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Executive Movements - October 2023

Domino's® Appoints New Executive Vice President of Human Resources

16 Oct, 2023, 16:05 ET

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Domino's Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world, has named Sam Jackson its executive vice president of human resources, reporting directly to Chief Executive Officer Russell Weiner, effective Nov. 4. Jackson joined Domino's in 2018 as the vice president of human resources, developing and driving talent strategies for the company. In that role, he led the human resource business partners teams, as well as the company's pandemic and future of work strategies. Most recently he served as vice president for the office of the CEO – a position he's held since April 2022. "Sam's many years of global experience in human resources across organizations and roles, as well as his understanding of our company, our business priorities and strategies, make him uniquely qualified to fill this role," Weiner said. Prior to joining Domino's, Jackson spent almost 12 years at Target where he held various roles across real estate, supply chain, store design and human resources, inclusive of leading human resources for Target's headquarters in India. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Brigham Young University, as well as a Juris Doctorate from Hamline School of Law, where he focused in dispute resolution and employment/labor law. About Domino's Pizza® Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world's top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 20,000 stores in over 90 markets. Domino's had global retail sales of over $17.5 billion in 2022, with over $8.7 billion in the U.S. and nearly $8.8 billion internationally. In the third quarter of 2023, Domino's had global retail sales of over $4.2 billion, with nearly $2.1 billion in the U.S. and over $2.1 billion internationally. Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 99% of Domino's stores as of the end of the third quarter of 2023. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino's achieve approximately two-thirds of all global retail sales in 2022 from digital channels. In the U.S., Domino's generated more than 80% of U.S. retail sales in 2022 via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, text-to-order and more. In 2023, Domino's launched Pinpoint Delivery, a new technology that allows customers to receive a delivery nearly anywhere, including places like parks, baseball fields and beaches.

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Focus Brands Appoints New Supply Chain, Customer Engagement and Digital Leaders

16 Oct, 2023, 09:00 ET

ATLANTA, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, McAlister's Deli®, Moe's Southwest Grill® and Schlotzsky's®, today announced the addition of three new leaders to its supply chain, digital, and customer engagement functions. The following executives will be leading these key business functions within the company:

  1. Christopher McNutt, SVP of Supply Chain

  2. Urvi Patel, SVP of Customer Engagement & Experience

  3. Manuel Valdes, SVP of Digital, Data & Marketing Technology "At Focus Brands, we've invested in platforms, tools and resources to support our brands' ability to grow. More importantly, we're investing in the right talent to build industry-best technology and supply chain capabilities," said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands. "The addition of top-tier talent like these three individuals to our organization ensures continued success for our brands and franchisees." Christopher McNutt is Focus Brands' new SVP of Supply Chain. He will be responsible for overseeing the supply chain, distribution, logistics and quality assurance functions for all seven brands in the Focus Brands portfolio globally. This role is responsible for strategic planning and directing all aspects of policies, objectives and initiatives for each supply chain function to ensure adaptable and scalable solutions. He will lead the Supply Chain team in creating even more value for brand franchisees, identifying and capturing synergies across all brands, leveraging combined purchasing power, and providing shared capabilities. Chris brings more than 20 years of experience in pricing, logistics and supply chain to Focus Brands. A trusted advisor in the industry, he serves as Treasurer on the National Restaurant Association Supply Chain Expert Exchange Board. For the past 17 years, Chris has held senior leadership positions at Centralized Supply Chain Services LLC, the purchasing cooperative for Applebee's and IHOP. Urvi Patel has been promoted to Focus Brands' Executive Leadership Team and named SVP of Customer Experience and Engagement, leading customer engagement and loyalty, branded currency, revenue management, insights and digital experience. Joining the company in 2019 as the Vice President of Insights, Analytics and Revenue Management, she successfully spearheaded a Voice of the Customer program that provides multi-dimensional insights for all seven brands. With over 20 years of experience in leading cross-functional business teams and tackling complex business challenges, Urvi brings a unique perspective to her role, leveraging her expertise in corporate and brand strategy, franchisee engagement, and analytics. Prior to joining Focus Brands, she spent 10 years with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where she progressively advanced through numerous leadership positions across the organization, including Owner and Franchise Services, Corporate Strategy and New Brand Strategy. Urvi started her career in Corporate Finance at Ernst & Young in London, England and continued to grow her career in M&A and business valuation in Atlanta at The Home Depot and Kroll. Manuel Valdes joins the company as SVP of Digital, Data & Marketing Technology. In this newly created role, he will build and lead the technology strategy for Focus Brands' digital and data platforms, AI and machine learning-based analytics as well as marketing and advertising technologies. Manuel is a seasoned technology leader with over 30 years of experience in digital and e-commerce transformation throughout industries and markets worldwide. Previously, Manuel served as the Chief Technology Officer of Central Group in Thailand where he executed a comprehensive multi-year digital and e-commerce transformation across the company's entire portfolio, including department stores, groceries, electronics, and international operations in Europe, Vietnam and Asia. About Focus Brands Atlanta-based Focus Brands® is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. As of June 25, 2023, Focus Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,600 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in all 50 states and over 60 countries and territories under the Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's® brand names, as well as the Seattle's Best Coffee® brand on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

