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Executive Movements - May 2021

Dine Brands Names Vance Chang as Chief Financial Officer; Allison Hall Appointed Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer

May 12, 2021 08:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time

GLENDALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, today announced that Vance Chang has been named Chief Financial Officer, effective June 14, 2021.

Most recently, Vance served as CFO for Exer Urgent Care. Before that, he was CFO at YOGAWORKS. He has also held positions at Pressed Juicery, Moelis & Company, Oracle and Deloitte & Touche. Vance received a degree in accounting from the University of Washington and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Dine Brands CEO John Peyton said, “After a rigorous search process, I’m excited to welcome Vance to Dine Brands. He is a high-impact executive who brings a compelling blend of strategic and collaborative leadership abilities. Vance will be an asset to our business as we continue on a recovery trajectory and focus on growth across every facet of our business.”

Effective June 14, 2021, Allison Hall has been appointed as senior vice president, chief accounting officer. Allison has served as interim CFO since January 2021. As a thirteen-year Dine Brands veteran, Allison joined as Director, Assistant Controller in 2007. She was later promoted to Executive Director, and then ultimately Vice President.

“Allison is a talented financial executive with a deep understanding of Dine Brands. She has helped lead the company through a number of important transactions, during some very unprecedented times,” said Peyton. “With Vance and Allison at the helm of our financial organization, I look forward to our continued success together as we evolve our business and accelerate our momentum in support of our restaurants and franchisees around the globe,” Peyton continued.

About Dine Brands Global, Inc.

Based in Glendale, California, Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries, franchises restaurants under both the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar and IHOP brands. With approximately 3,500 restaurants combined in 17 countries and approximately 350 franchisees, Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information on Dine Brands, visit the Company’s website located at

View source version at Dine Brands

BurgerFi Names Karl Goodhew as Chief Technology Officer

Goodhew Completes the BurgerFi C-Suite and Adds New Role to the Executive Team

May 11, 2021 10:54 ET

PALM BEACH, Fla., May 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BurgerFi International Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW), one of the nation’s fastest-growing premium fast-casual concepts, QSR’s 2020 Breakout Brand of the Year and recently voted USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Top Better-Burger chain for 2021, has hired Karl Goodhew as Chief Technology Officer. Karl Goodhew joins BurgerFi after serving as Director of Software Engineering at Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M), a $17 billion-dollar, Fortune 500 multi-brand retailer. He has also held positions at Home Depot (NYSE: HD), YellowPepper that was acquired by Visa (NYSE: V) in 2020, and JCPenney where he was responsible for all aspects of the 5-star rated consumer mobile apps.

“Our investments in our digital platforms like our mobile application, loyalty program and online ordering capabilities positioned us well to deal with the dramatic changes in consumer behavior caused by the pandemic. Given the increasingly important role technology plays in our ability to deliver a seamless guest experience and operate as efficiently and profitably as possible, we recognized the need to have a Chief Technology Officer. We’re excited to have someone with Karl’s experience and track record joining our team. I know he’ll effectively lead our efforts to leverage technology in an even bigger and better way to help us realize the significant growth opportunities we have,” said Julio Ramirez, CEO of BurgerFi.

For almost a decade, Goodhew has served in leadership roles at various large retailers and start-ups. Goodhew recently helped launch Market by Macy’s, lead the cloud transformation for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, and built a diverse team of engineers focused on store selling and operations. At YellowPepper, Goodhew built a PCI compliant payment system and integrated the solution into Facebook Messenger. Goodhew has delivered cloud architecture solutions, successful digital customer experiences and secure financial systems throughout his career.

“Goodhew has a proven background in engineering and is a product leader with more than 15 years of experience in software development with an emphasis in quality, delivery, and guest experience while managing and overseeing enterprise level programs. As a data-driven decision maker who ensures alignment with all teams while driving business growth, I am confident Karl will make an extraordinary addition to the BurgerFi executive team,” said Ophir Sternberg, Executive Chairman of BurgerFi.

Goodhew has an architecture and engineering background with thorough understanding of e-commerce, mobile, web technologies as well as modern store systems, legacy systems, and enterprise architecture. He will be working on the modernization of the drive-thru systems at BurgerFi and amplification of the mobile application.

“I am excited to build an engineering team that will enable capabilities and features in the loyalty, delivery, and payments space. We are just starting the journey to provide a customer experience that gives the customer the best burger selections when and where they want to order, however they choose. Additionally, I am thrilled to take on the capabilities of BurgerFi’s extensive omnichannel platforms. Our customers will be excited and rewarded by the leadership team’s plans to drive additional innovation throughout our customer experience. By testing new technology and enabling innovative multi-channel services, we’ll position BurgerFi for explosive growth,” said Karl Goodhew Chief Technology Officer of BurgerFi.

Goodhew has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Georgia.

About BurgerFi International (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW) Established in 2011, BurgerFi is among the nation's fastest-growing better burger concepts with approximately 120 BurgerFi restaurants domestically and internationally. The concept is chef-founded and is committed to serving fresh food of transparent quality. BurgerFi uses 100% American angus beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. BurgerFi's menu also includes high quality wagyu beef, antibiotic and cage-free chicken offerings, fresh, hand-cut sides and custard shakes and concretes. BurgerFi was voted the Top Better Burger chain in Fast Casual Restaurants in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice for 2021, named QSR Magazine's Breakout Brand of the Year for 2020, placed as the Top Better Burger Chain in Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers & Shakers list in 2021, was named "Best Burger Joint" by Consumer Reports and fellow public interest organizations in the 2019 Chain Reaction Study, listed as a "Top Restaurant Brand to Watch" by Nation's Restaurant News in 2019, included in Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing Private Companies List, and ranked on Entrepreneur's 2017 Franchise 500. 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' BurgerFi on Facebook or follow @BurgerFi on Instagram and Twitter.

View source version at BurgerFi

Sam Oches named Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief of Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality

A long-time restaurant industry thought leader and editor joins the award-winning brands to direct future content

May 11, 2021 10:00 ET

NEW YORK, May 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality have named Sam Oches new Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief, effective Monday. Oches will oversee the brands’ editorial missions and digital and community growth moving forward, serving an audience of innovators and decision makers across the restaurant industry.

