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Executive Movements - October 2019







Luna Grill Beefs Up Its C-Suite

The Mediterranean fast casual added its first chief brand officer, as well as a CFO

By Heather Lalley on Oct. 11, 2019

Mediterranean fast-casual chain Luna Grill has added its first chief brand officer as well as a new chief financial officer, both industry veterans.

Rich Pinnella, the chain’s new CBO, worked as an executive with Taco Bell for two decades. Most recently, he was a vice president and general manager.

Bob Bartlett, who has held senior finance positions with CKE Restaurants and Real Mex Restaurants, is Luna Grill’s CFO.

Both Pinnella and Bartlett will work to steer the brand as it grows, the company said.

"I am energized to work with the teams, making the brand more accessible, contemporary and telling the story about our ingredient quality and scratch kitchens,” Pinnella said in a statement. “People love our food, but don’t realize all the quality that goes into our clean ingredients and daily preparation.”

San Diego-based Luna Grill, which opened its 50th location Friday, was founded in 2004. The chain saw sales grow more than 20% in 2018 over the previous year, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.

View source version at Luna Grill


Dunkin' Brands Announces Francisco "Pancho" Gonzalez As New Regional Vice President, Latin America & Caribbean



Oct 10, 2019, 11:00 ET



CANTON, Mass., Oct. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, today announced the addition of Pancho Gonzalez as the new Regional Vice President, Latin America & Caribbean. In this role, Mr. Gonzalez will assume responsibility for both brands throughout the region. He will report to Rick Colón, Dunkin' Brands' Senior Vice President of Operations and Development.

With more than 25 years at McDonald's, Mr. Gonzalez brings extensive QSR experience to Dunkin' Brands, including service as both a franchisee and corporate executive. Early in his career he spent eight years as a successful multi-unit franchisee for McDonald's in Mexico, earning the role of president of the Mexican Co-op and later leading the country for the brand as Managing Director. Transitioning to McDonald's Corporation, Gonzalez served in several executive positions, including Vice President of Operations for McDonald's Mexico; Senior Vice President of Operations, with responsibility for the six countries of the Central America Region; and Managing Director for McDonald's Mexico.

Mr. Gonzalez also held numerous leadership positions for McDonald's within the U.S., including Vice President of Operations and Franchising for the Greater Chicago Region and Vice President and General Manager of the Michigan Region. He most recently served as Vice President and General Manager for the Houston Region.

A graduate of Seneca College in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Gonzalez has also earned leadership certifications in Finance and Executive Management through the "Instituto Tecnólogico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey" (ITESM), Strategic Planning at University of Chicago (GSB), and Brand Mastery by Kellogg School of Management. He is currently a Board Member and Executive Committee Member at the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

According to Rick Colón, "Latin America and the Caribbean represent key international markets for both Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins. We are thrilled to add Pancho's deep industry experience in these territories to help lead our continued growth and success within the region."

About Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc.

With more than 21,000 points of distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) is one of the world's leading franchisors of quick service restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. At the end of the second quarter 2019, Dunkin' Brands' 100 percent franchised business model included over 12,900 Dunkin' restaurants and more than 8,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. is headquartered in Canton, Mass.

View source version at Dunkin' Brands


Subway Restaurants Names New Chief Marketing Officer

October 9, 2019


Announces Additional Leadership Hires

Milford, CT  (RestaurantNews.com)  The Subway® brand is proud to name Carrie Walsh as Chief Marketing Officer, North America, where she will be responsible for driving the brand’s North America marketing and advertising strategy, as well as defining global brand standards and marketing strategies throughout Subway’s international markets.

A seasoned marketing professional, Walsh joins Subway with more than 15 years of experience building brands across the restaurant, retail and CPG industries. Most recently, Walsh led marketing for Michaels Stores, the largest arts & crafts retailer in North America. Walsh also previously held the Chief Marketing Officer role for YUM! Brands Pizza Hut, where she led teams across marketing disciplines including calendar planning, menu insights and innovation, creative and advertising development, digital marketing and media. Additionally, Walsh also spent eight years at PepsiCo leading marketing for various brands including SunChips and Cheetos. “I have been a Subway customer and brand fan throughout my life and am thrilled to be joining this iconic brand and great team,” said Walsh.

In addition, Subway also named Robin Seward as Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Planning; Aidan Hay as Vice President of Operations, North America; and Bill McCane as Vice President of Global Development.

As the Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Planning, Robin Seward will oversee all marketing planning for the US including sponsorships, partnerships, menu architecture and design, and the marketing calendar to execute the brand’s business goals. Seward has extensive QSR and casual dining restaurant experience as having served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery and Rita’s Italian Ice where she led marketing and product innovation teams to launch new brand products across all marketing channels.

As Vice President of Operations for North America, Aidan Hay will be responsible for developing strategic company initiatives that drive restaurant and operational excellence. He previously held the position of General Manager/ Vice President of Global Operations for YUM! Brands leading Pizza Hut’s Delivery platform where he focused on international markets and led strategic initiatives to deliver strong business growth. Recently Hay served as Senior Vice President of US Company Operations at The Coffee & Tea Leaf.

As the Vice President of Global Development, Bill McCane will spearhead Subway’s development strategies, including overseeing the execution of company programs to cultivate new corporate partnerships. McCane has extensive franchise experience having held senior leadership positions for Burger King, Tim Hortons, MAACO Auto Body, and most recently as Chief Operations Officer at For Eyes by Grandvision.

“We are thrilled to have such dynamic, industry leaders join the Subway team, adding to an already impressive roster of talent here in Milford and across the globe,” said current CEO Trevor Haynes. “I look forward to their expertise in helping us build upon our unwavering commitment to provide every guest with a great experience, and every franchise owner with the tools for success.”

