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Executive Movements - November 2019

















Your Pie Names Former COO Dave McDougall as CEO

November 18, 2019


The Original Fast-Casual Pizza Brand Announces New Leadership, Vision for Future

Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Your Pie, the original fast-casual pizza brand, is proud to announce that Dave McDougall has transitioned from Chief Operating Officer to Chief Executive Officer.

McDougall joined Your Pie in December 2018, bringing more than 30 years of experience in franchise operations, development and expansion, including executive roles with organizations such as Back Yard Burgers, NexCen Brands, FOCUS Brands and more. Since joining Your Pie, McDougall has spearheaded initiatives across all departments, including operations, marketing, technology, branding and culture.

“Your Pie is a remarkable organization, due in large part to its talented and passionate team,” McDougall said. “I joined Your Pie as the brand was celebrating its 10th anniversary and have enjoyed the opportunity to help set the course for its second decade. We’ve made tremendous strides in the past year, and I’m eager to continue growing the brand, supporting franchise owners and creating unique experiences for guests. I see tremendous potential in Your Pie and this sector of the industry and look forward to the impact we’ll have in the years to come.”

As CEO, McDougall is responsible for setting Your Pie’s strategy and direction, identifying brand priorities, managing resources and aligning operational excellence with brand mission, culture and values at every level.

Bucky Cook, former CEO, will now serve in an advisory capacity, continuing to support the brand’s growth and development while consulting on high-level strategy.

“We hired Dave a year ago for the purpose of continuity planning,” Cook said. “We did not have a specific timeline in mind, but as we began moving toward the close of 2019, we felt the timing was right to make the transition. Our leadership team and board have been impressed with Dave since day one, and we are confident that this move will benefit Your Pie at every level of the organization. I look forward to the future of Your Pie and will continue to be available to Dave and the team for support and strategic advisement.”

Your Pie currently operates more than 70 locations across the United States, boasting four new franchise openings since the start of the fourth quarter with more to come by year’s end. In addition to maintaining development momentum, the brand’s Q4 priorities include streamlining technological integration and elevating marketing strategy for 2020.

Your Pie was founded in 2008 by culinary entrepreneur Drew French, who aimed to create a first-of-its-kind restaurant concept offering high quality, brick-oven pizza at incredible speed. While family recipes and Italian culture helped lay the foundation for its processes and exceptional quality, Your Pie has continued to build upon this foundation with new ingredients, innovative recipes and endless choices to create a pizza experience with traditional roots, but a flair all its own.

“When Dave came on as COO last December, we felt his impact immediately,” French said. “It was the start of a new chapter at Your Pie. With decades of leadership experience in the restaurant franchise industry, Dave brought wisdom and foresight to the Your Pie brand while always respecting the mission, values and culture that define us. We’re 11 years in, but in a lot of ways we’re just getting started. Dave sees the tremendous potential that lies ahead for Your Pie and has the expertise to get us there. We’re excited for what’s ahead under his leadership.”

About Your Pie

Your Pie is the world’s originator of the fast casual, brick oven, customized personal pizza category. The brand was founded by Drew French in 2008 and is inspired by family recipes from the Italian island of Ischia. Your Pie offers personal pizzas, chopped salads, baked pasta and hot paninis, made with fresh ingredients and housemade sauces and dressings. The brand also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as local craft beer, wine and Italian-style gelato pairings. Your Pie has more than 70 locations open across 18 states and nearly 50 locations in development. For more information about Your Pie or franchising opportunities, visit www.yourpie.com.

View source version at Your Pie


RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. Announces Strategic Leadership Additions

Pie Five and Pizza Inn welcome new operations and marketing leaders



Nov 15, 2019, 17:30 ET



DALLAS, Nov. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVE) today announced strategic leadership changes and new talent acquisition. The new additions reflect a shift from brand level leadership to a more unified management structure for all RAVE brands.



Key changes include the additions of Mike Burns as Chief Operations Officer and Douglas Kwong as Vice President of Marketing for RAVE.  Burns will lead operations for both Pizza Inn and Pie Five Pizza and Operations Services for all brands. He brings over 10 years experience in company and franchise operations including eight years at Bojangles' Famous Chicken n Biscuits as the Director of Operations Support supporting company and franchise operations and as Regional Vice President overseeing over 175 restaurants. Most recently, Burns directed operations at over 80 Pei Wei Asian Kitchen restaurants.


Kwong will direct marketing for all RAVE brands.  He is an industry veteran with proven success in creating digital marketing programs that elevate guest experiences and drive profitable sales.  He was most recently Director of eCommerce and Digital Marketing at Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, where he managed eCommerce, media, and the loyalty program. Kwong led the team at Pei Wei that took overall digital sales from 8% of company revenue to 30% by implementing new technology and launching delivery partnerships.

"I'm extremely excited to add such incredible talent to our team," said Brandon Solano, CEO of Rave Restaurant Group.  "Mike is a true operator and understands the importance of driving unit economics and profitable traffic.  He will roll-up his sleeves and partner with our franchisees to improve bottom line results.  Douglas is is a well-rounded marketer with strong experience in the digital arena.  His work at Pei Wei resulted in social media engagement rates 10,000% greater than the industry average.  He previously ran digital marketing for Cici's Pizza and is precisely what we need to modernize our marketing."

Bob Bafundo will be departing his role as president at RAVE. Additional new hires include Justin Smith as Senior Director of Operations for Pizza Inn and Aaron Archuleta as Director of Operations for Pie Five.

"Our new team brings a fresh perspective and modern approach to leadership at RAVE," said Solano. "I'm looking forward to working with this talented team to transform the business, drive profit and win with consumers."

About RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.

Founded in 1958, Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. RAVE=">RAVE</a>"> owns, operates, franchises and/or licenses 261 Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn restaurants and Pizza Inn Express kiosks domestically and internationally. Pizza Inn is an international chain featuring freshly made pizzas, along with salads, pastas and desserts. Pie Five Pizza Co. is a leader in the in the fast-casual pizza space offering made-to-order pizzas ready in under five minutes. Pizza Inn Express, or PIE, is developing unique opportunities to provide freshly made pizza from non-traditional outlets. The Company's common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "RAVE." For more information, please visit www.raverg.com.

View source version at RAVE Restaurant Group


Krystal adds new leadership to drive operational excellence

New President/COO and CFO bring a track record of positive results



Nov 14, 2019, 08:41 ET



ATLANTA, Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Krystal Company has hired two senior executives with extensive QSR experience to lead its ongoing revitalization plan. Tim Ward fills the newly created position of president and chief operating officer, and Bruce Vermilyea joins the brand as chief financial officer. Ward and Vermilyea are both seasoned restaurant executives who bring a breadth of experience and results.



Ward joins Krystal from Captain D's where he served as chief operating officer. During his tenure with Captain D's, the company enjoyed eight straight years of positive same-store sales and developed a pipeline of over 100 new restaurant locations. Ward held previous roles at Arby's/RTM and NPC International/Pizza Hut.