“In my 12 years covering the foodservice industry, I’ve committed myself to sharing insights and developing community with industry professionals, whether through stories, podcasts, events, or other platforms,” said Oches. “Joining Informa Connect's Restaurant & Food Group – and such reputable brands as Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality – provides an incredible opportunity to take that commitment to the next level. I'm looking forward to building off these brands’ profound legacies and finding new ways to create value in the lives of restaurant leaders, especially at a time they need it most.”

Sam previously served as editorial director of Food News Media, publisher of QSR and FSR magazines. He’s a past president of the International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC) and a past board member with the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). His foodservice insights have been shared in national media outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, and CNBC. Sam Oches is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

“Bringing the best talent to our brands is always a top priority, as we constantly look for new and impactful ways to serve our chain executive and independent restaurant communities, from operators to manufacturers and solution providers,” said Informa Connect Restaurant and Food Group’s Publisher Sarah Lockyer. “Sam is one of the most respected and knowledgeable foodservice media minds – with strong connections, dedication to adding value to the restaurant space, both personally and professionally, and expert insights and digital savviness. Having Sam join our award-winning editorial team takes us to an entirely new level.”

For editorial outreach at Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality, please contact Sam at

About Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) is the premier source of business information for the foodservice industry. For over 50 years, NRN has served the information and engagement needs of foodservice professionals, offering award-winning content across all mediums with the goal of driving businesses forward. Restaurant Hospitality (RH) is the only national B2B media brand dedicated solely to independent restaurant operators – serving chefs and restaurateurs with hands-on, solutions-focused content that includes tactics and best practices for handling the evolving restaurant world. Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality are part of the Restaurant & Food Group at Informa Connect.

About Informa Connect and its Restaurant & Food Group Informa Connect, a division of Informa plc, delivers specialist content and live experiences through in-person events, virtual events and digital platforms and services, enabling businesses and professionals to meet, connect, learn and share knowledge. Within the Restaurant & Food Group, Informa Connect has the largest and most integrated media properties covering the foodservice and supermarket retail industries. The Restaurant & Food Group portfolio consists of Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, Food Management, Supermarket News and CREATE - premier brands that connects the entire food and foodservice ecosystem of operators, chefs, retailers, manufacturers, vendors and solutions providers via print and digital media, digital and hybrid content experiences, in-person festivals and conferences, and more. For more information, please visit:

View source version at Nation's Restaurant News

Zaxby’s Adds Brenda Trickey to Lead in-House Legal Department

May 7, 2021

Premium QSR to hire first-ever general counsel in brand’s history

Athens, GA  (  Zaxby’s, the premium QSR chain known for its chicken fingers, wings and signature sauces, welcomes Brenda Beerman Trickey as its first-ever general counsel. Trickey joins Zaxby’s from Pet Retail Brands Ltd., where she served as chief legal officer and head of real estate. Trickey is the first general counsel in Zaxby’s 31-year history. She reports directly to founder and CEO Zach McLeroy.

“As Zaxby’s works toward becoming a national brand, we continue to identify opportunities to effectively grow our footprint and sustain our mission of enriching lives,” said Zach McLeroy, founder and CEO. “That means strategically adding more seats to our table, particularly within our ZFL leadership team.”

Trickey can look back on a successful career in franchising. At Popeyes, she was awarded the Spirit of Popeyes award by their franchisee association in recognition of being a brand partner that represented the spirit and collaboration of the system. There, Trickey focused on the brand’s domestic and international growth programs as well as enforcing brand standards. Prior to that, she worked with Marriott International as vice president and senior counsel, where she was lead attorney for the ExecuStay franchise corporate apartment business and partnered with Marriott’s business teams to solve for day-to-day operational issues.

“I am fueled by a passion for tackling challenges while also developing team members,” Trickey said. “Being a part of servant led organizations in the past helped me to see firsthand how servant leadership positively impacts a brand’s growth and success. That’s one of the many reasons why I am excited to be part of Zaxby’s.”

In her new role with Zaxby’s, Trickey serves on the ZFL executive team. She leads Zaxby’s legal services department while managing the brand’s legal vendor relationships to mitigate risk, preserving Zaxby’s culture and prioritizing its employees.

Trickey is well-versed in process improvement and implementation, domestic and international franchising, negotiation and risk compliance. At Zaxby’s she is creating a best-in-class in-house legal department that proactively anticipates the company’s needs and establishes processes and procedures to ensure legal matters are handled efficiently and expediently.

“We are excited to have Brenda join us during this pivotal time in our brand’s history,” said McLeroy. “As we focus on our brand’s ability to ensure our culture while continuing to strive to attain our brand vision, Brenda’s servant-led heart and exceptional experience at other culture-driven organizations and QSR brands, such as Marriott International and Popeyes, make her the ideal candidate to fill this critical role.”

About Zaxby’s

Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is still led by founder Zach McLeroy. The brand is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist’s 2021 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 17 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

View source version at Zaxby's

Toast Appoints Elena Gomez as Chief Financial Officer

May 06, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Toast, the cloud-based, end-to-end technology platform purpose-built for the entire restaurant community today announced the appointment of Elena Gomez as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. As CFO, Gomez will lead Toast’s finance organization and will be responsible for accounting, treasury, financial planning and analysis, and business operations.

“I am thrilled to welcome Elena to our executive team,” said Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast. “She is a proven business leader and financial executive with more than two decades of experience leading the financial operations of businesses sitting at the intersection of technology, commerce, and customer experience. We look forward to benefiting from her expertise as we further evolve our platform and continue our commitment to innovation and digital transformation for the restaurant industry.”

Gomez brings more than 25 years of experience in leading companies at scale that are also category winners, including Salesforce and Zendesk. Since May 2016, she served as the CFO at Zendesk where she helped scale the global company to over $1B in annual revenue, managing growth across the enterprise and developing multi-year, long range plans. Prior to Zendesk, Gomez held senior finance roles at Fortune 500 companies including Salesforce, Visa, and Charles Schwab. She currently sits on the Board of Directors at Smartsheet and PagerDuty. Ms. Gomez holds a B.S. in business administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

“Since its founding less than ten years ago, Toast established itself as a leading restaurant management platform,” said Ms. Gomez. “I have long admired Toast’s differentiated business model and proud history advocating for restaurants and their customers and communities. I am excited to join the team in continuing to enhance Toast’s reach and impact within the restaurant ecosystem and helping to power the future success of restaurants of all sizes.”

