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Executive Movements - June 2023

BurgerFi International Inc. Announces Chris Jones as CFO

June 13, 2023

Continues to build leadership team, focuses on next stage of growth Fort Lauderdale, FL  (  BurgerFi International, Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW) (“BurgerFi” or the “Company”), owner of leading fast-casual brand BurgerFi and the casual dining pizza brand Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings, is announcing a change in senior leadership as Christopher Jones will be joining as Chief Financial Officer on July 10, 2023. Mr. Jones is replacing the current Chief Financial Officer Mike Rabinovitch, who is transitioning to Lionheart Capital as a Senior Advisor.  Lionheart Capital along with its founder and the Company’s Executive Chairman Ophir Sternberg, is the Company’s largest shareholder. Mr. Rabinovitch will remain in his role as company Chief Financial Officer until July 10, 2023 and is then expected to remain with the Company and assist in the transition with Mr. Jones until July 31, 2023 or earlier if agreed to between the Company and Mr. Rabinovitch. “Mike has been an instrumental part of BurgerFi’s story. We have benefitted from his unwavering commitment and leadership these past few years and we are grateful for the strong foundation he leaves behind,” said Ophir Sternberg, Executive Chairman of BurgerFi International Inc. and Founder & CEO of Lionheart Capital. “I want to thank him for his partnership and willingness to support a seamless transition with Chris before becoming a Senior Advisor with Lionheart Capital.” Chris Jones currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Odyssey Marine Exploration (Nasdaq: OMEX) in Tampa, Florida. As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Jones helps lead the transformation of OMEX from a deep-water wreck exploration and recovery company to a critical mineral exploration company. In addition, he has restructured OMEX’s capital, developed and implemented new rigorous controls and protocols within the financing and accounting team, including the implementation of a new ERP system and SEC reporting structure, and represented the company at various investment conferences, investor meetings, and sell-side research queries. Prior to OMEX, Jones served as Vice President of Corporate Finance and Development for Mohegan (f/k/a Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment). The New York-based company is the premier tribal gaming & resort operator with five developments in the United States, two in Canada, and one in South Korea. In this role, Jones spearheaded Mohegan’s corporate finance, investor relations, and international financial development. Mr. Jones also cultivated his knowledge in finance on Wall Street, where he gained extensive experience working with publicly traded companies.  For more than 17 years, he specialized in equity research and served as an analyst for various organizations including The Buckingham Group, Jefferies Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Telsey Advisory Group, and Union Gaming Securities. He also served as Assistant Vice President for Merrill Lynch from 2002-2004. Early in his career, Jones served in operations when he was Manager of Store Operations for Saks Fifth Avenue. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science from Boston University – School of Management, where he majored in both Accounting and Finance. “Chris has earned extensive equity analyst experience for both investors and companies from his years of working on Wall Street.   This sensitivity to shareholder needs balanced with his corporate finance experience will be particularly valuable as we work toward our next phase of growth in capital markets and other future endeavors,” said Ophir Sternberg. “I am excited to join BurgerFi as we look to explore all potential solutions to drive stakeholder returns including a sharp focus on improved productivity and returns from existing company and franchise locations, while also considering potential accretive acquisitions,” Mr. Jones said.  “Working side by side with the new CEO and board of directors, I look forward to reinvigorating our stakeholder communications with investors as well as franchisees.” For more information about BurgerFi, visit To learn more about Anthony’s, visit About BurgerFi International (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW) BurgerFi is chef-founded and committed to serving fresh, all-natural and quality food at all locations, online and via first-party and third-party deliveries. BurgerFi uses 100% American Angus Beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. BurgerFi’s menu also includes high quality Wagyu Beef Blend Burgers, Antibiotic and Cage-Free Chicken offerings, Fresh, Hand-Cut Sides, and Frozen Custard Shakes and Concretes. BurgerFi was named “The Very Best Burger” at the 2023 edition of the nationally acclaimed SOBE Wine and Food Festival, “Best Fast Casual Restaurant” in USA Today’s 10 Best 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards for the second consecutive year, QSR Magazine’s Breakout Brand of 2020 and Fast Casual’s 2021 #1 Brand of the Year. Consumer Report’s Chain Reaction Report awarded BurgerFi an “A-Grade Angus Beef” rating in 2018. In 2021, Consumer Report praised BurgerFi for serving “no antibiotic beef” across all its restaurants for the third consecutive year. To learn more about BurgerFi or to find a full list of locations, please visit Download the BurgerFi App on iOS or Android devices for rewards and ‘Like’ or follow @BurgerFi on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. BurgerFi® is a Registered Trademark of BurgerFi IP, LLC. About Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings was acquired by BurgerFi International Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW), on November 3, 2021 and is a premium pizza and wings brand that operates 60 corporate-owned casual restaurant locations. Known for serving fresh, never frozen and quality ingredients, Anthony’s is centered around a 900-degree coal fired oven with menu offerings including “well-done” pizza, coal fired chicken wings, homemade meatballs, and a variety of handcrafted sandwiches and salads. Anthony’s was named “The Best Pizza Chain in America” by USA Today’s Great American Bites and “Top 3 Best Major Pizza Chain” by Mashed in 2021. To learn more about Anthony’s, please visit

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Potbelly Strengthens Senior Management Team

June 12, 2023 09:01 ET

Appoints Industry Veteran Lynette McKee Senior Vice President of Franchising

Names Patrick Walsh Chief People Officer CHICAGO, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, today announced two strategic appointments to its corporate leadership team. Industry veteran Lynette McKee, CFE has been named Senior Vice President of Franchising, overseeing all aspects of franchisee recruitment and sales. Patrick Walsh joins Potbelly as Chief People Officer and will oversee and lead the brand’s People team and human resources across the company. “Franchise-focused development is one of our five strategic pillars to drive long-term profitability and growth,” said Bob Wright, president and CEO of Potbelly. “Lynette’s deep expertise in the franchising space and her proven ability to build and execute successful franchising strategies at major restaurant brands will be invaluable as we continue to scale the Potbelly brand nationwide. We are thrilled to welcome her to the team and look forward to working together to execute against our long-term growth strategy.” With more than 25 years of experience in the franchising space and a Certified Franchise Executive™, Ms. McKee most recently owned and operated her consulting practice, McKee Services LLC, which she began in 2012 as an advisory services firm specializing in franchising and development. She previously served as Executive Director of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Prior to that role, Ms. McKee was Chief Development Officer at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants and oversaw franchising at global restaurant brands Dunkin’ Brands and Burger King. Additionally, she held franchise leadership positions at the American casual dining company Metromedia Restaurant Group, as well as several hospitality companies. Ms. McKee earned a degree in Education from Vanderbilt University. “I am thrilled to join Potbelly at such an exciting time in the company’s growth story,” said Ms. McKee. “I look forward to working closely with Bob and the senior leadership team to continue to drive Potbelly’s franchising strategy and help bring the company’s delicious food to more locations across the country.” “Our people and our culture are at the center of everything we do, especially as we continue to expand our shop footprint. I’m excited to have Patrick leading this important part of our business. Patrick brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources. Over the course of his career, he has established himself as a thoughtful and strategic business leader, who keeps people at the center of work culture,” said Mr. Wright. “He is driven and passionate about our vision to hire people for their character and attitude and train for skill. I am confident he will be a great addition to our team as we look to continuously build upon and improve our already best-in-class workplace.” Mr. Walsh previously served as VP, Head of Human Resources at manufacturing and supply company Oil-Dri Corporation of America. Prior to that role, he spent more than a decade, non-consecutively, in various human resources positions, including leadership roles, at PepsiCo, most recently as Senior Director of Human Resources. He also has experience in the restaurant industry, having held a leadership position overseeing human resources and talent acquisition at Pizza Hut. Patrick earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I am excited to join such an iconic brand, particularly as we accelerate our growth,” said Mr. Walsh. “I’m enthusiastic about continuing to evolve our work culture and introduce Potbelly to more team members in new regions.” As Ms. McKee assumes her new role, Potbelly Chief Development Officer Larry Strain will continue to focus on supporting the brand and its franchisees in market planning, brokerage services, and other critical areas related to development through Restaurant Development Experts, the market development advisory firm he founded. 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 426 shops in the United States including approximately 53 franchised shops in the United States. For more information, please visit our website at

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Ascent Hospitality Management Names James O'Reilly Chief Executive Officer

