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Executive Movements - November 2020







Dine Brands Global, Inc. Appoints John Peyton Chief Executive Officer


John Peyton, President and CEO at Realogy Franchise Group, takes new role as CEO of Dine Brands effective January 4, 2021



November 17, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time


GLENDALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, announced today that John Peyton, president and chief executive officer, Realogy Franchise Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), will be the company’s new chief executive officer, effective January 4, 2021.

Peyton is an experienced franchise veteran who has led global, consumer franchised businesses for over 21 years, most recently at Realogy Franchise Group where he has served as president since 2016. Realogy franchises many of the most recognized brands in the real estate industry, including Better Homes and Gardens®, Real Estate, CENTURY 21®, Coldwell Banker ®, The Corcoran Group ®, ERA ®, Sotheby’s International Realty ® and Coldwell Banker Commercial ®. There he was able to drive significant growth during one of the most challenging markets in the industry’s history. John was also instrumental in transforming and revitalizing their brands through an elevated service delivery model, placing an emphasis on agility and innovation, and creating momentum and opportunity for the company, franchisees and team members.

Prior to Realogy, John spent 17 years with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, holding various positions including Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Operations Officer, North America Hotel Division. During his tenure, John was responsible for both the Global and North American Food and Beverage teams, which included their on-property restaurants. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English and earned an MBA in accounting and marketing from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

“We are pleased to announce that John Peyton will be joining Dine Brands as CEO starting in January 2021,” states Richard Dahl, chairman of the board. “John’s extensive background working in the hospitality industry enables him to provide outstanding leadership and guidance as Dine Brands continues to accelerate long-term growth. We greatly appreciate Steve Joyce’s leadership and considerable contributions to Dine Brands during a critical period for the company and wish him continued success.”

Peyton replaces Dine Brands CEO, Steve Joyce, who has served as CEO since September 2017.

“Dine Brands is confident in the talented executive team in place to ensure a smooth transition and Peyton’s onboarding after the first of the year,” says Dahl.

“I am honored to take on this new role to spearhead Dine’s mission and drive shareholder value of the world’s most-loved restaurant brands,” said John Peyton, CEO at Dine Brands. “Together with our team members, franchisees and suppliers, I look forward to building upon the rich history of our restaurants and further creating community in hometowns all throughout the world.”

To learn more about Dine Brands, Applebee’s or IHOP visit www.dinebrands.com.

View source version at Dine Brands


MCDONALD’S NAMES TIFFANIE BOYD NEW U.S. CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER

It’s the latest in a string of new hires at the burger giant amid a quiet shakeup in the executive team.

By Jonathan Maze on Nov. 16, 2020

McDonald’s named Tiffanie Boyd its new U.S. chief people officer on Monday, making the former General Mills executive the latest in a long string of new hires as the company overhauls its human resources function.

Boyd, who will start on Jan. 4. She spent 23 years with General Mills, most recently as vice  president of human resources for North America Retail after starting her career in one of the company’s manufacturing plants, according to an internal memo seen by Restaurant Business. She replaces Candace Jean-Louis, who has been interim U.S. CPO for the past several months.

But she also comes to McDonald’s at a time of significant change. The Chicago-based burger giant has made several executive changes in recent months, a number of them in the human resources team overseen by Heidi Capozzi—who herself was named global chief people officer back in March.

The moves include a new diversity chief and a new chief learning and development officer and an executive to lead the newly created “global impact team.” All of those executives have been announced since October.

They also come as the company does battle with its former CEO, Steve Easterbrook over his severance package following his ouster a year ago over sexual relations with employees. That ouster was followed quickly by the departure of Capozzi’s predecessor, David Fairhurst.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s is facing multiple discrimination lawsuits from current and former Black franchisees as well as one from current Black executives. And the company is facing several labor-led actions on behalf of workers employed by its franchisees.

“Tiffanie joins us at a time when our commitment to people has never been more critical,” Capozzi said in the memo.

She noted that McDonald’s is prioritizing the experience of its crew members in partnership with its franchisees. “We intend to make bold moves for our people,” Capozzi wrote. “Tiffanie will help us lead this work and continue to make McDonald’s a safe, equitable and rewarding place to work.”