Restaurant owners and operators can learn more about Toast and schedule a personalized demo here.

About Toast

Launched in 2013, Toast is democratizing technology for restaurants of all sizes. Built exclusively for restaurants and driven by a passion to enable their success, Toast connects employees, operations, and guests on an easy-to-use platform so restaurateurs can stay one step ahead of a rapidly evolving hospitality market. Tens of thousands of restaurants partner with Toast to increase revenue, streamline operations, retain great employees, and create raving fans. Toast was named to Fortune’s 2020 Best Workplaces in Technology, 2020 Forbes Fintech 50, 2020 Forbes Cloud 100, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Listing - National Overall Winner, and the 2019 SXSW Interactive Innovation Finals. Learn more at

View source version at Toast

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Announces Chris Dull as New Chief Executive Officer

May 6, 2021

Leading Fast-Casual Concept Appoints Franchise Industry Veteran To Accelerate Franchise Growth and Continue Positive Momentum

Wichita, KS  (  Leading fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced today that franchise and restaurant industry veteran Chris Dull has joined the company as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Dull joins the industry-leading fast-casual franchise on the heels of its recent acquisition by private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners (TSCP) in March of 2021. Freddy’s partnership with TSCP marks an exciting period of transition for the established restaurant brand, positioning the company to elevate its capabilities through investments in marketing and technology, as well as further fuel ongoing nationwide growth through franchise development.

With more than 25 years of experience in the franchise and restaurant industries, Dull has been instrumental in building, reviving and growing iconic brands throughout the U.S. and worldwide. He most recently served as President and CEO of Global Franchise Group, which has a portfolio of six brands – Great American Cookies®, Marble Slab Creamery/MaggieMoo’s®, Pretzelmaker®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, and Round Table Pizza®. In his new role as CEO of Freddy’s, Dull will leverage his extensive industry experience to increase Freddy’s focus on marketing and technology deployment while continuing to evolve the brand’s operational best practices, as well as accelerate franchise development. Dull succeeds Freddy’s co-founder Randy Simon, who will remain engaged in the business as chairman of the board and continue to play a critical role in Freddy’s strategic development.

“As we look to continue Freddy’s positive momentum, we’re proud to welcome Chris into the Freddy’s family,” said Randy Simon, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. “His background and expertise will be a true asset in building upon the success we’ve achieved and expand our footprint nationwide, while continuing to prioritize the success of our franchisees. Most importantly, Chris shares our commitment to operating The Freddy’s Way, our promise to approach every aspect of our business the right way, holding true to our values and emphasizing quality.”

Freddy’s has experienced outstanding momentum over the past several years, most notably its openings growing by double digit percentages annually. Its aggressive growth has been fueled by the dozens of existing franchisees that continue to reinvest and grow with the brand. Their commitment has resulted in an average of 30 to 60 new restaurant openings each year since 2016, and a healthy pipeline of more than 500 units committed to be developed in the coming years. Freddy’s success and strong network position the brand for continued explosive growth under Dull.

“Freddy’s has emerged as one of the strongest and most viable franchise opportunities within the fast-casual segment today, creating a customer experience that is unparalleled in every aspect, from its hospitality and service to the one-of-a-kind menu offerings and product innovation. Once I was introduced to the brand and saw firsthand the operational excellence of its business model, I immediately jumped at the chance to join this exceptional team,” said Chris Dull, CEO of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. “With a simple yet craveable menu and proven processes, as well as some of the best training capabilities I’ve seen within the industry, the Freddy’s concept is easy to execute and boasts a profitable AUV for franchisees. Our system being comprised of dozens of franchisees who operate hundreds of units is a true testament to the viability of this franchise opportunity and growth potential, and I have no doubt the sky is the limit.”

With six restaurants opening in the first quarter of the year, including locations in Boise, Idaho; Memphis, Tennessee; and Pensacola, Florida, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® plans to open more than 50 restaurants nationwide throughout the remainder of 2021. Franchise opportunities remain in areas across the U.S., including the Northeast, Upper Midwest, California, Florida, Oregon, and Washington and large metro areas such as Pittsburgh and Miami and many of its surrounding markets.

For more information about development opportunities, contact Julie Davis, Director of Franchise Development, at or 316-719-7850, or visit

About Freddy’s

Co-founded in 2002 by Scott Redler and Bill, Randy and Freddy Simon, Freddy’s opened its first location in Wichita, Kansas, offering a unique combination of cooked-to-order Steakburgers seasoned with Freddy’s Famous Steakburger & Fry Seasoning®, Vienna® Beef hot dogs, shoestring fries paired with Freddy’s Famous Fry Sauce® and frozen custard that is freshly churned throughout the day. The brand was acquired by private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners in March of 2021. Today, Freddy’s has grown to more than 400 locations that serve 32 states across the nation from California to Pennsylvania, Virginia, down the East Coast states to Florida. Freddy’s has twice been named No. 1 on Forbes Best Franchises to Buy, The 2021 Restaurant Business 10 Fastest Growing Chains in the U.S. List, Entrepreneur’s 2021 Franchise 500 top 100, Franchise Times magazine’s 2020 Fast & Serious top 40 and many other nationwide and local industry awards. For more on Freddy’s, visit the Newsroom and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest news.

View source version at Freddy's Frozen Custard

Global Franchise Group® Announces Supply Chain Leadership Promotions

Organization promotes Raphael Tomlin to Chief Supply Chain Officer and Jennifer Iglesia to Vice President of Purchasing

May 04, 2021, 14:29 ET

ATLANTA, May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Franchise Group® (GFG), the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Pretzelmaker®, Marble Slab Creamery® and Round Table Pizza® has elevated Raphael Tomlin to Chief Supply Chain Officer and Jennifer Iglesia to Vice President of Purchasing. Both Tomlin and Iglesia play critical leadership roles in the management of GFG's thriving plant and supply chain. GFG Supply produces cookie batter and pretzel dry mix, manages distribution of ancillary items, supports innovation for all GFG brands, and is home to the emerging GFG E-commerce program.

