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Executive Movements - October 2022









American West Restaurant Group Names Jason Cochran as CEO



Oct 11, 2022, 16:29 ET




LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- American West Restaurant Group, Pizza Hut's third largest franchise group with Pizza Hut restaurants in Southern California and Utah has announced the appointment of Jason Cochran as CEO. Jason is a proven executive leader with more than 25 combined years in retail and restaurants leading innovation along with a reputation to disrupt legacy thinking.



I'm thrilled to join the AWRG team," said Cochran. "I believe that AWRG is poised for growth and success. Now is clearly the right time to advance business process, innovative thinking, improve customer experience and I look forward to bringing my passion for leading operational excellence across the organization."

Cochran joins AWRG from Chipotle, where he spent the last 4 years as Vice President of Operations.  During his tenure, he oversaw the execution of hundreds of new locations, operational excellence, and worked cross functionally to achieve world class food safety and digital transformation.

Prior to Chipotle, Jason held various operations and executive leadership roles with GameStop over 14 years. Prior to departing GameStop, Jason led 3,900 U.S. video game stores and the omni-channel business to achieve over $6 billion in revenue.

Jason received his MBA from Southern Methodist University (SMU Cox School of Business) in Dallas, Texas. During his graduate studies, Jason was selected as an SMUs Poets & Quants "Best and Brightest" and honored as a Distinguished Business Leader by the SMU Cox School of Business Leadership Center.

Jason resides in Orange County, California with his wife and two children.

American West Restaurant Group ("AWRG") is the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in California and Utah and the third largest in the United States. AWRG operates 272 Pizza Hut quick service restaurants ("QSRs") in greater Los Angeles across five contiguous counties: central Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, North Orange County, and metropolitan Salt Lake City. Its leading position in Southern California gives it the ability to control local marketing initiatives in its markets. Approximately 90% of AWRG's units are highly efficient, modern delivery/carryout units that generate strong unit-level economics.

View source version at American West Restaurant Group


Taco John’s Welcomes Mark Kocer as New COO

October 10, 2022



Popular quick-service Mexican brand tabs industry veteran to lead company operations

Cheyenne, WY  (RestaurantNews.com)  Taco John’s® announced today that industry veteran Mark Kocer is joining its executive leadership team as Chief Operations Officer.

Kocer will oversee Taco John’s day-to-day operations, assist with its expansion plans and technological upgrades, and serve as a mentor to leaders within the brand and franchise system. Kocer brings nearly 30 years of restaurant industry experience and has experience working with large, successful brands such as Arby’s, KFC and PepsiCo.

“We are thrilled to add a quality person and leader like Mark to our executive leadership team,” said Taco John’s President and CEO Jim Creel. “We take pride in the huge connection we have with our guests, and Mark, having grown up with our brand, will help us take that bond to the next level. His knowledge and expertise in various areas of the industry will be an asset to our internal team and franchisees.”

Kocer was most recently a division vice president for Arby’s, responsible for the management and operations of over 400 franchised restaurants and almost 300 company-owned ventures across 10 states. Under his leadership, the division generated over $1 billion in sales and was the top-ranked in performance and second in volume last year.

During his near 20-year career with Arby’s, Kocer served in various leadership roles including area supervisor, director of operations and senior director of operations. He eliminated redundancies, helped streamline the brand’s performance scorecard from 16 to nine initiatives, created and developed a national catering program and oversaw the implementation of several new technologies and operational processes.

Kocer began his career with PepsiCo, which owned KFC at the time, after a stint with the U.S. Army. He quickly ascended through the ranks, eventually serving as a senior area coach working with franchisees on developing their markets, twice earning the “Best of the Best” area coach award.

“Working for Taco John’s is a dream come true for me, as it’s a brand I have always loved and kept up with through the years,” said Kocer. “The opportunity to help the brand keep expanding while making our operations as efficient as possible is a challenge I look forward to meeting.”

Kocer will operate out of the new Taco John’s Restaurant Support Center in St. Louis Park. The brand recently opened the center to transition its operating, marketing and finance functions to the Twin Cities. He is graduate of Rasmussen College and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1993. Kocer resides near St. Paul with his wife, Danita, and has strong ties to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

To find a location nearest you or view the menu, visit tacojohns.com.

About Taco John’s®

Founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Taco John’s® has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors for more than 50 years. Now, Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 restaurants in 22 states – making it one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in America. With bold originals like Potato Olés®, Taco John’s knows how to Olé The Day. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions of its signature menu items that are made-to-order using fresh, high-quality ingredients, seasonings and sauces. The brand was listed No. 7 in the “Mexican Food” category on Entrepreneur’s “Top Food Franchises of 2022” and was recently recognized by QSR Magazine as a “Top 15 Chain Ready to Contend as Fast Food’s Top Players.” Taco John’s is led by CEO Jim Creel, who was named one of “The Most Influential Restaurant CEOs in the Country” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2022. For more information, visit tacojohns.com and follow Taco John’s on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok.

View source version at Taco John's




Inspire moves Buffalo Wild Wings CMO to Arby’s



Published Oct. 5, 2022





Patel’s appointment as Arby’s CMO was announced Wednesday. She will report directly to Arby’s president Jim Taylor. Patel will be responsible for the brand’s strategy, menu changes, advertising and marketing communications, according to a company press release.

Patel has worked for Inspire since 2020 when she joined Buffalo Wild Wings after a stint as VP of brand management at Target. While at Buffalo Wild Wings, Patel helped the chain launch several new menu items while also coordinating between franchisees, marketing teams and suppliers.

Arby’s previous CMO, Patrick Schwing, oversaw a series of campaigns to improve the brand’s visibility, including a diss track from Pusha T that denigrated the fish sandwiches of other major brands. Arby’s has also capitalized on viral trends to offer limited changes to its menu in an effort to connect with customers on TikTok.

