us as we reach new solutions that will enhance our overall business.”

A seasoned restaurateur, Perreira boasts more than 45 years of industry experience spanning full-service and casual dining, bakery and cafés, fast casuals, wholesale bakeries and commissary operations. Over the course of his career, Perreira pioneered the position of head of purchasing and product development for a fast-growing public corporation and was the pivotal corporate officer involved in Chart House Restaurants’ revitalization efforts in the late ‘90s, working directly with prominent executives at the Lettuce Entertain You group. He has held various positions such as vice president of food & beverage standards, vice president of concept development and vice president of food and beverage at popular public and private restaurant brands.

Over the past two years, Perreira has played an essential role at Islands Restaurants in leveraging long-term supplier relationships to help navigate pandemic-related challenges.

“The restaurant industry has endured an uncharacteristic supply chain crisis over the last couple of years, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon,” Perreira said. “Dog Haus is taking action during this time to solve problems that we aren’t used to seeing. I’m honored to work with them to provide additional support during this critical time.”

For up-to-date location and brand information, visit or follow Dog Haus on FacebookTwitter or Instagram @DogHausDogs.

About Dog Haus

Dog Haus is an award-winning concept known for its gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers, plant-based and fried chicken offerings, creative full bar program and The Absolute Brands. Founded by longtime friends Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener, the first Dog Haus opened in Pasadena, California in 2010. Dog Haus was honored with Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious MenuMasters Award and has been named in Fast Casual’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers list since 2020. The brand continues to garner critical acclaim for its signature all beef dogs and hand-crafted sausages with no added nitrates, and 100% Black Angus beef burgers – all of which are made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and served on grilled King’s Hawaiian rolls. With its mission to sustainably feed everyone who walks through their doors, Dog Haus also offers a diverse lineup of plant-based burger, sausage and chicken creations. While establishing itself as a “haus”-hold name, the brand has helped raise enough funds from its innovative collaboration with high-profile chefs to feed over two million kids in need through its national charity partner No Kid Hungry. For up-to-date location and brand information, visit or follow Dog Haus on FacebookTwitter or Instagram @DogHausDogs.

View source version at Dog Haus

Parent of Modern Market and Lemonade Hires a Development Chief

Chris Cheek, a restaurant franchising veteran, will steer growth and development for the operator of 48 better-for-you fast-casual restaurants across the two brands.

By Heather Lalley on May 24, 2022

Modern Restaurant Concepts, the parent company of fast casuals Modern Market Eatery and Lemonade, hired Chris Cheek as chief development officer, the franchisor announced Tuesday.

Previously, Cheek led development efforts at FAT Brands, Global Franchise Group, Newk’s Eatery and Topper’s Pizza. He has also served as VP of franchise development for Freebirds World Burrito and Le Duff America.

“I believe in the MRC mission, the craft behind the food and that we will be one of the great growth stories of our time and beyond,” he said in a statement. “I’m passionate about helping companies at MRC’s stage of growth and I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team to write the next chapter in the company’s history.”

View source version at Modern Restaurant Concepts

Zaxby’s Announces Executive Appointments; Hires New Chief Development Officer and Elevates Interim Chief Digital & Technology Officer

May 24, 2022

Leaders prove critical to brand’s aggressive growth and guest experience strategies

Athens, GA  (  Zaxby’s, the premium quick-service restaurant brand founded in Athens, announced today that industry franchising veteran Mike Mettler has been named chief development officer, while former interim Chief Digital & Technology Officer Mike Nettles has been elevated to the position long-term.

“These are seasoned executives who have achieved great success within some of the most recognizable brands in our industry,” said Bernard Acoca, CEO. “With development and digital strategies central to our growth, I am confident that both are the right people to move our brand into the next phase.”

Mike Mettler brings with him significant experience and expertise in the areas of franchise recruitment and development. He joins Zaxby’s from Orangetheory Fitness where he has spent the past four years leading franchise development, serving as chief development officer for the last three. Prior roles include seven years in senior franchise development for Dairy Queen and four years for Domino’s Pizza.

“Zaxby’s is focused on DMA prioritization, developing a more robust recruitment platform and delivering options that provide flexibility while maximizing profitability,” Acoca said. “Mike Mettler will guide these targets, cultivate relationships and collaborate with our franchisees to continue scaling the brand.”

“Franchising growth requires four things,” said Mettler. “A strong business model, a solid culture, passionate franchise owners and strategic areas to develop – Zaxby’s has them all.”

In addition, former interim Chief Digital and Technology Officer Mike Nettles will move into the position long term. Nettles joined the brand in 2021 with a focus on developing a strong digital infrastructure that improves guest experience. He is leading the development and design of the new mobile app, loyalty program and ecommerce platform that are set to launch in summer 2022.