"Krystal is a brand that I have long admired, and I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead this organization," Ward said. "I have long felt that Krystal had so much more potential as an iconic, 87-year old brand, and I'm looking forward to making that happen."

Vermilyea has similarly worked in multiple industry leadership roles, notably serving 18 years with Qdoba Restaurant Corporation including three years as chief financial officer.

"We're adding Tim and Bruce to the team because of the operational excellence they have driven at brands that have a lot in common with Krystal," said Michael A. Klump, founder and CEO of Argonne Capital Group, which owns Krystal and other multi-unit concepts. "We look forward to working with Tim, Bruce and the rest of the Krystal team to build upon some of our recent wins including facility improvements, improved food quality, a recently announced refranchising initiative and the signing of our first franchise development agreement in over a decade."

The Krystal Company worked with Chris Wunder at Leap Hospitality on these executive placements. Following these additions, President & CEO Paul Macaluso and CFO Berry Epley are leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

The South's oldest fast-food brand, Krystal was selected to USA Today's Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List and recently received the ATD BEST Award for its best-in-class talent development practices and programs.

About The Krystal Company Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1932, The Krystal Company is the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South and was selected to USA Today's 2019 Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List. Krystal hamburgers are still served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun at approximately 320 restaurants in nine states. Krystal's Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of 7,500 employees. For more information, visit krystal.com.

View source version at Krystal



Just Salad's new CFO arrives from Noon Mediterranean CEO post





AUTHOR Jane Thier



PUBLISHED Nov. 13, 2019




Dive Brief:

  1. In an management transition that runs counter to current trends, Noon Mediterranean's CEO Stefan Boyd is moving into the CFO role at Just Salad, Restaurant Business announced Tuesday.

  2. Boyd served as CFO of Le Pain Quotidien from May to November this year during Noon Mediterranean’s dissolution.

  3. His responsibilities as CFO of the salad chain appear to be more public-facing than numbers-based, according to QSR Magazine.


Dive Insight:

As CFO of Just Salad, Boyd "will help grow the company's store footprint in both new and existing markets, support the expansion of its award-winning sustainability efforts, and further its commitment to making healthy food accessible to everyone," QSR Magazine reported Tuesday.

These duties represent something of a departure from the financial planning, risk management, reporting and recordkeeping a standard CFO undertakes.

During Boyd's tenure as CEO, Noon Mediterranean filed for bankruptcy protection, and last year was purchased by Elite Restaurant Group, Restaurant Business said.

Just Salad, a salad chain with an eye towards sustainability and waste reduction, was founded in 2006. It has announced an initiative to be zero waste by 2022.

"Stefan will be an important contributor to our continued growth and expansion," Nick Kenner, Just Salad founder and CEO, told QSR. "Under leadership, we will continue to execute on our mission to serve healthy, affordable, and sustainable food to more guests than ever before."

Earlier this year, Just Salad expanded within its existing New York City and Chicago markets, opening locations in Florida and North Carolina, Boyd confirmed to CFO Dive.

Just Salad is “ready to accelerate its growth,” Boyd said. “I’ll be helping as it increases density in New York City, and looks at other markets nationally.”

Boyd is excited for his new role, he told CFO Dive Wednesday, because he’s both a “longtime Just Salad customer, as well as a vegetarian interested in affordable healthy eating.”

Boyd calls Just Salad a leader, “not just a participant,” in the sustainability movement within the restaurant industry. They were the first salad chain to offer reusable bowls, for instance. If sustainability weren’t a challenge, Boyd said, “everybody would be doing it.” He calls sustainability both an important piece of the brand as well as a major challenge.

“That’s what it means to be a leader of these types of issues,” he said. “We’re going to wrestle with these challenges and find a way through.”

Additionally, Just Salad is financially healthy, Boyd said, which makes it "much easier to raise capital, as well as bootstrap."

"Just Salad has seen explosive growth over the past couple of years, and I look forward to building on their momentum," Boyd told QSR.

Prior to his C-suite experience, Boyd served as an investment banking associate at JPMorgan, Restaurant Business reported.​

View source version at Just Salad


Subway Restaurants Names John Chidsey CEO

November 13, 2019


Milford, CT  (RestaurantNews.com)  Subway Restaurants announced today that John Chidsey has been named Chief Executive Officer effective November 18, 2019.

John’s career as a global franchise executive and senior leader for some of the world’s well-known corporations spans brands in and outside of the food and beverage industries.

John was previously the Chairman and CEO of Burger King Holdings, Inc.

Prior to that, he served as Burger King’s President and Chief Financial Officer and held other senior management positions.

Before joining Burger King, John served as Chairman and CEO for two corporate divisions of Cendant Corporation. He led the Vehicle Services Division, which included Avis Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car Systems, PHH and Wright Express, and the Financial Services Division that included Jackson Hewitt Tax Preparation Services and various membership and insurance companies.

John also served in key international leadership roles with PepsiCo.

John received an undergraduate degree from Davidson College in North Carolina as well as MBA and JD degrees from Emory University in Georgia.

The owners of the privately held Subway brand issued the following statement, “We’re very pleased to have John join our Subway family.  His diverse business background and global food and beverage expertise will help us continue the evolution of the Subway brand. He will help drive our commitment to always deliver exceptional experiences for our guests and continued support for our franchise owners.  Interim CEO Trevor Haynes will continue with the brand in the role of President North America.”

“I am honored to be joining such an iconic global brand and I am most excited about the future of Subway. I look forward to learning from and working with the many constituents who have built this brand,” said Chidsey.

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 Franchise Owners, who employ many people in their communities. The Subway experience is also delivered online at Subway.com, through Subway.com/Delivers, and the Subway® App.

View source version at Subway


CKE Restaurants Hires Chad Crawford as Chief Brand Officer and Announces the Return of 72andSunny as Creative Agency of Record


November 13, 2019 10:53 AM Eastern Standard Time


FRANKLIN, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc. (CKE), parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, today announced that Chad Crawford has joined the company as Chief Brand Officer. As one of his first orders of business, Crawford has re-engaged 72andSunny as the Creative Agency of Record for both brands.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chad to CKE, and I look forward to partnering with him as we propel the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands forward as industry-leading innovators that serve the highest quality, best tasting food in our category,” said Ned Lyerly, Chief Executive Officer at CKE Restaurants. “Chad is a brand builder with a tremendous track record of performance, and we are confident in his ability to reignite our marketing efforts, build relevancy with our customers and partner with our franchise community.”

Crawford brings with him a wealth of QSR experience having spent more than 20 years working in the space. He started his journey at KFC, Burger King and Denny’s before landing at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, where he held a number of leadership roles over the last eight years, including Calendar Strategy, Marketing Impact, Guest Experience, Chief Marketing Officer and, most recently, President, North America.

As Chief Brand Officer, Crawford will be responsible for leading brand marketing vision and strategy to deliver memorable campaigns, compelling menus and sustainable and profitable growth for the entire system. First on his list of priorities was identifying the right agency partner to develop highly memorable creative campaigns for both brands. Former Creative Agency of Record 72andSunny fit the bill.