"Global Franchise Group's plant and supply chain plays a critical role in championing our brands and franchisee customers," said Paul Damico, CEO of Global Franchise Group. "The plant produces products of the highest quality and sources ingredients to create the delicious items our brands are known for. Both Raphael and Jennifer play an essential role in our plant's success and congratulations go out to them on their well-deserved promotions."

Tomlin, who joined GFG in 2013, has been promoted to Chief Supply Chain Officer after serving as EVP of Manufacturing and Plant Operations. He has led the charge of protecting, developing and evolving the plant into the topnotch facility it is today. He and his team identify major cost savings across brands, direct distributor relationships and undertake major waste reduction initiatives and supply chain improvements. The plant also performs exceptionally on FDA Preventative Control Audits. Under Tomlin's leadership during the pandemic, the plant acted early in implementing CDC guidelines and recommendations from the American Institute of Bakery allowing the plant to operate without manufacturing and distribution disruption.

Iglesia came to GFG in 2017 when the company acquired Round Table Pizza. She recently served as Senior Director of Purchasing and Supply Chain and plays an integral role in identifying cost reduction and avoidance opportunities across all GFG brands. She is a master negotiator and relationship builder and her skill set shined in navigating the unprecedented challenges disrupting global supply chain and distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Franchise Group's mission is to "Champion Brands and the People Who Build Them." The company builds great brands that connect people with craveable products and memorable experiences. GFG currently supports more than 1,400 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.

About Global Franchise Group, LLC - Global Franchise Group, LLC is a strategic brand management company with a mission of championing franchise brands and the people who build them. The company owns a portfolio of franchise brands that includes five primary quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise concepts: Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Marble Slab Creamery®, Pretzelmaker® and Round Table Pizza®. Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Lion Capital LLP and Serruya Private Equity, Inc.

View source version at Global Franchise Group

Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill Hires Former Chipotle New England Team Director as COO to Lead Aggressive Plans for Growth

Eric Friedman to Lead Salsa Fresca’s New Growth Strategy, with Plans to Double Footprint Within One Year


Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill, whose always-fresh, never-frozen concept has driven its popularity and growth throughout Connecticut and New York, announced plans to continue its growth over the coming year. Emerging stronger than ever from the pandemic, Salsa Fresca is very pleased to welcome Eric Friedman, a former Team Director for New England at Chipotle, as its new COO to lead its growth initiatives. Growth plans include doubling the number of restaurants over the next 12 months while continuing the regional chain’s successful formula, inclusive culture and focus on creating a welcoming environment at every location.

Friedman will lead Salsa Fresca’s growth plans, including adding more corporate stores as well as franchise units. “We thrived throughout the pandemic because we were able to adapt, and even with our lobbies shut down, we did a tremendous amount of volume, which was an amazing thing for us,” said Marc Miles, co-owner of Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill. “Our continued success and growth lies in our ability to continually evolve, making each customer’s experience the best it can be, and making Salsa Fresca the best possible place to work for our employees. Even as we grow, our plans are to keep that same successful culture and personality we have today.”

The move from industry leader Chipotle to Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill represents a major step for Friedman as well as for Salsa Fresca. “The decision to join Salsa Fresca was an easy one once I saw the welcoming environment,” said Friedman. “The diverse and inclusive culture is driven by a leadership team who has a great connection with their people. I believe all employees should have a voice and share in the success of the company. When I found out that all employees participate in a profit-sharing program, I knew this was a special place with a sustainable culture. Delivering an experience that is focused on great tasting food you can trust, that is served by happy and actively engaged employees, will continue to be our goal.”

An eight-year Chipotle veteran, Friedman brings a unique skill set to the table. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring on someone of Eric’s caliber,” said Miles. “Eric’s expertise, insight and industry know-how will be essential as we grow our brand throughout Connecticut, New York and the rest of the country. During his first month, Eric will be able to experience Cinco de Mayo, our busiest day of the year and see first-hand how our inclusive culture makes Salsa Fresca a unique place to work.”

“A big reason for Salsa Fresca’s long term success, and why I believe it will continue to be sustainable, is because the culture is focused on empowering their people,” said Friedman. “A key factor in growth will be keeping that culture where it is. We want to retain that same engaging experience in all of our new restaurants, and keep that same feel that we have today, over the years to come. That culture includes making sure every staff member feels empowered and confident, and a part of something great. This includes continuing to share our success with all of our corporate store employees with quarterly bonuses based on profits. While growth will always include adapting and evolving, and learning from what made us a success over this past year such as more online sales, delivery and store pickup, rigorous safety and cleanliness protocols and providing ease of access, growth will also mean continuing to keep what has always worked for us such as retaining that inclusive culture, and the focus on great, always fresh food to our customers.”

“We will continue to empower our people,” said Friedman. “This is one of the biggest factors in creating an excellent guest experience that consists of great food prepared and served by an engaged group of people who strongly believe in our mission. I am humbled that my 20 years of leadership working for great companies such as Enterprise and Chipotle has helped open this door to working with the fantastic people here at Salsa Fresca.”

Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill offers an extensive menu of signature items, build-your-own items, and an impressive selection of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and nut-free options. Salsa Fresca has an eco-friendly approach in every restaurant, with policies that include recycling cooking oil into bio-diesel, using humanely-raised beef and all-natural chicken, and working towards a goal of being a completely zero-waste restaurant.

View source version at Salsa Fresca

Subway® Appoints Donagh Herlihy to Global Chief Digital and Information Officer, Focused on Delivering a World-Class Digital Experience

May 03, 2021, 08:30 ET

MILFORD, Conn., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Subway® restaurants announced today that Donagh Herlihy has joined the company as its new Global Chief Digital and Information Officer. In this role, Herlihy is responsible for overseeing the company's global technology teams and initiatives to deliver modern, timely and effective platforms for Subway franchisees and guests.

Herlihy has more than 20 years of experience leading global digital and e-commerce teams in the food, retail and restaurant industries, previously holding executive positions at major brands, including Bloomin' Brands, Avon Products and the Wrigley Company. His expertise includes digital innovation and strategy, guest-facing technology and international growth.

"We're thrilled to welcome Donagh to the Subway team," said Subway CEO John Chidsey. "His extensive knowledge and understanding of QSR brands and restaurant technology will allow us to accelerate our digital transformation, ultimately resulting in a better guest experience as well as revenue growth and operating efficiency for our franchisees."