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 with nearly 7 million made-to-order sandwiches created each day. The Subway brand provides an alternative to traditional fast food offering guests billions of sandwich, salad and wrap combinations. All Subway restaurants are owned and operated by almost 21,000 Franchise Owners who employ hundreds of thousands of people globally. Franchise Owners and the company are committed to eliminating hunger by supporting hunger relief programs around the world.

View source version at Subway



NATIVE FOODS NAMES CARIN STUTZ TO CEO POST

Stutz, the former COO of Red Robin, will be charged with growing the 13-unit vegan chain

By Heather Lalley on Oct. 08, 2019

The former executive vice president and COO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews is now CEO of vegan fast-casual chain Native Foods, the company announced Tuesday.

Carin Stutz will be charged with growing the 13-unit plant-based concept.

“I look forward to helping the Native Foods team grow,” Stutz said in a statement. “This unique brand is one of the true innovators in the area of creating plant-based food choices.”

Most recently, Stutz oversaw 560 Red Robin units across the United States and Canada. Stutz, who joined Red Robin as COO in 2016, was replaced by the chain’s CFO last year after weak sales were blamed on a number of operational issues at the casual-dining brand.

Stutz has also been president of McCalister’s Deli and president of global business development for Brinker International, leading franchise development for more than 200 Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy stores around the world. She has also held executive posts at Applebee’s International and with Wendy’s International, in addition to serving as a past chairwoman of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Founded in 1994, Chicago-based Native Foods currently has locations in California, Oregon, Colorado and Chicago. Last year, private-equity firm Millstone Capital Advisors acquired the chain for an undisclosed amount.

View source version at Native Foods



Good Times Restaurants Announces Change in Chief Executive Officer


October 08, 2019 05:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time


DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Good Times Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIM) (“Good Times” or the “Company”) today announced the departure of its Chief Executive Officer, Boyd Hoback and his resignation from the Company’s Board of Directors. The Company has named Ryan Zink, the Company’s current Chief Financial Officer, as its acting Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Zink is a candidate for the permanent CEO position and will also remain the Company’s Chief Financial Officer until a permanent CEO is named.

“We are grateful to Boyd for his many invaluable contributions to Good Times as Chief Executive Officer and during his 30 plus year tenure at the company. As a founder of the Good Times brand, Boyd will always be indelibly linked to the company and deservedly so,” said Geoff Bailey, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Good Times. “It goes without saying that we wish Boyd all the best in his future endeavors.”

“Good Times is a first-class organization with an exciting future, and I am proud of my legacy there. I will sincerely miss all of the company’s various constituents that I have gotten to know and worked closely with during my leadership of Good Times, including our customers, management team and employees,” said Boyd Hoback. “I wish the company the very best and look forward to my next chapter.”

Mr. Bailey, further commented, “We want to thank Ryan for stepping up to fill the role of Chief Executive Officer on an acting basis. Ryan’s familiarity with the company, his financial responsibilities and his role across the organization makes him a logical choice to serve as our top executive at this time, and his broad understanding of the needs and character of our organization will be of great value as we pursue filling the permanent CEO role.”

About Good Times Restaurants Inc.: Good Times Restaurants Inc. (GTIM) owns, operates, franchises and licenses 38 Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants through its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is a full service, upscale, “small box” restaurant concept featuring a chef driven menu of gourmet signature burgers, chopped salads, appetizers and sandwiches with a full bar and a focus on a selection of craft microbrew beers in a high energy atmosphere that appeals to a broad consumer base. Additionally, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Good Times Restaurants Inc. operates and franchises a regional quick service restaurant chain consisting of 34 Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard restaurants, located primarily in Colorado.

View source version at Good Times Restaurants



Red Robin Names David A. Pace as Board Chairman


Pattye Moore to Retire as Board Chair November 1, 2019; Company Announces Additional Board Changes


October 07, 2019 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time


GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) (“Red Robin” or the “Company”) today announced that its Board of Directors has named David A. Pace as Board Chairman, effective November 1, 2019.

Mr. Pace was appointed to Red Robin’s Board on August 6, 2019 as part of a refreshment that resulted in the addition of three new, independent directors. Mr. Pace most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Jamba Juice, Inc., where he led a significant brand repositioning and drove substantially improved profit performance culminating in a strategic sale of the company. He has more than 30 years of leadership and turnaround experience in the food, beverage and retail industries, among others.

“Dave’s extensive track record of improving performance and leading successful transformations makes him ideally suited for the role of Red Robin’s Chairman,” said retiring Board Chair Pattye Moore. “The Board and management team have made significant progress stabilizing the business and laying the foundation for long-term success. We look forward to leveraging Dave’s insights, leadership and guidance to restore long-term growth and improve profitability.”

Paul J.B. Murphy III, Red Robin’s President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board, said, “The Board and management team are pleased to welcome Dave as our next Chairman. We are excited to be working with him as we continue building on Red Robin’s momentum and driving business improvement to enhance value for all Red Robin stakeholders, including our shareholders, Guests, franchisees and Team Members.”

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as Chairman of Red Robin, an iconic brand with a rich history and deeply loyal customer base,” said Mr. Pace. “Since joining the Board in August, I have seen the focus and commitment of the entire Red Robin team as they continue to execute on the five pillars of the Company’s strategic plan. I intend to work with our newly restructured Board, along with Paul and his management team, to enhance Red Robin’s operational and financial performance and create significant shareholder value.”

The Company noted that as part of its previously-announced Board refreshment, Ms. Moore will retire from the Board at the end of 2019. Aylwin Lewis will retire from the Board effective November 1, 2019, and Stuart Oran will not stand for re-election at the Company’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Following these changes, and including the August 2019 appointments of Mr. Pace, Tom G. Conforti and G.J. Hart, as well as the September 2019 appointment of Mr. Murphy when he was named President and CEO, the Company’s Board will consist of eight directors, seven of whom are independent.