“72andSunny helped make Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s ‘impossible to ignore’ for six years,” said Crawford. “I’m confident they can make both brands ’impossible to ignore’ again, but in a fresh, new way that reflects the ever-changing marketplace, and I’m excited about the insight and positioning that we have unlocked as a foundation for our new creative expression and look forward to seeing that come to life.”

As Creative Agency of Record, 72andSunny will be responsible for brand-specific creative as well as dual-brand creative, as needed. “Here's the opportunity for 72andSunny to work with two iconic brands with massive potential, and incredible partners who share our ambition to shoot for the moon,” said Jess Monsey, President of 72andSunny, New York. “And of course, we're talking about delicious burgers and biscuits! As you can probably imagine, we're feeling very excited about what's to come.”

Both brands have grabbed attention this year with the launch of the first ever CBD Burger on 4.20 and the Beyond Famous Star at Carl’s Jr., as well as the return of roast beef and the launch of the southwest patty melt featuring a hotter and juicier third-pound black angus burger at Hardee’s.

Follow Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/carlsjr and www.facebook.com/hardees), Twitter (@CarlsJrand @Hardees) and Instagram (@CarlsJr and @Hardees) for the latest product news and promotional offers. Prices may vary. Higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

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.

About 72andSunny

72andSunny is a global creative agency that believes unignorable creativity is the most powerful force in business. With offices in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Singapore and Sydney, 72andSunny is on a mission to expand and diversify the creative class. 72andSunny has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies for two years in a row and is a two-time “Agency of the Year” winner for Advertising Age and Adweek. For more information, visit 72andSunny.com.

View source version at CKE


Blaze Pizza Names Mandy Shaw Chief Executive Officer

November 11, 2019


Former CFO Promoted to Lead Fast Casual Pizza Chain’s Rapid Expansion

Los Angeles, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Blaze Pizza, the recognized world leader in fast artisanal pizza, today announced the promotion of Mandy Shaw to President and Chief Executive Officer. Shaw has been with Los Angeles-based Blaze Pizza since 2018 as its Chief Financial Officer, and has also served as Interim CEO since August 2019.  Shaw has played a critical role in the Company’s rapid growth over the past two years.

“Mandy is stepping into the CEO role with a unique understanding of the brand,” Blaze Pizza co-founder Rick Wetzel said in a statement. “Since joining just under two years ago, she has demonstrated a blend of entrepreneurial spirit, brand vision and operational expertise that make her the perfect fit to lead this company.”

Mandy takes over as Blaze is showing significant momentum due to recent product launches including new specialty crusts and a clean-ingredient 14” large pizza, garnering significant national media attention. Blaze Pizza currently operates 340 restaurants across 41 states and 6 countries, and the Company has established itself as the premier destination for fast artisanal pizza.

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this new role with Blaze and I am excited to hit the ground running,” Shaw said. “This Company was built on partnering with exceptional franchisees to provide world-class guest experiences, and I look forward to helping Blaze continue to deliver on that promise.”

Blaze Pizza gave Shaw considerable credit for driving growth, fostering strong relationships with franchisees and spearheading the Company’s focus on digital innovation, technology and systems. A seasoned executive, Shaw previously worked in a number of roles at Bloomin’ Brands for over 12 years, including serving as Chief Information Officer and Chief Accounting Officer before making her move to Los Angeles to join Blaze.

About Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” serving up artisanal pizzas that are both fast and affordable. Guests can customize one of the many chef-driven Signature Pizzas or build their own, choosing from a wide selection of real ingredients. All restaurants make the original house-made dough from scratch daily, using just a few simple ingredients to create our signature crust. Pizza fans with specific dietary needs can enjoy gluten-free and keto crusts, vegan cheese and plant-based spicy chorizo. Blaze pizzas can be ordered in-restaurant or online for carryout or delivery.

Blaze was recently named pizza “brand of the year” by the Harris Poll and “America’s favorite pizza chain” by Market Force Information in 2019. Previously ranked #1 “brand of the year” in the Fast Casual Top 100, the rapidly growing chain is backed by private equity firm Brentwood Associates and founding investors that include LeBron James, Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.  For more information, visit www.blazepizza.com or www.facebook.com/blazepizza.

View source version at Blaze Pizza




Women's Foodservice Forum Names Therese Gearhart as President and CEO



Nov 08, 2019, 14:00 ET



DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) announced today that following an extensive search, Therese Gearhart has been selected to serve as the organization's new President and CEO. Gearhart will take over the role from Denny Marie Post who assumed the role while a formal search was conducted following Hattie Hill's retirement in June.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Therese's caliber join us to lead WFF. Her long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her success in building diverse teams will be a great benefit to our organization," said Salli Setta, President and Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster and current WFF Board Chairperson. "We are confident she is the right person to bring our strategy to life and lead WFF into the future."

Gearhart is an international operations leader with more than 30 years of experience across several industries. She has global consumer marketing expertise and a record of growth and reinvention in complex global markets. Throughout her career Gearhart has developed a reputation for unlocking business performance by being an inclusive and authentic leader. A 20-year veteran of The Coca-Cola Company, Gearhart led Business Units in Latin Center and Southern Africa and spent six years working within the North America Foodservice business. She was also co-chair and a member of the company's Global Women's Leadership Council responsible for advising the CEO and executive leadership on strategies to accelerate the development and advancement of female talent.

"I am truly honored to lead WFF as we carry forward the organization's tremendous momentum and embrace fast-paced growth of our programs," said Gearhart. "I am grateful to our partners, who continue to entrust our organization to provide guidance and be at the forefront of advancing gender diversity and equality across the food service industry. My husband and three children are excited to be part of the WFF family and are equally inspired by our mission."

Gearhart will assume her new role effective immediately. Denny Marie Post will continue to serve on the Board as immediate past Chair.

ABOUT WOMEN'S FOODSERVICE FORUM Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry's thought leader on gender equity. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit wff.org.

View source version at Women's Foodservice Forum


Farmer Brothers Announces Leadership Appointments


November 07, 2019 16:05 ET

Ruben Inofuentes Appointed Chief Supply Chain Officer

Scott Lyon Appointed Interim Principal Financial and Accounting Officer; David Robson Departs as Chief Financial Officer

NORTHLAKE, Texas, Nov. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ:FARM) (the “Company” or “Farmer Brothers”) today announced that Ruben Inofuentes has been named Chief Supply Chain Officer, effective November 15. The Company also announced the appointment of Scott Lyon as interim principal financial and accounting officer, effective November 4. David Robson has departed the Company and Farmer Brothers has initiated a search to identify its next Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Inofuentes is an innovative leader with a successful track record of running complex company operations. In his role as Farmer Brothers’ Chief Supply Chain Officer, Mr. Inofuentes will be responsible for leading the Company’s Manufacturing, Logistics, Procurement, Quality, Engineering and Innovation teams. Most recently, Mr. Inofuentes served as Chief Operations Officer for JR286, a global leader in the sporting goods industry, where he expanded the company’s operations, relocated manufacturing, reengineered product supply chain and vendor strategy as well as reduced costs. Prior to JR286, he held various technical and leadership roles at Advocare International, Oracle and United Parcel Service among others.

