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Executive Movements - May 2019









The Greene Turtle Names Geovannie Concepcion President and CEO

Geovannie Concepcion becomes president and CEO of the 44-unit sports bar chain.

By Heather Lalley on May. 14, 2019

Casual-dining chain The Greene Turtle has named the former COO of Famous Dave’s as its new president and CEO, the company announced Tuesday.Geovannie Concepcion takes over the post from Bob Barry, who is stepping down as head of the 44-unit concept after 12 years.While with Famous Dave’s, Concepcion oversaw company and franchise operations, marketing, information technology, culinary, and franchise sales and training.“We are very excited about how The Greene Turtle can benefit from Geo’s insights and experience,” the company said in a statement. “His track record will prove incredibly valuable.” Columbia, Md.-based The Greene Turtle is a sports bar with locations on the East Coast. “We have a great foundation to build on, and I’m eager to work with our staff and franchisees to strengthen operations, increase our appeal, expand our footprint and improve our bottom line,” Concepcion said in a statement.

View source version at The Greene Turtle


KFC U.S. Names Monica Rothgery New Chief Operating Officer

Rothgery to oversee strategic operations for the brand in the U.S., including franchise and equity operations support and driving back-of-house efficiency



May 13, 2019, 08:00 ET


LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- KFC Corporation has named Monica Rothgery chief operating officer of KFC U.S., effective immediately. As the COO, Rothgery will oversee operational strategy and execution to drive operations simplification, improved processes, new labor models, and technology integration. In addition, she will assume overall responsibility for leading franchise and equity field operations for the brand's 4,100+ restaurants across the United States.


"In her nearly three decades with Yum! Brands, Monica has demonstrated outstanding operational leadership," said Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S. "Her knowledge of the business, passion for people, and ability to drive results make her the perfect choice to be our COO."

In August 2018, Rothgery joined KFC U.S. as chief restaurant productivity officer, taking on the responsibility of developing (alongside franchise leadership) new operations processes to deliver on improved restaurant productivity. She spent her first several months in the field, immersing herself in restaurant operations and working closely with franchisees and restaurant teams across the U.S. to identify opportunities to simplify operations and improve brand compliance initiatives. She takes over the COO role following the recent retirement of KFC's former KFC U.S. COO Phil Klezmer. "It has been an honor to contribute to the enhanced operations for Yum! Brands, and I'm thrilled to step into this new role as COO," said Rothgery. "KFC is a leader in its category because of the passion and dedication of each and every one of our team members, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work closely with our franchisees, operators and leadership team to strengthen the brand and restaurant operations." With a Yum! Brands career spanning nearly three decades, Rothgery joined Taco Bell in 1992 as a restaurant general manager. After 17 years in various human resources and operations roles with the U.S. divisions, Rothgery joined KFC Thailand in 2014, where she served as chief operations and people officer. During her tenure in Thailand, the brand grew from 350 restaurants to 700 restaurants. Rothgery modernized the operating system, step-changed operational performance and standards by improving food safety, and provided operations support for more than 200 new restaurants. Prior to joining Yum!, Monica was an officer in the United States Army. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from John Carroll University and a master's degree in written communication from National Louis University. About KFC KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain. KFC specializes in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Extra Crispy™ Tenders, Hot Wings®, KFC Famous Bowls®, Pot Pies, freshly hand prepared chicken sandwiches, biscuits and homestyle side items. There are more than 22,000 KFC restaurants in over 135 countries and territories around the world. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE:  YUM). For more information, visit www.kfc.com. Follow KFC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kfc), Twitter (www.twitter.com/kfc) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/KFC).