“Mike Nettles has made incredible strides in advancing our efforts to provide guests with a personalized digital experience,” Acoca said. “We are thrilled to welcome him as a long-term addition to our executive leadership team and look forward to fully transforming the Zaxby’s guest experience under his leadership.”

Prior to Zaxby’s, Nettles spent thirty years in the retail and hospitality sectors, holding leadership positions at Papa John’s and Panera Bread where he was responsible for leading the technical design, development and implementation of digital and in-store assets.

“We are working to remove all the friction between our guests and their cravings to the point where the tech is totally transparent and entirely under their control,” said Nettles. “Zaxby’s has had a great ride thus far, but digital accessibility will be our ‘secret sauce’ for the next phase of our fantastic growth story.”

About Zaxby’s

Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. For the second year in a row, Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist’s 2022 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 18 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

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Focus Brands Builds Out Specialty Category Leadership Team

May 19, 2022, 06:33 ET

ATLANTA, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne's®Carvel®Cinnabon® and Jamba®, announced today the appointments of four senior leaders on the specialty category leadership team, including three internal promotions.

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

  1. Kerri Christian, SVP of Specialty Category Marketing

  2. Tracey Young, Chief Brand Officer, Cinnabon

  3. Jim Salerno, Chief Brand Officer, Carvel

  4. Jessica Osborne, VP of Marketing, Carvel

"As a leader, it is an honor and privilege to see colleagues continue to grow their career within a company while also having the opportunity to recruit top tier talent to further build our business," said Kristen Hartman, Specialty Category President. "With strong leadership we are well-positioned to continue to grow our brands and increase customer preference in today's competitive market."

Kerri Christian has been promoted to SVP of Specialty Category Marketing. Kerri previously served as VP of Marketing & eCommerce for Focus Brands Global Channels Licensing Division, where she worked to bring the company's iconic brands to grocery stores, eCommerce platforms, restaurants and other distribution channels through product innovation and partnerships. In her new role, Kerri will focus on digital engagement, strategic initiatives, innovation, and media across Auntie Anne's, Carvel, Cinnabon and Jamba. Prior to joining Focus Brands, Kerri served in marketing leadership roles at The Home Depot, The Wendy's Company and Procter & Gamble.

Tracey Young joins the company as Chief Brand Officer of Cinnabon. In this role Tracey will oversee marketing and operations for Cinnabon. Her forward-thinking vision, paired with the expertise of the current brand leadership team, will be critical as the iconic Cinnabon brand continues to evolve and grow. A restaurant industry veteran, Tracey most recently served as the Vice President, Strategy, Retail Operations at Panera where she led multiple cross-functional teams to drive restaurant operations strategies. Prior to Panera, she spent time at Dine Brands and Bloomin' Brands leading various operations and finance functions.

Jim Salerno has been named Chief Brand Officer of Carvel. Prior to his promotion, Jim was Vice President & General Manager of the brand. He joined Carvel in 1998, and, over the past 24 years, he has been an integral part of the Carvel franchise system and brand team. In his new role, Jim will drive the brand's marketing and operations functions with a focus on upholding the longstanding tradition of Carvel Soft Serve.

Jessica Osborne has been promoted to the VP of Marketing for Carvel. Jessica has been with Focus Brands for more than 12 years, serving in marketing roles for McAlister's Deli® and, most recently, leading Strategic Initiatives on the Specialty Category Marketing team. Jessica will lead the team focused on consumer marketing for the Carvel brand, overseeing menu strategy and innovation, digital, off-premise and marketing calendar initiatives.

About Focus Brands Atlanta-based Focus Brands® is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. Focus Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,400 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and over 55 foreign countries under the Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's® brand names, as well as the Seattle's Best Coffee® brand on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

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BeerBoard Names Josh Solomon Vice President of Channel Partnerships

May 18, 2022

Longtime company executive takes on new role to advance partnerships and new business opportunities

Syracuse, NY  (  BeerBoard – the leader in technology and automated business intelligence for the on-premise retail industry – today announced that Josh Solomon has been named the company’s vice president of channel partnerships.

Solomon has spent the last 16-plus years in various positions with the company, including sales, client relationship management, client support and service and product validation/R&D. Most recently, Solomon focused his efforts to support BeerBoard’s National Accounts Division for concepts such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Twin Peaks, Main Event, World of Beer, TGI Fridays, American Social, Abby’s, Grub Burger Bar (now Hopdoddy Burger Bar), FAT Brands, Reach Restaurant Group and Smokey Bones, among others.

Working closely with BeerBoard’s retail client-partners, Solomon has helped them realize the benefits of BeerBoard’s full technology stack, with an emphasis on automated ordering, automated inventory and industry insights/data.

“With the national rollout of SmartOrders and the integrations with scores of industry partners, we now need to dedicate a person to manage the success of our fast-growing Channel Partnership Network,” said John Boyle, BeerBoard’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. “With his industry knowledge and vast relationships, Josh is the right person to step into this role and drive the growth of our channel partnerships.”