"I am excited to join Subway and be a part of enhancing the brand's digital experience, from the way we interact with our guests to how we help our global network of franchisees operate their businesses," said Herlihy. "I Iook forward to working alongside the amazing team to build a better Subway through digital innovation."

About Subway ® Restaurants

The Subway restaurant chain continues to evolve the dining experience, offering guests in more than 100 countries quality ingredients, as well as robust flavor combinations while serving over 6 million made-to-order sandwiches created each day. All Subway restaurants are owned and operated by more than 20,000 franchisees, who employ many people in their communities. The Subway experience is also delivered online at, through, and the Subway® App.

View source version at Subway

Joachim Creus Appointed Vice Chairman of JAB Board, Named Designated Successor to Chairman Peter Harf

May 03, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JAB is pleased to announce that Senior Partner Joachim Creus has been appointed Vice Chairman of the JAB Board where he will serve as the designated successor to Chairman Peter Harf.

Mr. Creus has been with JAB for more than 10 years and has played a critical role in building it into a global investment firm. He has been at the center of JAB’s major investments and expansion initiatives, including all of its platform acquisitions and the creation of JAB Consumer Fund. Mr. Creus has also worked extensively with and continues to support JAB’s legacy anchor shareholder group.

“The Reimanns were always of the view that my successor needed to essentially be a part of their extended family. Joachim has spent the last ten years getting to know them and the next generation of leadership, while progressively taking on ever more important roles in the family office and the operating entities,” said JAB Chairman Peter Harf. “Given his impeccable moral compass and intimate understanding of the family’s priorities, nobody is better positioned than Joachim to lead the next period of growth.”

Mr. Creus will continue to be based in London and work closely with JAB’s Managing Partners to oversee JAB’s managed capital across its ecosystem, including JAB Consumer Fund. Mr. Creus serves as a Director for many JAB companies, including JDE Peet’s and Coty.

“Joachim is a true star. Not only did he earn his place as the youngest partner in JAB’s history when he was just 35, in his decade with the firm he’s successfully negotiated more than $100 billion worth of deals. Joachim’s integrity is second to none and I fully trust his judgement in all situations,” said JAB CEO Olivier Goudet. “As a JAB partner and confidant to the family, Joachim has spent time living and working across Europe and the United States and has been instrumental to building an enduring investment firm that is ideally positioned for continued long-term value creation.”

About JAB

JAB Holding Company invests in consumer-focused industries with attractive long-term dynamics, including strong growth prospects, attractive margin and cash flow characteristics, and proven resiliency. Together with JAB Consumer Fund, JAB Holding Company is the largest shareholder of Keurig Dr Pepper, a leader in the North American beverage market, and has controlling stakes in JDE Peet’s, the largest pure-play fast-moving consumer goods coffee company in the world; NVA, one of the world’s largest animal care services platforms; Krispy Kreme Doughnut, a global leader in doughnuts and other premium-quality sweet treats; Panera Bread, a leading bakery-café company; Pret A Manger, a leading company in the ready-to-eat food market; Caribou Coffee Company, a specialty retailer of high-quality premium coffee products; Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, the leader in the North American bagel category; Espresso House, the largest branded coffee shop chain in Scandinavia. JAB Holding Company is also the largest shareholder in Coty Inc., a global leader in beauty, and owns luxury goods company Bally.

View source version at JAB Holding Company

BurgerFi Names Henry Gonzalez as Chief Marketing Officer

May 3, 2021

Gonzalez holds over 25 years of success in the food business; experience in branding, strategy & communications, franchisee relationships, product development, category management, and more

Palm Beach, FL  (  BurgerFi International Inc. (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW), one of the nation’s fastest-growing premium fast-casual concepts, QSR’s 2020 Breakout Brand of the Year and recently voted USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Fast Casual Restaurant Top Better-Burger chain for 2021, has hired Henry Gonzalez as Chief Marketing Officer. Gonzalez holds over 25 years of experience with leading brands in marketing, account management, product development, category management, merchandising and promotions both domestically and internationally with B2C and B2B businesses.  Gonzalez is another welcome addition to BurgerFi’s C-Suite and Executive Management Team, since the recent announcements of Chief Financial Officer, Michael Rabinovitch and Chief Operations Officer, Jim Esposito joining the company.

“While Henry’s been successful across several industries and categories, his tenacity, efforts give a unique perspective into the food industry is undeniable,” said Ophir Sternberg, Executive Chairman of BurgerFi. “For over 25 years, his experience in sales and marketing for leading QSR chains, food manufacturers and ad agencies has effectively trained him to understand how to develop collaborative relationships that drive sales and profit growth. We welcome him to BurgerFi’s leadership team where we know he’ll be instrumental in redefining our brand and value proposition.”

Gonzalez joins BurgerFi after serving as Founder of Bigger Slice Consulting, a marketing consulting practice focused on helping companies accelerate and sustain profitable growth by collaborating with them to define or refine their brand or value proposition, brand and product portfolio, strategic and tactical marketing plans, campaigns and communications. Prior to, he served as Chief Marketing Officer of Costa Farms, leading the marketing and category management teams developing new products, brands, merchandising and promotions to serve Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ikea, Kroger and other top retailers.

“Henry has a proven track record of working in fast-paced, competitive environments and masterfully integrating marketing and communications that not only moves the needle to drive short term business objectives but position brands for longer-term success. His extensive leadership experience in field and corporate marketing with Burger King collaborating with franchisee partners along with his agency, vendor partner and client experience make him uniquely qualified to collaborate with all stakeholders to help us unlock our brand’s potential to drive significant growth and profitability, said Julio Ramirez, CEO of BurgerFi. “He has been working with us as a contractor since the beginning of the year and has already made significant contributions. I am excited about the impact he’ll have leveraging his experience, passion and commitment to take our brand and our business to new heights as our CMO.”

For nearly a decade, Gonzalez worked at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the preeminent ad agency of its time where he leveraged his experience working at Burger King to help lead Burger King’s US business during their tenure as Ad Age Client of the Decade. His agency experience also included leading teams working with top brands like MetLife, McDonald’s, Aspen Dental, Infiniti, Sam’s Club and others.

