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Executive Movements - September 2019

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Names Timothy J. LaLonde as Interim Chief Financial Officer

Previously Served as Vice President, Controller of Carrols for 20 Years

September 16, 2019 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: TAST) announced that it has named Timothy “Tim” J. LaLonde as interim Chief Financial Officer, interim Treasurer, and interim Vice President effective today. As previously announced, the Company is conducting a search for a permanent Chief Financial Officer to replace the late Paul R. Flanders, who passed away on September 7, 2019.

Daniel T. Accordino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Carrols, said, “We greatly appreciate Tim for stepping into the CFO role on an interim basis until we identify and appoint a quality candidate to fill the position permanently. Tim is a seasoned professional with over four decades of finance and accounting experience, including most notably as our own Controller for twenty years. We therefore expect a seamless transition as he temporarily rejoins the Carrols leadership team.”

Mr. LaLonde was most recently the Chief Financial Officer at Dinosaur Restaurants, LLC, where he oversaw all treasury, accounting, purchasing, and other administrative functions for the BBQ restaurant brand from 2017 until earlier this year. Previously, he was Vice President, Controller at Carrols from 1997 until 2017, where he was responsible for all external reporting, accounting, cash management, income tax and payroll functions. Earlier in his career, he was Controller at Fay's Incorporated, a retailing chain, from 1992 to 1997, and Senior Audit Manager at the accounting firm Deloitte & Touché LLP, where he was employed since 1978. Mr. LaLonde holds a BS in Accounting from Clarkson University.

About the Company

Carrols is one of largest restaurant franchisees in the United States, and currently operates a total of 1,087 restaurants. It is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States currently operating 1,027 BURGER KING® restaurants and also operates 60 POPEYES® restaurants. It has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976. For more information on Carrols, please visit the company's website at

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Starbucks Announces Three New Appointments to Board of Directors

September, 12 2019

Company appoints Ritch Allison, Domino’s CEO; Andrew Campion, NIKE CFO; and Isabel Ge Mahe, Apple’s Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced today the appointment of Richard (Ritch) E. Allison, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Domino’s; Andrew (Andy) Campion, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NIKE; and Isabel Ge Mahe, Apple’s Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China, to the Starbucks Board of Directors. These appointments increase Starbucks Board of Directors to 13.

“As we pursue our goal of building an enduring company, I couldn’t be more excited to have Ritch, Andy and Isabel join our world-class board of directors,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and chief executive officer. “Their expertise across global technology, retail and customer experience at scale will accelerate our drive to innovate in a way that’s relevant to our customers and inspiring to our partners.”

All three joined the Starbucks Board of Directors effective Sept. 11, 2019. Other members of the Starbucks Board of Directors include: Myron E. Ullman III, Mellody Hobson, Roz Brewer, Mary Dillon, Kevin Johnson, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, Satya Nadella, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Clara Shih, and Javier Teruel.

Allison has served as Domino’s Chief Executive Officer since July 2018. He previously served as President, Domino’s International from October 2014 to July 2018, after joining the company in March 2011 as Executive Vice President of International. Allison will serve on the company’s Compensation and Management Development Committee.

Campion will serve on the company’s Audit and Compliance Committee. He joined NIKE in 2007 and since 2015 has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NIKE, Inc., with responsibility for all aspects of strategy and financial management.

Ge Mahe joined Apple in 2008, overseeing the development of cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), location and motion technologies for nearly every Apple product. She also played a key role in developing new China-specific features for iPhone and iPad. In her current role, she provides leadership and coordination across Apple’s China-based team. She will join the company’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

“We are pleased to welcome Ritch, Andy and Isabel as new independent directors to the Starbucks board,” said Starbucks Chair Myron E. Ullman III. ”The addition of these directors complements our existing skills and experiences, and we are confident they will provide valuable perspectives as we continue to execute our strategy, drive growth and build long-term shareholder value for Starbucks."

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Which Wich Superior Sandwiches Announces New President

September 12, 2019

Former Franchisee and General Counsel Cherry Hearn Promoted to President to Lead Future of Innovative Sandwich Brand

Dallas, TX  (  Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, the Dallas-based game-changing sandwich brand with more than 400 locations across the globe, has officially announced the promotion of Cherry Hearn to President of the company. Hearn brings experience as both a multi-unit Which Wich franchisee and General Counsel for the brand to the role, as well as an accomplished career as a CPA and attorney prior to joining the brand.