“BeerBoard’s proven track record of success, coupled with our strong retail, brewer and distributor relationships, it is the right time to branch out to other industry providers and stakeholders to promote mutual benefits to the industry as a whole,” Solomon said. “We are excited to continue our next phase of growth through the expansion of current relationships and formation of new industry partners.”

BeerBoard’s robust client list features high-profile independent groups and major chain operators across North America. Retailers include industry leaders Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, Twin Peaks, WingHouse, Mellow Mushroom and TGI Fridays. BeerBoard also partners with major brewers including Molson Coors, Boston Beer, Constellation Brands, Lagunitas, Heineken, Diageo and Yuengling.

About BeerBoard

BeerBoard is the leading technology and Automated Intelligence company enabling the food & beverage industry to make business decisions about its complete bar business. It manages over $1 billion in bar sales and 55,000 products through its industry-leading solution. The company’s patented digital platform captures, analyzes, and reports real-time data related to bar performance, brand insights, ordering and inventory. Built for retailers, brewers and distributors, the versatile platform is easily operated from a single dashboard, and it has streamlined operations and increased top and bottom-line revenue all over the United States. Find out more about how BeerBoard is changing the bar industry through data-based business decisions at

View source version at BeerBoard

Donatos Hires Graves as Chief Information Officer

May 17, 2022

New CIO brings 25+ years of executive experience overseeing IT functions

Columbus, OH  (  With a focus on continuing its growth in all areas of the business and enhancing its digital presence, Donatos has hired information technology leadership veteran Steven Graves as Chief Information Officer effective May 17, 2022.

“I am thrilled to announce that Steven will be joining our family,” said Kevin King, President of Donatos.  “He is a proven information technology executive with over 25 years of experience overseeing all IT functions.  He is a results-oriented leader, who is passionate about developing high performance cultures to enable strategic business outcomes.”

Graves, who will oversee the IT department and report directly to King, has held numerous senior executive leadership positions including most recently as the Vice President of IT at Walmart/Sam’s Club, Inc. where he created an environment predicated on innovation, reliability, experimentation, and prototyping.  Prior to that, Graves was the Vice President of Enterprise Technology & Cloud Services Automation at American Airlines where he led customer facing technologies and designed and built enterprise cloud capabilities.

“I am excited to join the Donatos family,” said Graves, who resides in Central Ohio with his wife and two children.  “Donatos is a well-respected, iconic brand and staple of the Ohio community led by passionate family owners with the highest standards of excellence.”

Graves has a degree in Business Management and is a member of both the National Retail Federation and American Management Association.

About Donatos

Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963.  With 391 locations in 22 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 169 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 222 non-traditional locations (212 locations with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen).  For more information about Donatos, visit, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram.

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Clean Juice Names Tripp Setliff as New Chief Operating Officer

May 17, 2022

Clean Juice, the first and only national USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise and quick-service restaurant announced today it has hired Tripp Setliff to Chief Operating Officer (COO). In the role, Tripp will oversee all store operational initiatives including development, supply chain, training, and field support to grow average unit sales volumes and profitability, while Clean Juice continues its explosive expansion across the United States.

Tripp is a veteran fast-casual, quick-serve franchise restaurant executive having worked with Jersey Mike’s Subs and Cici’s Pizza brands. Tripp’s franchise operations, development, and marketing experience led him to executive leadership roles at Driven Brands, Inc. and Business Network International where he most recently held the role of Vice President of Global Marketing.

“I am extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity to join such an amazing company focused on offering clean, all organic food options to people across the nation,” said Setliff. “As a North Carolina native, I am proud to be a part of the Clean Juice family, where my aligned core values and professional experience will be utilized to continue growing Clean Juice into a household name while embracing the brand’s mission of “Healthy in Body, Strong in Spirit” for all people and communities.”

From a leadership development standpoint, Tripp will be tasked with continuing the brand’s significant impact on the quick-serve restaurant segment while exploring new ways to support the implementation of scalable and efficient models. Clean Juice recently announced the signing of its 200th unit in less than 7 years and is on track to reach 500 in a record-setting time. Tripp’s goals not only focus on location growth but mentoring and creating a team of health-minded professionals to take Clean Juice into the next era of its amazing story.

“Kat and I are very proud to welcome Tripp and his family to our Clean Juice family,” said Landon Eckles, CEO of Clean Juice. “Tripp brings a level of expertise, drive, and passion that is reflective of our core values, and we are inspired by his commitment and vision as Clean Juice continues a historic growth march and storied journey.”

Tripp earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. When Tripp isn’t working on fine-tuning the operations at Clean Juice, he is found coaching his children’s sports teams or on an outdoor adventure exploring North Carolina’s majestic Blue Ridge mountains with his family.

For more information about Clean Juice, its leadership team, its core values, and franchising opportunities, please visit or

View source version at Clean Juice

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