12 Jun, 2023, 13:31 ET

ATLANTA, June 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascent Hospitality Management ("Ascent"), a multi-brand restaurant company with a portfolio of nearly 600 Huddle House and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery locations, is proud to announce that James O'Reilly will become the company's Chief Executive Officer, effective Monday, June 19, 2023. O'Reilly replaces Michael Abt, who has served as Chief Executive since 2012. O'Reilly will be responsible for leading a new phase of growth and development across Ascent's celebrated brands, while continuing to build on the strong foundation of its high-performing franchise and company-operated restaurants. He will also lead the effort to identify additional brands to acquire as Ascent seeks to expand its portfolio. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to lead these two legendary, family-dining brands," said James O'Reilly, Chief Executive Officer, Ascent Hospitality Management. "We have significant opportunities ahead to grow and expand both restaurant brands and I look forward to working with our franchisees and the Ascent team to maximize our potential." Prior to joining Ascent, O'Reilly served as CEO of Smokey Bones since 2019 and previously led Long John Silver's as its Chief Executive. He has also held senior leadership positions at Sonic and Yum! Brands domestically and internationally. O'Reilly began his career with Proctor & Gamble in Canada. About Ascent Hospitality Management Ascent Hospitality Management is the parent company of Huddle House and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and was founded to acquire and invigorate storied brands to drive long-term growth. With nearly 600 locations across the U.S. and Canada, the company's mission is "Bringing friends and families together, over delicious food, served from the heart." Huddle House and Perkins each have more than 60 years of serving award-winning, made-to-order breakfast and all-day favorites with a smile to families and friends nationwide. Visit for additional information on both brands and franchise opportunities.

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Smashburger Appoints Jose Miñana Jr. as Interim President

08 Jun, 2023, 11:24 ET

Jollibee Foods Corporation's Chief Sustainability and Public Affairs Officer to Lead BrandDENVER, June 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Smashburger, the leading fast-casual restaurant chain renowned for its hand-smashed to order burgers, announced today that Jose Miñana Jr. has been appointed as interim president of Smashburger in place of Carl Bachmann upon his departure from the company on June 30th. Miñana is the chief sustainability and public affairs officer for Smashburger's parent company, Jollibee Foods Corporation, and will serve as the president until the permanent lead executive has been appointed. Miñana has over 25 years of experience working for the Jollibee Foods Corporation and has held multiple positions within the global restaurant company. Before being named the chief sustainability and public affairs officer in 2019, Miñana was the group president for Jollibee Foods Corporation's business across the North American continent. Additionally, he spent time leading business development for the global restaurant company's brands in Vietnam and Philippines. "I'm honored to work closely with the Smashburger leadership team at such an exciting time for the brand. We will look to maintain the strong momentum that Smashburger has built and accelerate our nationwide expansion in both new and existing markets," said Miñana. "We are confident that Miñana and our committed Smashburger leadership team will continue to build on this year's gains and position the company for more success in the coming months," said Ernesto Tanmantiong, president and chief executive officer of Jollibee Foods Corporation. "We thank Carl for his valuable contributions to Smashburger since joining our team in 2019." Founded in 2007 in Denver, CO, Smashburger is a better-burger brand known for its innovative approach to crafting delicious and high-quality burgers. From the way the burgers are cooked, to the unique flavors they offer, Smashburger is constantly pushing the boundaries of what a burger can be. With 240 locations across 34 states and seven countries, Smashburger is the quickest fast casual concept to hit the 200-restaurant milestone and has sustained consistent growth due to its ongoing brand innovation, which helps drive store profitability and build guest loyalty. This past year, the brand also redefined its portfolio with the launch of a new restaurant design with some locations offering a full-service bar. About Smashburger® Smashburger® is a leading fast-casual better burger restaurant known for its Certified Angus Beef® burgers that are smashed on the grill to sear in the juices and seal in the flavor. In addition to burgers, Smashburger® offers grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, turkey and black bean burgers, fresh salads, signature side items such as Brussels sprouts and SmashFries®, and hand-spun shakes. Founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado, Smashburger is a recognized Stevie American Business Award winner and was ranked as one of Fast Casual's top 25 brands in its 2023 Top 100 Movers & Shakers Award. The brand has - 240 corporate and franchise restaurants operating in 34 states and seven countries. To learn more, visit

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Pressed Juicery Appoints Restaurant Innovator Justin Nedelman as New CEO

The Former CEO and Co-Founder of Eureka! Restaurant Group Brings Unparalleled Hospitality Expertise to Usher In New Chapter For The Iconic Cold-Pressed Juice Company

June 06, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Pressed Juicery, the leading cold-pressed juice and functional wellness brand, announces the appointment of innovative restaurateur and visionary entrepreneur, Justin Nedelman, as the company’s new CEO. Nedelman will lead the charge of the company’s evolution and drive its next phase of growth – focusing on product innovation, retail expansion and in-store customer experience. Nedelman notably launched his career in real estate, and parlayed his unprecedented success into the world of hospitality with his prior roles as Chief Real Estate Officer of FAT Brands Inc., a global franchising company, and Co-Founder of Eureka! Restaurant Group, a chain restaurant group focused on local ingredient sourcing. Utilizing his hospitality-driven mindset and guest-first approach, Nedelman will bring a revitalized retail strategy focused on guest experience in-store ranging from customer service to retail design as well as a new product roadmap catalyzing customer acquisition while appealing to brand loyalists. “As an avid wellness and fitness enthusiast, I’ve been following Pressed’s trajectory from the very beginning,” said Justin Nedeleman, CEO of Pressed Juicery. “I’ve witnessed the brand’s evolution to date and am excited to lead the plant-based wellness revolution with Pressed. With 112 locations nationwide and a burgeoning wholesale business, Pressed is on the precipice of major expansion as an omnichannel brand.” Prior to joining Pressed, Justin co-founded the award-winning and influential Eureka! Restaurant Group, impressively leading a team of 1,800 across six different states and delivering over $100 million in run rate sales. He ascended as a national leader in franchising through his role as Chief Real Estate Officer for FAT Brands Inc. where he oversaw 2,300 restaurants boasting 17 brands, including Food Court, QSR, Casual Dining, and Polished Casual Dining. “Justin possesses an unparalleled track record in scaling dynamic food and beverage brands that connect with consumers on a national stage,” said Hayden Slater, Co-Founder of Pressed Juicery. “We are thrilled to have him onboard as our new CEO and see his appointment as a critical element of Pressed’s next chapter as an omnichannel wellness lifestyle brand.” The company was founded in 2010 by three friends united by the shared belief that fundamental nutrition is the cornerstone of health and wellness. Today, the Pressed brand has evolved its mission to pave the way for making real, healthy food accessible for everyone. The brand’s plant-based menu includes cold-pressed juices, wellness shots, dairy-free soft serve, smoothies, smoothie bowls, snacks, and supplements. Pressed Juicery is slated to launch new product offerings and brick-and-mortar locations with additional availability at over 3,000 retailers including Sprouts, Whole Foods, and About Pressed Juicery Pressed Juicery is the leading cold-pressed juice and functional wellness brand dedicated to making healthy living as convenient and delicious as possible. The company's mission is to pave the way for plant-forward living by making real healthy food accessible to everyone. The brand offers over 40 delicious varieties of cold-pressed juice, plant-based milks, power-packed smoothies, health-boosting shots, and revolutionary soft serve made from only fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Pressed operates over 110 Pressed Juicery retail stores in nine states, and is available in nearly 3,000 locations through its wholesale partners and can be purchased directly from their website to any location within the U.S. For a complete list of locations where Pressed is available, please visit and follow Pressed on Facebook & @pressedjuicery on Instagram & Twitter.