Deverl Maserang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Brothers said, “One of my key initiatives is to engage the best industry talent to help drive future growth at Farmer Brothers. I am thrilled to have Ruben join the Farmer Brothers team and lead our supply chain operations at this critical juncture as we work to improve inventory management, rebalance our network and consistently achieve our on-time and fill rate goals. Ruben is a proven innovative leader with a successful track record in supply chain transformations and operational excellence and I am confident that we will benefit from his expertise and insights.”

Mr. Inofuentes said, “It is a privilege to join Farmer Brothers and leverage my leadership experience to help the organization drive improvement across manufacturing, logistics, procurement, quality, engineering and innovation. I look forward to working alongside the entire Farmer Brothers team to enhance our operations and optimize our supply chain.”

Mr. Lyon brings over ten years of experience, including more than five years of management experience in both public accounting and global public companies. Mr. Lyon joined Farmer Brothers in August 2018 as Assistant Controller and has served in the role of Corporate Controller since October 2018. In these roles, he has been responsible for the Company’s financial statements, general ledger, managing all accounting functions, and communications with external auditors. He will continue to serve in this role while taking over the Company’s responsibilities of the principal financial and accounting officer on an interim basis.

Mr. Maserang continued, “I am pleased to have Scott step into this expanded interim role within our finance organization. He brings a strong background in accounting and finance as well as deep knowledge of our company, having been instrumental in helping us improve our internal processes. I am confident he will continue to make valuable contributions to the Company during this transitional period while we conduct a search for a permanent CFO. Additionally, on behalf of the Board and management team, I want to thank David for his contributions to the Company and wish him the best in the future.”

Mr. Lyon said, "I am excited take on this interim role as we work to return Farmer Brothers to growth and profitability. I look forward to working alongside Farmer Brothers’ Board and management team to build on the Company’s progress.”

First Quarter Fiscal 2020 Financial Results and Earnings Call

Farmer Brothers today separately announced financial results for its first quarter ended September 30, 2019. The Company will host an audio-only investor conference call webcast today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (4:00 p.m. Central time) to review the Company’s financial results. The Company’s earnings press release is available on the Company’s website at www.farmerbros.com under “Investor Relations.”

About Ruben Inofuentes Mr. Inofuentes is an innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in operations and supply chain.  He has deep operations, supply chain experience and is focused on driving quality service levels up and costs out of the supply chain. Most recently, Mr. Inofuentes served as Chief Operations Officer for JR286, a global leader in the sporting goods industry, where he expanded the company’s operations, relocated manufacturing, reengineered product supply chain and vendor strategy as well as reduced costs. Prior to JR286, he held various technical and leadership roles at Advocare International, Oracle and United Parcel Service among others. Mr. Inofuentes graduated from the Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.

About Scott Lyon Mr. Lyon joined Farmer Brothers in August 2018 as its Assistant Controller and has served in the role of Corporate Controller since October 2018, responsible for the Company’s financial statements, general ledger, managing all accounting functions, and communications with external auditors. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Lyon served as Assistant Controller of ION Geophysical, a publicly traded oil and gas service company, where he was responsible for all operational accounting functions including the direction of monthly close activities and SOX compliance, from April 2016 to August 2018. Prior to that, Mr. Lyon served as SEC Reporting Manager from September 2013 to April 2016, of Ensco Plc, a publicly traded offshore drilling company. Mr. Lyon’s responsibilities included managing the external reporting process and all SEC filing matters. Mr. Lyon served with KPMG LLP from 2007 to 2013, most recently as an Audit Manager. Mr. Lyon received his undergraduate degree in Finance and his master’s degree in accounting from Tulane University. Mr. Lyon is also a Certified Public Accountant.

About Farmer Bros. Co. Founded in 1912, Farmer Bros. Co. is a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, and distributor of coffee, tea, and culinary products. The Company's product lines include organic, Direct Trade and sustainably-produced coffee. With a robust line of coffee, hot and iced teas, cappuccino mixes, spices, and baking/biscuit mixes, the Company delivers extensive beverage planning services and culinary products to its U.S. based customers. The Company serves a wide variety of customers, from small independent restaurants and foodservice operators to large institutional buyers like restaurant and convenience store chains, hotels, casinos, healthcare facilities, and gourmet coffee houses, as well as grocery chains with private brand coffee and consumer-facing branded coffee and tea products, and foodservice distributors.

Headquartered in Northlake, Texas. The Company's primary brands include Farmer Brothers®, Artisan Collection by Farmer Brothers™, Superior®, Metropolitan™, China Mist® and Boyds®.

View source version at Farmer Brothers


Papa John’s Strengthens and Streamlines Management Team


More efficient management structure aligned with company’s new strategy

Proven brand and transformational leader Max Wetzel appointed Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer

Chief Financial Officer Joe Smith to depart in 2020; search for new CFO begun


November 06, 2019 07:30 AM Eastern Standard Time


LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) today announced a new, more streamlined senior management team, with additions to the team as well as promotions and expanded roles for key leaders. The updated management structure aligns with the company’s new strategy and priorities.

“After two months as CEO, I’m more excited than ever by the dedication, drive and resilience of Papa John’s team members and franchisees. Today I’m announcing a new management structure that will be the foundation on which we build our future,” said Rob Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As we introduce a more focused plan and strategic priorities for the company, we are realigning Papa John’s senior management, promoting leaders within the company and adding proven talent. The strong, streamlined team has more clearly defined responsibilities and priorities, which I believe will empower our senior leaders to make quicker, better decisions, collaborate more effectively and focus investment and effort on the key drivers of Papa John’s future growth and success.”

Max Wetzel, formerly VP, Consumer Brands and Chief Transformation Officer at PPG Industries, is joining the company as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, beginning November 18, 2019. Mr. Wetzel will oversee marketing, menu strategy, product innovation, customer experience and a new project management office. Jim Norberg, the company’s SVP, Chief of Restaurant Operations, has been named Chief Operating Officer, North America, and Jack Swaysland has been named Chief Operating Officer, International.

Mr. Lynch said, “I’m very excited to welcome Max Wetzel to the Papa John’s team. A transformational leader, Max earned a reputation as a strategic and growth-oriented consumer marketer during his career at H.J. Heinz and most recently, PPG. Now, as our new Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, he will lead the company’s efforts to reestablish the superiority of our pizza with consumers across our various customer platforms.”

As a result of the reorganization, Chief Operating and Growth Officer Mike Nettles and Chief Marketing Officer Karlin Linhardt will leave the company after a short transition period to pursue other opportunities. In addition, Chief Financial Officer Joe Smith will be leaving the company in 2020 following the fiscal 2019 year-end, after almost 20 years at Papa John’s. He will continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer while the company searches for a new CFO.