View source version at McDonald's


Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. Announces CFO Transition


Kristy Chipman’s Appointment Effective November 30, 2020


November 12, 2020 04:05 PM Eastern Standard Time


WINTER PARK, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: RUTH) today announced that Kristy Chipman has been appointed Chief Financial Officer, effective November 30, 2020. Ms. Chipman will succeed Arne Haak, who will be stepping down from the role. Mr. Haak will remain with Ruth’s Hospitality Group as a strategic advisor through early 2021 to facilitate a seamless transition.

Cheryl Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc., stated, “Throughout her extensive career, Kristy has demonstrated strong financial leadership through a combination of strategic finance, development, and corporate financial planning and analysis experience. We are thrilled to have her join the Ruth’s team and look forward to benefiting from her well-established credentials and executive leadership abilities.”

Henry continued, “We would also like to thank Arne for his contributions to Ruth’s over the past nine years. He has played an important role in the execution of our total return strategy, which will continue to be the cornerstone of our strategic efforts going forward. We are appreciative of his support during the transition period and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Arne Haak added, “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished at Ruth’s Chris over the last 9 years. We’ve smartly expanded our portfolio of restaurants and built a culture of excellence throughout the organization. I would like to thank Cheryl, the Board of Directors, the Senior Leadership Team, and my team, as well as all of our franchisees and operating team members. Ruth’s Chris is an incredible business, and I am very optimistic about the future of the Company.”

Kristy Chipman is a well-rounded finance leader with over 25 years of experience in best-in-class consumer and publicly-traded restaurant companies. Previously, Ms. Chipman served as Chief Financial Officer for Orangetheory Fitness, where she led the finance and accounting team of the high-growth global fitness franchise with over 1,300 studios located throughout the US and internationally. Before joining Orangetheory, she was the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer at Domino’s Pizza, Inc., where she developed a three-year roadmap for the finance team as well as successfully redesigned the Company’s international finance structure. Prior to Domino’s, she held various finance leadership positions at McDonald’s Corporation, most recently as a Senior Director, Corporate Controller Group. During her tenure, she was responsible for developing plan targets for income, capital and G&A, and providing analysis to top management on business strategies.

Ms. Chipman received her B.A. degree in Accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, and her M.B.A. (with focused coursework in Marketing and Finance) from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed by the state of Illinois.

About Ruth’s Hospitality Group

Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc., headquartered in Winter Park, Florida, is the largest fine dining steakhouse company in the U.S. as measured by the total number of Company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants, with over 140 Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations worldwide specializing in USDA Prime grade steaks served in Ruth’s Chris’ signature fashion – “sizzling.”

For information about our restaurants or to purchase gift cards, please visit www.RuthsChris.com. For more information about Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc., please visit www.rhgi.com.

View source version at Ruth's Hospitality


Noodles & Company Announces Additions to Support New Restaurant Development

Company scales for growth with new hires



Nov 05, 2020, 09:00 ET



BROOMFIELD, Colo., Nov 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS) today announced that is has hired John Ramsay as vice president of franchise sales to support the company as they prepare for growth.

"We are aggressively building a robust development pipeline, and we plan to advance both our company and franchise strategies" said Dave Boennighausen, chief executive officer at Noodles & Company. "We continue to target at least 10-15 new restaurant openings systemwide in 2021, with a target of at least 7% annual unit growth beginning 2022. John brings a breadth of experience that will enable us to take advantage of growth and partnership opportunities as they arise."

Ramsay comes to Noodles with more than 28 years of experience in franchise and sales development. He will be critical in supporting Noodles' restaurant growth initiatives by recruiting and selecting franchise partners, while also working with existing franchise partners to build out their Noodles & Company businesses through multiple restaurant locations. John will also partner closely with VP of Franchise Operations Carly Habein to cultivate strong relationships early in the partnership process with potential franchise prospects. Currently, 76 of Noodles 454 locations are franchise owned and operated with two more slated to open in early 2021.

"As a proven concept, Noodles is uniquely positioned to grow at this time," said Ramsay. "Noodles has innovated and adapted quickly to the off-premise experience and offers attractive unit-level economics for franchisees."