View source version at Arby's



Kura Sushi USA Names Jeff Uttz as Chief Financial Officer

October 03, 2022 16:05 ET

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (“Kura Sushi” or the “Company”), (NASDAQ: KRUS), a technology-enabled Japanese restaurant concept, today announced that Jeff Uttz has been named the Company’s new Chief Financial Officer, effective October 3, 2022.



“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff as our new Chief Financial Officer,” said Hajime Uba, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kura Sushi. “Jeff is an accomplished restaurant finance executive and a highly respected individual within the investment community. Throughout his impressive career, he has consistently demonstrated financial leadership and strategic planning skills designed to build strong restaurant brands, and an ability to lead high-growth companies during key phases of their expansion. As we continue to capture our extensive growth opportunities, we believe Jeff is the ideal fit for the future of Kura and we look forward to benefitting from his expertise.”

Mr. Uttz brings to Kura a wealth of industry experience, most recently as Chief Financial Officer for Shake Shack Inc. for a period of four years where he was instrumental in preparing Shake Shack Inc. for its initial public offering in 2015. As Chief Financial Officer at Shake Shack Inc., Mr. Uttz was involved in opening 45 new restaurants and partnered cross-functionally with operations, real estate, marketing, human resources, and supply chain teams. Prior to his tenure at Shake Shack Inc., Mr. Uttz served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Yard House USA, Inc., an American sports bar chain, for a period of 12 years. At Yard House USA, Inc., Mr. Uttz established the finance infrastructure to support the organization and was also actively engaged in every real estate transaction as a member of the real estate team. Prior to his tenure at Yard House USA, Inc., Mr. Uttz held several financial leadership positions at CKE Restaurants Inc. Mr. Uttz started his career at the public accounting firm KPMG, LLP.

About Kura Sushi USA, Inc. Kura Sushi USA, Inc. is a technology-enabled Japanese restaurant concept with 40 locations across 12 states and Washington DC. The Company offers guests a distinctive dining experience built on authentic Japanese cuisine and an engaging revolving sushi service model. Kura Sushi USA, Inc. was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of Kura Sushi, Inc., a Japan-based revolving sushi chain with over 500 restaurants and more than 35 years of brand history. For more information, please visit www.kurasushi.com.

View source version at Kura Sushi







Kareem Daniel Elected to McDonald's Board of Directors



Oct 03, 2022, 07:00 ET





CHICAGO, Oct. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected Kareem Daniel as an independent Director of the Board, effective October 1, 2022.


In more than 15 years at Disney, he has also spearheaded transformation through leadership roles in Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing; Walt Disney Imagineering; the Walt Disney Studios; and Corporate Strategy.

"Kareem is an exceptional leader with a strong track record of building brands that resonate with audiences globally," said Enrique Hernandez, Jr., McDonald's Chairman of the Board. "His dynamic business experience, deep consumer expertise and proven values-based leadership will be hugely additive to our Board of Directors and helping to guide the Company."

"I'm delighted to welcome Kareem to the McDonald's Board of Directors," said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer. "His unparalleled consumer insight and deep experience creating innovative and immersive experiences for customers at one of the world's most iconic consumer companies will greatly benefit McDonald's as we build deeper connections with our customers."

Previously, Mr. Daniel worked in equity research and investment banking at Goldman Sachs, where he specialized in technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications. He grew up in Chicago, where he attended Morgan Park Academy before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University.

His election brings the Board to a total of 15 members, who each bring unique experiences, qualifications and skills that provide significant value to McDonald's and its shareholders.

A "Five Things to Know" file with a headshot and quote from Kareem are embedded within this release 

About McDonald's McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with nearly 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 95% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.

View source version at McDonald's


Wienerschnitzel Proudly Promotes Rusty Bills to Chief Operating Officer

October 3, 2022



Longtime Galardi Group Employee Climbs Ranks to Join C-Suite Overseeing Operations for the 60+ Year Hot Dog Franchise and other Galardi Group Concepts

Irvine, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog franchise, has announced the promotion of longtime company executive Rusty Bills to Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Bills brings 15 years of experience with Galardi Group Inc. to the COO position, which was last held by now-President and CEO J.R. Galardi, who was elevated to his current role in February of this year. Bills’ new position reflects his longstanding dedication to Galardi Group Inc., where he has risen through the ranks with the storied hot dog franchise. His previous roles have included his start with the company as Franchise Business Consultant, Director of Operations and Vice President of Operations – always demonstrating invaluable leadership attributes and problem-solving abilities for all Galardi Group concepts, Wienerschnitzel, Tastee Freez and Hamburger Stand. As COO, Bills will spearhead cost savings, store-level technology advancements and streamline operational efficiencies across each brand.

“Being named COO to help guide the same brands I have dedicated my career to for the last 15 years is an immense honor, and it’s proof that this company, which continues to be celebrated for its longevity and history, invests in those loyal to the organization,” said Bills. “It’s such an exciting time at Galardi Group, especially as J.R. and the leadership team have put the right systems and people in place to position our three concepts for major growth domestically and abroad. Today, I’m more energized than ever for what’s ahead and for the future of Galardi Group because I truly believe there are no limits to what this tremendous organization can accomplish.”