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Denny’s Hires Pankaj Patra as Chief Digital and Technology Officer

October 13, 2023 08:30 ET

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Oct. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Denny’s Corporation (the "Company") (NASDAQ: DENN), owner and operator of Denny's Inc. ("Denny's") and Keke's Inc. ("Keke's"), today announced the hiring of Pankaj Patra as Chief Digital and Technology Officer (CDTO). This is a newly created enterprise role that will include support for Denny’s and Keke’s. Patra will be responsible for accelerating the company’s capabilities across all specialties within the Digital, Technology and Information functions. “Our restaurant teams and our guests rely on technology to enable a seamless experience, which makes the work that our IT team does absolutely critical,” said Kelli Valade, CEO, Denny’s. “We are excited to add Pankaj to the team to help us build on the solid foundation already in place, while leading us in identifying new, relevant and innovative solutions to serve our guests, employees and franchisees in the future.” Patra comes to Denny’s from Brinker International, Inc., where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, responsible for overseeing information technology and data security for the company and its restaurants brands. Patra brings 25 years of experience as an innovative enterprise technology architect, digital strategist and information technology leader. “Denny’s is an iconic restaurant company that understands and values the connection between great people and smart technology. I am looking forward to working collaboratively across the company to identify opportunities for improvement and implement exciting, innovative, transformative solutions,” said Patra. Patra earned his undergraduate degree from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela and went on to attain his MBA from Southern Methodist University. He is a member of the Dallas chapter of the International Food and Beverage Technology Association. Patra is based in Dallas and will assume the position effective October 30, 2023. Michael Furlow, Denny’s Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, will remain on staff through the end of the year to support the transition. For more information, please visit

About Denny’s Corporation

Denny’s Corporation is one of America’s largest full-service restaurant chains based on number of restaurants. As of June 28, 2023, the Company consisted of 1,646 restaurants, 1,572 of which were franchised and licensed restaurants and 74 of which were company operated.

Denny's Corporation consists of the Denny’s brand and the Keke’s brand. As of June 28, 2023, the Denny's brand consisted of 1,591 global restaurants, 1,525 of which were franchised and licensed restaurants and 66 of which were company operated. As of June 28, 2023, the Keke's brand consisted of 55 restaurants, 47 of which were franchised restaurants and 8 of which were company operated.

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Sonny's BBQ Announces Keith Berger as Senior Director of Information Technology

13 Oct, 2023, 08:33 ET

Berger will oversee the company's IT infrastructure and system integrations, and help the brand implement new technologies  ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Sonny's BBQ, the mission-driven BBQ restaurant known for quality BBQ and spreading kindness in the communities they serve, today announced the hiring of Keith Berger as the Senior Director of IT. Berger brings with him a wealth of IT experience and proven leadership to the brand. In his role, Berger will spearhead the development and implementation of Sonny's BBQ's information technology strategy, provide expert and strategic counsel to the leadership team, and drive transformational change and innovation within the company. "We're excited to welcome Keith and leverage his knowledge and expertise to shape a new vision for technology that supports our people-first strategic priorities," said Billy Brewer, COO of Sonny's BBQ. "Keith has shown remarkable skill and knowledge in the field of information technology as well as operations, and his guidance will be instrumental in establishing our business as a trailblazer of innovation within the restaurant industry." Berger's career path has built expertise in large-scale enterprise information technology. For 25 years, he worked at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts within the IT department, supporting and developing a wide variety of business solutions. Some of his most notable Disney accomplishments include the grand opening of Disney Hong Kong and joining Disney's Next Generation Concept team to roll out the transformative $1.5 billion Magic Band guest experience project. After a brief period with SeaWorld Corporate, he moved to Mexico to work for Grupo Vidanta leading technical development of Five Diamond Hotels, Theme Parks, Cruise Line, Restaurants, Nightclubs and Dayclubs. Later, Berger moved back to the United States and joined Bluegreen Vacations as AVP of Business Solutions, driving system wide architectural standards, system support and further development in all business units. Technology Solutions Crafted for People Experience As the Senior Director of IT, Berger aims to seek holistic customer experience (CX) technology solutions that Sonny's BBQ franchisees require to competitively serve guests in the increasingly digital restaurant landscape. "As a native Floridian, I've been a fan of Sonny's BBQ my entire life. I'm thrilled to be working for a mission-driven organization during this pivotal shift towards more digital offerings and solutions," said Berger. "The role of technology in the restaurant industry is more important than ever. I'm lucky to be at a company that is able to balance the ongoing technological innovation with their commitment to maintaining a people-first culture and guest experience." Among his priorities, Berger will oversee the company's IT infrastructure and system integrations, while implementing and managing robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information. For more, visit or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube. Franchise opportunities can be found at About Sonny's BBQ With nearly 100 locations spanning the southeast, Sonny's BBQ® is one of the largest barbecue restaurant brands in the country. Its signature pulled pork, sweet tea, and unique appetizers have afforded the restaurant the title of "Best Barbecue Chain in America" by The Daily Meal. Floyd "Sonny" Tillman and his wife, Lucille, founded Sonny's BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local BBQ joint for their community to enjoy. 55 years later, Sonny's BBQ continues to do just that under the direction of CEO Jamie Yarmuth and local pitmasters spreading the spirit of BBQ in each of their communities through the Q the Kindness and Random Acts of BBQ initiatives. The brand gives back more than $1.2 million annually across the eight states it serves, and reaches tens of thousands of community members with its generosity. Sonny's BBQ is a leader in the hospitality industry with its commitment to creating unique consumer experiences, ability and willingness to utilize cutting-edge technology, and network of successful franchisee relationships. For information and to find the Sonny's BBQ location closest to you, please visit 