Most recently, John led franchising and development efforts for Bruxie International, Marco's Franchising, and Rubio's Baja Grill. In addition to his franchise roles, John has also worked in construction and real estate for brands like Sbarro's, T.G.I. Friday's and Jack in the Box.

"Franchise growth is a tremendous opportunity for Noodles, and with John and Carly's leadership, we will be able to accelerate unit growth while partnering with franchise operators who value our people culture and dedication to making Noodles the best place to work in the industry," said Boennighausen.

To learn more about franchising opportunities with Noodles & Company, please visit www.noodles.com/franchising or email franchising@noodles.com

Noodles has also hired two experienced real estate directors, Eric Briggs and Greg Burnthorn, who bring nearly two decades of combined real estate experience to the team. They will report to VP of Real Estate Dawn Rheinlander and join her in leading restaurant development.

"We believe that Noodles & Company's strengths are perfectly suited for today's consumer environment, and with these additions to our company and franchise development teams, we are even more equipped to take advantage of the opportunity to expand our footprint throughout the country," said Boennighausen. "Strength in our most recent class of new restaurants, complemented by the development of an off-premise oriented, more efficient prototype, gives us great confidence in the opportunity to be one of the premier growth stories in the restaurant space in coming years."

Real estate submission and inquiries can be submitted to: RealEstateDept@Noodles.com

About Noodles & Company

Since 1995, Noodles & Company has been serving noodles your way, with noodles and flavors that you know and love to new ones you're about to discover. From indulgent Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to better-for-you Zoodles and Other Noodles, the company serves a world of flavor in every bowl. Made up of more than 450 restaurants and 10,000 passionate team members, Noodles was named one of the Best Places to Work by the Denver Business Journal for its unique culture built on the value of "Loving Life," which begins by nourishing and inspiring every team member and guest who walks through the door. To learn more or find the location nearest you, visit www.noodles.com.

View source version at Noodles & Company




Focus Brands Appoints Barbara L. Hollkamp to Board of Directors



Nov 04, 2020, 16:26 ET



ATLANTA, Nov. 4, 2020 /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 the appointment of Barbara L. Hollkamp to its Board of Directors, effective immediately. Hollkamp, a senior global human resources executive, brings more than 30 years of HR leadership and business acumen to the board.



"We are pleased to welcome Barbara to our board where she will bring an energized perspective to our global brands," said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands "As we continue to move our company into the future by building best-in-class functions geared toward growing our brands, she will help us further shape our company culture, with a dedicated lens on diversity and inclusion."


As a leading human capital expert, Hollkamp has built a reputation for taking organizations to the next level of growth, efficiency and profitability across multiple industries. She currently serves as president of HLH Associates, an executive C-suite consulting firm, specializing in business partnerships to optimize human capital strategy. She has previously held leadership roles at Hilton Grand Vacations, Inc. as EVP and chief human resources officer, as well as Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. as SVP of Human Resources and chief diversity officer. Her credentials include senior levels of human resource management at Scholastic Book Fairs, Inc., Vistana Development and Resorts, Empire of America and General Mills Restaurant Group, Inc.

Hollkamp holds a bachelor's degree from Rollins College in Organizational Behavior and studied Business Administration at Morehead State University. She attended the Executive Studies program held at University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business. She continuously gives back to the community in active roles with non-profits, academic institutions and industry groups. Hollkamp's current board service includes We Care We Share Foundation and Florida Diversity Council.

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 www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

View source version at Focus Brands


Noodles Hires Carl Lukach as CFO

Lukach, who previously worked at lifestyle brand Equinox, replaces Ken Kuick who resigned in August.

By Heather Lalley on Nov. 02, 2020

Noodles & Co. has hired Carl Lukach as its chief financial officer, effective at the end of the month, the chain announced Monday.

Lukach, who most recently spent four years as the vice president of finance at lifestyle brand Equinox, replaces Ken Kuick who resigned in August to “pursue other business interests.”

At Equinox, Lukach oversaw finance, treasury, tax, strategic planning, financial operations, investor management and capital fund raising. He previously worked in finance at Abercrombie & Fitch and, before that, served as an investment banker with Credit Suisse.

“This is a brand that puts guests and community first, and with a strong strategy and omnichannel consumer approach, the potential for growth and value creation is tremendous,” Lukach said in a statement.