Bills was hired by Galardi Group in 2007 as a Franchise Business Consultant for Wienerschnitzel’s Sacramento-area franchisees, who he credits with helping to fuel his early company success. He built trust and rapport with the franchisees – many of whom were the brand’s largest at the time – by listening to their concerns and providing solutions that made their lives easier, restaurants more efficient and profits grow. He then served as Manager of Tastee-Freez and Special Projects, and after, as Director of Operations, overseeing franchise business consultants, running internal departments and generally operating as a jack of all trades. In 2017, Bills was promoted to Vice President of Operations where he became the liaison for all facets of the business, from franchisees and corporate leadership to vendors and outside agencies. It was in this role that he further developed as a trusted leader, helping all three brands to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did he rise to meet the pandemic-fueled challenges at hand, but he helped position Wienerschnitzel for future growth by supporting the design of its Heritage store model, streamlining operational efficiencies in the restaurant and kitchen, implementing customer feedback tools and signing master agreements for third-party delivery partners. As COO, Bills will continue implementing advancements in technology that will allow the organization to better adapt to a changing world, including more accurate labor forecasting models, kitchen equipment innovations that improve back-of-house efficiencies and A.I. drive-thru advances and alternate payment methods.

“When determining who should assume the very important role of COO at such a pivotal time of growth for the company, it was clear there was no one better for the job than Rusty – a trusted and dedicated leader who is ever deserving of this promotion,” said J.R. Galardi, President and CEO of Galardi Group Inc. “Without question, Rusty is the right person to oversee our core departments and restaurants, and he is proof that if you join Galardi Group at any level – even as a teenage janitor like I did – there’s a path for you to grow with the organization, advance your career and fulfill your professional aspirations.”

Earlier this year, following the appointment of J.R. Galardi to President and CEO, Galardi Group hired Michael Nishi in March as Chief Financial Officer. With Bills assuming the COO role, the newly restructured executive team is poised to successfully catapult Wienerschnitzel, Tastee-Freez and Hamburger Stand into the future.

There are nearly 350 franchised Wienerschnitzel locations in operation throughout 10 states, with more than 50 units in various stages of development across the U.S. To learn more about the brand and the benefits of owning a Wienerschnitzel franchise, visit www.wienerschnitzelfranchise.com.

About Wienerschnitzel

Founded by John Galardi in 1961 with a single hot dog stand in Wilmington, California, Wienerschnitzel (www.wienerschnitzel.com) is one of the iconic pioneers of the quick-service food industry. The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain serves more than 120 million hot dogs annually – and is fueled by a mission of “Serving Food to Serve Others,” giving back a percentage of profits to its charitable partners. Based in Irvine, CA, Galardi Group Inc. franchises nearly 350 Wienerschnitzel restaurants in 10 states. The Galardi Group is also the parent company and franchisor of Hamburger Stand and Tastee Freez LLC. Visit Wienerschnitzel’s FacebookTwitterInstagram or YouTube to learn more.

View source version at Wienerschnitzel


Angry Crab Shack Welcomes Brian Herskovets as Director of Franchise Operations

September 28, 2022



Unique Asian-Cajun Seafood Boil Franchise Brings Seasoned Foodservice Operations Leader to Strengthen Support for Franchise Partners

Atlanta, GA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Angry Crab Shack, a leading full-service restaurant specializing in seafood and boils with bold Asian-Cajun flavors, announced that Brian Herskovets has been appointed as the company’s Director of Franchise Operations, effective July 11, 2022. Herskovets has more than 20 years of experience in managing operations for both independent and franchised concepts. Most recently, he served as Regional Director of Operations for Kahala Brands.

“We are excited to welcome Brian to the Angry Crab Shack family where he will strengthen support for our franchise partners,” said Andy Diamond, President of Angry Crab Shack. “With Brian’s experience in franchise operations and in-depth knowledge of the restaurant industry, we look forward to him creating policies and procedures that will continue to improve Angry Crab Shack and benefit our partners.”

Herskovets will report to Diamond and oversee Angry Crab Shack’s franchise operations, increase the brand’s support to its franchisee network, and improve its restaurants’ processes for continued national growth and beyond. Herskovets has previously spent more than 17 years in management at Tutti Santi Ristorante and Grimaldi’s Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria, giving him a unique insight into the challenges faced by small business family-owned restaurants. He also has experience working in multiple foodservice roles at Romano’s Macaroni Grill and has spent a significant portion of his career creating and executing training programs.

“I joined Angry Crab Shack because of their strong family culture and superior product,” said Herskovets. “Since joining, my passion to help small business owners and franchise partners succeed has only been strengthened by my colleagues’ drive to keep improving every day. I plan on never settling for good enough and working to showcase Angry Crab Shack as a premier brand.”

Even amid a pandemic, Angry Crab Shack continues to grow. The bold brand has expanded to 18 locations – five corporate and thirteen franchised – with signed agreements in various stages of development in Georgia, Washington, Utah and Texas. The group plans to include additional restaurants for other areas along the East Coast, underscoring an overall brand expansion plan to have 100 stores open and operating by 2025.

Angry Crab Shack draws on bold Asian and Cajun flavors – as well as a fun food presentation and a laid-back environment to create an unparalleled dining experience for guests. Best known for using the freshest ingredients, Angry Crab Shack sources lobster from the East Coast, Dungeness Crab from the Pacific Northwest, King Crab from the Bering Strait, Snow Crab from Canadian waters, and crawfish from the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can expect a fun, family experience where they can throw on a bib, roll up their sleeves, and dig in! The brand offers a variety of boils including, shrimp, crawfish, lobster, crab and more.

To learn more about Angry Crab Shack and how it’s using both fun and smart expansion strategies, visit: https://www.angrycrabshack.com.

About Angry Crab Shack

Founded in 2013 by Ron Lou, Angry Crab Shack is a fun, casual seafood restaurant specializing in seafood and boils with bold Asian-Cajun flavors that are unique to the brand and irresistible to guests. Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, the seafood concept began franchising in 2017 and has since grown to five corporate locations and thirteen franchise locations with agreements signed to bring additional restaurants to Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington. Angry Crab Shack aims to have 100 locations open and operating by 2025. For more information, visit https://www.angrycrabfranchise.com.