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Diversified Restaurant Group Names Ben Marmor New Chief Financial and Strategy Officer

October 11, 2023

Las Vegas, NV  (  Diversified Restaurant Group (DRG), a multi-brand quick-service restaurant franchisee and one of the largest franchisees of Taco Bell, has named Ben Marmor its new Chief Financial and Strategy Officer. Marmor will be responsible for managing and leading the financial initiatives of DRG. Marmor’s experience spans a multitude of functions, company types, and services, including consumer packaged goods manufacturing, distribution, consulting, and financial services. He has worked with renowned brands like Duraflame and Jack Daniel’s and has a deep understanding of various sectors. He also has been awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. “Ben’s extensive experience, proven track record, and strategic financial expertise make him an exceptional fit for our team,” said Diversified Restaurant Group CEO and President SG Ellison. “We look forward to his leadership as we continue our growth in this ever-changing business environment.” Before joining DRG, Marmor was the CFO of Duraflame. He has also served as VP of Finance for the West Region of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where his strategic financial insights greatly impacted the company’s success. “I look forward to driving Diversified Restaurant Group’s profitable growth and developing a world-class financial team for one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees,” said Marmor, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at Diversified Restaurant Group. “It’s an exciting time to join the company as we seek to aggressively expand our operation.” Marmor earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Richmond. For more information about Diversified Restaurant Group, visit About Diversified Restaurant Group Diversified Restaurant Group is a restaurant business comprised of owners and operators working to innovate and grow with quick service and fast casual brands across the country. What started as a limited partnership in a 30-unit Taco Bell franchise in 2012, has since grown into a 350+ unit, multi-brand QSR operation with restaurants in Nevada, California, Kansas, Missouri and Alaska.

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Paris Baguette Names Eric Lavinder as Chief Development Officer, to Lead the Next Phase of Growth for the Brand

October 9, 2023

Lavinder is an industry veteran bringing over two decades of knowledge and expertise in the Restaurant & franchise space having led both Development and Operations. Moonachie, NJ  (  Paris Baguette, the 4,000-plus-unit global bakery café concept nearing 150 cafes in the U.S. alone, has welcomed Eric Lavinder to the C-Suite as its new Chief Development Officer. Prior to joining Paris Baguette, Lavinder was the Chief Development Officer for Duck Donuts and before that, WOWorks. “I am thrilled to have joined the Paris Baguette Team. This is an incredible brand with amazing growth and a strong future trajectory. The expertly crafted baked goods and made to order beverages are made with only the finest and freshest ingredients. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the Paris Baguette brand at such a key inflection point in the North American growth.” “We are excited to welcome Eric to the team,” said Tipton. “He has a rich history and track record in both restaurants and franchising, and his passion for developing people and brands will be crucial as Paris Baguette continues to grow at an exponential rate.” Throughout his career, Lavinder has worked in various disciplines from finance to operations. He ultimately found his true passion on the development front, specifically working within franchise business models. Lavinder noted that being involved in the entire development process from start to finish was especially fulfilling. “Helping franchisees through the process and seeing their success as local owners is truly rewarding.” As he supports Paris Baguette in reaching its goal of 1,000 U.S. units by 2030, Lavinder acknowledges that there is a challenging goal ahead of the system, but he says that the business is set up well for the feat. Year to date, the franchisor has signed 98 deals and plans to open a total of 64 cafés before the year ends. In addition to impressive franchise growth, the brand is demonstrating its favorability among guests with continued increases in guest count and average unit volume. “More importantly, the challenge is part of what makes the task so exciting,” explained Lavinder, “and there is a network of passionate franchisees and corporate leaders standing behind the Paris Baguette name and its growth goals. Having passion, being excited and loving what you do, as well as building a great team and culture are all very important to me. When you love what you do and can bring the passion, the excitement, the energy and the right people in the right places, and you can all get them functioning and working together, you’re unstoppable.” About Paris Baguette Paris Baguette is a bakery café franchise with more than 4,000 units across the globe. The brand first started franchising in 2015 and has since established nearly 150 locations in markets across the country, making it one of the premier franchise opportunities in its category. Paris Baguette’s primary mission, executed every day by its expert staff of bakers, cakers and baristas, is to share moments of joy with customers and help customers share moments of joy with their friends and family by providing world-class cakes, pastries, coffees, breads and other French-inspired bakery café fare. For more information, please visit

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El Pollo Loco Names Jill Adams New Chief Marketing Officer