Lukach’s experience with lifestyle brands will help the Brookfield, Colo.-based chain with “advancing our financial roadmap and leading Noodles to realize its vast potential,” CEO Dave Boennighausen said in a statement.

The fast-casual chain struggled early in the pandemic, with same-store sales down in the double digits. Noodles’ Q3 same-store sales climbed to negative 3.8%.

View source version at Noodles & Company


McDonald’s Names Reginald Miller its New Diversity Chief

He had previously developed the diversity and inclusion strategy for the parent company of Vans and The North Face.

By Jonathan Maze on Nov. 02, 2020

Reginald Miller, who has guided the diversity efforts for a handful of big corporations, on Monday was named McDonald’s global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Miller has worked with numerous companies over his career, most recently at VF Corp., which owns brands like The North Face, Timberland, Vans and Jansport—where developed the company’s first formal diversity and inclusion strategy, according to an announcement of the hire shared with Restaurant Business.

The U.S. Army veteran has also worked with Walmart Inc., and with Tyson Foods.

Miller will report to McDonald’s Chief People Officer Heidi Capozzi and will work with senior leaders to integrate its diversity and inclusion efforts into its entire business strategy.

“Reggie and I share the same goal,” Capozzi said in a letter to employees, “that in order to move forward, we must move away from the notion that the responsibility of diversity lies with one person, one department or one group. It is not solely the job of those with ‘diversity’ in their titles.”

Miller’s hiring comes at a sensitive time for McDonald’s on the subject of diversity. The company has been under fire for its treatment of Black franchisees, employees and even customers—it is fending off multiple lawsuits on that front. Put together, the lawsuits and other criticisms suggest McDonald’s has gone backwards on diversity and inclusion since the departure of Don Thompson, the company’s first Black CEO, in 2015.

This is the second major hire within McDonald’s human resources function in the past few days, following the hiring of Bethany Tate Cornell as chief learning and development officer.

View source version at McDonald's


McDonald's Hires Bethany Tate Cornell as New Chief Learning and Development Officer

OCTOBER 28, 2020

Bethany Tate Cornell has had past stops at the Boeing Company, General Electric, Gap, Ethan Allen, IBM, and Interlock Group.

McDonald's announced Wednesday the hiring of Bethany Tate Cornell as its new senior vice president, chief learning and development officer. The hire is effective November 2.

Cornell was most recently the Vice President of Leadership, Learning & Organizational Capability for the Boeing Company. In that role, she led a global team that was responsible for developing the enterprise Learning, Culture Transformation and Workforce Development strategy in support of business imperatives for 150,000 employees in 65 countries.

During that time, Cornell led and was operating general manager of the Boeing Leadership Center Campus in St. Louis, led the global expansion of learning offerings and global learning campuses, and the launch of Boeing’s Digital Campus, which made digitally learning accessible for all employees with over 51,000 active users/learners. She also launched critical programs for early career leadership development, mid-career talent development, as well as upskilling and capability building for essential functional roles, such as Digital Literacy.

"I feel fortunate to be joining the McDonald’s brand at this pivotal time," Tate says. "As learning and development trends continue to evolve to serve global employees in a holistic way, I look forward leveraging the brand’s scale, training, and education programs to support the careers and goals of everyone in our System."

Prior to her time with Boeing, Cornell led Talent Development and Learning Innovations for major companies spanning several industries including General Electric, Gap, Ethan Allen, IBM, and Interlock Group. While at General Electric, Cornell held roles that included leading culture and learning strategy for a $9 billion renewable energy startup, launching the company’s first shared learning service for design and technology; and led culture evolution and employee engagement for the company’s largest industrial acquisition.

"Bethany is joining our McFamily at an important and exciting time for our People team," says Global Chief People Officer Heidi Capozzi in a note to employees. "The work we are driving is helping to support the business in such heightened ways this year—and as we look ahead to next year and beyond, we have tremendous opportunity to bring new and innovative ways of supporting our learning, development and leadership capabilities throughout the System. We will have a very strong focus moving forward on digital acumen for our teams as our System wide focus on technology advancements will continue to evolve and elevate. I am very confident that Bethany is the right leader to help lead the Learning and Development efforts to support those very important priorities."