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Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel to Retire at Year’s End

June 6, 2023

Longtime executive at popular quick-service restaurant to step down after over 24 years with the brand Cheyenne, WY  (  After more than two decades of helping Taco John’s® establish itself as one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in America, Jim Creel is retiring as Taco John’s Chief Executive Officer. Creel, who has been CEO for six years, will stay on through the end of 2023 while the board of Taco John’s International conducts a search for his successor. The board had been aware of Creel’s plan to retire and anticipates making an announcement of its new leader in the coming months. “We are grateful to Jim and all the work he has done to help Taco John’s become an integral player in the quick-service restaurant industry,” said Taco John’s Chairman of the Board Gerard Lewis. “Jim played a vital role in bringing me here and I’m thankful I got to work alongside him because he’s one of the best in the business. It’s through his leadership that Taco John’s has grown and flourished.” Taco John’s has grown from a single taco stand in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to nearly 400 restaurants in 23 states with a strong and loyal following. Those legions of fans helped Taco John’s expansion under Creel’s watch, where average unit volumes have increased 22% and total system sales have increased to over $424M, growth of nearly 17% during his tenure as CEO.  Creel joined the company in 2000 as Director of Technology and was named CFO in 2009. He was appointed CEO in 2017. While other brands in the QSR sector struggled to gain traction during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, Creel carefully guided Taco John’s through the safety, staffing and supply chain issues as well as the uneven economic conditions to grow and thrive. Since the start of 2020, Taco John’s has opened 37 restaurants, expanding into new markets such as Nashville, Boston, Cincinnati, and Grand Rapids, MI.  Creel also orchestrated the brand’s recent opening of their new, state-of-the-art test kitchen and restaurant support center in Minneapolis, so key operating functions could be closer to existing locations and new market opportunities. Creel was named one of “The Most Influential Restaurant CEOs in the Country” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2022. “I’m proud of the work we have done over my 24-plus years to make a name for Taco John’s and grow this brand across the country,” said Creel. “I’ve worked with many fabulous individuals to get us to this point and now is the right time to transition and let the next set of eyes provide a new vision. I believe in everything Taco John’s does and will walk away knowing that we did everything the right way.” With its fusion of distinctive flavors and bold south-of-the-border spices, the Taco John’s menu offers several signature items – many developed under Creel’s watch – including the fan favorite Meat & Potato Burritos, Stuffed Grilled Tacos, and Fried Chicken Tacos. Creel also played a role in the development of the Taco John’s Mobile App and its popular Bigger Bolder Rewards loyalty program. A proud graduate of the University of Wyoming, Creel is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the AICPA and Wyoming Society of CPAs. During his time at Taco John’s, he represented the brand as a board member for 15 various non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Taco John’s, he was a partner at Chicago-based accounting firm RSM McGladrey, Inc. About Taco John’s® Founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Taco John’s® has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors for more than 50 years. With bold originals like Potato Olés®, Taco John’s knows how to Olé The Day. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions of its signature menu items that are made-to-order using fresh, high-quality ingredients, seasonings and sauces. The brand was listed on Entrepreneur’s “Top Food Franchises of 2023” under the “Mexican Food” category and was recently recognized by QSR Magazine as a “Top 15 Chain Ready to Contend as Fast Food’s Top Players.” For more information, visit and follow Taco John’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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Newk’s Eatery Announces Management Team Changes

June 1, 2023

Charlie Hensley joins fast-casual restaurant brand as new VP of Real Estate and Construction; Denise Pedini and Adam Karveller take on elevated roles Jackson, MS  (  Newk’s Eatery is bolstering its executive team with three key changes. The popular fast-casual restaurant brand announced today that it has named Charlie Hensley as its new Vice President of Real Estate and Construction, while Denise Pedini has been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer and Adam Karveller was elevated to Chief Technology Officer. “We are thrilled to welcome Charlie to the Newk’s team to guide our real estate and construction initiatives,” said CEO Frank Paci. “I am also pleased to announce promotions for both Denise and Adam. They have served our brand exceedingly well , and I’m looking forward to their continued contributions in the years ahead.” Mr. Hensley comes to Newk’s armed with more than two decades of experience in the restaurant industry. He was previously a McAlister’s Deli franchisee where he received the President’s Award for outstanding leadership. He also has experience in the Papa John’s Pizza and Penn Station East Coast Subs systems. After joining Newk’s in December 2020, Mrs. Pedini successfully guided the brand’s marketing initiatives through the worst of the pandemic. She assembled a marketing team that spearheaded the launch of the brand’s first loyalty program – Newk’s Rewards – in 2022 and worked closely with operations to optimize the menu by making it more cost efficient and profitable. In her new role as CMO, Pedini has even bigger goals for Newk’s as she oversees all consumer touchpoints for corporate and franchise restaurants across 15 states. Mr. Karveller’s promotion to CTO is the culmination of his 15 years within the Newk’s family. He is responsible for rolling out more than 40 important projects as the leader of the IT team. Adam will continue to play an important role for the brand by researching, selecting and implementing organizational technologies, including crew- and guest-facing systems for all restaurants, as well as Newk’s support centers. For more information on Newk’s and to sign up for Newk’s Rewards, visit About Newk’s Eatery Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Newk’s Eatery is a fast-casual chain that operates and franchises just under 100 units in 15 states. Founded in 2004 and named after Co-Founder Chris “Newk” Newcomb, Newk’s offers salads, sandwiches, soups, and pizzas, all made in-house without fryers or microwaves. Fresh grab-and-go options are also available, and Newk’s new mobile app, now available on Google Play and the App Store, offers mobile ordering for curbside, in-store pickup or delivery. In 2020, Newk’s ranked in Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Top 200 Countdown “and Restaurant Business’ Top 250 Chains.  Newk’s has also been selected as a Top Food Franchise by Entrepreneur. In 2021, Newk’s was recognized in Nation’s Restaurant’s News as a “Top Scorer in Takeout Food Quality” and ranked among the highest “True Loyalty” scores –the percentages of respondents who said they visit because of a real desire to experience the brand, as opposed to convenience. For more information, visit, join Newk’s Rewards or follow Newk’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. For franchise information, visit

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Local Kitchens Appoints Jay Gentile as New Head of Operations

May 31, 2023

Local Kitchens hires Jay Gentile as new Head of Operations to focus on the optimization of supply chains and the launch of new locations.

Jay Gentile to Optimize Kitchen Operations and New Location Launches for the Fast-Growing Micro Food Hall San Francisco, CA  (  Local Kitchens, the restaurant platform that combines multiple restaurants under one roof and offers guests the convenience to order across multiple menus, has appointed Jay Gentile as the new Head of Operations. In this role, Gentile will oversee kitchen operations with a particular focus on the optimization of supply chains and the launch of new locations. Jay Gentile brings in over 28 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, most recently as the CEO and Co-President of Veggie Grill and its family of restaurant brands; Veggie Grill, Stand-up Burgers and Mas Veggies Taqueria. While at Veggie Grill, he helped expand the business into six states, generating over $60M in revenue. Prior to that, Gentile brought the European coffee concept, Caffè Nero, to the US market where he served as the Director of USA/Head of Country and was the Regional Vice President for Au Bon Pain. Gentile brings Local Kitchens his significant experience in growing existing concepts and establishing concepts across multiple markets. “I am very eager to jump into my new role as the Head of Operations at Local Kitchens,” said Jay Gentile. “After multiple conversations with Jon and Andrew as well as the Local Kitchens team, it was apparent that Local Kitchens was in a unique position to disrupt the fast casual market in a big way, and that immediately drew me to the brand. With their unique model, they are able to provide guests convenience and selection from multiple premium partner brands for dine in, pick-up, and delivery. I see major growth for Local Kitchens in the upcoming years, becoming a national brand that serves guests in various suburban and urban locations, as well as non-traditional markets such as transportation centers, universities, and hospitals. I am extremely happy to be a part of the Local Kitchens team, and I am looking forward to bringing this unique micro food hall model to more communities across the country!” “Jay brings a depth of experience and knowledge to Local Kitchens and will ensure we deliver a consistent, high quality product as we accelerate the growth of our business,” said Jon Goldsmith, CEO and co-founder of Local Kitchens. “We’re confident that with Jay at the helm of operations we are well equipped to rapidly scale Local Kitchens across even more markets. I am personally quite excited to see how his leadership will enhance not only the service we provide to our guests, but how we support and serve our staff across every kitchen as well.” To learn more about Local Kitchens visit their website or download their mobile app and for information on careers and current openings jump to their careers page. For further updates on the business follow @eat.local.kitchens on Instagram and Facebook.

Local Kitchens brings a wide variety of local restaurants underneath one roof, where their food is made fresh and conveniently available for dine-in, takeout, and delivery. Pictured is the Campbell location.

About Local Kitchens Local Kitchens brings a wide variety of local restaurants underneath one roof, where their food is made fresh and conveniently available for dine-in, takeout, and delivery. Guests have the luxury of mixing menu items from restaurants like The Melt, Sushirrito, Square Pie Guys, and more, making Local Kitchens ideal for families, friend groups, and couples. Local Kitchens is on a mission to bring incredible, convenient food options to every neighborhood while helping restaurants grow and thrive. CEO Jon Goldsmith founded Local Kitchens with COO Andrew Munday. By applying their tech, operations, and analytics expertise, the entrepreneurs have digitally transformed the food hall experience to arm independent restaurants with the tech and business management they need to expand their brand footprints while bringing high quality and delicious food to new communities. With locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, the greater Sacramento Area, and Orange County, further expansion is planned throughout California and across the country.