View source version at KFC


Muscle Maker Grill Appoints Aime Infante CMO


May 10, 2019 15:12 ET

Burleson, TX, May 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Muscle Maker, Inc. the rapidly expanding fast-casual restaurant brand, promoting a healthy lifestyle by offering nutritious alternatives to traditional dishes, today announced the appointment of Aimee Infante to Chief Marketing Officer. Ms. Infante joined Muscle Maker Grill in October of 2014 and most recently served as Vice President of Marketing.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Ms. Infante will lead the marketing vision, and strategic planning for both company-owned and franchised restaurants. Her expertise lies in digital strategy, brand loyalty, creative development and traditional advertising. She will be tasked with spearheading all elements of branding for new store openings as Muscle Maker Grill moves to expand on military bases in new and existing markets. Another area of focus will be to work with the menu development team to create new limited time offers to provide new offerings for valued guests.  Prior to joining Muscle Maker Grill, Ms. Infante served as Marketing Manager for Qdoba Mexican Eats (formerly Qdoba Mexican Grill). A Rider University graduate, Ms. Infante holds a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

“I am thrilled to appoint Aimee as the Chief Marketing Officer during this pivotal stage of our company’s growth,” said Michael Roper, Chief Executive Officer of Muscle Maker Grill. “Her understanding of the full spectrum of marketing paired with her execution strategy are exactly what we needed to take this brand to the next level.”

“Muscle Maker Grill is a unique concept dedicated to supporting healthy lifestyles by providing delicious food which is something I’m very passionate about” Infante said. “I look forward to leading the charge in innovation and being a part of the continued growth of a great brand.”

Founded in 1995, Muscle Maker Grill provides its guests healthier versions of mainstream-favorite dishes that taste great, making it convenient, affordable and enjoyable to eat healthy. Muscle Maker Grill’s diverse menu was created for everyone – fitness enthusiasts, those starting their journey to a healthier lifestyle, and people trying to eat better while on-the-go. Providing “Great Food with Your Health in Mind,” Muscle Maker Grill’s menu features items with grass-fed steak and all-natural chicken, as well as options that satisfy all dietary preferences – the carb-free consumer to guests following gluten-free or vegetarian diets. Muscle Maker Grill does not sacrifice taste to serve healthy options. Now, guests can have delicious, nutritionally balanced food without the regret. More than just food, Muscle Maker Grill restaurants are a friendly, relaxed and social environment where guests can enjoy great-tasting food and engage with fellow health enthusiasts in their area. For more information on Muscle Maker Grill and its variety of menu offerings, visit www.musclemakergrill.com. Muscle Maker Grill also can be found on Facebook, where fans can participate in online promotions, engage with other health-conscious individuals and receive updates on new menu items, store openings and tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

About Muscle Maker Grill Founded in 1995 in Colonia, New Jersey, Muscle Maker Grill features high-quality, great-tasting food, freshly prepared with proprietary recipes. The menu, created with the guest’s health in mind, is lean and protein based. It features chicken, grass-fed beef, steak, turkey, pasta, burgers, flatbread pizzas, wraps, and entrée salads. It also offers a wide selection of fruit smoothies in a variety of assorted flavors, protein shakes and supplements. For more information on Muscle Maker Grill, visit www.musclemakergrill.com.

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WENDY’S NAMES KURT KANE U.S. PRESIDENT IN LEADERSHIP REVAMPAbigail Pringle was named president, international and chief development officer as part of management restructuring. By Jonathan Maze on May. 08, 2019