About David A. Pace

David A. Pace was appointed to the Red Robin Board in August 2019. He brings more than 35 years of leadership experience in a range of industries including food and beverage retail, consumer products, entertainment and ecommerce. From 2016 to 2018, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Jamba Juice, Inc., where he led the brand through a highly successful repositioning and sale. Prior to that, he served as President of Carrabba’s Italian Grill, from 2014 to 2016, where he oversaw broad operational changes, significant margin improvement and accelerated profit growth. From 2010 to 2014, Mr. Pace served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Resource Officer at Bloomin’ Brands, the $4.1 billon parent company of Outback Steakhouse, where he was responsible for real estate development and human capital deployment across approximately 1,500 restaurants, 100,000 team members and five brands.

About Red Robin

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (www.redrobin.com), a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 that operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Red Robin International, Inc., and under the trade name Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, is the Gourmet Burger Authority™, famous for serving more than two dozen craveable, high-quality burgers with Bottomless Steak Fries® in a fun environment welcoming to Guests of all ages. Whether a family dining with kids, adults grabbing a drink at the bar, or teens enjoying a meal, Red Robin offers an unparalleled experience for its Guests. In addition to its many burger offerings, Red Robin serves a wide variety of salads, soups, appetizers, entrees, desserts, and signature beverages. Red Robin offers a variety of options behind the bar, including its extensive selection of local and regional beers, and innovative adult beer shakes and cocktails, earning the restaurant a VIBE Vista Award for Best Beer Program in a Multi-Unit Chain Restaurant. There are more than 560 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including locations operating under franchise agreements. Red Robin… YUMMM®! Connect with Red Robin on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

View source version at Red Robin




TIM HORTONS® Announces Axel Schwan as Regional President of Tim Hortons Canada and the U.S.



Oct 07, 2019, 16:00 ET



TORONTO, Oct. 7, 2019 /CNW/ - Tim Hortons Global Brand President Alex Macedo today announced that Axel Schwan has been appointed as Regional President of Tim Hortons for Canada and the U.S, effective immediately. He will continue to report to Tim Hortons Global Brand President Alex Macedo.

Previously Global Chief Marketing Officer at Tim Hortons, Axel will oversee growing the restaurant business in both markets with a particular focus on delivering stable, profitable growth in both markets.

"I am deeply humbled to work at such an iconic brand as Tim Hortons," said Axel Schwan. "Having grown up in a family of restauranteurs and working as a restaurant operator myself, I look forward to continuing to work closely with our 1,500 restaurant owners across Canada and the rest of the Tim Hortons family in providing exceptional products and service to all our guests."

Axel first joined RBI eight years ago as Marketing Director in Germany, Austria & Switzerland and later became the VP Marketing & Communication in Europe before advancing to the role of Global CMO for Burger King in over 100 countries. During his tenure, Axel and his team were recognized as among the very best marketers on the planet – including earning many home market and international Cannes Lions and Axel earned the coveted Cannes Marketer of the Year award in 2017. He then joined Tim Hortons as Global CMO in 2017.

"Since joining the Tim Hortons brand two years ago, Axel has led our innovation work in coffee, including developing our new Fresh Brewers – our largest coffee innovation in 55 years," said Alex Macedo. "He has been essential to our work underway today on our core product innovation pipeline in breakfast, donuts and baked goods and has led our efforts in brand-based advertising. Axel has been an advocate for advancing our sustainability initiatives and has also led our work to redesign our restaurants and our packaging for a better guest experience."

Tim Hortons has more than 4,800 system wide restaurants located in Canada, the United States and around the world.

About Tim Hortons® In 1964, the first Tim Hortons® restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario opened its doors and Canadians have been ordering Tim Hortons iconic Original Blend coffee, Double DoubleTM coffees, Donuts and Timbits® in the years since. Over the last 55 years, Tim Hortons has captured the hearts and taste buds of Canadians. Tim Hortons is Canada's largest restaurant chain operating in the quick service industry serving over 5 million cups of coffee every day with 80% of Canadians visiting one of nearly 4,000 Tim Hortons in Canada at least once a month. More than a coffee and bake shop, Tim Hortons is part of the Canadian fabric and guests can enjoy hot and cold specialty beverages – including lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, teas and our famous Iced Capp® alongside delicious breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, soups and more. Tim Hortons has more than 4,800 restaurants in Canada, the United States and around the world. For more information on Tim Hortons visit TimHortons.com.

View source version at Tim Hortons



Aramark Names Industry Veteran John Zillmer as Chief Executive Officer


Steve Sadove Remains Chairman, Paul Hilal Appointed Vice Chairman

Zillmer, Hilal and Three New Independent Directors Appointed to Board, Effective Immediately

Additional New Independent Director to Join Board at 2020 Annual Meeting



October 07, 2019 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time


PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aramark (NYSE:ARMK), a $16 billion global leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, announced today that John J. Zillmer, a proven executive with a track record of driving market-leading business results, will return to the Company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He will also become a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.

A respected business leader for over three decades, Zillmer previously spent 18 years at Aramark. Under his leadership as President of Global Food & Support Services, Aramark experienced significant growth, ultimately becoming the largest food management provider in North America. Following his prior tenure at the Company, Zillmer served as Chairman and CEO of Allied Waste Industries where his transformation of Allied Waste became an industry benchmark. Zillmer also led Univar, a global chemical and ingredients distributor, as CEO and Executive Chairman, where he advanced corporate culture and drove substantial operational improvements.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to rejoin Aramark at such a dynamic time in the Company’s history,” Zillmer said. “I look forward to working closely with the Board and the Aramark team to drive growth and value for our employees, customers, partners and shareholders.”