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Perkins Restaurant & Bakery Appoints Diana Garcia-Lorenzana Vice President of Marketing

May 31, 2023

Atlanta, GA  (  Perkins Restaurant & Bakery®, a leading family-dining restaurant for more than 60 years, has named industry veteran Diana Garcia-Lorenzana as Vice President of Marketing. She is a results-oriented marketer that will lead the Perkins marketing team in building loyalty with a younger consumer audience base, reaching consumers digitally and conveying the brand’s legacy story. Garcia-Lorenzana joins Perkins Restaurant & Bakery® from Darden Restaurants, where she was VP of Digital Marketing and CRM. While at Darden Restaurants, she was responsible for the data-driven development of the company’s digital strategies across online channels for its portfolio of brands. Prior, Diana worked for LongHorn Steakhouse, a Darden brand, as Marketing Director. “I truly look forward to bringing the Perkins brand to more customers, as it has a unique story to tell with its longevity of history and a powerful position in the family dining market with its extremely loyal customer base,” said Diana Garcia-Lorenzana. “For me, the most important thing is unapologetically understanding the customer and reaching them where they are digitally.” Garcia-Lorenzana was brought on for her deep knowledge of the restaurant industry, how to reach consumers digitally, and her ability to collaborate across teams, lead people, and grow brands in a highly competitive market. “We are thrilled to welcome Diana to our team. With her extensive experience and impressive track record in the restaurant industry, she is the perfect fit to lead our marketing efforts and drive the growth of this beloved brand,” said Alison Glenn Delaney, Chief Brand Officer for Ascent Hospitality Management, parent company to Perkins Restaurant & Bakery®. “Diana’s passion for understanding our customers and reaching them where they are digitally aligns perfectly with our goals. We are confident that her collaborative approach, leadership skills, and expertise in growing brands in a competitive market will propel Perkins to new heights.” For more information about Perkins or find your local Perkins location, visit About Perkins Restaurant & Bakery® Founded in 1958 as a single pancake house, Perkins has more than 270 company-owned and franchised locations across 32 states and Canada. Over the years, this legacy brand has transformed to become legendary. Perkins was named a Top 50 Privately Held Chain by FSR magazine and a Top 500 Franchise by Franchise Times. Known for serving breakfast all day long, Perkins expansive menu includes popular breakfast items, such as the Build-Your-Own Breakfast, made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes, & Bottomless Pot of Coffee®. The menu also features signature lunch and dinners options, from soups, salads, burgers, and sandwiches to hearty homestyle entrees. What truly sets Perkins apart is the iconic in-store bakery, which offers a wide selection of fresh-made pies and other treats, including their signature Mammoth Muffins®. They are proud to serve up quality food along with rewarding, craveable experiences that call everyone back to the table. All menu and bakery items are available to order online at As a leading full-service concept within the FSR space, Perkins continues to grow its corporate presence and with multi-unit franchise operators by offering a number of flexible build options. To learn more about Perkins franchise opportunities, visit

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Thomas Lynch Appointed to Noodles & Company Board of Directors

May 30, 2023 16:05 ET

BROOMFIELD, Colo., May 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS) today announced the appointment of Thomas Lynch as a member of its Board of Directors effective immediately.

Jeff Jones, Chairman of the Board of Noodles & Company commented, “On behalf of the entire Board, I welcome Tom Lynch back as a member of the Board. In his previous time as a director with us, Tom offered invaluable insight and expertise, and we look forward to similar contributions going forward. Tom’s extensive experience with the brand and broader industry will be a tremendous asset for the Company and our stockholders.”

Mr. Lynch is the Senior Managing Director and Founder of Mill Road Capital, a private investment firm focused on investing in, and partnering with, small publicly traded companies in the U.S. and Canada. Mill Road Capital is one of the largest shareholders in Noodles & Company. Mr. Lynch began his investing career at Blackstone and has since founded and organized two investment funds. He founded Mill Road Capital Management in 2004. Mr. Lynch has served on the board of more than fifteen public, private, and not-for-profit organizations, including the Panera Bread Company. He previously served on the Noodles & Company Board of Directors from March of 2017 to July of 2019.

Mr. Lynch said, “As a major stockholder, I have been following the Noodles & Company story closely, and I continue to believe in the brand and its growth prospects. I look forward to once again working closely with my fellow directors and management to help the Company further define and execute its strategy.”

Mr. Lynch earned a B.A. in Political Economy & Philosophy from Williams College, a Master of Philosophy in Moral & Political Philosophy from Oxford University, and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.

About Noodles & Company

Since 1995, Noodles & Company has been serving guests Uncommon Goodness and noodles your way, with noodles and flavors you know and love as well as new ones you’re about to discover. From indulgent Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to better-for-you Zoodles, Noodles serves a world of flavor in every bowl. Made up of more than 450 restaurants and 8,000 passionate team members, Noodles is dedicated to nourishing and inspiring every guest who walks through the door. To learn more or find the location nearest you, visit

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BurgerFi International, Inc. Names Carl Bachmann as CEO

May 30, 2023

Attracts seasoned restaurant executive from competitor burger chain to lead Company Fort Lauderdale, FL  (  BurgerFi International, Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW) (“BurgerFi” or the “Company”), owner of leading fast-casual brand BurgerFi and the casual dining pizza brand Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings, recently attracted industry veteran Carl J. Bachmann from a larger burger chain and appointed him as CEO for their organization. Bachmann, who will start with the Company on July 10th, is a career restaurant professional with extensive experience in both the burger and pizza spaces. He has served in various leadership roles and has an established record of growing brands and helping them remain competitive. “Carl brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the restaurant space that will be valuable for our enterprise. His successful leadership of restaurants combined with his innovative experiences, particularly within the burger and pizza spaces, give him a unique and deep understanding of our brands – particularly how to help drive us toward growth,” said Ophir Sternberg, Executive Chairman of BurgerFi and Founder & CEO of Lionheart Capital. Prior to joining BurgerFi, Bachmann served as President for Smashburger, the Denver-based chain that specializes in custom burgers. In this role he launched a 5-point business plan designed to accelerate growth, which he aimed to achieve by retooling the entire organization including rebuilding the leadership team, bringing back high-quality food products, redefining the real estate portfolio, launching new food safety, service and cleanliness and restaurant condition initiatives, and relaunching the brand with a new marketing team and direction. Under his leadership, Smashburger experienced double digit systemwide same store sales growth along with double digit expansion of both the corporate and franchise footprint. During his leadership, Smashburger also migrated to new e-commerce platform, resulting in a large increase in owned channel digital revenues and improved customer experience. Bachmann initially joined Smashburger in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer before taking on the role of President. Bachmann’s executive roles also include Senior Vice President of Operations for Bertucci’s, the Boston-based brick oven Italian concept, which he joined in 2014. Under his guidance, the company experienced substantial EBITDA improvements and, in 2015, the company recognized him as Executive of the Year. Before Bertucci’s, for nearly 18 years, Bachmann dedicated his talents and expertise to Ruby Tuesday, the casual dining chain. In 1994, he joined the company as Director of Operations and during his tenure, the brand grew from 80 restaurants to more than 1,000. He was recognized multiple times with the Chairman’s Award for top executive leadership. In 1998, Bachmann turned to entrepreneurship and purchased the rights to the Ruby Tuesday concept on Long Island, NY.  As an owner and operator, he grew his portfolio to 10 locations and more than $26 million in annual revenues. He was recognized as the Franchisee of the Year twice. During his 12 years of franchise ownership, Bachmann continued to support the organization through franchise relations and support. He assisted with recruiting, onboarding, training, and supporting new franchisees. His team trained and developed numerous franchise teams in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to his professional endeavors, Bachmann has been deeply involved with his community. He served as Chairman of the Board of the Long Island March of Dimes for nine years. He has also served on the organization’s state and national boards. “My passion for the restaurant and hospitality industry started at an early age and I’ve been fortunate to have been able to build my career on something I truly enjoy,” said Carl Bachmann. “BurgerFi and Anthony’s are two amazing brands that are committed to offering guests the best quality products and service. I’m honored to take on this leadership role and help guide the organization into an exciting future.” For more information about BurgerFi, visit To learn more about Anthony’s, visit About BurgerFi International (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW) BurgerFi is chef-founded and committed to serving fresh, all-natural and quality food at all locations, online and via first-party and third-party deliveries. BurgerFi uses 100% American Angus Beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. BurgerFi’s menu also includes high quality Wagyu Beef Blend Burgers, Antibiotic and Cage-Free Chicken offerings, Fresh, Hand-Cut Sides, and Frozen Custard Shakes and Concretes. BurgerFi was named “The Very Best Burger” at the 2023 edition of the nationally acclaimed SOBE Wine and Food Festival, “Best Fast Casual Restaurant” in USA Today’s 10 Best 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards for the second consecutive year, QSR Magazine’s Breakout Brand of 2020 and Fast Casual’s Top Ten Brands for 10 consecutive years and in 2021 #1 Brand of the Year. Consumer Report’s Chain Reaction Report awarded BurgerFi an “A-Grade Angus Beef” rating in 2018. In 2021, Consumer Report praised BurgerFi for serving “no antibiotic beef” across all its restaurants for the third consecutive year. To learn more about BurgerFi or to find a full list of locations, please visit Download the BurgerFi App on iOS or Android devices for rewards and ‘Like’ or follow @BurgerFi on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. BurgerFi® is a Registered Trademark of BurgerFi IP, LLC. About Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings was acquired by BurgerFi International Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW), on November 3, 2021 and is a premium pizza and wings brand that operates 60 corporate-owned casual restaurant locations. Known for serving fresh, never frozen and quality ingredients, Anthony’s is centered around a 900-degree coal fired oven with menu offerings including “well-done” pizza, coal fired chicken wings, homemade meatballs, and a variety of handcrafted sandwiches and salads. Anthony’s was named “The Best Pizza Chain in America” by USA Today’s Great American Bites and “Top 3 Best Major Pizza Chain” by Mashed in 2021. To learn more about Anthony’s, please visit