“The sandwich segment is more competitive than ever and as a 15 year old company we are committed to evolving to meet our current and future customer needs,” said Hearn. “Being a leader in the segment means consistently reinforcing our franchisees’ trust in the leadership team and, as a former franchisee in the system, I understand the experience and the support required for Which Wich to win in the local markets that we serve. I am honored to take on this role and look forward to working with all stakeholders in the brand to keep building a strong future for Which Wich.”

Hearn began her career as a CPA with her own firm in Austin, practicing for 14 years before making the decision to go to law school at the University of Colorado-Boulder and enter the legal field. After working for a commercial litigation firm in Denver, Hearn was recruited by Travelocity to move to Dallas and become the then-upstart company’s first intellectual property attorney. After her time at Travelocity, she set up her own practice in Dallas, which is how she first met Which Wich founder Jeff Sinelli who only had three Which Wich locations open at the time. In a “David vs. Goliath” victory, Hearn won a trademark infringement case for Sinelli and Which Wich against a major fast food company using the brand’s name.

“Through preparing for that trademark infringement case, I learned everything I could about Jeff, the Which Wich brand and the state of the sandwich industry at the time. That research led me to believe that no one had the vision that Jeff had for a better sandwich experience. My husband and I decided we wanted to get in on the ground floor of Which Wich. It happened pretty quickly. I met Jeff in April 2005 and we had signed a franchise agreement by July,” said Hearn.

Hearn moved to Austin and opened only the eighth Which Wich location at the time, ultimately opening two more locations in the years after. However, after Which Wich’s first international deal in 2011, and based on the company’s substantial growth in the previous years, Sinelli reached out to Hearn again – this time about joining the corporate team to lend her expertise to the increasing legal support needed for the growing company. Hearn sold her locations and moved to Dallas in 2012 to take on the role of General Counsel, a position she would serve in for seven years and register every trademark that Which Wich owns today.

Now, as Sinelli shifts more attention to the expansion of Which Wich parent company Sinelli Concepts International following the acquisition of Paciugo Gelato Caffe in 2017, plans to launch Supernova Coffee in 2020 and with more brands in development, he has turned to Hearn again, this time to take the helm of Which Wich and drive the brand’s future.

“Cherry has been a vital piece of the Which Wich puzzle since the very beginning and understands the DNA of our brand better than anyone else,” said Sinelli. “I have full faith that we will continue to revolutionize the sandwich industry behind Cherry’s leadership and look forward to this next chapter in our journey.”

Hearn is immediately focusing on evaluating efficiencies and operations at the corporate level while also enhancing corporate support for Which Wich franchisees. She will work on strengthening relationships with third party delivery service providers to improve integration and the company’s competitive edge in that growing space. She will also focus on the company’s training program, attraction and retention of talent in a tight labor market, marketing efforts and menu innovation.

“It’s our duty to continually ask ourselves, ‘What are more ways we can continue to be relevant to all of our customers?’ We are heavily invested in research into new menu options and making sure we understand our customer and who our customer will be in the years to come,” said Hearn. “There are a lot of challenges that our franchisees are facing such as increased competition and a tight labor market, so it’s important that they know and feel that a former franchisee has their back and understands those ups and downs. However, I also have a lawyer’s mentality so compliance is key for us to be successful. We have to make sure that all of our franchisees are operating in a way that benefits and has a positive impact for others in the system.”

Like all members of the Which Wich team, Cherry got to pick her “Vibe” – the black-and-yellow emblem representative of her passion – when she first joined the brand more than a dozen years ago. Her vibe displays “26.2,” the distance of a marathon. Hearn has run in marathons and half marathons for years and she understands that, like with distance running, focusing on the end goal is key.

“When you’re training and competing in a marathon, endurance and overcoming any adversity and obstacles is key. The way to win and succeed is to keep going and keep the vision. That’s the approach I will be taking in moving the Which Wich brand forward.”