Kurt Kane was promoted to president of Wendy’s U.S. market and chief commercial officer as part of a leadership restructuring designed to accelerate the company’s expansion around the world.Abigail Pringle was promoted to president, international and chief development officer.Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operations officer, plans to leave the Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain at the end of May.The company said it created the two new positions as part of the “to continue to drive further accountability and efficiencies across the organization.”“We see an opportunity to increase our effectiveness by driving clear accountabilities for our growth across the organization,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call Wednesday.Kane had been Wendy’s chief concept and marketing officer and was promoted to executive vice president in 2018. He will assume responsibilities for the entire U.S. business, including operations, marketing and research and development. He will also continue to lead the company’s digital organization.Pringle had been with Wendy’s since 2002 and was promoted to chief global development officer a year ago. She will lead the company’s international business, including Canada, as well as development.Wendy’s announced the reorganization in its first quarter earnings report, when it said same-store sales rose 1.3% in the first three months of the year in the U.S. and Canada, along with 3% growth in systemwide sales. Traffic declined in the first quarter, the company said, as it shifted marketing to focus more on “product mix,” rather than value. The company said that the traffic declines were “expected,” as the chain lapped a successful Double Stack promotion from a year ago. Wendy’s added a new premium line of burgers, called “Made to Crave.” It also launched its Biggie Bag late in the quarter. Penegor said the efforts are platforms that “will allow us to continue bringing new news for the future.” Wendy’s said that its net income increased 58% in the first quarter, to $32 million from $20 million, in part due to a 110-basis point increase in profit margins at company restaurants, to 15% of revenues. The results sent the shares higher on Wednesday morning. Company executives said on Wendy’s first quarter earnings call Wednesday that they are focusing on improving customer experience, through a combination of training strategies and digital tools, to continue to drive sales. That includes training systems to improve speed and consistency inside the chain’s restaurants, and executives said that they have already proven these efforts work inside its 350 company-operated locations. The investments, Penegor said, demonstrate the advantage that larger companies have in the restaurant industry. “Scale matters in the restaurant business,” he said. “It allows you to make investments in things such as enhanced training and tools. Those with scale will ultimately win.” Wendy’s investments also include an extensive digital effort, including delivery, mobile order and payment, and in-store scanners. The company has delivery in three-quarters of its more than 5,800 U.S. locations and plans to have the service in 80% of those restaurants by the end of the year. The company promoted delivery with free Baconator and Biggie Bags in the first quarter, and Penegor believes that generating more customer awareness of the service remains an opportunity for the chain in the future. Wendy’s is also working to integrate mobile ordering into its system by the end of the year.  And it plans to have its digital scanners in the system by the end of the year. “We believe that being successful in digital will be a competitive advantage for us, as customers are creating customization, speed, and convenience, all of which can be enhanced through our platforms,” Penegor said.

View source version at Wendy's


Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. Elects Scott J. Bowman as Chief Financial Officer


May 06, 2019 09:00 ET

DALLAS, May 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc., (NASDAQ:PLAY), ("Dave & Buster's" or "the "Company"), an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues, today announced that on May 2, 2019 Scott J. Bowman was elected as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective as of May 6, 2019.

Mr. Bowman previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Hibbett Sports, Inc. (NASDAQ: HIBB) from July 2012 until April 2019. Prior to his tenure at Hibbett Sports, Inc., he served in various roles at The Home Depot from October 2003 until June 2012, most recently as the Division Chief Financial Officer – Northern Division (Division CFO). He also worked in various controller and accounting management positions with Rubbermaid Home Products, a Division of Newell Rubbermaid, Anchor Hocking Glass Company and the Sherwin-Williams Company. Mr. Bowman has a BS, Accounting and Finance from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and an MBA, Business from Emory University – Goizueta Business School.

"Scott brings a proven track record of success and deep experience working with brands that, like us, are focused on creating a great customer experience. His strategic vision, financial discipline, and care for the people he supports will make him a great addition to our senior team,” said Brian Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer.

The Company also announced the promotion of Joe DeProspero to the role of Senior Vice President, Supply Chain and Business Development effective as of May 6, 2019. Mr. DeProspero has served the Company as Interim Chief Financial Officer since August 2018, as Vice President of Finance from May 2010 until August 2018, and as Assistant Vice President from August 2006 until May 2010. He previously held various financial planning and analysis roles for Arby’s Restaurant Group and Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Inc.

“We’d like to thank Joe for serving as our Interim Chief Financial Officer for these past 9 months. He has been a tremendous contributor to our success since 2006, and we look forward to his leadership of our supply chain team and business development initiatives,” added Jenkins.

About Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc., is the owner and operator of 127 venues in North America that combine entertainment and dining and offer customers the opportunity to "Eat, Drink, Play and Watch," all in one location. Dave & Buster's offers a full menu of entrées and appetizers, a complete selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and an extensive assortment of entertainment attractions centered around playing games and watching live sports and other televised events. Dave & Buster's currently has stores in 39 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