“On behalf of the entire Papa John’s team, I want to express gratitude to Joe Smith for his dedication to the company, his commitment to a smooth transition and the big impact he has made in the many important roles he has served here, including as CFO since April 2018,” Mr. Lynch added. “I also want to thank Mike Nettles and Karlin Linhardt for the significant contributions they have made to Papa John’s and wish them the best in their future endeavors.”

In addition to Mr. Wetzel, Mr. Norberg, Mr. Swaysland and Mr. Smith, the company’s Executive Leadership Team includes:

  1. Marvin Boakye, who has been named Chief People and Diversity Officer. The company’s Chief People Officer since January 2019, Mr. Boakye will also assume leadership of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) team and its initiatives, a critical element of the company’s culture. Prior to joining Papa John’s earlier this year, Mr. Boakye led DEI organizations at Andeavor and MTS-Allstream, and helped create the DEI organizations at Goodyear and the Pulte Group;

  2. Madeline Chadwick, who has been promoted to SVP, Communications and Corporate Affairs. In addition to internal and external communications, Ms. Chadwick will oversee the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives;

  3. Justin Falciola, Chief Insights and Technology Officer;

  4. Shane Hutchins, Chief Supply Chain Officer; and

  5. Caroline Oyler, Chief Legal and Risk Officer.

About Papa John's

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) is the world's third-largest pizza delivery company. In 2019, consumers rated Papa John’s No. 1 in product and service quality among national pizza chains in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). For 18 of the past 20 years, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among national pizza chains in the ACSI. For more information about the company or to order pizza online, visit Papa John’s at www.papajohns.com.

View source version at Papa John's


McDonald's Names Joe Erlinger as New Leader for U.S. Business



Nov 03, 2019, 16:31 ET



CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's Corporation ("the Company") (NYSE: MCD) today announced that Joe Erlinger, most recently President, International Operated Markets, has been appointed President, McDonald's USA, effective immediately. Erlinger's appointment follows the recent appointment of Chris Kempczinski as McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer.



"Joe is a respected leader who is returning to the U.S. after working around the world for McDonald's," said Kempczinski. "He has a proven track record of driving strong results through collaboration with franchisees and a relentless focus on the customer. I am proud and excited that one of my first moves as CEO is to announce his appointment, and am confident in all he will bring to our U.S. business."


In his new role, Erlinger will be responsible for the business operations of approximately 14,000 McDonald's restaurants in the United States, reporting to Kempczinski.

"Our U.S. business is the heartbeat of McDonald's," said Erlinger. "I look forward to working with our franchisees to build upon the transformational progress in our largest market. With a talented team that is committed to running great restaurants, we have tremendous momentum to deliver on our brand promise to all of our customers."

About Joe Erlinger

Most recently, Joe Erlinger served as President, International Operated Markets, with overall responsibility for McDonald's wholly-owned markets outside the U.S. He began his McDonald's tenure in 2002, working in strategy and new business development before moving onto regional and international leadership positions around the world.

About McDonald's

McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.

View source version at McDonald's


McDonald's Corporation Announces Leadership Transition



Nov 03, 2019, 16:30 ET



Chris Kempczinski Named President and CEO and a Member of the Board

Steve Easterbrook Separates as President and CEO and as a Member of the Board

CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's Corporation ("McDonald's") (NYSE: MCD) today announced that its Board of Directors has named Chris Kempczinski, most recently President, McDonald's USA, as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Kempczinski has also been elected to the McDonald's Board of Directors.

Kempczinski succeeds Steve Easterbrook, who has separated from the Company following the Board's determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.



"Chris takes the reins of this great company at a time of strong, sustained performance, and the Board has every confidence that he is the best leader to set the vision and drive the plans for the Company's continued success. He has the right mix of skills and experience to lead us forward having run our U.S. business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results, and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation. In particular, Chris was instrumental in the development of the Company's strategic plan, which has enabled global growth and leadership, and has overseen the most comprehensive transformation of the U.S. business in McDonald's history," said Enrique Hernandez Jr., Chairman of McDonald's Board of Directors.

Kempczinski said, "I'm thrilled to be leading this incredible company. Working alongside our talented team, our Board, our franchisees and suppliers, I am committed to upholding our rich heritage of serving our customers and driving value for our shareholders and other stakeholders. As one of the world's leading brands, McDonald's makes a difference in the lives of people every day. We have a responsibility not only to serve great food, but to make it responsibly and to enrich the communities in which we operate. I am energized by this challenge and look forward to guiding McDonald's continued success."

McDonald's expects to file its Form 10-Q for the period ending September 30, 2019, by Tuesday, November 5, 2019. The Company confirms that this leadership transition is unrelated to the Company's operational or financial performance.

About Chris Kempczinski

Chris Kempczinski is President and CEO of McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant company. He previously served as President of McDonald's USA, where he was responsible for the business operations of approximately 14,000 McDonald's restaurants in the United States.

He first joined McDonald's in 2015, overseeing global strategy, business development and innovation. In that role, he served the business units and franchisees by identifying new ideas and best practices to accelerate their growth and grow the overall value of the system.

About McDonald's

McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.

View source version at McDonald's


Your Pie Hires Industry Veteran Lisa Dimson as Chief Marketing Officer

October 23, 2019


The Original Fast-Casual Pizza Brand Affirms Commitment to Adding Top-Tier Talent, Building Franchise Infrastructure

Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Your Pie, the original fast-casual pizza brand, is proud to announce the hire of Lisa Dimson as the brand’s first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. An industry veteran, Dimson brings more than 15 years of restaurant marketing experience, plus a robust understanding of the fast-casual landscape, having held leadership positions with brands like Yum! Brands, Arby’s Restaurant Group and Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Dimson is responsible for enhancing marketing strategy and brand development at both the national and store levels, with specific focus on leveraging technological innovation to raise brand awareness among new audiences and drive store sales.

“Within her first few weeks, Lisa has already proven a tremendous asset to the Your Pie team,” said Chief Operating Officer Dave McDougall. “Her background, expertise and deep understanding of our industry allow her to see unique opportunities to amplify the Your Pie experience across the system. We look forward to how Lisa will shape and influence our brand, both currently and in the years to come.”

For Dimson, immediate priorities include elevating the brand’s digital marketing efforts and streamlining its technological integration to improve the guest experience and support franchise owners’ in-market efforts.

“Your Pie invests heavily in supporting its franchise community, and marketing is no exception,” Dimson said. “My vision is to raise the bar for how we leverage marketing technology and accelerate Your Pie’s efforts beyond the industry standard to become a true leader in the space.”

In addition to Dimson, Your Pie also welcomed Ashley Williams as its new Director of Training. Prior to joining Your Pie, Williams spent 13 years in training and operations at Outback Steakhouse, where she led training for the Southeast market, opened 20 new locations and developed the brand’s delivery training materials. As Director of Training at Your Pie, Williams’s responsibilities include developing a more robust training system for the brand, implementing a digital training platform and delivering effective training programs for franchisees to create an exceptional experience for guests.