To learn more about Which Wich and to find your closest location, visit You can follow Which Wich on Twitter and Instagram at @WhichWich or on Facebook at

About Which Wich

Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches was founded in Dallas in late 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur, Jeff Sinelli. The national sandwich franchise chain is best known for its customizable sandwiches, creative ordering system, and personalized sandwich bag. In 2019, Entrepreneur Magazine named Which Wich one of its Fastest Growing Franchises and in 2018, Which Wich was ranked as the #9 sandwich brand on the magazine’s Top 200 Food and Restaurant Franchises. In 2017, Which Wich ranked as #9 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers and landed at #20 on the Franchise Times Fast & Serious list. In 2016, Restaurant Business named Which Wich the first winner of its Future 50 Pacesetter award. Which Wich is the recipient of a Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters “Healthful Innovations” award and has been named by Forbes as one of their “30 Best Franchises To Buy.” Which Wich currently has 500 locations open or in development in 40 states and 12 countries. For more information, visit

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Bojangles Names Jose R. Costa New Chief Development Officer

September, 10 2019

Bojangles’, Inc. announced today that Jose R. Costa has joined the Southern restaurant chain as its first chief development officer, reporting to CEO Jose Armario. In this new role, Costa will be responsible for driving the overall unit growth of the company, recruiting new franchisees, real estate strategy, equipment, and new restaurant design and construction.

“Jose joins our executive team at a pivotal time as Bojangles’ charts our strategic path forward,” said Armario. “His 20 years of experience in marketing, franchising, multi-unit retailing and customer experience for well-known brands will play a crucial role as we define our growth over the next decade.”

Most recently, Costa served as North America CEO for GrandVision. Prior to that, Costa served as group president of Driven Brands where he led the company’s MAACO®, CARSTAR® and Drive N Style® brands, which collectively operate more than 1,400 body shops. He also was vice president of marketing, R&D and supply chain at BURGER KING® Latin America and Caribbean Region. Costa also served as president of COSTA IMC, a branding and interactive marketing firm focused on the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American segments.

“It’s an exciting time to join this iconic brand with such loyal fans,” said Costa. “Bojangles’ has put together a topnotch team with incredible plans for continued growth, and I look forward to contributing to the company’s success.”

Costa’s appointment is one of several significant executive personnel hires made recently by Bojangles’, including Reese Stewart as chief financial officer and Jackie Woodward as chief marketing officer.

View source version at Bojangles'

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Appoints Hope Diaz, Former Popeyes CMO, as Company’s Chief Marketing Officer

September 09, 2019 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Fiesta” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FRGI), parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® fast-casual restaurant brands, today announced that it has appointed Hope Diaz as the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, effective September 16, 2019. Ms. Diaz is a highly successful marketing executive with over 20 years of proven experience focused on developing bold and effective brand strategies and marketing campaigns. She will be based in the Company’s Miami, FL office.

Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Stockinger said, “We are thrilled that Hope has joined Fiesta. She possesses outstanding leadership capabilities and brings to us significant experience and expertise in marketing and brand analytics which she previously utilized to successfully evolve Popeyes’ and Burger King’s brand identities. Being a Miami native, Hope is very familiar with our Pollo Tropical brand and its potential. Her initial efforts will be focused on bringing its marketing and branding initiatives to the next level.”

Prior to joining Fiesta, Ms. Diaz held a variety of leadership roles at Restaurant Brands International, one of the world’s largest QSR companies which owns Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes. Most recently, she was the Global Chief Marketing Officer at Popeyes where she led all global marketing efforts, including the brand’s visual identity and restaurant image initiatives. During her tenure at Burger King, she served as Head of Marketing Communications for North America, as well as Head of Global Innovation & Guest Understanding. In that role, she spearheaded all global Insights projects, including research and analytics. Before joining Restaurant Brands International, she was the Director of Research & Strategic Planning at MTV Networks Latin America, where she was responsible for all programming research for MTV Latin America, Nickelodeon Latin America, and VH1 Latin America.

Ms. Diaz has an undergraduate degree in International Finance & Marketing and an MBA with a concentration in International Business from the University of Miami.

About Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. is the parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® restaurant brands. The brands specialize in the operation of fast-casual restaurants that offer distinct and unique tropical and Mexican inspired flavors with broad appeal at a compelling value. The brands feature fresh-made cooking, drive-thru service and catering. For more information about Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., visit the corporate website at

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Wingstop Announces Departure of Chief Growth & Experience Officer

September 05, 2019 16:30 ET

DALLAS, Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) is announcing the departure of Maurice Cooper, its Executive Vice President and Chief Growth & Experience Officer, effective September 4, 2019. Christina Clarke, VP of Marketing, has been appointed as the Interim Chief Marketing Officer. The Company is not going to fill the role of Chief Growth & Experience Officer.

"On behalf of the Company, I would like to thank Maurice for his hard work and dedication toward furthering our marketing efforts,” said Chairman and CEO Charlie Morrison. "As we continue to pursue our goal of becoming a top 10 global restaurant brand, increasing brand awareness remains a key pillar of our growth strategy. We are fortunate to have Christina’s deep knowledge and expertise of consumer marketing to lead these efforts moving forward.”