View source version at Angry Crab Shack


Teriyaki Madness Hires Ryann Frost as New Vice President of Real Estate Development

September 27, 2022



Frost is leveraging in-depth franchising experience to help optimize the Teriyaki Madness real estate strategy for incoming franchisees and facilitating partnerships with national providers to overcome the challenges of today’s real estate market.

Denver, CO  (RestaurantNews.com)  Teriyaki Madness, the Seattle-style teriyaki franchise, has been signing franchise agreements left and right this year — 95 new units sold among 29 new franchisees. To ensure this growing system of both new and existing franchisees is properly supported, Teriyaki Madness has also been building out its executive team. The most recent hire, Ryann Frost, joined the team in June of 2022 as the new Vice President of Real Estate Development and has since been focused on optimizing the brand’s real estate strategy through strategic, nationwide partnerships and initiatives.

Frost comes from an in-depth background in franchising, spending over eight years working as the Franchise Development Directorfor UBREAKIFIX, a nationwide cell phone repair concept. She joined UBREAKIFIX fresh out of college when the brand only had 10 people on the team and a small number of corporate stores. She helped initiate the franchise program, developing everything from site selection and build-out procedures to marketing and training coordination. Over her tenure, Frost helped grow the brand from a few corporate locations to over 800 franchise units nationwide and even joined as a franchisee herself as a co-owner with her mother.

After relocating to Denver from Florida at the beginning of 2021, Frost was ready for something new and fresh in her career. And no one does “new and fresh” like Teriyaki Madness.

“I was ready to join a company that was in the early stages of their growth trajectory again — I wanted to feel that hustle and energy,” said Frost. “Of course, once I tried the food, I was sold. I knew I could stand behind something delicious and fresh that had all the makings of a great offering, and the team in place was amazing.”

Frost officially started in June to oversee the development of the brand across the country. “My role is to assist franchisees in securing their real estate, whether that be site selection, lease negotiations, LOI or build out and construction,” she said. “We exist to help franchisees find the best location possible at the best price possible.”

As part of that strategy, Frost has also been helping facilitate new partnerships with nationwide real estate providers, leveraging Teriyaki Madness’ growing buying power to establish valuable resources across the country.

Bialow Real Estate, for example, is a Boston-based real estate brokerage that Teriyaki Madness has signed on as its master brokerage partner. “All of our franchisees will be working with them to help find locations,” said Frost. “Typically, we would hire a broker in any real estate transaction, but we want to make that variable of who represents us is more consistent. I had known Bialow from my time at UBREAKIFIX, and they are great partners who are very smart and ready to get their hands dirty. They have relationships across the country with landlords and tenants and represent several other QSR franchise brands, allowing us to share best practices and promote more synergy.”

Corey Bialow, CEO of Bialow Real Estate, says they are equally excited to be representing Teriyaki Madness on its national expansion plans. “We focus on representing ‘best in class’ retailers and restaurants throughout the country and Teriyaki Madness has become a true leader within the quick-casual sector,” he said. “We were impressed from the onset with their corporate culture that encourages diversity, collaboration and a primary focus on the customer.  Our companies share a similar set of values and we look forward to executing on their aggressive growth plans to provide the American consumer with a healthy food option as a value proposition.”

Sevan, a leader in innovative program management for clients with multiple sites, is another development partnership Teriyaki Madness is bringing in on the construction side. “We want to give franchisees as much support as possible – especially as we sell so many units across the country – so we are scaling the team to provide that support,” said Frost. “Sevan is an extension of our internal team. They offer franchisees project management services and oversee the actual construction work that happens. We are partnering with Sevan to ensure that we are getting the build-outs done on time and for a competitive price.”

Shiron Olson, Vice President of Operations for Sevan, says Teriyaki Madness is preparing to implement Sevan’s program management suite of services to expand restaurant sites very rapidly. “One of our primary goals is to partner with well-positioned companies like Teriyaki Madness to help them modernize their network and scale quickly,” she said. “We are proud to be leaders in the QSR space, and Teriyaki Madness is positioning themselves for significant growth in the market with fresh, innovative offerings for their customers. Sevan is excited to work hand-in-hand with Teriyaki Madness franchisees and act as a collaborative partner every step of the way, from start to finish.”

Overall, Frost says prospective franchisees are faced with two primary questions: “Should I sign on with Teriyaki Madness? And number two? Real estate. Where should I put my restaurants? By having more experts on the team, working with tenants and landlords and giving us guidance on everything from process to deal terms, we can pass that on to franchisees and give them a broader perspective. Essentially, it is all about offering more support for franchisees so they can make the right decisions around location.”

In her role, Frost says her immediate goal is to further optimize the real estate process for franchisees, especially as the real estate market and restaurant industry continue to create challenges for owners.

“I view myself as a young hustler ready to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty,” said Frost. “At Teriyaki Madness, the franchisees are always the first people in mind. Their interests need to be taken care of, and I really admire that about the brand. I am excited to be a part of the team and continue that mission.”

Teriyaki Madness CEO Michael Haith says the team is equally excited to welcome Frost to the TMAD family and has already been blown away by the strides she’s made in the real estate department.

“The demand for Teriyaki Madness is growing everywhere, but expansion is not something we force — we are building out our team with qualified leaders like Ryann to promote healthy growth throughout our system, not just fast growth,” said Haith. “Real estate is such an important piece of the franchising puzzle, and Ryann is bringing the market knowledge and industry connections to ensure Teriyaki Madness franchisees are well taken care of every step of the way.”