Heading toward the end of the year, Your Pie plans to continue positive growth momentum, having opened nine new franchise locations during Q3. Between July 1 and September 30, Your Pie welcomed four new Florida locations in Brandon, Jacksonville, Melbourne and St. Johns; four new Georgia locations in Dahlonega, Dublin, Fort Oglethorpe and Winder; and one new Texas location in Cypress. These third-quarter additions bring Your Pie’s total brand footprint to 70 restaurants nationwide, with plans to grow its presence in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia during Q4.

“We’re thrilled to have grown Your Pie by nearly 15 percent last quarter,” said Vice President of Development Ken Caldwell. “Our growth is a testament to the hard work of our team, the commitment of our franchisees and the continued demand for high-quality fast-casual dining. As we round out the year, our focus remains fixed on supporting the franchise system as our teams work to create an unforgettable experience for guests.”

Your Pie was founded in 2008 by culinary entrepreneur Drew French, who aimed to create a first-of-its-kind restaurant concept offering high quality, brick-oven pizza at incredible speed. While family recipes and Italian culture helped lay the foundation for its processes and exceptional quality, Your Pie has continued to build upon this foundation with new ingredients, innovative recipes and endless choices to create a pizza experience with traditional roots, but a flair all its own.

About Your Pie

Your Pie is the world’s originator of the fast casual, brick oven, customized personal pizza category. The brand was founded by Drew French in 2008 and is inspired by family recipes from the Italian island of Ischia. Your Pie offers personal pizzas, chopped salads, baked pasta and hot paninis, made with fresh ingredients and housemade sauces and dressings. The brand also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as local craft beer, wine and Italian-style gelato pairings. Your Pie has 70 locations open across 18 states and nearly 50 locations in development. For more information about Your Pie or franchising opportunities, visit www.yourpie.com.

View source version at Your Pie


Paris Baguette Appoints Franchise Executive Gregg Koffler to Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development

October 23, 2019


Veteran of Corner Bakery Café, Smashburger and Johnny Rockets Joins International Bakery-Café

New York, NY  (RestaurantNews.com)  Paris Baguette, an internationally renowned premium bakery-café has announced that Gregg Koffler has joined its executive team as Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development. Koffler brings to Paris Baguette over a decade of experience in executive franchise roles, with an extensive background in driving innovation and growth strategy with franchise development.

“With Gregg’s longstanding history of driving franchise brands to success, we believe he is the right fit for our team as we head into our next phase of growth throughout the U.S.,” said Jack Moran, CEO of Paris Baguette. “His passion and appreciation for growing brands is admirable, and we’re thrilled to see what he has in store for 2020 and beyond.”

Within his new role, Koffler will work in conjunction with the Executive team to drive the growth of Paris Baguette through franchise sales and development.

Prior to Paris Baguette, Koffler held executive positions with Smashburger, Johnny Rockets and Corner Bakery Café.

About Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette is a global brand that operates more than 80 corporate and franchise locations throughout the U.S., and over 3,500 internationally. The bakery-cafe concept known for their delightful assortment of bread, pastries and cakes was founded in 1988 and bakes delicious bread daily on site. Paris Baguette’s mission is to bring happiness to everyone by adapting to people’s ever-expanding palates with their decadent, unique and sophisticated pastries, breads, and cakes. The growing bakery chain serves a variety of treats ranging from appetizing snacks to stunning and delicious cakes for all occasions, as well as chef-inspired sandwiches and salads. For more information, visit www.parisbaguette.com.

View source version at Paris Baguette


Global Franchise Group® Welcomes New Chief Development Officer And Announces Promotions

Franchise and restaurant development veteran, Chris Cheek, named Chief Development Officer



Oct 23, 2019, 08:30 ET



ATLANTA, Oct. 23, 2019 /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®/MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery® and Round Table Pizza®, continues to accelerate its evolution with the addition of new Chief Development Officer, Chris Cheek, a seasoned restaurant development executive with 20 years of experience in the QSR industry. GFG also announces the promotion of key leaders: Annica Conrad (Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing), Pam Maxwell (Vice President of Franchise Operations) and Lisa Cheatham (VP of Growth Marketing).



Chris Cheek is a franchise and restaurant development veteran with 20 years of experience in the industry. He comes to GFG after serving as CDO of Newk's Eatery where he led development efforts as the restaurant grew from 65 franchise locations to 130 and from 10 to 24 company owned-operations. As CDO, he helped the brand achieve consistent year over year growth. He also has served as CDO of Toppers Pizza and was VP of Franchise Development for Freebirds World Burrito in Emeryville, CA and VP of Franchise Development for Le Duff America (Bruegger's, La Madeleine, Brioche Doree, Timothy's Coffee, Michael's Bakery Café, and mmmuffins). As CDO of GFG he will lead franchise brand expansion, new store development, construction and international growth.


"As the footprint of Global Franchise Group grows and we look to acquire additional best-in-class brands, the experience and talent within our organization is at an all-time high," said Chris Dull, President and CEO of Global Franchise Group. "GFG is proud of our team members and the level of support we offer our franchisees. Championing our brands and the people who build them is at the core of what we do."

GFG also promoted the following team leaders:

  1. Annica Conrad to EVP of Brand Marketing. Conrad is the former EVP of Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery and will now oversee strategic marketing efforts for all GFG brands.

  2. Pam Maxwell to Vice President of Franchise Operations. Maxwell is the former VP of Operations for Marble Slab Creamery and Great American Cookies. She will now have oversight of all GFG snack brands.

  3. Lisa Cheatham to VP of Growth Marketing. Cheatham is the former Senior Director of Marketing for Pretzelmaker and will now focus on e-commerce, merchandising and licensing for all brands – a major focus for the organization.

Global Franchise Group's mission is to champion brands and the people who build them. It 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 - www.globalfranchise.com 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®, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery®, Pretzelmaker® and Round Table Pizza®. The ,brands are managed by GFG Management, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Franchise Group, LLC. Global Franchise Group, LLC is a portfolio company of Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Lion Capital LLP and Serruya Private Equity, Inc.

View source version at Global Franchise Group


RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. Names Brandon Solano CEO

October 21, 2019


Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVE) today announced that its Board of Directors has named Brandon L. Solano as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Solano succeeds Scott Crane, whose tenure with the Company ended in July 2019.

Mr. Solano most recently served as Chief Marketing & Digital Officer of fast-casual concept Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, where he recorded the best positive traffic the brand had seen in seven years behind the launch of “Wei Better Orange Chicken,” cauliflower rice and a clean-label initiative dubbed “The Wei Forward.” In the process, he creatively poked fun at Panda Express, garnering substantial positive publicity and social media chatter at the expense of the brand’s much-larger rival.

Solano began his restaurant career with Domino’s Pizza in 2008, where he led the 2010 “New & Inspired” pizza launch as Vice President of Innovation. Solano later served as Vice President of Development for Domino’s, where he designed the “Pizza Theatre” concept and created the “Fortress Seattle” model market strategy, where he led operations. Prior to his Pei Wei tenure, Mr. Solano drove positive traffic for the first time in 10 years as Chief Marketing Officer of Wendy’s.