Five new independent directors will join the Board. Susan Cameron, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Reynolds American Inc.; Karen King, former Executive Vice President and Chief Field Officer of McDonald’s Corporation; and Art Winkleblack, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of H.J. Heinz Company will join immediately, and Greg Creed, current Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands, Inc. whom the Board will nominate and recommend for election to the Company’s Board at the Company’s 2020 Annual Meeting. In addition, Paul Hilal, founder and CEO of Mantle Ridge LP, the Company’s largest shareholder, will become Vice Chairman. Aramark’s current non-executive Chairman, Stephen Sadove, will remain as Chairman of the Board.

Four existing Aramark directors, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Lisa Bisaccia, Patricia Morrison and John Quelch, have retired from the Board effective as of the appointment of the new directors. Aramark’s Board will be comprised of 11 directors following the election of Greg Creed at the Company’s 2020 Annual Meeting. The Office of the Chairman has been dissolved.

“John Zillmer is an outstanding leader with a proven record of accelerating business performance and fostering a strong corporate culture. We are thrilled he is returning to lead Aramark as Chief Executive Officer,” Sadove said. “Additionally, we appreciate Mantle Ridge’s thoughtful approach to the long-term success of Aramark and welcome this opportunity to partner with Paul Hilal, a true owner-steward. I would also like to thank the retiring directors for their contributions and years of dedicated service, and to extend a welcome to the new directors, whom we are delighted are joining us.”

“I look forward to working closely with John, Steve and the Board to further our common purpose: helping Aramark most fully realize its potential, and drive value for all of its stakeholders,” Hilal said. “I also want to thank the Aramark directors, including those departing the Board, for the productive engagement that facilitated this positive outcome.”

Aramark and Mantle Ridge have entered into an agreement, a copy of which will be filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K.

View source version at Aramark



Shake Shack Promotes Tara Comonte to Expanded Role of President and Chief Financial Officer


October 02, 2019 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shake Shack Inc. (“Shake Shack” or the “Company”) (NYSE: SHAK) today announced the promotion of Tara Comonte to the expanded role of President and Chief Financial Officer, effective October 1, 2019.

Comonte’s new role will increase her strategic leadership and operational responsibilities as Shake Shack continues to rapidly expand both domestically across the United States and internationally, including first-in-market openings earlier this year in Mainland China and Mexico. As President, Comonte will focus on scaling the Company’s infrastructure, broadening support and guidance across day-to-day operations, and ensuring the successful execution of the Company’s strategic priorities. She will continue her existing responsibilities overseeing Finance, Accounting, Technology, Internal Audit and Legal. Comonte’s new role is reflective of Shake Shack’s commitment to building a best-in-class executive leadership team, following a number of key internal promotions and external hires earlier this year.

Comonte joined Shake Shack in 2017 and has played a critical role in the Company’s increased focus and investment in digital innovation, as well as overall leadership of their enterprise-wide technology upgrade, referred to as Project Concrete. She has also been a key architect in the expansion and formalization of Shake Shack’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, launched earlier this year. A seasoned executive, Comonte has more than 20 years of strategy, finance, technology and operations experience in the public and private sector, spending much of her career at global media and advertising companies.

“We are in the midst of exciting growth and I’m thrilled for Tara to play an even larger role in helping lead Shake Shack to its full potential,” said Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack. “She’s had a tremendously positive impact across the company over the last few years, and combined with her proven track record, Tara’s expanded role will now benefit so many other areas of our business while allowing me to focus even more on where we’re headed. In addition to excellence in her field, Tara’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, empowerment and accountability are core to the very special culture we have here at Shake Shack.”

"I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this great company, with such strong and experienced leaders across the board, and a culture and brand second to none. Our teams have achieved so much already, and yet we’re just getting started. Shake Shack is a company that walks its talk - true to the beliefs on which it was founded and committed to investment in our people and our sizeable growth opportunity. I look forward to partnering closely across the business as we continue to deliver our strategic priorities and execute on the many opportunities that lie ahead,” said Tara Comonte.

About Shake Shack

Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and flat-top Vienna beef dogs (no hormones or antibiotics – ever), spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle cut fries, craft beer and wine and more. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal. Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand for Something Good®, from its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its inspiring designs and deep community investment. Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the company has expanded to more than 250 locations in 29 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, including more than 85 international locations across London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Philippines, Mexico, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul and more.

View source version at Shake Shack


Black Bear Diner Hires Industry Veteran Steve Sparks as Chief Financial Officer

October 2, 2019


Sparks will lead all aspects of brand’s financial operations and play an active role in driving the growth strategy as Black Bear Diner continues to expand its footprint

Redding, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Black Bear Diner, the fast-growing, family dining concept that offers a one-of-a-kind experience and home-style comfort food classics in a friendly, bear-themed atmosphere, has announced the appointment of Steve Sparks as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a move that will continue to strengthen the growing chain’s executive leadership team. Sparks will report directly to Black Bear Diner President Anita Adams, who previously served as CFO in addition to her role as President.

“Drawing from more than two decades of restaurant experience, including franchisor operations, Steve will be a trusted advisor and strategic partner on our executive team, and we look forward to his leadership at Black Bear Diner,” said Adams. “As Black Bear Diner continues to execute on its growth strategy, drive same store sales and deliver industry leading returns, having Steve on our team expands our leadership capabilities and brings a level of performance insight to ensure our continued success.”

As CFO, Sparks will be responsible for leading Black Bear Diner’s accounting, finance, treasury and risk functions, as well as play active roles in franchise sales, real estate development and supply chain management.