View source version at Dave & Buster's


Jeffery Rager Named Chief Financial Officer for Marco's Pizza

May, 6 2019

Marco's Pizza announced Jeffery Rager as Chief Financial Officer. The announcement comes at an essential time as Marco's Pizza ramps up development efforts to rapidly expand across the nation. Rager will take up the essential responsibility of overseeing the financial strategy and capital planning for all Marco's Pizza's locations. Prior to joining Marco's Pizza, he spent the last 25 years in leading roles in financial management and in helping companies identify and execute profitable growth strategies.  His deep restaurant and retail brand experience includes KFC, Mast Industries Inc., Ignite Restaurant Inc. and Granite City Food & Brewery. Now as Marco's Pizza grows to new heights, Rager will help improve the profitability, operational efficiency and financial performance of the brand.  "The care and passion everyone in the Marco's Pizza family has towards one another and the business is amazing. Marco's Pizza has unlimited potential when it comes to growth," said Rager. "After 25 years of leading brands toward a path of financial productivity, I am confident that our team will be able to support the growth vision of Marco's Pizza." Most recently, Rager spent the last four years as CFO of Granite City Food & Brewery. Rager partnered with the brand's CEO and COO to redefine operations metrics and coaching routines, resulting in dramatic increases in annual productivity. Rager also analyzed and identified opportunities with the microbrewery chain to reduce discounting, resulting in increased profitability. "Jeffery's vast experience in creating financial strategies will make him an essential component in achieving our business and growth objectives," said Tony Libardi, President and COO of Marco's Pizza. "As an expert in long-term planning and management, Jeffery has an uncanny ability to roll out new ideas that financially support everyone from the executive level to local staff and franchisees. Jeffery offers the perspective and leadership we need as Marco's continues to expand its nationwide footprint." As the only major national pizza chain founded by a native Italian, Marco's Pizza has carved out a niche in the industry for authentic Italian quality pizza, known for its fresh dough made daily onsite, a proprietary cheese blend that is fresh, never-frozen, and a secret original pizza sauce recipe from its founder Pat Giammarco.

View source version at Marco's Pizza


Tom’s Urban Names Dan Holm CMO


Leading eatertainment brand also strengthens senior management team with Liz Conn as Director of Event Sales at Tom’s Urban NYNY Casino Las Vegas


May 06, 2019 11:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tom's Urban, a fast growing eatertainment concept and modern casual dining restaurant, today announced it has bolstered its leadership team by adding two crucial roles to help increase the brand’s visibility and drive the brand’s growth plan. The Company appointed Dan Holm to Chief Marketing Officer and Liz Conn to Director of Event Sales at Tom’s Urban NYNY Casino Las Vegas. Holm will report to Tom’s Urban President and COO, Shannon McNiel, while Conn will report to Tom’s Urban VP of National Event Sales, Joanna Sanchez. As Chief Marketing Officer, Dan Holm will play a critical and tactical role, developing a refreshed marketing plan to help drive brand awareness to target audiences to support the brand’s current and future growth plans. Holm brings 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently serving as the head of marketing for Carrabba’s Italian Grill, where he led the brand to positive annual sales for the first time in five years. Additionally, he served in multiple leadership roles with Bloomin’ Brands across digital and marketing for Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming Prime Steakhouse. Holm graduated from the University of Central Florida and received an Executive MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. "I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Tom's Urban team to build this brand and embark on an incredible growth journey,” said Dan Holm, Chief Marketing Officer at Tom’s Urban. “It’s clear the market is ripe for a breakthrough eatertainment concept to emerge and I'm ecstatic to be joining the team at this exciting time." Liz Conn joins as Tom’s Urban’s new Director of Event Sales at Tom’s Urban NYNY Casino Las Vegas location. In her role, Conn will be responsible for leading all event sales at the NYNY location. With 17 years in event sales, Conn brings years of contacts and a wealth of service industry knowledge about Las Vegas as Tom’s Urban continues its growth. Prior to her new role, Conn most recently worked for Emeril Lagasse Restaurant Group in Las Vegas for eight and a half years, leading her events team to $3.2 million dollars in her last year at Emeril’s. “Dan and Liz will play critical roles in helping us increase our brand awareness as we drive revenue and growth,” commented Shannon McNiel, President and COO of Tom’s Urban. “We are thrilled to have them join our growing team as we make Tom’s Urban the premiere eatertainment destination in the U.S.” Tom’s Urban is owned by Schaden Investment Family Partners, formerly Consumer Concept Group, a Denver-based investment and operating company, focused on launching, operating and investing in Experience Based Lifestyle Economy brands in the consumer, lifestyle and event sectors. Tom’s Urban has locations currently at LA LIVE in Los Angeles, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, NYNY Hotel in Las Vegas, Ilani Casino in Portland and Denver International Airport. About Tom’s Urban Partners Rick Schaden and Tom Ryan founded Tom’s Urban to be a leading eatertainment destination where guests can enjoy a modern American comfort menu offering of entrées and small plates with a twist in a polished casual restaurant setting. Tom’s Urban offers the best of everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, epic handcrafted cocktails and cold beer, and good company in a hip, inviting and entertaining atmosphere. For more information, visit www.tomsurban.com.