About Teriyaki Madness

Fast casual Teriyaki Shop franchise Teriyaki Madness is committed to unconditionally satisfying guests by offering delicious, made-to-order, healthy (or not) bowls, apps and sides, prepared with fresh, all-natural ingredients served quickly and at a reasonable price. Guests can enjoy their bowls in the shop, or order through the mobile app for delivery or curbside pickup. Teriyaki Madness has been ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Food Franchises, FastCasual’s Movers and Shakers in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, the Inc. 5000 list for six straight years, and was named the Fastest-Growing Big Restaurant Chain in the United States by Restaurant Business in 2021. Founded in 2003, the brand currently has more than 120 shops open, with franchising opportunities nationwide for qualified single and multi-unit candidates. For more information, visit www.franchise.teriyakimadness.com.

View source version at Teriyaki Madness


Roy Rogers Announces Lou Schaab as New Chief Financial Officer

September 26, 2022



Plamondon Companies Hires New CFO to Oversee Roy Rogers and Plamondon Hospitality Partners

Frederick, MD  (RestaurantNews.com)  Roy Rogers Restaurants, the western-themed quick-service restaurant chain owned by Plamondon Companies, announces Lou Schaab as its new Chief Financial Officer. With over 30 years of experience in the hospitality, financial and real estate industries, Schaab brings a wealth of knowledge to the new role.

“We are delighted to welcome Lou to the Plamondon team,” says Jim Plamondon Co-President of Roy Rogers Franchise Company. “The dedication he has shown throughout his career in unlocking business potential is invaluable to this next chapter for both Roy Rogers and Plamondon Hospitality Group.”

Schaab began his career as a senior manager for KPMG in 1988, managing consulting engagements for real estate and hospitality clients. A decade later, he joined MeriStar Hospitality and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts as the senior vice president of finance before joining Allied Capital Corporation in 2001 as a principal and operating partner. Before coming to Plamondon Hospitality Partners, Schaab served as chief financial officer of Chesapeake Hospitality, managing financing, acquisitions and development, and more.

“One of my goals as CFO of Plamondon Hospitality Partners is to play a key role in future growth initiatives by bringing new perspective to the Company’s established executive leadership team,” says Schaab. “I also look forward to sharing my expertise with the Roy Rogers team as they continue to make investments to grow its brand through new store development and franchising with experienced operators and owners.”

For more information on Roy Rogers Restaurants, visit www.royrogersrestaurants.com.

About Roy Rogers® Restaurants

Based in Frederick, Md., Roy Rogers® is a chain of western-themed quick-service restaurants offering broad appeal across multiple dayparts and generations. The company is famous for serving up a “Triple Threat” – three popular main dishes including USDA choice top round roast beef, hand-breaded, fresh fried chicken and great-tasting burgers – and for its famous Fixin’s Bar®, where guests can customize their orders with a variety of fresh produce, condiments and signature sauces. Information on the company, its menu and current promotions is available at www.royrogersrestaurants.com and on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Founded in 1968, Roy Rogers currently consists of 25 company-owned restaurants and 17 franchise restaurants in six states. Qualified franchise investors are now being sought to develop the beloved brand. Franchise information can be found at www.royrogersfranchising.com or by contacting the Roy Rogers franchising department at jbriglia@royrogersrestaurants.com or (240) 405-6205.

View source version at Roy Rogers




Dunkin’ Appoints Jill McVicar Nelson as CMO




September 22, 2022


Dunkin’ announced that Jill McVicar Nelson has been named Chief Marketing Officer of Dunkin’.

As CMO, Jill will guide advertising, brand marketing, field marketing, strategic planning, product innovation, commercialization, and digital marketing for the Dunkin’ brand. Jill will report directly to Scott Murphy, Head of Beverage-Snack Category and President, Dunkin’.

“Jill’s intricate knowledge of the Dunkin’ business and understanding of product trends and consumer behaviors will help us continue to define the brand’s future growth strategy. I look forward to working together to define the next chapter in Dunkin’ history,” said Scott Murphy.

Jill joined Dunkin’ in 2011 and has experience across multiple brand functions, including finance, pricing, strategy, and marketing. She was a principal architect of the Dunkin’ U.S. 5-year strategic plan – the Blueprint for Growth – which has been the foundation of the business since 2017. Most recently, Jill served as VP of Marketing Strategy where she spearheaded the brand’s innovation strategy to attract the next generation of guests through iced beverages and diverse food offerings. Under her leadership, Dunkin’ launched successful food and beverage platforms like Dunkin’ Refreshers, Cold Brew with Cold Foam, Avocado Toast, Snacking, and more. In this role, Jill also oversaw brand marketing, promotional strategy, and product commercialization.

Prior to joining the Dunkin’ team, Jill began her career in public sector consulting with IBM Global Business Services. She graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies and received an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

“Since the day I started at Dunkin’ more than ten years ago, I have experienced just how special this great American brand is. From the devoted loyalists who drink our coffee every day to the hardworking franchisees who built this brand from the ground up, there is something undeniable about people’s love for Dunkin’,” said Nelson. “I am one of those people and am honored to lead the talented Dunkin’ marketing team in strengthening our position as a leading coffee and beverage brand that will keep America running on Dunkin’ for generations to come.”

Founded in 1950, Dunkin’® is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’® is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel, and muffin categories. Dunkin’® has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category for 16 years running. The company has more than 12,600 franchised restaurants in 40 countries worldwide.

View source version at Dunkin'



Victoria Tullett Joins Dutch Bros Coffee as Company’s Chief Legal Officer



September 20, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


GRANTS PASS, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dutch Bros Inc. (NYSE: BROS; “Dutch Bros” or the “Company”) one of the fastest-growing brands in the food service and restaurant industry in the United States by location count, today announced that experienced legal expert Victoria Tullett has joined the drive-thru beverage company as its first Chief Legal Officer. Tullett brings more than 20 years of experience helping diverse organizations manage operational risk and achieve record levels of growth, compliance and profitability.