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American Dairy Queen Fills Key Roles on International Business Team to Increase Global Footprint

May 25, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ), a subsidiary of International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) and a leader in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry, today announced two new hires to its international business team: Chris Wren, vice president of development, international, and Greg Kirian, vice president of marketing, international. Both executives will increase brand awareness and restaurant growth in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. Wren comes to ADQ with nearly three decades of experience in franchising and in the restaurant industry. He has held executive finance and development roles at CIT Bank, Dine Brands Global, Wingstop and Yum! Brands. Wren will oversee the strategy and execution of international business development in new and existing markets. Kirian brings more than two decades of global food and beverage industry experience, including international marketing leadership roles at Little Caesar’s, Wingstop and Yum! Brands. In his role at ADQ, he will lead brand and marketing strategies for international markets. “Given our aggressive business goals to expand the company’s global footprint outside of the U.S. and Canada, strong leadership in marketing and development roles will be critical,” said Nicolas Boudet, chief operating officer, international at American Dairy Queen Corporation. “Chris and Greg both add impressive and diverse portfolios of experience in global businesses. Their contributions will help us drive DQ restaurant growth and brand awareness in new and existing markets around the world.” Wren and Kirian both hold master's degrees in business administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. About IDQ International Dairy Queen Inc. (IDQ), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) and Dairy Queen Canada, Inc. Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 7,000 restaurants in over 20 countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (Berkshire), which is led by Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire. For more information, visit

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Golden Chick Solidifies Executive Team with Strategic Restructuring Plan Ahead of System-Wide Growth

May 25, 2023

Dallas, TX  (  2023 is poised to be a historic year for Golden Chick and the Texas-based brand is facilitating changes across the board to ensure it’s prepared. In tangent with growing its presence in new and existing markets, providing more menu innovations for customers and fine-tuning restaurant operations, Golden Chick is now fully launching a strategic reorganization of its executive team from the top down. With the growth strategy at the top of mind, the Golden Chick team has been evaluating every aspect of the business behind the scenes and taking into account how it can most effectively expand as well as serve its customers. “Creating new seats and expanding our executive team is a true testament to the incredible development that Golden Chick has undergone since our inception in 1967. Through our rapid growth over the past four decades, we’ve become a known name within the quick service industry and have our eyes set on even bigger goals on the horizon,” said Mark Parmerlee, CEO of Golden Chick. The restructuring begins at the top with CEO Mark Parmerlee, delegating more aspects of the franchising arm of Golden Chick to Brian Loescher, who has become President of Golden Franchising Corporation, Golden Chick’s franchisor. Loescher will oversee the development of over 25 franchise locations scheduled to open in 2023. Loescher’s over 30 years of business acumen and experience with the brand will be instrumental in executing this growth plan and sustaining it for years to come. Michael Parmerlee has been promoted to President of GFC Leasing Corp., LLC, and Golden Southern Realty, LLC, driving growth for Golden Chick corporate-owned and operated locations. Parmerlee is Associate General Counsel of Golden Franchising Corporation and is adding an additional extension of the brand to his plate. With additional restaurants set to open in the coming year, Golden Chick has promoted Mike Jensen, previously senior vice president of operations, to President of Golden Operating Corporation. Jensen will lead the brand’s 33 company-owned and operated locations with over 30 years of business experience as well as spearhead strategic plans for growing sales and profits across the board. Jensen was integral in rolling out Golden Chick’s cost-effective refresh program for franchisees with one of the lowest costs in the industry for operators. Through interior and exterior changes, the refresh worked to support franchisees while also providing necessary aesthetic updates for customers. “For years, I’ve had a wealth of intelligent, savvy and tenacious colleagues by my side, and we’re thrilled to give them the opportunity to shine and use their experience to make Golden Chick better than ever,” said Parmerlee. About Golden Chick Founded in Texas in 1967, Golden Chick is a growing quick-service restaurant franchise that prides itself on providing delicious food and great customer service. The family-oriented brand is the creator of the Original Golden Tenders® and the Big & Golden® Chicken Sandwich, along with other chef-inspired menu items including its Golden Roast Chicken and Zagat-recognized Chicken Salad. In 2022, Golden Chick was included in Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 Restaurant Brands in the U.S. (#142). With dine-in, drive-thru, curbside pickup, catering and third-party delivery service capabilities, Golden Chick has more than 210 locations throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisiana and opening soon Nevada. For more information about Golden Chick, or how to become a franchisee, please visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and check out our Twitter.

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24 May, 2023, 10:12 ET

Former Starbucks, Jack in the Box and ExxonMobil Executive Joins Smoothie King in Brand's Latest Personnel HireDALLAS, May 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Smoothie King, the world's largest smoothie chain and the first health and fitness QSR brand of its kind, today announced it has named Camille Hymes as chief operating officer, effective June 5. In her new role, Hymes will help lead the company through the next phase of its transformative national growth and drive the continued success of the brand by providing company-wide operational leadership and strategic vision. "We're excited to have Camille Hymes join our distinguished leadership team at Smoothie King. Camille brings decades of QSR experience and her fresh, unique perspective will help our brand as we continue to expand operations in key markets nationwide," said Wan Kim, chief executive officer, Smoothie King. "We strive to hire the most qualified, experienced leaders who truly understand every aspect of the food service industry – and Camille is no exception. We know that Camille will add tremendous value to our brand leadership team and we look forward to her contributions, as we serve and support our guests, as well as franchisees." With more than 20 years of food service and operations experience, Hymes has driven strong, sustainable sales and enhanced customer experiences for some of the world's leading restaurant titans. Prior to joining Smoothie King, Hymes served multiple roles with Starbucks including Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs, U.S. Community Impact, Partner Experience Strategy, Strategic Brand Partnerships and Vice President, Regional Retail Operations for the Mid-Atlantic. Hymes also previously served as Divisional Vice President, Franchise Operations for Jack in the Box and Regional Manager with ExxonMobil. While at Jack in the Box, she helped transition the brand from 80 percent company owned restaurant,s to 80 percent franchise operated units. "I'm eager to begin working with the exceptional Smoothie King team and feel privileged to lead company operations," said Camille Hymes, chief operating officer, Smoothie King. "Throughout my career, I've admired Smoothie King from afar and followed the brand's mission to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. I look forward to hitting the ground running as COO and to working closely with the brand and our franchisees to drive the customer experience and expand our presence." Hyme's addition comes on the heels of other executive team hires as Kim and Smoothie King grow in key markets and innovate to enhance franchisee profitability. In November 2022, Smoothie King added Chief Marketing Officer Marianne Radley, Chief Information Officer Juan Salas and Chief People Officer Laura Scavone to the executive leadership team. Additionally, Smoothie King is continuing to focus on its menu to provide more options for customers and drive franchisee revenue. Smoothie King debuted Smoothie Bowls at all U.S. locations in April and is now the largest smoothie bowl provider in the country. The brand has already sold more than one million bowls nationwide. Smoothie King also added more than 30 units to its pipeline in Q1 2023 and is on pace to open 100 locations by end of year. Smoothie King has repeatedly been recognized as a top franchise opportunity, most recently ranked number 17 in Entrepreneur magazine's highly competitive Franchise 500 ranking of the top franchise brands. 2023 marked Smoothie King's 32nd consecutive year on the Franchise 500 list, earning it a spot in Entrepreneur's new Hall of Fame. The brand was also included in Yelp's 50 Most Loved Brands of 2023, QSR magazine's 2022 Best Franchise Deals, named "Top Brand to Buy" in the beverage category of Franchise Times' 2022 Zor Awards and selected for Franchise Times' "Top 400 Franchises" list. Furthermore, Smoothie King received the Top Franchises Satisfaction Award for 2022 from Franchise Business Review based on the brand's high franchisee satisfaction. For more information on Smoothie King or to learn about franchise opportunities, please visit About Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. Smoothie King Franchises, Inc., the original U.S. smoothie franchise, is a privately held, Dallas-based franchise company with over 1,350 locations worldwide, including in the United States, Korea, Grand Cayman, and Trinidad. Founded in 1973, Smoothie King has made it its mission to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. By blending each smoothie with a purpose, Smoothie King makes it simple and enjoyable for guests to achieve their individual health and fitness goals. Smoothie King has been recognized as No. 17 overall on Entrepreneur's prestigious Franchise 500 list in 2023 and added to the outlet's new Hall of Fame. For more information about franchising with Smoothie King, visit or follow the brand on social media @SmoothieKing.