View source version at Tom's Urban



Mooyah Appoints New President and COOTony Darden replaces Michael Mabry, who left the burger chain to head development at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

By Heather Lalley on May. 03, 2019

Fast-casual chain Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes has named a former Taco Bueno executive as president and chief operating officer.Tony Darden previously served as chief operating officer for Taco Bueno and spent more than a decade at Panera Bread and 15 years at Bennigan’s.“Tony is a great fit for the culture at Mooyah and his experience growing heavy-hitting brands like Panera will be instrumental in driving Mooyah forward in its next phase of growth,” Anand Gala, CEO and chairman of Mooyah, said in a press release.The 92-unit, Dallas-based better-burger concept’s former president, Michael Mabry, who led Mooyah for nearly a decade, went to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop last month to serve as its first chief development officer.Darden joins other recent hires at Mooyah, including a new director of supply chain, a real estate and development manager and a construction project manager.

View source version at Mooyah



Momofuku Names Its 1st CEOMarguerite Mariscal started with the David Chang-founded restaurant company as an intern in 2011.

By Heather Lalley on Apr. 30, 2019

The granddaughter of a legendary food family has become the first CEO of the Momofuku restaurant group.Marguerite Mariscal, 29, who started with the company as an intern in 2011, is part of the Zabar family, which has run the Zabar’s specialty foods store in New York City for 85 years.Mariscal is charged with overseeing all of Momofuku’s businesses, including its 14 restaurants, products and special projects, according to the company.She became Momofuku’s brand director in 2016 and rose to chief of staff and creative director last year.Chef David Chang opened his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, in 2004 in New York City. Many more concepts have followed, including Fuku, Milk Bar, Majordomo, and, recently, a high-end convenience store at the new Hudson Yards development in New York City called Peach Mart. The company is slated to open a Los Angeles outpost of Noodle Bar later this year.“I act as a conduit between Dave’s brain and our internal teams to strike that balance,” Mariscal told Forbes last year when she was named to the magazine’s 30 Under 30 list. “I speak fluent Dave.”

View source version at Momofuku


CKE Restaurants Promotes Mike Woida to International Division President



April 30, 2019 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

FRANKLIN, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (CKE) parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, today announced the promotion of Mike Woida to President of its International division, and will report to CEO Ned Lyerly. In his new role, Woida will oversee all International operations for the nearly 1,000 international locations of both Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® Restaurants spanning 43 countries. A 40-year industry veteran, Woida began his career with Burger Chef Systems in 1976 in Detroit, and continued growth within the company following its acquisition by Hardee’s Food Systems in 1982. Since 1993, Woida has been a senior leader of CKE’s International division and has been instrumental in the company’s global development. “Mike’s devotion to growing these two legacy brands across the globe is a testament to his inspirational leadership style, and perfectly encapsulates what CKE values in its leaders,” shared Ned Lyerly, CEO of CKE Restaurants. “With Mike at the helm of our international division, we are confident that both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s will experience a tangible positive impact as we expand in new markets around the world.” “Being a part of this company’s growth over the years has been inspiring, and I am thrilled to continue to partner with our team to accelerate the growth of our international business in both our existing and new markets,” said Mike Woida, President of International for CKE. “It’s an honor to continue supporting these two iconic brands, and continue to build our footprint across the globe.” About CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”) is a privately held company based in Franklin, Tennessee. CKE, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, owns and operates Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, two beloved regional brands, known for one-of-a-kind premium and innovative menu items such as 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits and Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™. With both a US and international footprint, Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC have over 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 43 foreign countries and U.S. territories. For more information about CKE, please visit www.ckr.com or its brand sites at www.carlsjr.com and www.hardees.com.