“Black Bear Diner provides a best-in-class restaurant experience and is clearly focused on smart, strategic growth and operations,” said Sparks. “I am thrilled to join this excellent company and contribute to its already strong brand, leadership team and people-first culture.”

Sparks has more than 20 years of extensive finance and administration experience in the restaurant industry. His most recent position was CFO at American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a more than $1 billion restaurant holding company. There, he led the accounting, treasury, payroll and tax departments for the holding company’s four restaurant brands and bakery operation.

His previous experience includes a progression of financial planning and analysis roles with both American Blue Ribbon Holdings and O’Charley’s Inc., where he has worked with restaurant brands including O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine, Village Inn, Bakers Square, Max & Erma’s and Stoney River.

Sparks has an MBA from Murray State University.

Black Bear Diner has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country, with 13 units already opened in 2019 and an additional seven units scheduled to open by year’s end. The company has also been acknowledged as a disruptor in the family-dining segment for its growth and performance, and will continue to focus on serving home-style comfort food classics as the brand continues to execute its expansion plan.

About Black Bear Diner

Founded in Mt. Shasta, Calif., in 1995, Black Bear Diner brings home-style comfort food classics and personal service to the dining experience. The quickly growing family dining concept, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers a vast, enticing menu anchored in hearty portions and excellent value, with service rooted in genuine hospitality. The franchise now operates 132 locations in 13 states and growing. Black Bear Diner has been consistently recognized for its significant growth and outstanding performance. The company has been recognized as a Top 10 Customer Service Winner, a Top 10 Fastest-Growing Chain and a Top Disruptor from Nation’s Restaurant News. Franchise Times has called Black Bear Diner one of the “smartest-growing brands” in the country. For a full menu and additional information, please visit blackbeardiner.com.

View source version at Black Bear Diner



Inspire Brands Announces New Chief Communications Officer

October 1, 2019

Inspire Brands today announced that Christopher Fuller has been named Chief Communications Officer. He will continue to report to Chief Executive Officer Paul Brown.

Chris is responsible for overseeing communications initiatives related to brand reputation, government affairs, community relations and mergers & acquisitions, as well as key organizational initiatives such as marquee conventions, townhalls and cultural events.

Additionally, Chris is the executive sponsor for the organization’s social purpose efforts in alignment with one of Inspire’s core behaviors: Good Citizen. He oversees philanthropy for Inspire and its brands, which collectively will raise $16 million in 2019 to support youth-related causes including childhood hunger, youth leadership and career readiness. Chris currently serves as Co-Chair of the Dine for No Kid Hungry Advisory Board.

“Since the creation of Inspire, and in the years prior at Arby’s, Chris has served as a member of our organization’s leadership team and a trusted advisor,” said Paul. “Chris has been instrumental in fostering a winning culture and organization while promoting and protecting the reputation of our brands. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.”

“I’m proud of what our team has accomplished so far as we’ve built recognition for Inspire as one of the largest restaurant companies in the world,” said Chris. “We’ve taken strong steps to create an in-house newsroom, showcase our economic impact and protect our brands, and we’re just getting started. As Inspire continues to grow, we are focused on expanding and enhancing the communications function so that we can continue to deliver best-in-class support for all of our stakeholders.”

Prior to Inspire, Chris served as Senior Vice President of Communications for Arby’s, where he led public relations efforts related to key cultural moments such as the brand’s engagement with “frenemy” Jon Stewart, the launch of the Vegetarian Support Hotline, as well as the signing of British golf pro Andrew “Beef” Johnston and partnership with the PGA TOUR. Additionally, Chris oversaw communications for the brand’s $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings as well the creation of Arby’s first Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Chris previously worked for Yum! Brands, where he led Global Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility. He also held positions with PR agencies Ketchum and Publicis and served as a Press Secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Click here to access headshots and bios, as well as additional digital assets.

View source version at Inspire Brands



Impossible Foods Hires Dan Greene as Senior Vice President of US Sales


  1. Tech industry sales leader and US Navy veteran will oversee the sales team at Impossible Foods

  2. After executive positions at Twitter and Google, Greene will help Impossible Foods’ scale up in both foodservice and retail segments

  3. Key hire comes after food tech startup debuted in grocery stores and launched a multi-year collaboration with food co-manufacturer OSI Group




October 01, 2019 06:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time


REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Impossible Foods has hired tech industry sales leader Dan Greene as Senior Vice President of US Sales.

Effective immediately, Greene leads the Impossible Foods’ sales team as it enters an unprecedented growth phase. The food tech company’s flagship product, the award-winning Impossible Burger, is now served in more than 17,000 restaurants and launched earlier this month in grocery stores.

Before joining Impossible Foods, Greene served as Chief Revenue Officer for a conversational artificial intelligence startup, and served as an executive consultant with other early-stage software companies. Prior to that, Dan spent 11 years overseeing large teams and revenue-generating business units at Google and Twitter.

Greene graduated from The United States Naval Academy and served over 10 years as a Navy fighter pilot and director of operations for multiple aviation units. He left active duty in 2004 and earned his MBA at the University of California Los Angeles before going to Google.

“Impossible Foods is the hottest startup in the world -- and it’s thrilling to join this company as it launches into retail and scales up production and capacity to become ubiquitous. It’s also an incredible opportunity to not only build a great business but have a profound impact on our world and our environment at the same time,” Greene said. “Most importantly, I’m excited to meet and listen to our customers so I can understand how to better serve our clients and consumers.”

Scorching demand

Last month, 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.

Earlier this 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 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.

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.

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Huddle House Names Tim Linderman Chief Development Officer

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Huddle House announced on September 30 the appointment of Tim Linderman as chief development officer.