“Victoria has dedicated her career to consistently and compassionately helping companies reach the high bars for governance and compliance they set for themselves,” said Joth Ricci, President and CEO of Dutch Bros. “We’re excited about the expertise she brings to this role and look forward to her guidance as we continue our mission of being a best in class organization.”

Tullett assumed the role of Chief Legal Officer on Sept. 20. Prior to joining Dutch Bros, Tullett served Papa Murphy’s for more than 20 years in various roles including General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer, head of new store Development and Human Resources. Her experience with high growth companies, risk management and franchisee relations align with the next stage of Dutch Bros’ development.

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to help companies through several phases of growth, always with an eye on what’s best for the employees and customers,” said Tullett. “Dutch Bros is an incredible brand dedicated to connecting with its communities. I look forward to working with the team as we write the next chapter of the Dutch Bros story and continue the mission of making a massive difference, one cup at a time.”

In addition to her role at Dutch Bros, Tullett will continue to serve on the Board of Directors for Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Tullett is a graduate of Lewis & Clark, Northwestern School of Law in Portland, Oregon.

About Dutch Bros Inc.

Dutch Bros Inc. (NYSE: BROS) is a high growth operator and franchisor of drive-thru shops that focus on serving high QUALITY, hand-crafted beverages with unparalleled SPEED and superior SERVICE. Founded in 1992 by brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, Dutch Bros began with a double-head espresso machine and a pushcart in Grants Pass, Oregon. While espresso-based beverages are still at the core of what we do, Dutch Bros now offers a wide variety of unique, customizable cold and hot beverages that delight a broad array of customers. We believe Dutch Bros is more than just the products we serve—we are dedicated to making a massive difference in the lives of our employees, customers and communities. This combination of hand-crafted and high-quality beverages, our unique drive-thru experience and our community-driven, people-first culture has allowed us to successfully open new shops and continue to share the “Dutch Luv” at 603 locations across 14 states as of June 30, 2022.

To learn more about Dutch Bros, visit www.dutchbros.com, follow Dutch Bros Coffee on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, and download the Dutch Bros app to earn points and score rewards!

View source version at Dutch Bros


Marco’s Pizza Hires 20-Year QSR Franchise Veteran Gerardo Flores as Chief Development Officer

September 20, 2022



Flores’ Development Expertise to Help Shape Company’s Next Era of Domestic and International Franchise Expansion

Toledo, OH  (RestaurantNews.com)  Marco’s Pizza, the nation’s fastest-growing pizza brand*, appoints Gerardo Flores as Chief Development Officer. This news comes on the heels of the brand’s recent development and sales milestones, opening of its 1100th store and surpassing $1B in annual systemwide sales. As Marco’s looks to its next era of growth, Flores will be responsible for developing U.S. and international growth strategies, streamlining the development process and driving expansion.

As a highly experienced real estate professional, Flores has held top-level leadership roles in the franchise industry for nearly 20 years. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Real Estate at Tropical Smoothie Café developing growth strategies for new and existing markets as well as establishing local and national landlord relationships. Prior to Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Flores was the Vice President of Real Estate at Jersey Mike’s Subs, Sr. Director of Development at Quiznos, Real Estate Manager at Cold Stone Creamery, and the Property & Lease Manager at PetSmart. A proven track record of hands-on real estate and strategic market planning experience informs Flores’ passion for franchise development.

“I am honored to join Marco’s at a time when growth is a key strategic business priority as the brand looks to its next 1,000 units,” said Flores. “My hope is that I’ll be able to make an immediate impact by improving processes that help grow the brand faster and more efficiently. My initial focus is to solidify the team and make all three pillars – Sales, Real Estate, Construction – work seamlessly together. With this, I have full confidence we’ll be able to actualize our development goals while expanding with franchisees who embrace our People-First approach to business.”

Marco’s franchise expansion continues to accelerate with more than 200 stores in various stages of development and more than 350 agreements signed. Company leadership is prioritizing investments in enhancing the franchise development program, new technology, personnel, strategic vendor partnerships, multi-channel national advertising, and more – all with an eye on maximizing franchisee profits while meeting the needs of today’s modern customer.

“We’ve set forth aggressive franchise development growth goals, and bringing in a strong franchise leader is paramount to deliver on our future success,” said Tony Libardi, Co-CEO & president of Marco’s Pizza. “With decades of increasingly successful franchise experience in the quick-service restaurant industry, Gerardo brings a vision and growth business mindset as we continue to expand across the country and beyond.”

With prime territories available for development, Marco’s provides a full development support system, including technology and tools to help identify the right territories for expansion plus expertise in financing, real estate, construction management, and field operations, to assist franchisees and multi-unit operators.

The development team continues to find new, cost-saving opportunities to keep the initial up-front investment affordable including smaller footprints, pickup windows, tools that accelerate the new store opening process and more, creating operational efficiencies that improve the overall guest experience and grow sales.

The brand is on track to rise in the ranks as Nation’s Restaurant News Top 500 Report shows Marco’s achieved the highest percent year-over-year sales change (+18.2%) when compared to the nation’s top 4 pizza brands**, making Marco’s the No. 5 pizza brand in systemwide sales in America.

With strong growth and performance, Marco’s now sets its sights on becoming the No. 4 brand in pizza as it experienced a 12.8% increase in year-over-year Average Unit Volume (AUV), and the Top 50% of Marco’s franchised stores generated $1,198,201 AUV for 2021***.

For more information on Marco’s Pizza franchise opportunities, visit https://www.marcos.com/franchising/ or call 866-731-8209 to speak with Shannon Iverson, Vice President of Franchise Sales.