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Panera Bread Appoints Niren Chaudhary as CEO

Chaudhary Succeeds Blaine Hurst, Who is Retiring as CEO but Remaining with Panera as Vice Chairman

A Recognized Restaurant Industry Leader, Chaudhary Brings Deep Global Industry Expertise and a Proven Track Record of Growth



Apr 26, 2019, 11:00 ET


ST. LOUIS, April 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Panera Bread ("Panera" or "the Company") today announced that it has appointed Niren Chaudhary as President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Blaine Hurst who is retiring from his current role as CEO of Panera effective May 23, 2019.  Hurst will remain on the Board of Panera and become Vice Chairman, and will work alongside Chaudhary after he joins the Company in early May to help ensure a smooth transition into his new role. Chaudhary joins Panera from Krispy Kreme, where he has been the Chief Operating Officer and President of Krispy Kreme International since 2017. Previously Chaudhary spent 23 years with Yum! Brands in a variety of executive positions. He has more than 25 years of international corporate leadership experience in the food retail and hospitality industry, and brings broad experience in building brands and driving value through long-term growth. Oliver Goudet, Panera Chairman and JAB managing Partner and CEO, said, "We are delighted that Niren will become the new CEO of Panera Bread," said Goudet. "Niren is a recognized industry leader with an impressive track record of establishing brands and leading companies to achieve growth in markets around the world. He is passionate about serving the people he works with as well as his customers, and has shown a keen ability to develop growth strategies that appeal to consumer needs no matter where they reside. These qualities make him perfectly suited to lead Panera into the next phase of global growth in the US and abroad, while maintaining its mission of doing good in the world and serving food as it should be." Goudet continued, "We are deeply grateful for Blaine's contributions during his time at Panera. Blaine played a significant role in making Panera a leader in the industry including his tireless efforts to lead Panera through its omni channel journey including Panera 2.0, digital, delivery, catering, brand evolution and his commitment to diversity and inclusion.  To that effect, we are excited that Blaine has agreed to join JAB to help accelerate the technology transformation of our other food portfolio brands such as Pret a Manger." "I am thrilled to welcome Niren as the new CEO of Panera Bread," said Hurst. "While it has been a difficult decision for me to retire, I am confident that Panera will be well-positioned for continued long-term success with Niren taking on the role of CEO.  He has a proven track record of successfully growing brands in many markets around the globe while also being highly focused on culture and people, and I am as excited about Panera's future today as I was when I started working with the company nearly nine years ago.  I look forward to this next chapter as Panera's Vice Chairman and helping JAB, our majority investor, with technology initiatives and other potential projects, while also having the opportunity to spend more time with my family. I am so proud of the Panera brand, the people, our food and the experience we provide to customers and associates every day." "I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead Panera at this exciting milestone in the company's history," said Chaudhary. "I look forward to working with all of the talented people who are part of Panera, including our employees and our franchisees, as we move forward to further grow one of world's best food companies. " About Panera Bread  Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist. So we began with a simple commitment: to bake bread fresh every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need. These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally for wellness to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing or not using artificial additives (preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors from artificial sources on our No No list) in the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don't have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating. We're also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid Pick-up® for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests. As a result, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. What started as one 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston has grown into a company with more than 2,300 units, nearly $6 billion in system-wide sales, and over 100,000 associates. In late 2017, Panera acquired Au Bon Pain Holding Co. Inc., parent company of the 304-unit Au Bon Pain bakery-café chain. The acquisition reunites Panera and Au Bon Pain, both of which were founded by Ron Shaich, and will intensify Panera's growth in new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities and transportation centers. As of March 26, 2019, there were 2,130 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).