October 5, 2023

The appointment underscores the chains ongoing commitment to brand marketing and digital acceleration Costa Mesa, CA  (  El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain, announced today the appointment of Jill Adams as the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Ms. Adams has spent over 14 years in the restaurant industry. She served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at QDOBA® Mexican Eats, leading creative, media, loyalty, product development, and CRM. Prior to joining QDOBA® Mexican Eats, Ms. Adams worked at Jack in the Box, Inc. holding various leadership roles in field marketing, product marketing, menu strategy, integrated marketing, and innovation & growth. Most recently Ms. Adams was the Vice President of Marketing at Mister Car Wash, the largest and only public car wash in North America with over 450 locations. While at Mister Car Wash, Ms. Adams led the launch of the company’s first mobile app and e-commerce site, doubling membership in less than 3 years. She also helped drive 10 consecutive quarters of revenue and EBITDA growth. “We are thrilled to welcome Jill into her new role at the company,” El Pollo Loco CEO Larry Roberts said. “She’s a strong and engaging leader with a proven track record leading brand strategy and marketing communications to drive growth and profitability, and her skills and talents will be a vital asset to El Pollo Loco’s marketing efforts.” In her new role as CMO, Ms. Adams will be responsible for overseeing all marketing and brand strategy functions, including menu and new product development, advertising and public relations, digital and social media and consumer engagement for El Pollo Loco’s 492 company and franchise restaurants in seven states. For more information, visit About El Pollo Loco El Pollo Loco (Nasdaq:LOCO) is the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant with a mission to bring people together around food, family, and culture in the communities it serves. El Pollo Loco is renowned for its handcrafted food, an innovative blend of traditional Mexican cuisine and better-for-you eating. Since 1980, El Pollo Loco has successfully opened and maintained 492 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Louisiana while remaining true to its Mexican-American heritage. El Pollo Loco continues to grow and evolve, nourishing connections to tradition, culture, and one another through fire-grilled goodness that makes us feel like familia. For more information, visit us at

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Beans & Brews Coffeehouse Names Chad Gretzema as New CEO to Fuel Growth

Wednesday, 04 October 2023 09:40

Coffeehouse Franchise Brewing up 100 Locations by 2025 SALT LAKE CITY, UT / ACCESSWIRE / October 4, 2023 / As part of its strategy for nationwide expansion, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse is fortifying its executive team to enhance growth and franchise support with the appointment of Chad Gretzema as its Chief Executive Officer. With nearly three decades of multi-unit food and beverage leadership experience, Gretzema brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the Beans & Brews team. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Brand President of Del Taco, where he led 600 franchise and company restaurants. During his tenure with Del Taco, he served in various leadership roles including SVP of Strategic Planning and Chief Operating Officer as the brand logged 32 consecutive quarters of franchise same-store sales growth. He brings extensive experience in the coffee and breakfast category having served in multiple marketing and operations roles at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group where he played a pivotal role in scaling the Einstein Bros., Noah's NY Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel brands. Jeff and Kevin Laramie, co-founders of Beans & Brews Coffeehouse, expressed their enthusiasm about Gretzema's ability to lead the company in this next chapter of growth. The pair will continue to serve on the company's board of directors and will remain significant shareholders. "The journey with Beans & Brews has been the greatest of our lives. Over the years, we have seen our company evolve, innovate, and grow - achieving milestones that we could have only dreamed of when we first embarked on this adventure," said Jeff Laramie, former CEO. "We believe that with Chad at the helm, the company is poised to achieve even greater heights. His passion for building brands and supporting franchisees along with his proven track record of success make him the perfect fit for our brand." "I couldn't be more excited to join Beans & Brews Coffeehouse as we accelerate growth," Gretzema said. "Jeff and Kevin Laramie have built a special brand that resonates deeply with its communities and amazing teams in the restaurants. The brand has not only built a devoted following in its existing footprint but is also witnessing strong success as it expands to new states. With our proprietary high-altitude roasted coffee beverages, signature energy drinks and really attractive unit level economics it is not surprising that the franchisee development demand is at an all-time high." Beans & Brews has recently signed new development deals in San Antonio and Austin with commitments to open 40 new stores in these regions. The coffee franchise also awarded 29 other franchise agreements in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, with additional agreements in the works for Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. Beans & Brews Coffeehouse offers an incredible franchise opportunity, with its unique blend of signature and differentiated beverages, a highly attractive business model and rewarding opportunity for business owners to contribute to their communities. ### About Beans & Brews Coffeehouse Founded in 1993 and franchising since 2004, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse first opened its doors in Salt Lake City, where it became known as the Home of High-Altitude Roasting®. The brand roasts all its coffee in the Salt Lake Mountain valley at the lowest possible temperature for the least possible amount of time to achieve a smoother, more intense flavor. Beans & Brews Coffeehouse also offers a full menu of energy drinks, teas, custom sodas, frozen drinks, and a variety of delicious food options. The brand works to provide a fun, friendly space where everyone is welcome. Through its Brew Good program, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse focuses on serving the communities where it operates by making consistent donations to different local organizations. Since opening its doors nearly 30 years ago, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse has expanded across four states with 69 locations opened and a strong pipeline in development. For more information about Beans & Brews Coffeehouse, please visit To learn more about the franchising opportunity, visit

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Artistry Restaurants Names New CEO, Partner