About Marco’s Pizza

Marco’s Pizza is America’s Most Loved and Most Trusted Pizza Brand, according to the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study. Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza is the fastest-growing pizza brand in the United States. Marco’s was founded in 1978 by Italian-born Pasquale (“Pat”) Giammarco and thrives to deliver a high-quality pizza experience, known for its dough made from scratch and its three fresh signature cheeses. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate over 1,100 stores in 33 states with locations in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Most recently, Marco’s Pizza was ranked No. 2 in the Pizza category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2022 “Franchise 500” ranking, and No. 4 in the Fastest Growing category on Restaurant Business’ 2021 “Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains” ranking. Other recent accolades include a first-time presence on Newsweek’s 2022 “America’s Best Customer Service” in pizza chains list, ranked No. 40 on QSR’s Top 50 and has been featured five consecutive years on Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious “Top 500” ranking.

View source version at Marco's Pizza



Suzann Trevisan Joins Bloomin’ Brands as Chief Human Resources Officer


September 19, 2022 08:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time


TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) today announced the appointment of Suzann Trevisan to Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer for Bloomin’ Brands. Trevisan will lead the company’s Human Resources function and join the Executive Leadership Team.

“Suzann’s depth is grounded in talent management, total rewards and diversity, the foundation of every great human resource practice,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin' Brands. “I look forward to working with her to build upon our existing strong culture of excellence and to support our long-term growth plan.”

Trevisan most recently served as the Vice President of Human Resources, Composites at Owens Corning where she was responsible for human resources strategy, organizational optimization, transformation, and effectiveness, and enterprise leadership. Her 27-year career in human resources also includes a variety of human resources leadership roles at Valassis and Borders.

Trevisan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Human Resources from the University of Michigan.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant concepts. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Company owns and operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 47 states, Guam and 15 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit bloominbrands.com.

View source version at Bloomin' Brands



MOD Pizza Promotes Becky Mulligan to Chief Restaurant Officer and Hires Stephen Blum as First Chief Development Officer


Company Also Strengthens Leadership Team To Support Franchising, Menu Innovation and Field Operations


September 19, 2022 11:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD Pizza”, “MOD” or the “Company”), the purpose-led, people-first, fast casual pizza pioneer, today announced the promotion of Becky Mulligan to the newly-created position of Chief Restaurant Officer and Stephen Blum as its first Chief Development Officer. The Company also announced three executive-level hires, with a focus on enhancing MOD’s strength in franchising, culinary innovation and operational excellence as it continues to expand its store footprint of more than 520 locations system-wide* and deliver an incredible Squad and customer experience.

Becky’s elevation to Chief Restaurant Officer comes as she celebrates a year with the Company during which she has led the field operations and operations excellence teams for 440+ owned-and-operated stores. In her expanded role, she will continue to lead all Company stores and operations excellence, while taking on leadership for MOD’s franchise business.

Stephen Blum joins the Company as MOD’s first Chief Development Officer, tasked with leading all store development activities including real estate, store design, construction, facilities, and portfolio management. Steve brings over two decades of store development experience to MOD, from restaurant brands Panera Bread, Panda Restaurant Group and Au Bon Pain. Most recently, he was senior vice president, real estate, and facilities at Hertz. He will report to MOD’s CEO, Scott Svenson.

MOD has also welcomed three additional leaders and promoted a veteran operations leader, all effective immediately.

  1. Cynthia Richardson joins MOD as Vice President, Franchising. Cynthia will lead the team that supports all franchise, non-traditional and international operations. She comes to MOD after 25 years at 7-Eleven where she implemented consulting services to support franchisees in 17 countries, across 77,000+ stores. Her expertise across logistics, operations, technology, merchandising, and partner engagement represents a strong addition to the team. Cynthia will report to Becky Mulligan.

  2. Scott Uehlein joined MOD as Vice President, Culinary Excellence and Innovation. In this role, he will oversee the MOD culinary team, including all aspects of menu development and innovation. He brings over three decades of industry experience, having most recently served as vice president of product innovation and development at Sonic. Prior, he spent 17 years at Canyon Ranch Resorts and ILX Resorts leading their food and beverage programs. He is a leadership council member of Menus of Change, a health, wellness, and sustainability initiative co-founded by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health and also serves as the co-chair of the Healthy Menus Collaborative. Scott will report to Mark Shambura, Chief Marketing Officer.

  3. Ben Coarde joined MOD as Regional Vice President, Operations, overseeing the Eastern Region. Coarde previously spent over 14 years with Starbucks, most recently as a regional director responsible for 115 café and drive through locations.

  4. James Holguin, a seven-year MOD veteran, has been promoted to Regional Vice President, Operations, responsible for the Western half of the U.S.

“As MOD continues to scale, we remain focused on our people-first mission, while delivering an incredible and consistent customer experience, centered around our craveable food. We are incredibly grateful for Becky’s leadership and commitment to our purpose over the past year and we all celebrate her well-deserved promotion,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO, MOD Pizza. “I am equally excited to welcome Stephen, Cindy, Scott and Ben and to congratulate James on a well-deserved promotion. They are all industry veterans who bring decades of experience to the leadership team and who will help us continue to support our people and product as we further our growth trajectory, on and off premise.”

*The term “system-wide” refers to all company-operated and licensed store locations. The trademarks MOD, MOD Pizza, and the MOD Shield, are owned by MOD Super Fast Pizza, LLC.