“I have been a huge fan of the brand as a consumer primarily because of the taste of the food and quality of the experience but also as a marketer because it’s so well positioned to capitalize on current trends. From a consumer standpoint, BurgerFi is the best kept secret in the fast casual space. I’m thrilled to  collaborate with this talented team to bring a more consumer-focused and data driven approach to drive greater awareness, engagement, growth and profitability. We have a tremendous opportunity to highlight our points of differentiation and showcase how our brand is aligned with consumer expectations for fresh, all natural, great tasting food ordered and served conveniently across an array of platforms. Focusing on the consumer is how we’ll deliver on our mission to redeFine how the world eats burger by enriching lives through the best better burger experience.”

Gonzalez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. He believes in community service and actively supports organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Board Member, St. Hugh  Grove Outreach Food Bank and Mission 22.

About BurgerFi International (Nasdaq: BFI, BFIIW)

Established in 2011, BurgerFi is among the nation’s fastest-growing better burger concepts with approximately 120 BurgerFi restaurants domestically and internationally. The concept is chef-founded and is committed to serving fresh food of transparent quality. BurgerFi uses 100% American angus beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. BurgerFi’s menu also includes high quality wagyu beef, antibiotic and cage-free chicken offerings, fresh, hand-cut sides and custard shakes and concretes. BurgerFi was voted the Top Better Burger chain in Fast Casual Restaurants in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice for 2021, named QSR Magazine’s Breakout Brand of the Year for 2020, placed as the Top Better Burger Chain in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list in 2021, was named “Best Burger Joint” by Consumer Reports and fellow public interest organizations in the 2019 Chain Reaction Study, listed as a “Top Restaurant Brand to Watch” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2019, included in Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Private Companies List, and ranked on Entrepreneur’s 2017 Franchise 500. 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’ BurgerFi on Facebook or follow @BurgerFi on Instagram and Twitter.

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Jack in the Box Continues to Transform its Executive Leadership Team

Fast-service chain names new chief people officer and new chief information officer

Apr 29, 2021, 09:05 ET

SAN DIEGO, April 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack in the Box, Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) has named Steve Piano as chief people officer and Carlson Choi as chief information officer as the company continues the strategic transformation of its executive leadership team.

Piano, who most recently served as head of human resources for GNC Holdings LLC, a $1.6 billion global health, wellness and supplements brand and previously was executive vice president of HR at MoneyGram, brings more than 10 years of executive-level HR experience to the company. He joined Jack in the Box on April 26 and will support the company's employees at its San Diego Restaurant Support Center, as well as its systemwide locations.

Choi joins the company from Jollibee Foods Corporation, a $4 billion global restaurant operator with a portfolio of franchised brands, where he was global chief digital officer and chief information officer. Prior to that, Choi served as a global VP in the digital initiatives group at world toy leader Mattel Inc. His first day at Jack in the Box is May 3.

"Carlson and Steve will be instrumental in driving our strategic initiatives focused on people and technology and will help us provide world-class support to our entire system," said Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris. "Combined with the additions we've already made to our executive leadership team, they will help us achieve our strategic goals as we continue to evolve our business through operational excellence across all key departments. More importantly, they both clearly fit the Jack culture, and share our heart for serving our people and franchisees well."

Harris, who joined Jack in the Box in June 2020, has helmed the company as it outperformed earnings estimates over the past two quarters and saw same-store sales increase by double digits in Q1 2021.

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

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Glen McIntosh Chief Supply Chain Officer for Little Caesars

April, 26 2021

Little Caesars announced today that Glen McIntosh has been named Chief Supply Chain Officer. In this newly created role, McIntosh will report directly to the CEO and lead end-to-end supply chain strategies for the company, including purchasing, replenishment, transportation, warehousing, distribution, international supply chain and export functions and will oversee a first-rate, multi-disciplinary team.

"With his experience and leadership abilities, Glen will help support our continued growth all over the world," said David Scrivano, President and CEO of Little Caesars. "The development and execution of innovative, time and cost-saving strategies will benefit our franchisees and stores and ensure our customers continue to receive the very best in quality products at a great value."

McIntosh has more than 25 years of supply chain experience, having served most recently as Vice President of Distribution Operations at Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, a division of Little Caesars. Previously, he served in various supply chain capacities in the food and automotive industries. McIntosh is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a graduate of the University of North Texas, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management.

"We are experiencing rapid growth both in the United States and internationally, which presents a unique and exciting opportunity in my field," said McIntosh. "I am looking forward to further developing and leading efficient and robust supply chain efforts, making it possible for Little Caesars stores around the globe to serve customers a delicious, fresh product with industry-leading convenience and value."

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® Appoints Chip Wade to its Board of Directors

Apr 23, 2021, 17:00 ET

LEBANON, Tenn., April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® (Nasdaq: CBRL) today announced that Darryl "Chip" Wade, 58, has been appointed to the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately.

The fifth new director named to the Board in the last four years, Mr. Wade's appointment is the result of the Company's robust board succession and refreshment program – a core element of the Board's larger, ongoing commitment to alignment with and accountability to shareholders.

Mr. Wade is President of Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC (USHG), the parent company of numerous award-winning and acclaimed restaurants such as Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern, as well as a multifaceted catering and events and restaurant consulting business. Mr. Wade joined USHG in 2019 after having served as the EVP of Operations for Red Lobster Seafood Company, a position he held for several years, both while it was owned by Darden Restaurants, Inc. and after its divestiture to Golden Gate Capital.

During his extensive four-decade career in the restaurant industry, Mr. Wade also served as the Chief Operations Officer for Legal Sea Foods Restaurant Group and held several senior executive positions at Darden, including Senior Vice President of Smokey Bones BBQ and the Director of Revitalization for Olive Garden Restaurants. Mr. Wade began his career in 1985, as a general manager for TGI Friday's in Boston, and spent his first 14 years with TGIF and its parent, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, including as Executive Director of Human Resources and Executive Director of Non-Traditional Development and Domestic Franchise Sales. Mr. Wade holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, a Bachelor of Science degree from Widener University, and an Associate of Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University.

Norm Johnson, the Chairman of the Company's Nominating and Governance Committee, stated, "As we have discussed with our shareholders as part of our annual engagement process, Cracker Barrel's Board is committed to a thoughtful succession planning and Board refreshment process. Our ability to continually recruit directors of Chip's caliber is a testament to the strength of our Board and our company, as well as the thoroughness of those processes. Chip is the third new director we've added in the last twelve months and the fifth we've added in the last four years."