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23 May, 2023, 07:00 ET

Global CFO Bryan Shin promoted to top post to fuel brand expansionDALLAS, May 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Bonchon, a global leader in fast-casual Asian fusion dining known for its distinctive Korean double-fried chicken, has appointed former Global CFO Bryan Shin to lead Bonchon U.S. as CEO. Shin joined Bonchon as head of global finance in 2019 with more than 10 years in the global food and beverage space. He previously served in various top global leadership and senior positions with iconic brands including Goose Island Beer Company, Yum! Brands and CJ Foodville (a subsidiary of Korean conglomerate CJ Group), where he implemented strategies for a global launch of Korean cuisine. "As a leader with a solid cross-functional background, Bryan holds a holistic viewpoint of how to optimize the F&B business in a competitive environment," said Bonchon Chairman of the Board Byungmoo Park. "His strength lies in his extensive knowledge of franchise business, market launch and store development, store operations and optimization, and exposure to franchisees from diverse backgrounds and countries, which are vital elements for the successful operation of a restaurant business." In his new role, Shin will work to sharpen the brand's positioning through menu innovation to drive trial, enhance guest touchpoints and continue to evolve the footprint and format based on location and market demands. "As CEO at Bonchon, I have the unique opportunity to share my Korean heritage and love of the culture while also focusing on strengthening the fundamentals of our business. Initiatives will include launching new products, supporting our franchisees by providing tools to streamline operations, exploring the use of technology to improve efficiencies and developing a new store design and layout to meet ever-changing consumer demands," said Shin. "I am extremely confident about Bonchon's limitless potential as I embark on the journey of expanding our footprint across the U.S. and beyond." For more information about Bonchon, go to About Bonchon Bonchon is a global restaurant brand known for distinctive Korean double-fried chicken, Asian fusion cuisine and Korean specialties. Born in Busan, South Korea, in 2002, the concept was established in the United States in 2006. Bonchon sets out to have its fans "Crunch Out Loud" by sharing the joy of hand-battered, double-fried, crazy-crispy Korean fried chicken with the world. Bonchon currently has more than 400 restaurants across nine countries: Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Australia, Vietnam, France and the United States. The brand has earned several accolades recently. It was recognized by Business Insider as "the gold standard for fried chicken" and was included on Nation's Restaurant News' 2022 "Top 500 Restaurants," Fast Casual Magazine's 2022 "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" and Entrepreneur's 2022 "Franchise 500", "Fastest Growing Franchises", "Top Food Franchise" and "Top Global Franchise" lists. For more information about Bonchon, visit To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit

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Restaurant Brands International Inc. Announces Election of Directors

23 May, 2023, 17:05 ET

TORONTO, May 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - Restaurant Brands International Inc. (TSX: QSR) (NYSE: QSR) ("RBI") today announced the results of the vote on the election of directors at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders held on May 23, 2023. The total number of eligible votes represented in person or by proxy at the meeting was 395,029,406 representing 87.4% of all eligible votes. RBI's proxy circular provided for ten nominees to the Board of Directors. The ten individuals nominated by the Board of Directors for election as directors of RBI were elected, each to hold office until the next annual meeting of shareholders or until their respective successors are elected or appointed. Each nominee other than Ms. Fribourg was an incumbent director. The votes cast with respect to each nominee were as follows:

Director Nominee

Votes For


Votes Against


Alexandre Behring





Maximilien de Limburg Stirum





J. Patrick Doyle





Cristina Farjallat





Jordana Fribourg





Ali Hedayat





Marc Lemann





Jason Melbourne





Daniel S. Schwartz





Thecla Sweeney




0.2 Final voting results on all matters at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders will be filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators.

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

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Panera Brands Prepares IPO with Next-Generation Leadership and Board Appointments

José Alberto Dueñas, currently President and CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels, appointed CEO of Panera, succeeding Niren Chaudhary who will become Chairman; Patrick Grismer appointed Chairman of Audit Committee

Next-Generation CEO Leadership and Independent Board Governance Appointments in Line with JAB’s Philosophy as Long-Term Anchor Shareholder Post-IPO

May 23, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panera Brands Inc., which includes the iconic fast casual and hospitality brand Panera Bread as well as Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee, today announced the establishment of its next generation of CEO leadership and Board governance in preparation for its eventual IPO. Current CEO Niren Chaudhary will become Chairman of Panera Brands, handing the CEO reins to José Alberto Dueñas, currently President and CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels, effective July 1, 2023. Former Starbucks CFO and Independent Director Patrick Grismer will become Chairman of the Audit Committee. Over the last four years since Mr. Chaudhary became CEO, Panera Brands has strengthened its leadership in the fast casual segment by expanding its leading digital capabilities, which today account for 53% of total sales at Panera Bread, while increasing its loyalty base to 53 million members and launching an innovative loyalty subscription model that has resulted in 25% of all Panera transactions now coming from Unlimited Sip Club members. Panera also increased its pace of innovation, strengthened franchisee partnerships and led the creation of a strong, people-first culture, resulting in industry-leading retention rates for GMs and associates, earning Black Box Intelligence’s Employer of Choice Award in 2022. Panera Brands generated more than $4.8 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2022. Mr. Dueñas, since becoming President and CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels in 2019, has led a strategic transformation by focusing the business on winning breakfast and creating a culture that champions the General Managers as the organization’s most important leaders. During his tenure, the company executed a major operating model simplification that materially improved the guest experience and rapidly expanded digital access to the brands, resulting in significant improvements in unit-level economics and overall margin expansion. Previously, he served as Chief Brand Officer for Sonic Drive-In and held leadership positions with Darden Restaurants. Mr. Grismer joined the Board in 2022 following a 36-year career in finance, including nine years as a public company CFO at Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, and Yum! Brands. The appointment of Mr. Grismer is in line with JAB’s philosophy, as a long-term anchor shareholder, to establish a best-in-class independent public Board framework overseen by industry-leading executives. “It has been an honor to lead Panera Brands during such a transformative time for our company,” said Mr. Chaudhary. “Not only have we introduced innovative new concepts to the fast casual dining industry, but we have expanded our global footprint and formally united Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. to create one of the largest and most vibrant fast casual companies in the world. I have had the privilege of working closely together with José over the last several years, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to drive long-term value creation as Chairman.” “I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to lead the phenomenal group of people at Panera Brands and be part of what is undoubtedly one of the most iconic brands in food,” said Mr. Dueñas. “I believe that with this incredibly dedicated team and our great franchisee partners we can continue to deliver a best-in-class guest experience, increase our positive impact in the communities we serve and accelerate key growth-driving initiatives to prepare the Company for a future public listing.” About Panera Brands Panera Brands is one of the world’s largest fast casual restaurant platforms, with 3,852 locations and 120,000 employees, including franchisees, across 11 countries. A portfolio of complementary brands bound by common values and shared growth opportunities, Panera Brands is comprised of Panera Bread®, Caribou Coffee® and Einstein Bros. Brands. Panera Brands companies are independently operated and underpinned by industry-leading technology, loyalty, craveability, and high-quality ingredients. Panera Brands companies are united in their mission to be force multipliers for good for their guests, communities, the planet, and the shareholders they serve. Panera Bread is a pioneer and market leader in fast casual, with leadership in the quality of its clean, transparent, sustainable ingredients, and in omnichannel access, digital convenience (53% of sales are e-commerce) and engagement (53 MM MyPanera loyalty members as of May 2023). As of April 25,2023, there were 2,121 Panera Bread bakery-cafes in 49 states (including the District of Columbia) in the United States and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Caribou Coffee provides high-quality handcrafted beverages and food options, with 738 stores in 10 countries. Einstein Bros. Brands, consisting of Einstein Bros. Bagels®, Bruegger’s Bagels®, Noah’s New York Bagels® and Manhattan Bagel® is a market leader in bagels and bagel sandwiches operating 984 company-owned and licensed units across the US.