September 29, 2023

Winter Park, FL  (  Artistry Restaurants, the Winter Park-based restaurant platform announced two key promotions within its leadership team today: Mark Kirke, previously Chief Restaurant Officer (CRO) and Partner, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Partner, and Daniel Harf, formerly Chief Concept Officer (CCO), is now CCO and Partner. With restaurants throughout the Southeast, Artistry Restaurants brands include Oak & Stone, Boca, Shrimp Basket, Atlantic Beer and Oyster and Sandbar Amelia Island. Kirke has served as CRO and Partner for Artistry since 2021, serving as CEO of Shrimp Basket prior to joining Artistry’s executive team. He has also served in leadership roles at Red Door Woodfired Grill and P.F. Chang’s. In his position as CEO, Kirke is responsible for overseeing operations across all of Artistry’s restaurants and brands. “Mark’s leadership as part of the executive team and his background as leader of one of our brands make him the perfect fit for CEO of Artistry Restaurants,” said Barry Goff, Managing Partner of Artistry Restaurants. “Artistry has plans for immense growth over the next 5 years, and Mark is in a unique position to steward that growth for us.” Harf brings an extensive background in concept development and prior to joining Artistry, served as Chief Concept Officer (CCO) for Tavistock Restaurant Collection. He has served as Artistry’s CCO since 2021 and is responsible for overseeing concept development, brand management, and brand strategy for Artistry’s brand and its restaurants. Harf played a pivotal role in the acquisition of the company’s three most recent concepts: Boca, Sandbar Amelia Island and Oak & Stone. About Artistry Restaurants Artistry Restaurants is a diverse restaurant platform on a mission to spread joy because people matter.?Artistry strives to create value through the acquisition, consolidation, operation, and expansion of attractive restaurant brands. The Artistry Collection is currently made up of five brands and 29 restaurants and is actively growing. For more information, visit

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FAT Brands Announces Two Additional Board Members

September 28, 2023 16:30 ET

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc. announces the appointment of two new Directors to its Board, James G. Ellis and John M. Allen. With the additions, the Board size will increase from 12 to 14. Mr. Ellis and Mr. Allen will serve as independent directors, with Mr. Ellis also joining the Audit Committee of the Board.

Mr. Ellis served as the Dean of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California from 2007 until June 2019. Prior to his appointment as Dean in April 2007, Mr. Ellis was the Vice Provost, Globalization, for USC and prior to that was Vice Dean, External Relations. Mr. Ellis was also a professor in the Marketing Department of the Marshall School of Business from 1997 until his retirement in 2021. Mr. Ellis continues to serve on the boards of directors of a number of other public and private companies. Mr. Ellis received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of New Mexico and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Mr. Allen is a retired restaurant operator, having served as the founder, owner and operator of Pacific Way Bakery & Café. Mr. Allen received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois.

“Jim and John bring valuable insight and are both deeply respected in their communities,” said Andy Wiederhorn, Chairman of FAT Brands. “We are grateful to have them on the team and look forward to leveraging their insights to continue growth for our franchisees and returns for our shareholders.”

For more information on FAT Brands, visit

About FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands FAT Brands (NASDAQ: FAT) is a leading global franchising company that strategically acquires, markets, and develops fast casual, quick-service, casual dining, and polished casual dining concepts around the world. The Company currently owns 18 restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Twin Peaks, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Buffalo’s Cafe & Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Smokey Bones, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses, and franchises and owns over 2,300 units worldwide. For more information on FAT Brands, please visit

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26 Sep, 2023, 09:30 ET

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, the award-winning restaurant and sports bar brand, is proud to announce the addition of two accomplished professionals, Chris Porcelli and Jennifer Pecoraro-Striepling, to its executive team. Chris Porcelli joins the company as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), while Jennifer Pecoraro-Striepling takes on the role of Chief Development Officer (CDO) – as CEO Chris Dawson continues elevating the brand's C-Suite with these latest leadership hires after being appointed to guide the company earlier this year.