ABOUT MOD PIZZA MOD Pizza is a purpose-led, people-first brand founded in Seattle in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. As the pioneer of the fast-casual pizza category, MOD introduced speed, individual style, and compelling value to the world of pizza. The Company serves individual artisan-style pizzas and salads that are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads with any combination of over 40 toppings and sauces, all for one incredible price. Today, MOD is the largest fast casual pizza concept and one of the fastest growing restaurant brands in North America. With over 500 stores across 29 states and Canada, MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work by providing community and opportunity to over 10,000 Squad members. For more information, please visit http://www.modpizza.com or connect with the brand via FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

View source version at MOD Pizza







Wingstop Names Craig Sherwood as SVP of US Development



Sep 15, 2022, 16:05 ET






DALLAS, Sept. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING) today announced the appointment of Craig Sherwood as its SVP of U.S. Development. Craig will lead domestic development and focus on executing Wingstop's domestic development playbook through new and existing franchisees as the brand scales its U.S. footprint.

"I'm excited for Craig to join the brand at such a pivotal time as we look to scale our 1,600+ restaurants base to 4,000 plus across the country," said Michael Skipworth, Wingstop President and CEO. "With an average unit volume of $1.6 million and our industry leading unit economics, our franchisees continue to reinvest in Wingstop and position us with a strong domestic pipeline fueling development growth for Wingstop. We have a great deal of white space across the country, and Craig's leadership and experience of domestic franchised development make him an incredible asset for our brand."

Craig previously served as the VP of U.S. Development at Little Caesars Enterprises Inc. where he oversaw all aspects of domestic franchise development, real estate and construction. He also served as the Chief Development Officer at Gold's Gym and held various development-focused roles at other franchised brands including Sonic Drive-In and Yum! Brands.

Wingstop's compelling business model provides industry-leading returns for its franchisees and has fueled record development for the brand in 2022, opening a record 127 net new units for the first half of 2022, and has a target of 7,000 plus restaurants globally.

For information on franchising a Wingstop, click here.

About Wingstop

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises more than 1,850 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and use of a best-in-class technology platform, all while offering classic and boneless wings and tenders, always cooked to order and hand sauced-and-tossed in fans' choice of the brand's bold, distinctive flavors. Wingstop's menu also features signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly-made ranch and bleu cheese dips.

In fiscal year 2021, Wingstop's system-wide sales increased 20.2% year-over-year to approximately $2.3 billion, marking the 18th consecutive year of same store sales growth. With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, our system is comprised of independent franchisees, or brand partners, who account for approximately 98% of Wingstop's total restaurant count of 1,858 as of June 25, 2022.

A key to this business success and consumer fandom stems from The Wingstop Way, which includes a core value system of being Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun. The Wingstop Way extends to the brand's environmental, social and governance platform as Wingstop seeks to provide value to all stakeholders.

Rounding out a strong year in 2021, the Company was ranked #1 on Technomic 500's "Fastest Growing Franchise" and #22 on Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500," maintained its certification as a Great Place to Work, was named as a finalist for The Innovation SABRE Award's Best New Product/Brand Launch category for its Thighstop campaign, and named to Fast Company's "The World's Most Innovative Companies" list ranking #4 in the dining category.

For more information visit www.wingstop.com or www.wingstop.com/own-a-wingstop and follow @Wingstop on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Learn more about Wingstop's involvement in its local communities at www.wingstopcharities.org.

View source version at Wingstop



Guillermo Diaz, Jr Joins Jack in the Box Inc. Board of Directors


September 14, 2022 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time


SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) today announced that Guillermo Diaz, Jr has joined the company’s Board of Directors, effective September 26, 2022. Diaz now serves as the Chairman of the Hispanic Technology Executive Council (HITEC), the premier, global executive leadership organization of senior business and technology executives building outstanding careers in technology. Diaz is also the Founder and CEO of Conectado Inc., an innovative, Web 3 digital platform with the mission to accelerate access to opportunities for underrepresented minorities, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Blue Shield of California.

Diaz joins the Jack in the Box Inc. Board with more than three decades of experience in telecommunications and information technology. Prior to his current roles, Diaz served as CEO at Kloudspot, Inc., an innovative predictive AI and IoT analytics platform provider, and as Global Chief Information Officer at Cisco Systems, Inc. In addition to his role as CIO at Cisco, he led the Customer Digital Transformation program, where he and his team leveraged Cisco’s own digital journey and thought leadership to partner with customers to develop their own digital transformation programs.

“We are delighted to welcome Guillermo to our Board and look forward to leveraging his experience for the Jack in the Box and Del Taco brands as we execute our long-term strategic plan,” said Darin Harris, CEO at Jack in the Box Inc. “In addition to Guillermo’s IT leadership experience, he is also a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) advocate as evidenced by his leadership of the Cisco Diversity Council and his executive sponsorship of Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino and Veteran employee resource organizations. As we identify how we will further our DEI efforts at the Company, Guillermo will be a key partner in guiding how best to achieve our goals, while amplifying the voices of our diverse workforce in our restaurants.”

“We are very pleased to have partnered with Diversified Search in identifying Guillermo as a new Board member, and we’re delighted to leverage his breadth of technology experience and a strong track record for accelerating culture through people, process, and technology, as it adds a unique perspective to our Board,” said David L. Goebel, Chairman of the Board at Jack in the Box Inc. “We believe the expertise Guillermo brings to our Board will enhance our ongoing efforts to drive growth, accelerate our digital transformation and create shareholder value.”

Diaz began his career in telecommunications with the U.S. Navy, where he received a military scholarship that led to his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Regis University in Colorado. Prior to Cisco, Guillermo held senior IT leadership positions with Silicon Graphics, Intelligent Electronics, now owned by Ingram Micro, and Alza Corporation, now owned by Johnson & Johnson.

About Jack in the Box Inc.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), founded and headquartered in San Diego, California, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box®, one of the nation's largest hamburger chains with more than 2,200 restaurants across 21 states, and Del Taco®, the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the U.S. with approximately 600 restaurants across 16 states. For more information on both brands, including franchising opportunities, visit www.jackinthebox.com and www.deltaco.com.

View source version at Jack in the Box

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