William McCarten, Chairman of the Cracker Barrel Board of Directors, added, "Chip brings with him a deep knowledge of the casual dining industry and a wealth of experience with various concepts, including as the current leader of one of the country's most innovative and admired restaurant and food-service organizations. Not only is Chip an accomplished operator and leader, but he understands the strategic imperatives of Cracker Barrel and the casual dining industry. A long-time admirer and guest of Cracker Barrel, he knows our brand well. We anticipate Chip's deep industry expertise will add not only a highly-relevant strategic perspective to our Boardroom but also meaningful insight for our management team."

About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) shares warm welcomes and friendly service while offering guests high-quality homestyle food and unique shopping — all at a fair price. By creating a world filled with hospitality through an experience that combines dining and shopping, guests are cared for like family. Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel and its affiliates operate more than 660 company-owned Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations in 45 states and own the fast-casual Maple Street Biscuit Company. For more information about the company, visit

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Little Caesars Names Jeremy Vitaro as Chief Development Officer

April 22, 2021

Vitaro Will Accelerate the Global Pizza Chain’s Already Incredible Growth

Detroit, MI  (  Little Caesars, the global family-owned pizza chain, announced today that Jeremy Vitaro has been named Chief Development Officer. This role is responsible for new unit growth domestically and around the world, and Vitaro will drive the organization’s efforts to further capitalize on the phenomenal global opportunity of the Little Caesars brand.

Vitaro most recently served as Vice President of U.S. Development at Dunkin’ Brands where, for the past 18 years, he held various franchise leadership positions. He brings this extensive development experience to Little Caesars at a time when the chain’s revolutionary Pizza Portal® pickup and delivery options have led to a surge in brand interest among consumers and franchise prospects.

“Little Caesars is experiencing one of its largest periods of domestic and international expansion in its 60+ year history,” said David Scrivano, President and CEO of Little Caesars. “With a very attractive business model, strong brand awareness and quality products, we are thrilled for Jeremy to join our team, continue our momentum and provide new growth opportunities for entrepreneurs all over the world.”

Now in 27 countries and territories, Little Caesars most recently entered Colombia, Singapore, Peru and Chile. Later this year, new stores are set to open in Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The brand is actively seeking to grow in new markets across Europe, Southeast Asia and South America, as well as in existing markets, such as Spain, Canada, Latin America and the Philippines. Opportunities also exist in New York City, Seattle, Portland, Tampa and other U.S. markets.

Before spending nearly two decades guiding both international and U.S. growth for Dunkin’, Vitaro lived in Italy where he served companies including Casoni S.P.A. and the Benedict Group in various franchise leadership roles. Vitaro holds master’s degrees in business administration from Columbia Business School and in economic history from Stanford University.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to join a world-renowned brand primed for continued expansion,” said Vitaro. “Little Caesars is poised to experience further exponential growth due to its affordable prices, quality products and rewarding business model. I look forward to helping guide Little Caesars towards continued success and working with entrepreneurs interested in growth opportunities.”

Interested prospects should visit for inquiries about opening a franchise in their area.

About Little Caesars®

Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, Little Caesars was founded by Mike and Marian Ilitch in 1959 as a single, family-owned restaurant. Today, Little Caesars is the third largest pizza chain in the world, with stores in each of the 50 U.S. states and 27 countries and territories.

Little Caesars recently introduced contactless options for both delivery and carry-out through the Little Caesars app. Pizzas are baked in 475-degree ovens to ensure food safety and never touched after baking. The chain has also reinforced cleanliness and sanitization procedures, increasing the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces including door handles, glass, countertops, Pizza Portal surfaces, phones and cash registers.

Known for its HOT-N-READY® pizza and famed Crazy Bread®, Little Caesars has been named “Best Value in America” for the past 14 years (based on nationwide survey of national quick service restaurant customers conducted by Sandelman & Associates – 2007-2020 entitled “Highest Rated Chain – Value for the Money”). Little Caesars products are made with quality ingredients, like fresh, never frozen, mozzarella and Muenster cheese and sauce made from fresh-packed, vine-ripened California crushed tomatoes.

An exceptionally high growth company with more than 60 years of experience in the $145 billion worldwide pizza industry, Little Caesars is continually looking for franchisee candidates to join our team in markets around the world. In addition to providing the opportunity for entrepreneurial independence in a franchise system, Little Caesars offers strong brand awareness with one of the most recognized and appealing characters in the country, Little Caesar.

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Focus Brands Strengthens Leadership Team with New Chief People Officer, Restaurant Category President

Apr 20, 2021, 14:11 ET

ATLANTA, April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli® and Schlotzsky's®, today announced Guillermo Cremer as its new chief people officer and Joe Guith as category president, Restaurant Brands.

"We are thrilled to have Guillermo and Joe at the helm of two critical areas of our organization," said Jim Holthouser, CEO for Focus Brands. "As our company grows, we will continue to put an intense emphasis on our people and culture, while providing best-in-class service to our brand franchisees and suppliers to drive our company forward."

Cremer brings more than 20 years of human resources experience to Focus Brands, with a special emphasis on talent development, change management, building a strong culture, and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. He joins Focus Brands most recently from Kimberly Clark in Atlanta, where he spent seven years supporting different business units, including more recently the Professional division. In this role, he delivered strategic HR leadership, led development programs for employees and actively participated in an HR transformation to support the changing needs of the organization. While there, he also oversaw the HR function for the Latin America business unit. Guillermo has served in several HR leadership roles at General Mills and Procter & Gamble. He holds a master's degree from Purdue University and a bachelor's degree from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico.

Joe Guith, currently the president of McAlister's Deli, has been promoted to category president, Restaurant Brands. Over the past six years, he has held the brand president position at McAlister's Deli from 2018 to 2021 and Cinnabon from 2015 to 2018, with both brands seeing steady growth and expanded customer bases during his tenure. Joe's expertise of operating restaurants, combined with his passion for growing brands, accelerating digital capabilities and developing high-performing teams, will be incredibly valuable to the Focus Brands portfolio of restaurants. During his time in the food and beverage industry, he has also served in general management and strategic roles with The Coca-Cola Company and Yum! Brands. Joe has a bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of Michigan.