"Building a best-in-class leadership team who carry experience growing and leading successful franchise brands is essential for company success. Both Chris and Jennifer bring a wealth of experience and proven leadership in their respective fields, which will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux," said Chris Dawson, CEO of Walk-On's. "Their expertise will be instrumental in driving our brand forward, enhancing our financial performance, and expanding our presence. These additions signify our commitment to excellence and innovation, and we can't wait to see the positive impact they will have on our brand." As the newly appointed CFO, Porcelli will lead finance, accounting, analytics, supply chain and human resources for the brand. He comes to Walk-On's with over 15 years of extensive accounting and operations experience. Most recently, he served for six years with Driven Brands, the largest automotive services company in North America. Prior to joining Walk-On's, Chris held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Maaco, where he steered the company and its franchisees through the COVID-19 pandemic. His data-driven strategy resulted in record-breaking sales and profitability, marking a historic milestone for the 50-year-old brand. Chris holds a CPA license, a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Taxation from Hofstra University. "I'm excited to lead Walk-On's on a transformative journey by making strategic investments in our support and infrastructure. We're laying the groundwork for a data-driven, best-in-class, scalable platform that will not only meet our current needs but also propel us into the future," said Chris Porcelli, Chief Financial Officer of Walk-On's. "Our commitment to innovation and excellence will ensure that Walk-On's remains a frontrunner in the industry and continues to exceed expectations as we eye expansion." Jennifer Pecoraro-Striepling, the new CDO at Walk-On's, is a high-performing global development leader renowned for her diverse expertise in design, construction, facilities, real estate, and franchising. Prior to joining Walk-On's, she established an impressive track record of driving growth, fostering collaborative teams, and implementing robust processes for world-class brands like Papa Johns, Bloomin Brands, and Darden Restaurants. A trailblazer and thought-leader who strives for innovation in the constant evolution of restaurant development, Pecoraro-Striepling will be tasked with overseeing Walk-On's development initiatives as the brand continues its nationwide expansion. "I'm thrilled to take on the role of Chief Development Officer at Walk-On's, and my focus is clear. We are dedicated to elevating our development efforts to new heights while navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the restaurant industry," said Jennifer Pecoraro-Striepling, Chief Development Officer of Walk-On's. "My aim is to foster growth by implementing innovative strategies and building collaborative teams. We will be at the forefront of change, enhancing the development side of Walk-On's to ensure our brand not only thrives but leads in this dynamic industry." With Porcelli's financial acumen and Pecoraro-Striepling's strategic development expertise, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux is poised for continued success and growth in the competitive restaurant industry today and beyond. About Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, celebrated as the #1 Sports Bar in America by ESPN, is a nationally recognized restaurant and sports bar that brings together the love of food, sports, and community. Concepted on the back of a napkin by LSU walk-on basketball players Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux opened its doors in 2003 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, right in LSU's backyard. With a winning culture inspired by the grit, hustle and true spirit of a college walk-on, the brand has become a beloved destination for sports enthusiasts, families, and friends to celebrate any occasion. The menu boasts scratch-made dishes including hand-patted burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and Louisiana favorites, paired with a wide selection of unique cocktails and beers. Walk-On's, grounded in genuine Louisiana hospitality, ensures that guests feel right at home the moment they step into the restaurant. Entering its 20th year with nearly100 restaurants in the U.S., Walk-On's is accelerating nationwide expansion – ranked #1 by Entrepreneur for Top New Franchise and consistently ranking in Top 500 lists for Restaurant Business, Entrepreneur, Franchise Times, and Nation's Restaurant News. Walk-On's success and growth are a testament to its passionate franchise partners, including renowned athletes in co-owner Drew Brees, as well as franchisee's Dak Prescott, Derrick Brooks, and football coach Dabo Swinney. To learn more about Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux or to get more information on becoming a franchisee, please visit

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Eataly Appoints New CEO North America

September 26, 2023 01:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eataly (‘the Group’), the international Italian restaurant and retail group, today announces the appointment of Tommaso Brusò as the new CEO of North America with effect from 2 October 2023. Tommaso Brusò joins from Colourful Standard (part of RTG Group), the sustainable essentials clothing brand, where he was Group CEO. He was previously global COO for Benetton Group, where he spent a significant period of time in the US. Prior to that, he was CEO of Diesel North America from 2013-2017, CEO of Furla Americas from 2008-2013, and CEO of Fedon for the United States from 2004-2008. He has significant senior leadership experience with retail brands and a strong track record of growth for these brands across North America. Eataly opened its first store in North America in 2010 in New York, Flatiron. Today, it has 9 stores across the region in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley and Toronto. It is planning to open an additional five stores in North America in the next two years as part of an ambitious growth strategy to open a total of 20 stores in North America over the next five years. Internationally, Eataly operates 47 stores in 16 countries across four continents including Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The Group attracts 50 million visitors to its stores annually and employs 5,300. It has annualised revenues of approx. €700 million. “To continue with the Group’s growth in North America we are welcoming an Italian Manager with great experience in the USA like Tommaso Brusò.” – Comments Andrea Cipolloni, Group CEO Eataly – “Given our significant growth ambitions in North America, the CEO North America position is a newly created role. Tommaso arrives at an important time for the Group and will be instrumental to the development and growth of a market of primary importance for Eataly. His role involves close collaboration with the new senior management who have joined the company in recent months.” “I am very excited and honored to be joining Eataly. Living in NYC for many years, I have always been a big fan of this brand, which represents the extraordinary Italian food experience.” comments Tommaso Brusò – “Food together with fashion, are globally recognized as Italian excellences and I believe that my significant experience in the fashion industry will make a strong contribution to taking the Eataly brand to the next level. I look forward to working with our team and stakeholders to expand the Group, always supported by the best-in-class operations for our community.” Eataly is well-known for its high quality, delicious Italian food which is made and can be ordered in its restaurants and purchased in its adjoining stores. The Group sources its 25,000 Italian products from 2,300 selected producers to guarantee quality and taste. Eataly was first established in Monticello D'Alba (Cuneo) in 2007 as a concept to gather high quality Italian food at sustainable and reasonable prices, to celebrate Italian biodiversity, and to create an informal, natural and simple place to eat, shop and learn all under one roof. Eataly also provides cooking classes, tastings and events. The Group has a strong focus on sustainability choosing to work with small-scale producers who share its values for sustainable and environmentally-friend practices, and provide fair treatment for workers. The new CEO North America appointment follows the appointment of Eataly Group CEO, Andrea Cipolloni in November 2022 and the subsequent senior management appointments of a new CFO, COO and Head of HR earlier this year. The Group’s majority shareholder, Investindustrial, the independent European investment firm, primarily investing in Southern Europe, announced in September 2022 its investment of €200 million to support the growth of the business. About Eataly Eataly, founded in 2003 by Oscar Farinetti, is the sole global operator in the Italian food landscape combining high-end Italian food restaurants and quality Italian food retail. The company integrates food production, sales, dining, and Italian food related educational activities within its unique concept of multichannel store. Eataly is a truly unique concept, as it is the only Italian food retail company that is genuinely international. It also symbolizes Italian cuisine and, more broadly, high-quality Made in Italy products worldwide. Currently, Eataly operates 47 stores in 16 countries, including Italy, the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and Brazil, and is implementing a significant plan for new openings in some of the world's major cities. The Group, headquartered in Monticello D'Alba (Cuneo), has a turnover of approximately €700 million. Additional information is available at