View source version at McDonald's


FOCUS Brands Appoints Seasoned Hospitality Executive to Bolster International Executive Team

October 27, 2020


Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  FOCUS Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, McAlister’s Deli®, Moe’s Southwest Grill® and Schlotzsky’s®, announced today the appointment of former hospitality industry leader, Sean Wooden, to Vice President, Managing Director of Focus Brands International, where he will oversee Europe, Middle East and Africa (EUMEA). Wooden’s vast management experience within the hospitality space and his knowledge of European and Asia Pacific markets make him the ideal choice for the position.

In numerous foreign markets, Wooden led franchise support and brand stewardship with proven success in building business strategies and marketing plans to meet brand growth, sales goals, and profit targets.

“With confidence, I can say that Sean’s proficiency in brand management, franchising, and operations around the world will arm him with the necessary tools to conquer new challenges and play a pivotal role in reaching sizable expansion goals for several brands within the Focus Brands portfolio,” said Beto Guajardo, President, Focus Brands International.

Wooden started his career as a head chef at Hilton Portsmouth in the United Kingdom in 1990. He subsequently held a number of senior management roles including Director of Business Development at one of Hilton’s largest convention properties and several hotel general manager roles before elevating to Senior Director of Brand Performance Support for the Hilton Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton brand portfolios across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Soon after, Wooden was given the opportunity to move to Asia Pacific as Vice President, Brand Management, to form a regional team to implement the company’s global strategic initiatives.

Wooden holds a diploma in Catering and Hospitality from Highbury Tec Cosham Portsmouth. He currently resides in Hill Head on the south coast of England with his wife Justin and his two children, Daniel (30) and Elena (8).

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 Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s® brand names, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit http://www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

View source version at FOCUS Brands


Award-Winning Marketer, Known for Work on Jersey Mike’s, Joins Toppers Pizza as New Vice President of Marketing

October 27, 2020


After years of building brands that consumers are passionate about, former agency executive Greg Wold goes to the brand side.

Madison, WI  (RestaurantNews.com)  Greg Wold is no stranger to building iconic moments for brands vying for a turn from emerging to established. The award-winning former marketing executive played a key role in defining the voice of brands like Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Intelligentsia Coffee. Now, the agency vet will be applying his expertise to taking Wisconsin-based pizza franchise Toppers Pizza on a pathway to becoming a legendary American pizza company.

“I am extremely happy and proud to announce that Greg Wold has joined the Toppers team as the VP of Marketing,” said Scott Gittrich, Founder and President of Toppers Pizza. “Greg has spent the last 20-plus years helping restaurant brands discover who they are, how to message that to the world, and then blowing them up.”

Wold began his business career in the music industry brokering distribution deals for independent record labels. Over the years that followed, Wold transitioned into agency land and has been a driving force behind brands consumers all know and love — most recently working with Jersey Mike’s Subs to establish its memorable “Sub Above” positioning, which helped the sandwich brand climb from 750 locations to 1,600 in just six years. Wold has also worked with Jimmy John’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Pancheros Mexican Grill within the QSR and fast casual segments.

The brand strategist also put Wisconsin Cheese back on the map during his time with Shine Advertising, guiding the beloved brand’s marketing strategy from zero percent digital to 90% digital in just two years.

Now, he will take his turn at Toppers.

“Toppers has been killing it for almost 30 years, and after seeing how we thrived during a global pandemic, we know now is the time for us to take our game up a notch,” said Gittrich. “Greg is an incredibly gifted marketer and really knows how to identify a brand’s potential.”

Despite a pandemic-affected restaurant industry, the 65-unit pizza brand has had an impressive year, seeing record-breaking year-over-year sales of 15% and three new stores set to open by the end of 2020.

“Toppers’ one-of-a-kind product puts big-chain pizza to shame and creates passionate consumers that never settle for boring pizza,” said Wold. “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this brand.”