About Focus Brands Atlanta-based Focus Brands is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's®, as well as Seattle's Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

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illycaffè Appoints Jack Edwards President of North America

Seasoned Diageo Exec Brings Track Record of Strong Growth and Beverage Industry Leadership

Apr 19, 2021, 13:44 ET

NEW YORK, April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- illycaffè, a global coffee industry leader in sustainable quality, announced today that Jack Edwards will join the company as President of North America, effective April 19.

Edwards is a seasoned executive who spent nearly two decades with Diageo, a leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President of Sales and National Accounts for The Diageo Beer Company USA, one of three divisions of Diageo's $6B NA business, where he led a team of 115 people and a distributor network responsible for Guinness, Smirnoff Ice, and other major and emerging brands.

"Jack's broad and deep skillset, commitment to excellence, comprehensive understanding of consumers, knowledge of the premium beverage industry, and record of leading strategic growth are ideally suited to our North American business, which is poised for expansion among coffee lovers across all channels," said Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of Trieste, Italy-based illycaffè. "His extensive experience, combined with his sharp leadership acumen, are aligned to successfully realize illy's long-term plans."

Edwards' career at Diageo started in Chicago in finance, before moving into cross-functional positions spanning portfolio planning, marketing, and sales. He transferred to the company's Norwalk, CT U.S. headquarters in 2005, where he managed regional sales teams and earned additional responsibilities.  During this time, Jack helped launch several successful new innovations and drove significant growth on brands including Bulleit Bourbon and Ciroc Vodka, and his teams delivered best in class execution across the entire Diageo portfolio.

Edwards holds an MBA degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Diageo, he was an auditor at KPMG.

illycaffè announced in February it had closed a strategic investment by Rhône Capital, an important step in leading the company into its next phase of international growth, particularly in the U.S. Earlier this month, illycaffè became the first Italian coffee company to obtain B Corp status, underscoring the company's commitment to generating a positive impact on society and the planet, and affirming its business model which is based in creating sustainable value for the long term.

About illycaffè

illycaffè is an Italian family-owned company, founded in Trieste in 1933. Its mission has always been to offer the best coffee to the world. illycaffè produces a unique 100% Arabica blend, combining 9 of the best varieties in the world, selected by illycaffè: every day 8 million cups of illy coffee are served in over 140 countries around the globe, in the cafés, restaurants and hotels, in single-brand cafés and shops, at home. As a result of its innovations, illycaffè contributes to the coffee technology progress at global level. In 1991, the "Premio Ernesto Illy de qualidade sustentavel do cafè para espresso" was launched in Brazil for quality espresso coffee. illycaffè has contributed to the sharing of the know-how, paying growers a premium price for the best quality selected by illycaffè. Since 2016, with the "Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award", the company has celebrated coffee growers all over the world that, according to illy, have produced the best sustainable coffee. Since 2013, the company has been in the list of the World Most Ethical Companies. In 2019, it enhanced its commitment to pursue a sustainable business model integrating the interest of people with the environment, adopting the status of Società Benefit (Benefit Company) and adding this commitment into its own bylaw. In 2021, illycaffè was the first Italian company in the coffee sector to obtain the international certification as B Corp as a result of its commitment to comply with the highest standards of social and environmental performance. The company also founded the University of Coffee, which has the objective of sharing culture at all levels, offering a comprehensive and practical training to growers, baristas and coffee lovers. Everything that is "made in illy" is about beauty and art, the founding principles of the brand, starting from its logo, designed by artist James Rosenquist, up to illy Art Collection cups, decorated by over 100 international artists. In 2019, the company had 1405 employees and a turnover of € 520,5 million. There are 269 illy single-brand shops in over 40 countries all over the world. In 2021, Rhone Capital became a shareholder of illycaffè with a minority share to support the company in its international growth.

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Blaze Pizza Names Brad Reynolds as Chief Financial Officer

- Leading Fast Casual Pizza Concept Continues Investing in Leadership Team to Drive Success -

Apr 14, 2021, 09:46 ET

LOS ANGELES, April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Blaze Pizza, the nation's leading fast casual franchise pizza concept, announced today that Brad Reynolds has joined the executive leadership team as chief financial officer. Reynolds brings to Blaze years of experience leading strategy, M&A and corporate and franchise development for national restaurant brands. In his new role with the rapidly growing fast casual franchise, Reynolds will leverage his strategic expertise to support Blaze's significant growth trajectory.

"We are thrilled to welcome Brad to our executive leadership team in the midst of an exciting period for our brand. As we continue accelerating growth nationwide, Brad's expertise will be an invaluable asset in identifying new opportunities to invest in strategic initiatives targeting development and restaurant profitability," said Mandy Shaw, chief executive officer and president of Blaze Pizza. "Brad's wide-ranging financial background and operational chops, means he offers the perfect blend of insight to add to the mix at Blaze, and I have no doubt his contributions to the brand will surpass our expectations."

Before joining Blaze, Reynolds served as chief operating officer of C3, an innovative restaurant group focused on off-premise growth where he led all operational business units for the rapidly growing company. Additionally, Brad also spent over four years at Smashburger serving as the chief financial officer and senior vice president of franchise strategy leading strategic new store openings, IT, supply chain, licensing, brand development, and strategic mergers and acquisitions. Reynolds entered the restaurant industry after nearly eight years in investment banking.

"I couldn't think of a better time than now to join Blaze Pizza, with the brand achieving remarkable growth over the past several years even in the face of the obstacles COVID-19 imposed on the restaurant industry. Last year, Blaze pivoted and revolutionized the concept from an operational and development standpoint in a matter of just a few weeks, and I'm thrilled to be joining the executive team responsible for such swift, decisive action," said Reynolds. "This level of momentum coupled with corporate leadership's commitment to innovation and evolution reinforces Blaze Pizza's unlimited potential, and I look forward to all of the great work we'll do together."

With dozens of new locations under development, Blaze Pizza is in the midst of aggressive expansion. Franchise opportunities remain in markets across the U.S., including the Northeast and Texas. For more information about development opportunities with Blaze Pizza, please visit or contact Ed Yancey at

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

View source version at Blaze Pizza

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