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Krispy Kreme Promotes Josh Charlesworth to CEO

Longtime CEO Michael Tattersfield to Remain on the Board and Transition to Senior Advisor and Krispy Kreme Ambassador, Effective January 1, 2024

Josh Charlesworth named Krispy Kreme CEO, effective January 1, 2024

September 25, 2023 07:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Krispy Kreme, Inc. (NASDAQ:DNUT) today named Josh Charlesworth as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2024. Mr. Charlesworth brings decades of experience overseeing consumer brands, and most recently served as Krispy Kreme’s Global President and Chief Operating Officer after joining the company in 2017. As part of the company’s succession plan, Mr. Charlesworth will succeed Michael Tattersfield, who has held the role since 2017 and led a significant expansion and transformation, resulting in revenue growing from $550 million in 2016 to more than an expected $1.6 billion in 2023. Mr. Tattersfield will remain on the Krispy Kreme Board, serve as a Senior Advisor and Krispy Kreme Ambassador, and continue to be a significant investor in the company. "Today, we celebrate the transformation of Krispy Kreme under Mike’s leadership, as it grew from a complex, multi-product primarily-US model to a more global, capital efficient hub-and-spoke omni-channel model, focused on delivering fresh, awesome doughnuts, all while nearly doubling the adjusted EBITDA of the business,” said Olivier Goudet, Chairman of Krispy Kreme’s Board of Directors. “Mike re-ignited the iconic Krispy Kreme magic, and we are grateful he has decided to stay on the Board and be an ambassador for Krispy Kreme. At the same time, we are incredibly excited to appoint Josh to CEO as he has played a critical role in Krispy Kreme’s growth for the last six years and will now lead the company’s next chapter of success and value creation.” “I couldn’t be happier to transition the CEO role to Josh,” said Mr. Tattersfield. “Transforming the Krispy Kreme brand and culture has been a highlight of my career, and I am truly grateful for our amazing Krispy Kremers who continue to inspire me. Josh’s shared passion for the brand, our Krispy Kremers, and freakin’ awesome doughnuts gives me the utmost confidence in our continued success and I look forward to watching all he’ll accomplish.” Mr. Charlesworth has served in various Krispy Kreme leadership roles, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Global President. He will now assume his new role during a strong period of growth at the company. Through the implementation of its growing omni-channel sales strategy and asset-light distribution model, Krispy Kreme has delivered four consecutive quarters of double-digit organic revenue growth while expanding its global reach. The company is also reaffirming full year 2023 guidance and continues to trend toward the middle to the higher end of the revenue and adjusted EBITDA ranges. “The opportunity to lead such an incredible Krispy Kreme team is both an honor and a privilege,” said Mr. Charlesworth. “Together, we will continue to make fantastic, fresh doughnuts conveniently available to more and more consumers around the world. I want to thank Mike for the strong foundation he has built as we pursue our goal to become the world’s most loved sweet treat brand.” About Krispy Kreme Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Krispy Kreme is one of the most beloved and well-known sweet treat brands in the world. Our iconic Original Glazed® doughnut is universally recognized for its hot-off-the-line, melt-in-your-mouth experience. Krispy Kreme operates in more than 30 countries through its unique network of fresh doughnut shops, partnerships with leading retailers, and a rapidly growing Ecommerce and delivery business with nearly 13,000 fresh points of access. Our purpose of touching and enhancing lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme guides how we operate every day and is reflected in the love we have for our people, our communities and the planet. Connect with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at, or on one of its many social media channels, including and

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Panera Brands Appoints Patrick Grismer to Lead Independent Director and Michael Tattersfield to Board of Directors