About Toppers Pizza

Capitalizing on the booming better pizza category and fueled by the passion of Founder & President Scott Gittrich and a team of experienced industry veterans, Toppers Pizza has formulated the perfect recipe to appeal to both pizza enthusiasts and savvy investors. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Toppers is committed to quality and consistency throughout the system, and plans to maintain corporate ownership of 25 percent of all locations while the brand expands to continuously improve on best practices and product development. Toppers fanatics love the brand’s fresh, handmade and customizable pizza baked in about 360 seconds and delivered extremely fast, with more than a million combinations of fresh, high quality toppings, and the brand’s signature line of flavored Topperstix and baked Buffalo wings. In 2018, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Toppers as one of the Top 200 Food-Based Franchises. For more information on Toppers Pizza, visit https://www.toppers.com.

View source version at Toppers Pizza


The Wendy’s Company Names Kevin Vasconi Chief Information Officer

October 20, 2020


Dublin, OH  (RestaurantNews.com)  The Wendy’s Company (Nasdaq: WEN) announced the appointment of Kevin Vasconi, 59, as Chief Information Officer. He will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor and serve on Wendy’s Senior Leadership Team.

Prior to joining Wendy’s, Kevin served as Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer at Domino’s Pizza, Inc., a role from which he retired earlier this month. In Kevin’s eight years at Domino’s, he served on the executive leadership team and was responsible for developing and leading all domestic and international technology capabilities. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino’s achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2019 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications. In the U.S. in 2019, Domino’s generated over 65% of sales via digital channels. At Wendy’s, Kevin will assume responsibility for all aspects of Wendy’s global technology efforts, including Consumer-facing Digital, Restaurant Technology, Enterprise Architecture and Technology, and Information Security.

“Digital technology is a critical growth driver for Wendy’s today and will be in the future,” said President and CEO Todd Penegor. “Kevin Vasconi is an ideal leader to join our organization and help us advance to the next level. We are confident that his industry-leading experience will help to accelerate the growth we have already seen across technology channels in 2020, and he will lead a talented and well-resourced team focused on the substantial opportunities we see across the globe.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to join The Wendy’s Company in this next chapter of my career,” said Vasconi. “The great potential for technology transformation at Wendy’s, combined with the brand’s 50-year heritage for quality and innovation tell me that the future is bright at Wendy’s.”

In addition to his restaurant industry expertise with Domino’s, Kevin brings more than 30 years of technology experience to Wendy’s across multiple industries including automotive, hardware, software and retail. His tenure prior to Domino’s includes service as CIO and VP of Engineering for the Stanley Security Solutions division of Stanley Black & Decker; SVP & CIO, R.L.Polk & Co.; and Chief Technology Officer for a number of business units and platforms within the Ford Motor Company. Kevin received his B.S. in Technology from Purdue University.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains certain statements that are not historical facts, including statements regarding the Company’s plans for accelerated growth across technology channels. Those statements, as well as statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words “will,” “may,” “believes,” “intends,” “plans,” “expects,” “anticipates,” or similar expressions constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Reform Act”). The forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s expectations at the time, speak only as of the dates they are made and are susceptible to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, the factors identified in the “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Projections” and “Risk Factors” sections of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For all forward-looking statements, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act.

About Wendy’s

Wendy’s® was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, “Quality is our Recipe®,” which remains the guidepost of the Wendy’s system. Wendy’s is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef*, freshly-prepared salads, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy’s Company (Nasdaq: WEN) is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company’s support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find every child in the North American foster care system a loving, forever home. Today, Wendy’s and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world’s most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. For details on franchising, connect with us at www.wendys.com/franchising. Visit www.wendys.com and www.squaredealblog.com for more information and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/wendys.

View source version at Wendy's


BurgerFi Names Burger-Industry Veteran Julio Ramirez as CEO

BurgerFi Appoints Former Chief Operations Officer for Global Operations at Burger King to Lead Company Through its Next Chapter of Growth


October 16, 2020 09:00 ET



BurgerFi Names Burger-Industry Veteran Julio Ramirez as CEO

BurgerFi Appoints Former Chief Operations Officer for Global Operations at Burger King to Lead Company Through its Next Chapter of Growth

PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OPES Acquisition Corp.’s (NASDAQ: OPES) business combination target, BurgerFi International, has named Julio Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer. Ramirez has nearly three decades of experience in the burger industry having previously served in several senior positions at Burger King Corporation, a Restaurant Brands International Inc. subsidiary, including President of the Latin America/Mexico/Caribbean division, Senior Executive of Franchise Operations and Development in North America, and Executive Vice President/Chief Operations Officer.