“Brandon has been a difference maker for multiple brands in the restaurant space,” said Mark Schwarz, Chairman of RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. “He has a history of driving profitable traffic and leading brands to cultural relevance. He has communicated provocatively, even telling consumers Domino’s pizza wasn’t great and could be better. He once famously dug through the trash at Panda Express to expose their ingredient statements on Twitter. Importantly, he has brought his franchisees along with him to shared success. Brandon has depth and breadth of experience, including leading both pizza and fast-casual brands across many functions from operations and technology to marketing and development. We are thrilled to have Brandon lead our Company.”

“I’m stoked to lead both Pizza Inn and Pie Five for RAVE,” said Solano. “These brands have tremendous upside and I intend to partner with our employees and franchisees to realize every ounce of it. We will be disruptive in the space and make consumers rethink their pizza choices while supporting our communities, franchisees and employees. In short, I’m here to win!”

Solano holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Brandon and his partner, Kristin, live on a sustainable urban farm in Southlake, Texas, with goats, chickens, honeybees, 20 varieties of vegetables and four semi-tame teenagers.

About RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.

Founded in 1958, Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. owns, operates, franchises and/or licenses 261 Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn restaurants and Pizza Inn Express kiosks domestically and internationally. Pizza Inn is an international chain featuring freshly made pizzas, along with salads, pastas and desserts. Pie Five Pizza Co. is a leader in the rapidly growing fast-casual pizza space offering made-to-order pizzas ready in under five minutes. Pizza Inn Express, or PIE, is developing unique opportunities to provide freshly made pizza from non-traditional outlets. The Company’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “RAVE.” For more information, please visit www.raverg.com.

View source version at RAVE Restaurant Group


Tropical Smoothie Cafe®️ Expands C-Suite With Two New Hires

Fast-casual system welcomes two senior leaders, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information and Digital Officer



Oct 17, 2019, 08:35 ET



ATLANTA, Oct. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC, the franchisor of the rapidly expanding national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring healthier lifestyles, announced it has welcomed two new C-suite members to its team: Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Montini, and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Michael Lapid.

"Mark and Michael both bring immense brand and leadership experience, sophisticated technical expertise and a tremendous passion for the Tropical Smoothie Cafe mission. While their career paths are very different, they both have a similar style of solving problems, relying heavily on their ability to make data-driven decisions, which is ultimately in line with how we lead," said Charles Watson, CEO, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. "Like our franchisees, Mark brings strong entrepreneurial experience to our organization and will lead brand, marketing, product and digital innovations, all core functions of delivering a remarkable guest experience. As our Chief Information and Digital Officer, Michael brings 20 years of foundational IT skills and core functions of digital knowledge critical to shaping our journey to reach guests via innovative technologies."

"I'm confident Mark and Michael are the right people to support us as we continue our rapid growth," said Watson. "I am thrilled to be strengthening our leadership team with two outstanding, talented new members who understand that we are in the business of serving franchisees, who then serve our guests."

About Mark Montini, Chief Marketing Officer

With more than 20 years of leadership experience, Montini joins Tropical Smoothie Cafe from Floor Coverings International where he drove brand transformations and leadership in service-based franchising. Early in his career, Montini developed technology-driven marketing strategies for international organizations focused on increasing revenue through local-level marketing and sales. As the new Chief Marketing Officer of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Montini will lead the company's vision to drive process change and accelerate business performance.

About Michael Lapid, Chief Information and Digital Officer

Previously with Papa John's International as the Vice President, Global Digital Technology, Lapid is a seasoned technology executive with vast engineering expertise, leadership skills and a deep understanding of consumer technology. At the start of his career, Lapid's ambitious spirit led him to develop a point of sale system, Hot Sauce. Lapid's entrepreneurial and corporate mindset will be instrumental as he guides Tropical Smoothie Cafe through technology innovation and thought leadership.

For more information about Tropical Smoothie Cafe, please visit https://www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com.

About Tropical Smoothie Cafe®️

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring healthier lifestyles across the country with more than 800 locations nationwide. Serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads, Tropical Smoothie Cafe also offers upgraded app technology and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities to further elevate the digital and dine-in cafe experience and emphasize the brand's focus on convenience. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including rankings in QSR's Best Franchise Deals, Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 and Forbes' Best Franchises, as well as Franchise Times' Top 200+. In 2019, the brand has already been recognized amongst Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Nation's Restaurant News' Top 200 and Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains, Franchise Times Fast and Serious, as well as being chosen as NRAEF's Restaurant Neighbor Award Winner.

View source version at Tropical Smoothie Cafe


Impossible Foods Hires Jessie Becker as Senior Vice President of Marketing


  1. Becker joins Impossible Foods in the newly created role of SVP of Marketing

  2. Netflix and YouTube veteran has extensive experience building and scaling consumer and B2B marketing teams

  3. Becker joins as Impossible Foods expands its footprint in grocery stores and other channels, marking a new era for the food tech startup




October 17, 2019 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time


REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Impossible Foods today announced the hiring of Jessie Becker in the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Marketing.

Becker will lead the B2B and B2C marketing, insights and brand marketing teams at Impossible Foods, effective immediately. She reports to Impossible Foods’ President Dennis Woodside, a tech industry executive who joined the company in March.

Just last month, the Impossible™ Burger made its worldwide debut in grocery stores at all 27 outlets of Gelson’s Markets in Southern California, all 100 outlets of Wegmans in the Northeast and two Fairway locations in Manhattan -- the first time that the general public has been able to buy and experience the Impossible Burger at home. The results have been astounding. Impossible Burger immediately rocketed to the No. 1 position among all packaged goods sold at some of America’s favorite grocery stores -- and has remained a top performer ever since.

“I’m thrilled to join Impossible Foods at such a significant inflection point for the company as it embarks on unprecedented growth and new channel launches,” Becker said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to build the plant-based food category with world-class marketing -- while having a profound impact on our planet.”

Becker joins Impossible Foods from Google, where she served as Director of Marketing. Prior to Google, Becker was Chief Marketing Officer at Optimizely, a B2B software company.

Before that, Becker spent 12 years at Netflix, starting in 2000 as one of the first people hired in the marketing department and rising to interim Chief Marketing Officer during a period of breakout growth. At Netflix, Becker was responsible for recruiting millions of consumers to the subscription content service and accelerating Netflix’s expansion into more than 50 countries, using creative digital acquisition tactics and partnerships with device manufacturers and retailers.

Becker holds a Bachelor’s in History from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor’s in Economics from The Wharton School and an MBA from Stanford University.

Scorching demand

The Impossible Burger is served in more than 17,000 restaurants in all 50 states and in nearly every type of cuisine -- from burgers, tacos and pizza to poke sushi burritos.

The Impossible Burger is now America’s most popular late-night delivery snack, according to Grubhub's "State of the Plate" report, with delivery sales surging 529% in the first half of 2019 -- proof that the product satisfies the midnight cravings of carnivores on the prowl for chow.