“Tim is a seasoned leader and an exceptional fit for Huddle House’s Executive Leadership team,” says Michael Abt, CEO of Huddle House. “He joins us with an expansive amount of experience in the franchise industry that will be instrumental in rapidly amplifying our development efforts.”

As Huddle House’s new CDO, Linderman is responsible for the oversight and direction of all of the brand’s franchise development efforts, including franchise sales, real estate, franchise marketing and more. As part of the Executive Leadership team, Linderman also plays a key role in providing guidance on corporate strategic direction, policies and the brand’s steady forward momentum.

Prior to joining Huddle House, Linderman spent more than 17 years in the franchise industry, serving in various development roles for Marble Slab Creamery, Arby’s, Primrose School and most recently Global Franchise Group, LLC, where he oversaw franchise sales for Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker, MaggieMoo’s, and Hot Dog on a Stick. His proven track record of growing brands through franchising will be influential in accelerating Huddle House’s expansion in key markets throughout the country.

The addition of Linderman to Huddle House underscores the brand’s commitment to continued growth and evolution in 2019 and beyond.




View source version at Huddle House


Jack in the Box Inc. Announces Planned Officer Departures


September 27, 2019 09:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time


SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) today announced that three of its long-tenured executives will be leaving the company: Executive Vice President, Chief Legal & Risk Officer and Corporate Secretary Phillip Rudolph is currently set to leave on February 28, 2020, while Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff & Strategy Mark Blankenship and Senior Vice President, Controller & Treasurer Paul Melancon will leave on January 3, 2020. Their responsibilities will be assumed by others within the organization.

“Jack in the Box Inc. has changed significantly in just the past few years, and the organization’s leadership structure is evolving to support a single restaurant brand,” said Lenny Comma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for Phil, Mark and Paul and am grateful for their countless contributions to the company.”

Comma said of each of the three departing executives:

“Phil joined Jack in the Box Inc. 12 years ago with an impressive, well-rounded resume earned after years of experience in private practice and corporate law. In addition to his skilled stewardship of the company’s legal and risk functions, Phil’s commitment to ethics and corporate responsibility has strengthened the culture of integrity throughout the organization. On behalf of our Board of Directors, I cannot thank him enough for his wisdom, sharp wit and guiding conscience.

“Mark has been one of my key ‘go-to’ resources for as long as I’ve been with the company, and he’s one of our true culture champions. We’re a better organization as a result of his vision and leadership, and I will miss him tremendously, as will others whose lives he’s touched during his 22 years here.

“Paul has been an integral part of our finance organization for more than 14 years and was essential to the successful execution of several of the company’s key initiatives, including, most recently, our sale of Qdoba and our just-concluded securitization transaction. Like Phil and Mark, Paul also serves with me on the Board of The Jack in the Box Foundation and has been unwavering in his support of our community partners.”

About Jack in the Box Inc.

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

View source version at Jack in the Box


Brinker International Names Ellie Doty Chief Marketing Officer of Chili’s

September 23, 2019


Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) announced that Ellie Doty has been named senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Chili’s® Grill & Bar.

This new title is in recognition of Ellie’s leadership and recent accomplishments, including driving positive sales, traffic and internal Guest metrics for Chili’s in fiscal 2019. Since joining Brinker in 2017 as vice president of marketing, Ellie and her team ensure that Chili’s Guests are at the core of every decision. They created a consistent brand voice through all marketing platforms, and developed everyday value programs that Guests love, including 3 for $10 and the $5 margarita of the month.

Ellie is responsible for U.S. and international Chili’s brand marketing. This includes everything from using insights to intimately know Chili’s Guests and Team Members, to innovation of the menu, and of course sharing Chili’s awesomeness from the rooftops (which means less actual rooftops and more advertising, media, public relations, digital marketing and social media).

“Ellie’s innovative leadership has helped the Chili’s brand achieve positive results in fiscal 2019 and I am confident she will continue to drive success for the business,” said Wyman Roberts, chief executive officer and president of Brinker. “I look forward to continuing to work with Ellie as she tells our brand’s stories and brings guests into our restaurants across the world through quality, convenience and value.”

Prior to Brinker, Ellie held marketing leadership positions with Yum! Brands including roles with Taco Bell and most recently KFC, where she helped turnaround the KFC Canada business.

Brinker International, Inc. is one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies. Based in Dallas, Texas, as of June 26, 2019, Brinker owned, operated, or franchised 1,665 restaurants under the names Chili’s® Grill & Bar (1,612 restaurants) and Maggiano’s® Little Italy (53 restaurants).

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Yum! Brands Announces Technology-Centric Appointments to Elevate the Customer Experience and Accelerate Global Growth


Company Names Clay Johnson as Chief Digital and Technology Officer; Gavin Felder Promoted to Chief Strategy Officer



September 17, 2019 04:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time


LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) today announced that it has hired Clay Johnson, 49, as the Company’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, and promoted Gavin Felder, 40, to Chief Strategy Officer. These newly created leadership positions will partner with the global brand divisions to elevate the customer experience and accelerate global growth.

Johnson will join the Yum! Brands Global Leadership Team and oversee the Company’s global technology strategy, partnering with the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions to ensure the Company provides a best-in-class digital journey across mobile, online, delivery and restaurant operations. He will lead a coordinated, cross-brand effort to accelerate the Company’s digital commerce strategy, use of data and advanced analytics and emerging technologies to enhance the customer and employee experience. As the chair of the Global Technology Leadership Team, Johnson will work closely with each global brand division technology chief who reports to his or her respective executive leader. In addition, Yum! Brands’ global technology risk management and IT shared services teams will report to Johnson. Previously, Johnson served as Executive Vice President and Enterprise Chief Information Officer for Walmart, and brings more than 20 years of technology leadership across FORTUNE 50 companies and industries, successfully driving digital transformation initiatives into all aspects of business. His appointment is effective October 15, 2019.