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Kindness Takes the Lead: Sonny’s BBQ Appoints Tara Boyle as Chief Kindness Officer

May 22, 2023

New CKO will lead the brand evolution of ‘Q the Kindness Orlando, FL  (  Sonny’s BBQ, the industry-leading BBQ restaurant rooted in quality food and spreading kindness, today announced Tara Boyle as Chief Kindness Officer (CKO). Boyle will step into the role as the brand’s second CKO, following the three year tenure of Kennon Adkinson. As CKO, Boyle will support the evolution of initiatives under ‘Q The Kindness, oversee the brand’s Kindness Crew and develop monthly activities to reach Sonny’s communities. “Today’s announcement marks a major milestone in our commitment to kindness and the endless potential of doing more in our communities,” said Peter Frey, Chief Brand Officer, Sonny’s BBQ. “For three years, our CKO has built a platform for team members to rally behind and reach more people through simple acts of kindness. Asking Tara to become our next CKO was an easy decision – she’s a champion of kindness, demonstrated by her passion for serving others and empathetic leadership. We know the future is filled with more boots on the ground and giving across all Sonny’s neighborhoods.” Boyle has been a known leader among Sonny’s team members for her relentlessness in spreading kindness within the company and in her local community. In 2014, she launched BBQ to the Rescue, a program focused on serving members of nonprofit organizations in the Tampa area. Boyle has also served as a member of the Kindness Crew since 2020. “For 15 years, I have had the honor of supporting Sonny’s mission of spreading kindness through countless hours of volunteering and meals served,” said Tara Boyle, CKO and Sr. Marketing Manager for ACG BBQ, a Sonny’s BBQ franchise group. “My vision is to empower each and every member of the Sonny’s team to bring their passion for giving and create the platform for them to take action. We’re going to make sure every person we meet walks away thinking ‘Kindness is Cool.” Boyle will play an instrumental role in shaping key initiatives under Q’ the Kindness including Random Acts of BBQ, monthly activations with the Kindness Crew, and creative direction for kindness holidays throughout the year. Through Random Acts of BBQ, a grassroots celebration of deserving community members that includes an award and BBQ feast, Boyle will spread the spirit of BBQ and expand the community impact on behalf of Sonny’s BBQ. By working closely with the Kindness Crew on monthly projects, the brand can pour energy into more organizations in need throughout their communities while maintaining deep connections with their core giving pillars: first responders, hunger and food insecurity, disaster relief, and military. Boyle will also shape plans for holidays including Random Acts of Kindness Week, World Kindness Day and Giving Tuesday. When Boyle isn’t supporting kindness initiatives at Sonny’s, she’s deeply grounded in her family and community. One of her greatest passions is watching her children flourish while they explore their passions and extracurricular activities including dance and competitive baseball. Boyle is also the class parent for both of her kids. She orchestrates class parties, coordinates teachers’ gifts, and organizes celebrations throughout the academic year to recognize and show appreciation to the teachers. To learn more about Sonny’s BBQ ‘Q the Kindness programs and to see Boyle’s vision as CKO come to life, visit or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. About Sonny’s BBQ With nearly 100 locations spanning the southeast, Sonny’s BBQ® is one of the largest barbecue restaurant brands in the country. Its signature pulled pork, sweet tea, and unique appetizers have afforded the restaurant the title of “Best Barbecue Chain in America” by The Daily Meal. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille, founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local BBQ joint for their community to enjoy. 55 years later, Sonny’s BBQ continues to do just that under the direction of CEO Jamie Yarmuth and local pitmasters spreading the spirit of BBQ in each of their communities through the Q the Kindness and Random Acts of BBQ initiatives. The brand gives back more than $1.2 million annually across the eight states it serves, and reaches tens of thousands of community members with its generosity. Sonny’s BBQ is a leader in the hospitality industry with its commitment to creating unique consumer experiences, ability and willingness to utilize cutting-edge technology, and network of successful franchisee relationships.

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FAT Brands Strengthens Leadership Team with C-Suite Appointment and Two New Brand Presidents

May 18, 2023 09:00 ET

Jenn Johnston Assumes Chief Marketing Officer Role, New Brand Presidents to Lead Round Table Pizza, Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzelmaker Concepts

LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc. announces the elevation of Jenn Johnston to the role of Chief Marketing Officer. Since the acquisition of Global Franchise Group in July 2021, Ms. Johnston has held the role of President of the Quick-Service Division at FAT Brands, overseeing brands including Round Table Pizza, Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzelmaker. With Ms. Johnston’s promotion to Chief Marketing Officer, Allison Lauenstein and David Pear will assume Brand President roles.

Ms. Lauenstein will serve as Brand President of Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzelmaker. Ms. Lauenstein brings over a decade of experience working with the respective brands, having previously served as Executive Vice President of Brand Operations and Marketing at Global Franchise Group. Ms. Lauenstein successfully launched several initiatives during her tenure, including the unlimited mix-ins platform at Marble Slab Creamery, the co-branded model of Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery, and the Fresh Twist menu concept for Pretzelmaker. Prior to joining Global Franchise Group, Ms. Lauenstein spent 13 years at Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins Brands in various leadership positions.

With over 20 years of strategic and operational restaurant leadership experience, Mr. Pear will assume the role of Brand President at Round Table Pizza. Mr. Pear most recently served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Desert De Oro Foods, a multi-unit franchise organization with 360 restaurants, including Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Whataburger, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Dave’s Hot Chicken. Prior to that, Mr. Pear served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Del Taco, where he played a key role in consistently increasing same-store sales and driving overall unit growth. Mr. Pear also brings experience from his time at Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza, where he led operational transformation through a combination of key initiatives focused on culture, continuous improvement of operational elements, and elevation of the guest experience.

“As FAT Brands continues to evolve and grow, we saw an opportunity to expand Jenn’s role to impact the larger organization,” said Thayer Wiederhorn, Chief Operating Officer of FAT Brands. “Her unique marketing and operations background will enable us to develop impactful campaigns that increase brand visibility and drive profitable sales across our 17 concepts. We are also pleased to welcome Allison and David to the team. Allison has a great track record with Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzelmaker. We expect a seamless integration into her new role and immediate value to the brands. On the other hand, David brings exciting insights from his outside experience, which we also expect will bring immediate results. We are fortunate to have them both join our talented management team.”