View source version at Panera Bread


Fishbowl Inc. Names New Chief Revenue Officer

April 22, 2019

John Martin Brings Executive Experience to CRO Role Alexandria, VA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Fishbowl Inc., the leading provider of marketing and analytics solutions for the restaurant industry, has named John Martin as its new Chief Revenue Officer. An executive with a proven track record of food services innovation, John will be charged with driving Fishbowl’s overall revenue engine – leading Fishbowl’s customer acquisition and marketing functions – and will play a significant role in the company’s overall strategy. “John has a long history of building, problem solving, and adapting the go-to-market strategy to a company’s strengths and the industry’s needs,” says CEO Mike Dodson. “That kind of ethic is something we value, and it will be an important part of this company’s future.” John’s approach has been influenced by more than 10 years of experience in restaurants (from server to front-of-the-house manager to private dining and events manager) and his tenure at OpenTable, where he was the first sales hire and one of the top performing Account Executives. He moved into management and, with his colleagues, built the foundation of the sales engine that resulted in a $2 billion business. John managed a large team in western North America with international responsibilities in Asia and Mexico. John left OpenTable in 2011 to pursue an entrepreneurial career, helping early stage food tech start-ups build and launch the execution side of the business. He has been an Advisor, consultant and full-time employee with 18 companies in the last 8 years, helping them with strategy and execution in customer acquisition, implementation, and success. John sees the customer journey from the customer’s perspective and works hard to build teams, process, and culture that support a trusted brand backed by value and integrity. “I’m excited beyond words to join Fishbowl,” says Martin. “As the world leader in data, marketing, and analytic solutions for restaurants, Fishbowl is the best option most restaurants have when trying to better understand and engage with their guests. I recognize that Scott Shaw built this business with the mindset and needs of restaurant operators in mind. I want to build on that success and add more value for restaurants.” About Fishbowl, Inc. Fishbowl empowers restaurants to succeed by delivering unique solutions developed specifically for the food-service industry. The Fishbowl Guest Management Platform, expert analytics and industry-leading services leverage data-driven insights gained across thousands of our restaurant clients. Through these solutions, we enable restaurants to make enlightened decisions, engage guests, increase brand loyalty and accurate same-store sales. For more information, please visit our website or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

View source version at Fishbowl


Coolgreens Names Kathy Davidson as New VP of Franchise Development

April 22, 2019

Davidson Brings a Decade of Restaurant Experience and Enthusiasm to Spearhead Growth For the Healthy Lifestyle Eatery Oklahoma City, OK  (RestaurantNews.com)  Coolgreens, a fast-casual concept that focuses on providing fresh and high-quality food, is thrilled to announce that Kathy Davidson has joined the brand’s leadership team as its new VP of Franchise Development. Davidson brings nearly 10 years of foodservice franchise development experience to the role, as well as a personal dedication to the Coolgreens mission of fueling local communities with fresh and natural food. Davidson first fell in love with the food industry in 2010 after getting tapped by Church’s Chicken to recruit general managers on a short-term contract. At the conclusion of the contract, Church’s re-hired Davidson to its franchising department. After working for a couple of years bringing new franchisees into the Church’s system, Davidson switched gears into the startup world, helping Dallas-based Cowboy Chicken build its franchise system from a few corporate stores to a national presence. After a brief stint at Fazoli’s, Davidson was approached by Coolgreens. “I was drawn to Coolgreens because of my own personal health goals,” said Davidson. “It’s a brand for people who want to eat healthy food and treat their bodies well. I’ve found exactly what I need here. I want to take the brand all over the U.S. so that people like me don’t have to sacrifice delicious taste for good health. For me, Coolgreens is more of a mission than a job.” Davidson loved that Coolgreens is a young lifestyle eatery that is making its mark in the franchising world. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I work best in an environment that allows room for creativity and allows me to put myself fully into it—to fall in love. Coolgreens offers that opportunity,” she said. The industry veteran said she is excited to join a smart, strong leadership team with more than 55 years of collective experience, including CEO Robert Lee, Vice President of Operations Todd Madlener and Director of Operations/Training Amanda Powell. “The Coolgreens team approaches franchising in a way that’s incredibly exciting,” said Davidson. “Amanda really knows her stuff and has ideas around training that will blow you away.  Todd is an amazing operator whose very detailed eye looks at every issue from all angles. And Robert is brilliant with an inspiring vision. I believe we are going to be incredibly successful!” Since launching franchising in 2017, Coolgreens has ramped up its growth goals considerably. With an initial investment of $296,732 to $482,600, Coolgreens is targeting entrepreneurial-minded business operators to grow the brand in key markets across the U.S. The brand recently signed in the greater Boston, Massachusetts area for the first time, and has kicked off construction on two upcoming restaurants in Waltham and Quincy, both of which will open in late summer. A third Boston location is currently in the works, as well as several new stores under construction in the Dallas market. “Kathy has a passion and energy for the Coolgreens mission that will translate to a transformative period of growth for this brand,” said Coolgreens CEO Robert Lee. “As Coolgreens gears up for this expansion, our main priority is doing so smartly, based on a wealth of experience, which Kathy is uniquely positioned to provide.” Davidson has hit the ground running since her appointment. “I’ve put together a whole new vetting process,” said Davidson. “We’re setting up a multiple touchpoint strategy and are refining our approach to prospecting. Because I’ve worked with both small brands and big brands, I can strike a balance to propel Coolgreens to the forefront of franchising enterprises.” About Coolgreens Coolgreens, a down-the-line fresh, naturally sourced food concept, offers build-your own salads, wraps, bowls, flatbreads, and more all through a chef-curated menu. The menu highlights limitless combinations of fresh lettuce, vegetables sliced fresh in-store each day, house-made toppings, dressings made from scratch, and options for all dietary needs, including gluten free, carb free, and low fat. Founded in 2009 in Oklahoma City, the brand quickly grew to six corporate-owned locations, before launching its first franchise offering in mid-2017. For more information, visit http://www.coolgreens.com. For more information on Coolgreens franchising opportunities, visit http://franchise.coolgreens.com.