As Chief Strategy Officer, Felder will be responsible for developing Yum! Brands’ long-term corporate strategies and partnering with the global brand divisions to implement initiatives to unlock new sources of growth and disruptive innovation. Felder will work closely with Johnson to integrate technology-centric solutions across store operations, including the restaurant automation strategy, to elevate the customer and team member experience. Felder has served as KFC Division Chief Financial Officer for the last five years, overseeing strategy, digital and technology, financial planning, supply chain and IT security for the KFC business spanning over 23,000 restaurants across 135 countries. He will retain his current KFC Division Chief Financial Officer role, title and responsibilities through the end of 2019 while the Company conducts a search to identify a successor CFO for the Division. His appointment is effective December 1, 2019.

“We believe Clay Johnson and Gavin Felder are the ideal executives to accelerate Yum! Brands’ growth through technology-centric strategies that advance the customer experience and ultimately deliver better economics and more value for our franchisees and shareholders,” said David Gibbs, Yum! Brands President and Chief Operating Officer and the Company’s incoming Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2020. “Clay’s insights into developing connected digital commerce capabilities and integrated enterprise solutions will be invaluable as we strengthen our business model with technology at the forefront. Gavin is a successful digital leader and proven growth strategist at KFC, our largest and most profitable global brand division. I look forward to Gavin, Clay and their teams collaborating to ensure our technology efforts support and are aligned with the technological innovation happening in our restaurants.” Johnson and Felder will report to Yum! Brands Chief Financial Officer Chris Turner.

“Clay has the deep knowledge and skills needed to oversee a cross-brand effort to fast-track our digital commerce capabilities, unlock value from data and advanced analytics and integrate cost-effective technology solutions to enhance restaurant operations and the customer experience. And Gavin’s outstanding strategic capabilities and global experience make him the perfect leader to help set our long-term strategies and drive collaboration across our brands to unlock innovation in our business model and operations,” said Turner. “This is an exciting time at Yum! because we have an incredible opportunity to leverage our massive scale and expand our digital and technology competencies in order to drive global same-store sales and net-new unit growth and improve franchise unit economics.”

Johnson most recently served as Chief Information Officer and head of Global Business Services for Walmart, where he was responsible for leading the Company’s enterprise information technology strategy, services, operations and cyber security. Under his leadership, Johnson played a key role in leading Walmart’s digital transformation and leveraging technology to increase speed, value and provide a better customer experience. He built innovation hubs in Dallas and Austin, Texas, to focus on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine vision, machine learning, blockchain, big data and the "internet of things." With an emphasis on the customer journey, he moved Walmart’s technology organization to a product model with an agile way of working. He is well recognized in the industry for his ability to drive new innovation and was recently named CIO of the Year and one of the Most Influential CIOs in the industry.

Prior to Walmart, Johnson served as Chief Information Officer at General Electric (GE) Power where he had end-to-end responsibility for information technology, cyber security, data and digital transformation. Johnson previously held leadership roles at The Boeing Company and Dell. He started his career at FedEx as a software engineer. Johnson served five years in the United States Coast Guard, where he held numerous leadership positions. He holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from the University of Texas.

“Technology is an enabler to unlock value for the business and the end customer,” said Johnson. “I’m thrilled to join Yum! Brands and look forward to collaborating with the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell teams on leveraging omnichannel strategies, advanced analytics and emerging technologies to benefit customers, employees and franchisees.”

Felder’s leadership has been a strong asset to the KFC Division, which delivered three consecutive years of positive same-store sales growth and increased KFC’s global restaurant footprint by more than 2,500 net-new units as of year-end 2018. Partnering with franchisees, a key part of the KFC Division’s growth strategy has been to make it easier and more rewarding to access the brand through digital and restaurant technology innovation around the world. Felder’s leadership has been key in accelerating KFC’s omnichannel strategy execution, providing multiple ordering channels and customer access points including delivery, Click & Collect mobile ordering and kiosks. Today, KFC offers delivery in more than 12,000 restaurants in over 90 countries. KFC has Click & Collect in over 10,000 restaurants and expects to offer it at more than 18,000 stores by the end of 2020. Since Felder joined the KFC business in 2008, he has held various leadership positions across finance including Chief Financial Officer of KFC Africa and Commercial Director of KFC U.K. and Ireland. Prior to his time at Yum! Brands, Felder spent time in audit at global accounting firms Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton. He holds an undergraduate degree in commerce and a post-graduate degree in accounting, both from the University of Cape Town, and is a certified Chartered Accountant.

“Yum! Brands has a unique opportunity to leverage our global scale and build capabilities that transform both the customer and team member experience,” said Felder. “There is so much growth ahead of us at Yum! and I couldn’t be more excited to partner with our brand teams and franchisees to find new, innovative ways to unlock this.”

About Yum! Brands Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 48,000 restaurants in more than 145 countries and territories primarily operating the company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Worldwide, the Yum! Brands system opens over eight new restaurants per day on average, making it a leader in global retail development. In 2018, Yum! Brands was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and ranked among the top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. In 2019, Yum! Brands was named to the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year.

View source version at Yum! Brands


Juice It Up! Taps Jamba Veteran to Lead Operations

September 17, 2019


Leading Smoothie, Raw Juice, & Superfruit Bowl Franchise Hires Susan Taylor as VP Operations

Irvine, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Juice It Up!, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, raw juice, and superfruit bowl chains, is proud to announce the appointment of Susan Taylor as Vice President of Operations. Leveraging over 26 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Susan has served in various leadership roles for national franchise chains including 14 years at Jamba, where she was the Senior Director of Franchise Operations, Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, Baja Fresh and Chevy’s Fresh Mex. As VP of Operations, Taylor will lead a variety of initiatives supporting Juice It Up!’s strategic growth strategy.