For more information on FAT Brands, 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

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Toppers Pizza Executive Takes the Helm as the New CEO

May 18, 2023

Popular pizza delivery franchise positions itself for further growth with leadership announcement Whitewater, WI  (  Toppers Pizza is excited to announce a strategic transition in its leadership team as founder Scott Gittrich passes the CEO reins to longtime Toppers team member, Adam Oldenburg. After leading the popular pizza delivery franchise for over 30 years, Gittrich will be assuming a new role as Chairman of the Board, proudly supporting the brand from a different perspective. As the visionary behind Toppers Pizza’s success, Gittrich remains dedicated to maintaining the unique culture that defines the brand and is excited to witness the continued growth and momentum under the new CEO’s leadership. “After several years of record performance, this leadership transition marks an exciting new chapter for Toppers,” said Gittrich. “Along with guiding the brand for over three decades, I have also had the privilege of preparing Adam to succeed me as CEO. With several years of record performance and an exceptional leadership team in place, the future of Toppers Pizza is incredibly promising. The remarkable growth potential, combined with our proven track record and enduring culture, positions Toppers Pizza as a standout brand.” A rabid pizza fanatic and a seasoned business leader, Oldenburg has been an integral part of the brand for over 17 years, starting as a delivery driver and moving on to roles in management, Corporate Operations Director and most recently as Vice President of Operations. He is also part of an ownership group that owns five Toppers locations and was recently awarded Franchisee of the Year. With his extensive experience and deep understanding of Toppers, he is primed to lead the company into a new era of growth and development. “I am honored to step into the role of CEO at Toppers Pizza,” said Oldenburg. “As a pizza guy at heart, I am fully committed to preserving the culture that makes our brand special. With Scott’s unwavering support, we’re excited to keep up the momentum for Toppers and drive new heights of success and achievement.” Under Gittrich’s visionary leadership, Toppers Pizza has experienced remarkable success, expanding its presence from a single location in Whitewater, Wisconsin, to over 70 restaurants across 16 states. His passion for innovation, exceptional customer service, and bold menu offerings has firmly established Toppers Pizza as a prominent player in the industry. As the brand now looks to the future, it remains dedicated to expanding its franchisee network, delivering innovative menu offerings, and leveraging cutting-edge technology and marketing. Toppers Pizza is poised for continued success and is actively seeking like-minded franchisees to join its thriving system. For more information or to order online for delivery or pickup, please visit About Toppers Pizza Founded in 1991 as an alternative to big-box pizza, Toppers is built on a bold attitude with the product to back it up. Headquartered in Whitewater, Wisconsin, 70+ Toppers locations are on a mission to redefine what customers should expect from QSR pizza. The menu features unique flavors, bold recipes, crave-worthy Topperstix, signature wings, specialty desserts and a growing selection of offerings for diverse lifestyles. By consistently giving customers what they want, Toppers has forged an untapped space in the pizza industry and is thriving in a digital-first, post-pandemic world. World-class technology ranking among the top QSR pizza concepts, consistent menu innovation, a powerfully focused digital media strategy, and Gen Z-centric social media channels drive 75%+ of sales online for the brand. With franchisees achieving a $1,100,000+ average unit volume across the entire system and 18 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases, Toppers Pizza is primed for major growth and is looking for like-minded franchisees to join its system. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram.

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Texas Roadhouse, Inc. Appoints Southwest Airlines Veteran Chris Monroe Chief Financial Officer

May 18, 2023 16:30 ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Texas Roadhouse, Inc. (Nasdaq: TXRH), announced today that Chris Monroe has been hired as Chief Financial Officer, effective June 28, 2023. Mr. Monroe has over 34 years of financial experience, including the past 30 years at Southwest Airlines. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer.

As the Company’s principal financial officer, Mr. Monroe will be responsible for overseeing the Company’s accounting, financial reporting, investor relations, tax, treasury, internal audit, and financial analysis functions.

“We are excited to have Chris join our team. Chris brings valuable experience across a number of financial disciplines to Texas Roadhouse,” said Jerry Morgan, Texas Roadhouse Chief Executive Officer. “He also has 30 years of experience at Southwest Airlines, which has a company culture we have admired for many years.”

At Southwest Airlines, Mr. Monroe was responsible for the overall capital strategy, planning and structure. He was also responsible for corporate insurance and risk management, as well as supply chain management and corporate sustainability.

“I’m humbled and excited to join the team at Texas Roadhouse. I love that the foundation of Texas Roadhouse is built upon great people serving Legendary Food with Legendary Service.  I’m looking forward to continuing to build this great company’s financial strength and opportunities for growth,” said Mr. Monroe.About the Company

Texas Roadhouse, Inc. is a growing restaurant company operating predominantly in the casual dining segment that first opened in 1993 and today has grown to over 700 restaurants system-wide in 49 states and ten foreign countries. For more information, please visit the Company’s Web site at

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Noodles & Company Announces CFO Departure

May 18, 2023 16:15 ET

BROOMFIELD, Colo., May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS), today announced the resignation of Chief Financial Officer, Carl Lukach, effective June 9, 2023. Mr. Lukach has accepted a similar role at a company in the retail industry which will allow him to be closer to family.

Dave Boennighausen, Chief Executive Officer of Noodles & Company, said, “Carl has been a great asset to the Company since he joined in 2020. On behalf of the entire Noodles team, I would like to thank Carl for his leadership and dedication, and we wish him the best in his next endeavor.”

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as CFO of Noodles & Company and to have worked with such an outstanding team,” said Carl Lukach. “I have the utmost confidence in the Noodles & Company brand and its growth prospects in the years ahead.”

Dave Boennighausen will serve as interim CFO. Mr. Boennighausen previously served as the Company’s CFO from 2012-2017. The Company has commenced a formal search for a new Chief Financial Officer and Mr. Lukach will be available to support the transition.

About Noodles & Company

Since 1995, Noodles & Company has been serving noodles your way, from noodles and flavors that you know and love, to new ones you’re about to discover for the first time. From indulgent Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to good-for-you Zoodles, Noodles serves a world of flavor in every bowl. Made up of over 450 restaurants and approximately 8,000 passionate team members, Noodles is dedicated to nourishing and inspiring every guest who walks through the door. To learn more or find the location nearest you, visit

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Better Brunch Franchise, Famous Toastery, Announces New Vice President of Operations

May 18, 2023

Franchise Brand Brings in Experienced Entrepreneur and Operations Manager to Strengthen Culture Charlotte, NC  (  Famous Toastery, a 25-unit better brunch franchise brand known for its “Famously Fresh” menu, announced the hiring of Rob Sterioti as its new Vice President of Operations for the brand. In Sterioti’s new role, he will work to strengthen profitability through menu efficiencies by using best practices in restaurant technology and the latest software. His position will also help push the catering program forward as the brand looks to remodel and reinvigorate additional revenue streams. As the Vice President of Operations, one of Sterioti’s primary goals will be to continue building on the “people first” culture concept for both staff and guests. “I am so excited to be joining a growing brand that has set a new standard for franchisees and the employee experience,” said Rob Sterioti, Vice President of Operations for Famous Toastery. “I’ve always enjoyed the social atmosphere of restaurants, both working with the team and experiencing it as a guest, and the Famous Toastery experience is top-notch on both sides of the spectrum.” Sterioti has been in the franchise space since 2001, starting as a multi-unit franchisee with Quiznos Subs. He then became Quiznos Sub’s Director of Operations for the Chicago Area Developer and later joined the corporate team as a Regional Operations Manager. He has also served as the Director of Operations for the Midwest Area Developer of Hurricane Grill and Wings. The franchising veteran then moved on to MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes, where he worked directly with team members as the Corporate Training Officer. He would later work directly with franchisees as a Franchise Operations Manager before becoming the Director of New Restaurant Openings for the brand. “Welcoming Rob to our franchising team has been easy thanks to his extensive experience working with up-and-coming restaurant franchises,” said Mike Sebazco, President of Famous Toastery. “At Famous Toastery, he is set to build on and expand our ‘people first’ mentality and culture that we have been building since the brand’s inception 18 years ago.” Famous Toastery operates in three different states, has six locations in development, projects to have 26 locations operating by the end of 2023, as well open five additional locations in 2024. The brand aims to bring brunch, enjoyable hospitality, and community under one roof to other markets in the country with the help of new and existing franchise owners. With an emphasis on perfecting classic breakfast and lunch items and cultivating fun beverages, Famous Toastery not only owns brunch, it makes it Famous. For more information about Famous Toastery, visit To learn about franchising opportunities, please visit About Famous Toastery Charlotte, N.C. based Famous Toastery is a breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise that encourages its guests, team and franchise owners to “Be Famous” in their local community by offering “Famously Fresh” meals and a much-needed hub for friends, families and neighbors to get together in a comfortable atmosphere where “every server is your server.” The brand began in 2005 before evolving into a franchise system in 2013 and growing to over 25 locations today. In 2020 and 2019, Famous Toastery placed on Restaurant Business’ The Future 50, featuring the fastest-growing small chains. Famous Toastery was ranked No. 9 in the Full-Service Restaurants category of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Food Franchises of 2019 and on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 Rankings in 2019 and 2022. In 2018, Famous Toastery received recognition by CNBC as a top franchise to buy, FSR Magazine as one of the Top 14 restaurant chains ready for lift-off, Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest growing companies and Franchise Times’ Top 200+ franchise opportunities. For more information about Famous Toastery, visit To learn about franchising opportunities, please visit

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