Tattersfield to become Board Chairman in January 2024

Both appointments are another step in preparing Panera’s upcoming IPO

September 25, 2023 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panera Brands today announced the appointments of Board Member Patrick Grismer to Lead Independent Director and Michael Tattersfield to the Panera Brands Board of Directors, effective immediately. The appointments are another step in the preparation of Panera’s upcoming IPO. Mr. Grismer, who joined the Board in 2022, currently Chairs the Board’s Audit Committee, and brings extensive financial experience including nine years as a public company CFO at Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, and Yum! Brands. Mr. Tattersfield is a highly seasoned, world-class brand builder, having led Krispy Kreme through significant growth and transformation as CEO over the past seven years. He also has significant public company experience, including having been CEO of Caribou Coffee Company. Mr. Tattersfield will be appointed Chairman of the Board in January 2024 and together with Mr. Grismer will help oversee and support the Panera team. “We are thrilled to appoint Pat to Lead Independent Director and welcome Mike to the Panera Board of Directors as we continue to evolve the company’s business and governance structure in preparation for its important next chapter positioning the company to go public,” said Panera CEO José Alberto Dueñas. “Both are proven leaders with a strong track record of driving long-term value creation.” David Bell, Senior Partner at JAB, commented, “We are delighted to welcome Mike to the Board and support Pat’s step into the Lead Independent Director role, both of which are another step in our process of assembling a group of world-class industry veterans to oversee and support the next phase of the company’s growth as a public company.” Over the last two years, Panera Brands companies have continued to drive rapid innovation, combining leading competencies in digital and loyalty, craveable food innovation, a first of its kind Unlimited Sip Club subscription program, new franchise partnerships and new convenience-focused, digitally driven store formats, with best in industry café leadership and teams, building an unrivaled fast casual platform with tremendous runway for growth. Panera Bread has continued to expand its leading digital capabilities, which today account for 51% of total sales, while increasing its loyalty base to 53 million members and launching an innovative loyalty subscription model that has resulted in 25% of all Panera transactions now coming from Unlimited Sip Club members. Panera Brands generated more than $4.8 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2022. About Panera Brands Panera Bread opened in 1987 as a community bakery, founded with a secret sourdough starter and a belief that sharing great bread is an expression of warmth and generosity. That vision holds true today with a robust menu of delicious, chef-curated recipes created with a simple principle: The Familiar, Made Fantastic™. At Panera, we serve food that we are proud to serve our own families, made with responsibly raised proteins and freshly prepared with Clean ingredients--food that does not contain the artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors from artificial sources set forth on our No-No list served in U.S. bakery-cafes. From crave-worthy soups, salads and sandwiches to flatbread pizza and sweets, we offer our guests more than great food. Our ethos of generosity drives us to meet our guests where they are through technology and through our shared values. We are stewards of our communities and the planet — with programs like Day-End Dough-Nation® that donates unsold baked goods in the evening to local non-profits, or labeling climate-friendly low carbon Cool Food Meals. As of August 29, 2023 there were 2,131 bakery-cafes, company and franchise, in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Panera Bread is part of Panera Brands, one of the largest fast casual restaurant companies in the U.S., comprised of Panera Bread®, Caribou Coffee® and Einstein Bros.® Bagels. For more information, visit or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook ( Instagram (@panerabread) or TikTok (@panerabread).

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Red Lobster Names Horace Dawson Chief Executive Officer

September 21, 2023

Orlando, FL  (  Red Lobster® announces Horace Dawson has been named the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company and is joining the company’s board.  Since 2014, Dawson served as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Red Lobster where he led legal affairs and was responsible for communications, risk management and government relations. Dawson is a 30-year restaurant industry veteran having served as the Vice President and Division General Counsel for Darden Restaurants, Inc., and Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel of Hard Rock Cafe International. Dawson also practiced in the entertainment, securities, corporate and communications areas for Telemundo Network, the Spanish language television broadcaster and for New York City law firms. Dawson also has experience in private practice, having handled matters in the corporate and securities areas of Akerman LLP. “I am very excited to be stepping into the role of CEO for Red Lobster. This is an important time for our brand. We are continuing to evolve our menu and guest experience to give our guests more of what they want every time they visit one of our restaurants,” said Dawson. “We have some of the most passionate customers and dedicated employees in the restaurant industry and I am looking forward to working with my teams to address the challenges we face in light of industry headwinds and to execute on our plans and deliver results.” Horace is an active and well-respected leader in the restaurant industry, serving on the Boards of Directors of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Restaurant Law Center, and Stronger America Through Seafood. He also invests his time in the community by serving on the Boards of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida, and Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys, and on the Orlando Advisory Committee for City National Bank. Horace received his undergraduate, law and Master of Business Administration degrees from Harvard University. In addition to Dawson’s appointment, the company has also announced that Paul Kenny has been appointed as Red Lobster’s Chairman of the Board. Kenny has over 50 years of experience in the food industry, most recently holding positions as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Advisor of the Minor Food Group and serving as a director on the Board of Minor International. “I have served on the Red Lobster Board for several years and strongly believe that Horace is the right leader for this iconic brand at this time in the company’s history and I look forward to continuing a strong and productive working relationship,” said Kenny. About Red Lobster Seafood Co. Red Lobster is the world’s largest and most-loved seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. With a proud heritage and an even brighter future, Red Lobster is focused on serving the highest quality, freshly prepared seafood that is traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced. To learn more about Red Lobster’s sourcing standards and where the seafood we serve comes from, please visit Red Lobster is also proud to be an employer of choice, including being named to?Forbes?magazine’s 2023 list of America’s Best Large Employers. To learn more about Red Lobster, including locations and menu options, please visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok.

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