“Susan is not only well versed in our particular segment, she is passionate about the booming industry and the potential for the Juice It Up! brand; not to mention her impressive history of producing remarkable results for high profile franchise chains,” said Chris Braun, Juice It Up! CEO. “We are thrilled to add an industry veteran of Susan’s caliber to our talented leadership team and are confident she will bring a heightened level of operational efficiency to our proven business model. This is a very exciting time for Juice It Up! and I look forward to what we can accomplish together.”

Over the past 26+ years, Taylor has honed her skills as an operational leader and gained extensive experience in all aspects of the restaurant business. In previous roles, she led national franchising efforts by creating long-term development and growth strategies designed to activate diverse markets. At Juice It Up!, Taylor will oversee all aspects of operations including franchise development, real estate, training, store design and construction. Taylor is also responsible for structuring well-balanced teams and coaching personnel to help them achieve their respective goals.

“I’m thrilled to join the Juice It Up! leadership team as I see huge potential for the brand to continue its forward momentum and own a larger share of the raw juice, smoothie and bowl segment,” said Taylor. “Juice It Up!’s products are phenomenal, and nobody has managed to strike the perfect balance of flavor and functionality like they have. I’m looking forward to working closely with our franchise partners to increase their profitability and uncover unique ways to strengthen the guest experience.”

For nearly 25 years, Juice It Up! has been serving the best in handcrafted smoothies, fresh-squeezed raw juices and superfruit bowls. Always ahead of the trends, Juice It Up! designs every menu item focused on equal parts flavor and functionality to offer products that not only taste great, but also support an active lifestyle. With an unwavering commitment to help guests make educated decisions based on their personal tastes and wellness goals, Juice It Up!’s highly customizable menu and large variety of functional ingredients makes it easy to personalize any order to meet the specific wants and needs of guests at every level of health.

With over 100 locations open or under development across California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, Juice It Up! is looking to partner with passionate entrepreneurs and franchisees who are interested in joining a highly recognizable and time-tested smoothie, bowl and juice concept. For more information about the Juice It Up! brand and franchise opportunities, visit www.juiceitupfranchise.com.

About Juice It Up!

Juice It Up! is a leading handcrafted smoothie, raw juice, and superfruit bowl franchise. Founded in 1995, the Irvine, California-based lifestyle brand is focused on providing its guests with a variety of great-tasting, better-for-you food and drink choices designed with personal wellness in mind. With over 100 locations open or under development across California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, the privately-owned company is showcasing a new restaurant design, a heavier focus on healthy smoothies and bowls, the growing demand for raw and cold pressed juice options, and a menu refresh that reflects the brand’s active personality and motto to “Live Life Juiced!” An established lifestyle brand with unparalleled experience in the raw juice bar industry, Juice It Up! has been included in Fast Casual’s 2017 Top 100 Movers & Shakers List, Franchise Times’ 2017 Top 200+ Franchise Chains, named a 2018 “Best for Vets” Franchise by Military Times, ranked a top Smoothies/Juices franchise in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2019 Annual Franchise 500® List, and named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2017 Best Food Franchises and Top Franchises for Veterans. According to the Nation’s Restaurant News Annual Top 200 Report, the $32.1 billion U.S. beverage-snack industry is recognized as one of 2018’s top five bestselling restaurant segments. For more information about becoming a Juice It Up! franchise partner, visit www.juiceitupfranchise.com.

View source version at Juice It Up!


Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. Promotes Chad Gretzema to Chief Operating Officer

September 16, 2019


Lake Forest, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (“Del Taco” or the “Company”), (NASDAQ: TACO), the third largest Mexican-American quick service restaurant chain by units in the United States, today announced the promotion of Chad Gretzema to Chief Operating Officer, a new leadership role at the Company.

John D. Cappasola, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Del Taco, commented, “Chad brings a wealth of restaurant experience to his new position as Chief Operating Officer, having successfully led strategic planning, innovation, operations support, training and our facilities support over the past seven years. Chad has been a key architect of many of our strategic combined solutions operational improvement efforts and is a trusted partner within the organization who knows how to help teams deliver superior results. He has also been a passionate voice, ensuring strong cross-functional franchise support and enabling our franchise partners to successfully grow their businesses. The role of Chief Operating will further our focus on great four wall operations and I believe that Chad will lead our restaurant teams and the brand to even greater success.”

Chad Gretzema, Chief Operating Officer, added, “Del Taco is an iconic brand with some of the most passionate and talented teams I have worked with during my career. I am committed to helping our restaurant teams and our franchisees grow their businesses and look forward to providing them even greater support in this new role.”

Mr. Gretzema has been with Del Taco since 2012 and was most recently Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning & Innovation, having previously served as Senior Vice President, Operations Support and Engagement. Earlier in his career, he held positions in operations, training, and marketing at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Phoenix Children’s Academy, Noodles & Company, and Oscar Mayer Foods. Mr. Gretzema received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington.

About Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO) offers a unique variety of both Mexican and American favorites such as burritos and fries, prepared fresh in every restaurant’s working kitchen with the value and convenience of a drive-thru. Del Taco’s menu items taste better because they are made with quality ingredients like fresh grilled chicken and carne asada steak, hand-sliced avocado, hand-grated cheddar cheese, slow-cooked beans made from scratch, and creamy Queso Blanco. Del Taco’s new advertising campaign, “Celebrating the Hardest Working Hands in Fast Food,” further communicates the company’s commitment to providing guests with fresh, quality food prepared by hand every day. Founded in 1964, today Del Taco serves more than three million guests each week at its more than 580 restaurants across 14 states. For more information, visit www.deltaco.com.

View source version at Del Taco

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