View source version at Coolgreens


Chip Wade Named President of USHG

18 April 2019

We’re beyond excited to welcome Chip Wade as the new President of Union Square Hospitality Group. Chip joins us following a rich 30-year career in the hospitality industry, bringing insights to further fuel our culture and operations. "In his new role, Wade will work directly with CEO and founder Danny Meyer, the board and the restaurant group’s leadership team to enhance and evolve the company’s culture, drive guest experience and bolster profitability."

View source version at Union Square Hospitality Group


Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Hires Michael Mabry as Chief Development Officer; Announces Key Additions to Leadership Team

April 18, 2019

Fort Worth, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, the award-winning, fast casual Baja-style Mexican restaurant, has rounded out its leadership team with industry veteran Michael Mabry as the company’s first Chief Development Officer. In this new role, Mabry will lead franchise development while streamlining the real estate and construction processes. Prior to joining Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Mabry spent nearly a decade as President and Chief Operating Officer of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes headquartered in Plano, Texas. “We’re fortunate to have Michael on our team and look forward to his leadership as we continue to drive growth,” says Mel Knight, President of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “He brings experience across all aspects of our business, and, more importantly, aligns with our passion and commitment to putting the interests of our franchisees first.” “Having been a longtime user of the brand, I am thrilled to join the Fuzzy’s team,” says Mabry. “Along with being one of the restaurant-industry’s fastest growing chains, we are focused on providing the best service, support, and guidance to our current franchisees and thoughtfully identifying new partners to grow the brand.” Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has been franchising since 2007 and now has more than 130 franchise locations in 16 states. While brand standards and menu offerings are consistent across the brand, franchisees are encouraged to allow their restaurants to reflect the character of the franchisee and local community. “Fuzzy’s has a cult following among our guests and team members, who regularly refer to their local restaurants as ‘my Fuzzy’s.’ We’re going to capture the special things that have made us successful and adapt them into processes that can be easily replicated as we grow,” says Mabry. Mabry’s hiring completes the leadership team that has evolved over the past four months with three additional executive appointments: Kevin Rychel, Vice President of Operations, a promotion for Rychel, a three-year Fuzzy’s Taco Shop veteran; Samir Wattar, Vice President of Supply Chain; and Laura Purser, Vice President of Marketing. “We’re excited to build the team in a way that aligns with our steadfast vision to support our franchisees, their team members, and Fuzzy’s passionate guests,” says Knight. For more information, visit FuzzysTacoShop.com. Follow Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, for updates on promotions and your daily fix of taco pics. About Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast-casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. The laid-back atmosphere pairs perfectly with signature Baja-style tacos, famous chips and queso, and icy-cold beverages always served at a chill price. With nearly 150 corporate-owned and franchise locations in 16 states, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was named to Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Fastest Growing Chains” of 2018, as well as QSR magazine’s Top 6 “Best Franchise Deals by Franchisee Satisfaction” and Franchise Business Review’s “Top Franchises” list.

View source version at Fuzzy's Taco Shop

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