“BurgerFi has continued to lead the space with powerful leadership and Julio’s expertise will allow us to continue to grow within the ‘better burger’ segment,” said Ophir Sternberg, Chairman & CEO of OPES Acquisition Corp. “There is a strong market and a captive audience for fast-casual experiences. Development strategies and tactics will be key, and BurgerFi has a scalable model to grow exponentially into more locations through top institutional developers, unique growth vehicles like ghost kitchens and working with successful multi-brand operators.”

Upon leaving Burger King in 2011, Ramirez founded JEM Global, Inc., a company that specializes in assisting QSR and fast-casual brands’ with franchising and development efforts domestically and internationally. Ramirez consulted Dunkin’ Brands on its Brazil entry strategy and Buffalo Wings & Rings on its Mexico development strategy. He set up four new franchise groups in Mexico and Colombia for “100 Montaditos”, a Madrid-based Andalusian restaurant expanding into the Americas. He was also co-owner of Giardino Gourmet Salads, South Florida’s premier fast-casual concept, helping to grow the brand in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples, Florida.

Ramirez is highly regarded for his ability to build franchise relationships, having led Burger King’s field marketing across North America throughout the mid-1990s as part of Burger King’s successful “Back to Basics” campaign, which attained positive comparable sales for several years. In the early 2000s, he effectively managed over 1,100 franchisees in North American operations and led several key working committees, including franchise relations, operations technology and restaurant finance.

Ramirez introduced the Burger King brand in over 10 countries throughout Latin America, effectively establishing the supply chain, selecting outstanding franchisees, and building a team that opened more restaurants than McDonald's (MCD) in 16 of 25 countries. In Brazil, for example, he developed a local team that assembled an effective supply source, signed ten franchisees in a regional network, opened an office in Sao Paulo and successfully launched the brand with an impactful marketing campaign—all of which resulted in Burger King’s first 60 Brazilian locations yielding annual sales substantially greater than the US average, in the face of tough local competition. In Mexico, he built a team that surpassed both MCD’s and KFC’s unit development, opening over 400 restaurants throughout the country.

“Today’s consumers demand an outstanding guest experience on each visit and BurgerFi not only delivers strong on its service but also owns the outstanding quality and ‘better burger’ segment,” said Julio Ramirez, newly-appointed CEO of BurgerFi. “BurgerFi has several unique brand differentiators with its premium natural ingredients, technology enhanced infrastructure and commitment to sustainability that has the potential to capture significant market share, both nationally and internationally, through a highly scalable model. I look forward to leading the team through its next chapter of expansion and the continued evolution of the brand.”

Ramirez holds a MBA from the University of Georgia. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as an Executive Board Member of United Way of Miami-Dade County, was a founding member of the Burger King “Have it your Way” Foundation and is currently a member of the prestigious Orange Bowl Committee. Ramirez was an external director at Grupo Intur – the largest franchisee of American QSR brands in Central America with over 200 locations of 8 different brands across several nations.

In celebration of Julio Ramirez’s appointment as CEO and in conjunction with National Boss’s Day, today Friday, October 16th, BurgerFi will be offering the gourmet CEO Burger paired with its urban-style fries as a $10 pairing. Visit www.burgerfi.com to find the nearest participating location.

About OPES Acquisition Corp. OPES Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: OPES, OPESW) is a special purpose acquisition company headquartered in Miami and organized for the purpose of effecting a merger, asset acquisition, stock purchase or other similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities. For more information, please visit www.opesacquisitioncorp.com.

About BurgerFi Established in 2011, BurgerFi is among the nation's fastest-growing better burger concepts with approximately 125 BurgerFi restaurants domestically and internationally. The concept was chef-founded and is committed to serving fresh food of transparent quality. BurgerFi uses 100% natural American angus beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. BurgerFi placed in the top 10 on Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers & Shakers list in 2020, 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 www.burgerfi.com, 'Like' BurgerFi on Facebook or follow @BurgerFi on Instagram and Twitter. BurgerFi® is a Registered Trademark of BurgerFi IP, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BurgerFi.

View source version at BurgerFi

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