This summer, Impossible Foods announced a co-manufacturing collaboration with global food provider OSI Group, one of the largest food producers in the world. OSI has already begun to produce the Impossible Burger, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland, Calif. OSI will continue to expand production of Impossible Foods’ flagship product throughout 2019 and thereafter.

The Impossible Slider at White Castle is considered one of America’s best fast-food burgers, and Impossible Burger mentions on Yelp are on fire. Political commentator and Texas cattle rancher Glenn Beck couldn’t tell the difference between the Impossible Burger and ground beef from cows in a side-by-side taste test, and the Washington Post called Impossible’s plant-based burger a “wake-up call to the meat industry.”

In April, the world’s second largest burger chain, Burger King, debuted the Impossible Whopper in a regional test in St. Louis. The regional test of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King restaurants in St. Louis went exceedingly well; in August, the Miami-based restaurant chain rolled out the Impossible Whopper to 7,200 U.S. restaurants nationwide.

Stay tuned for more news -- including the next retail launches -- by visiting impossiblefoods.com/media and on social media.

About Impossible Foods:

Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

View source version at Impossible Foods


Coolgreens Promotes Amanda Powell to Vice President of Operations

October 17, 2019


Industry veteran to propel healthy lifestyle eatery’s operations-focused momentum

Oklahoma City, OK  (RestaurantNews.com)  Coolgreens – the healthy lifestyle eatery that “feeds your life” – announced today that it has promoted Amanda Powell to vice president of operations after she joined the team in June 2018 as director of operations and training.

In her new role, Powell will support the team in Oklahoma, drive Revel, Hot Schedules, the Coolgreens Reward app and Schoox, along with developing a traveling trainer team for new restaurants.

Powell brings more than 20 years of restaurant experience to Coolgreens. Most notably, she served as the regional training manager and general manager for Red Lobster at the Abilene, Texas location. Under her leadership, Powell was able to help boost the restaurant from No. 93 in Red Lobster’s system to No. 8 in the Dallas division.

Throughout her career, Powell worked at other fast casual concepts like SPIN! Pizza out of Kansas City, Missouri, where she developed a training program and opened restaurants in Orange County, California. Prior to arriving at Coolgreens, she served as area coach at Modern Market. During her time there, she developed a team in Dallas and ran six restaurants as well as supported the Washington, DC Modern Market.

“We are really proud to promote Amanda,” said CEO Robert Lee. “She has worked tirelessly in our ongoing quest to become not only a national brand, but one of the most respected fast casual brands in the country. Her commitment to her teams and support of our franchisees has and will continue to be inspiring. She deserves this promotion, and we will be a stronger brand because of it.”

For more information, please visit coolgreens.com. For more information on Coolgreens franchising opportunities, visit franchise.coolgreens.com.

About Coolgreens

Coolgreens is a healthy lifestyle eatery committed to making the communities it serves a better place to live by creating healthy, fresh, made-to-order creations. The menu caters to a variety of lifestyles and diets, featuring signature salads, wraps, grain bowls and sandwiches. Founded in 2009 in Oklahoma City, Coolgreens currently has five corporate-owned locations, three franchise locations in Tulsa, Okla., and Southlake and Richardson Texas, along with a licensed location in the Oklahoma City Airport. Coolgreens was named one of Fast Casual’s 2019 Top 100 Movers & Shakers.

View source version at Coolgreens


Dunkin' Brands Announces Departure Of Tony Weisman, Dunkin' U.S. Chief Marketing Officer

October, 16 2019


Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, yesterday announced that Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer Dunkin' U.S., is stepping down from his position effective December 1, 2019. The company will immediately begin a search for his replacement, and Mr. Weisman has agreed to assist in the search. Until the appointment of a new CMO, the marketing department will report to Dave Hoffmann, Dunkin' Brands CEO and Dunkin' U.S. President.

"Tony has played a key role in the transformation of our brand, including our widely lauded decision to drop "Donuts" from our logo, our very successful espresso relaunch, and the introduction of innovative products like our plant-based Beyond Sausage® Breakfast Sandwich, currently available in Manhattan. Additionally, he has assembled a highly talented marketing and culinary team, and an award-winning group of outside creative agencies, all of whom will enable us to continue to move ahead with our plans to make Dunkin' America's most loved, beverage-led brand," said Hoffmann. "Tony has been a great business partner to me and the rest of the leadership team, and we wish him all the best with his next endeavor."

Since joining the company in September 2017, Weisman has overseen marketing, product innovation, field marketing, consumer insights and advertising, as well as the brand's digital and consumer-packaged goods (CPG) initiatives for Dunkin' U.S.

"I am tremendously proud of all we have accomplished at Dunkin' over the past two years and proud to have been part of this incredible brand at this point in its history," said Weisman. "It has been an honor to work with this management team, our strong marketing team and a great group of franchisees. I have been a passionate Dunkin' fan my entire life and will continue to be a loyal customer as I move on to my next opportunity."

View source version at Dunkin' Brands



Casey’s General Stores Announces Convenience and Restaurant Industry Veteran Tom Brennan to Join Company as Chief Merchandising Officer


Fourth-largest convenience store retailer adds to leadership team as it accelerates growth and expands footprint



October 16, 2019 11:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time


ANKENY, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq symbol CASY), today announced that it has named Tom Brennan as Chief Merchandising Officer, reporting to Darren Rebelez, Chief Executive Officer. Brennan will lead the development and implementation of the company’s overall merchandising and prepared foods strategy.

“Tom is a tremendous leader with deep experience across the convenience and quick service restaurant industries that will benefit Casey’s already popular, fresh food program, and enhance our merchandising strategy,” said Darren Rebelez, Chief Executive Officer, Casey’s General Stores. “We have a strong leadership team at Casey’s and I’m confident that Tom will contribute to our collective efforts to make life better for our guests and communities every day.”

Brennan joins Casey’s from CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, where he was Chief Operating Officer responsible for the operations and support of over 3,000 restaurants across the United States. Prior to CKE, he spent 11 years at 7-Eleven in a variety of leadership roles in merchandising, category management, store development and operations. Before 7-Eleven, he worked in the Financial Planning and Analysis group at Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) and he also served six years on active duty as an Armor Officer in the U.S. Army.

“I am honored to join the team at Casey’s to help continue to build this incredible brand and deliver great products conveniently every day to our guests,” said Tom Brennan.

Brennan holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

About Casey’s General Stores Casey's General Stores is a Fortune 500 company operating over 2,000 convenience stores in 16 states. Founded more than 50 years ago, the company has grown to become the fourth-largest convenience store retailer and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States. Casey’s prides itself on being at the heart of many of its communities providing freshly prepared foods, quality gasoline, and friendly service at every location. Guests can enjoy famous, made-from-scratch pizza, donuts, other assorted bakery items, and (at select stores) made-to-order sub sandwiches. Learn more and order online at www.caseys.com.

View source version at Casey's General Store

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