About Wingstop

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ:WING) operates and franchises more than 1,300 locations around the world. The Wing Experts’ menu features classic and boneless wings with 11 bold, distinctive flavors including Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Spicy Korean Q®, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Louisiana Rub, and Mango Habanero. Wingstop’s wings are always cooked to order, hand-sauced and tossed, and served with our fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly made Ranch and Bleu Cheese dips. The Company has grown its domestic same store sales for 15 consecutive years, has been ranked on the “Top 100 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains” by Nation’s Restaurant News (2018), named one of the “Top 500 Restaurant Chains” by Restaurant Business (2018), and was recognized as a top 50 limited-service restaurant brand in the U.S. in QSR Magazine’s “QSR 50” report. For more information visit or Follow us on and Twitter @Wingstop.

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Moe's Southwest Grill® Appoints Erik Hess as Brand President

Sep 05, 2019, 10:55 ET

ATLANTA, Sept. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Erik Hess joins the Moe's Southwest Grill® brand with more than 25 years of global experience in the food and beverage industry specializing in business strategy, consumer insights and improving operations. Hess will be leading as President of the Moe's brand, a fast-casual Mexican concept with more than 725 operating units, where he will oversee franchise and company operations, marketing, supply chain and product innovation.

"I am excited to lead the Moe's Southwest Grill brand because it sits in one of the fastest growing segments in the restaurant industry," says Erik Hess, President, Moe's Southwest Grill. "The brand has great food, an incredibly loyal fan base and very involved franchisees. We're well positioned to accelerate growth."

Previously, Hess spent 25 years at McDonald's Corporation in a wide variety of senior leadership positions responsible for product development, innovating the customer experience, strategy and insights, restaurant development among many other responsibilities. Hess has deep experience in the U.S., globally and in Asia. He brings a unique perspective to the brand with intimate knowledge of consumer behaviors while balancing the operational complexities present in a large franchised organization. Additionally, Hess has a proven record of increasing sales and accelerating growth in both new and established markets worldwide.

In addition to his role at McDonald's Corporation, Hess has spent the past two years consulting several brands and financial service organizations on consumer strategy and restaurant opportunities.

About Moe's Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe's!® Founded in 2000 and based in Atlanta, GA, Moe's Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise that serves high quality and fresh southwestern food. Moe's has an extensive variety of menu items to please the entire family – from burritos to specialty items like quesadillas, nachos and stacks. Whether you visit one of our more than 700 franchised locations or have us cater your next event, free chips and salsa come with every order and each restaurant has a salsa bar and serves our famous queso. Check us out online at to find a store near you, and then connect with us on InstagramTwitter  and Facebook.

View source version at Moe's Southwest Grill

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Announces Appointment of Paul Murphy as President and Chief Executive Officer

September 5, 2019

Proven Restaurant Industry Veteran Brings 30+ Years of Operational Experience and Extensive Track Record of Successfully Executing Business Transformations and Creating Significant Shareholder Value

Greenwood Village, CO  (  Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) (“Red Robin” or the “Company”) today announced that Paul J.B. Murphy III has been appointed as President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors, effective October 3, 2019. He succeeds Pattye Moore, who has served as interim Chief Executive Officer since April 2019. This leadership transition is the result of a comprehensive search process and follows the Company’s recently announced board changes, which included the addition of three new independent Board directors with substantial industry experience and the announcement of the pending retirements of three existing board members. Aylwin Lewis and Ms. Moore, who is also Board Chair, will retire from the Board following an appropriate transition period, and Stuart Oran will not stand for re-election in 2020.

Mr. Murphy is a highly accomplished restaurant executive whose significant experience includes:

  1. Serving as Executive Chairman of Noodles & Company from 2017 to 2019, where he was responsible for 459 restaurants across 29 states. In this role, he led a business turnaround that delivered four consecutive quarters of positive comparable restaurant sales growth on revenues of $457 million.

  2. Serving as Chief Executive Officer of Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. from 2009 to 2017, where he was responsible for the financial and operational performance of 543 company-operated and franchised restaurants with revenues of $470 million. During his tenure, he led a successful brand repositioning that resulted in 17 consecutive quarters of company-operated comparable restaurant sales growth and 11 consecutive quarters of system-wide comparable restaurant sales growth. Mr. Murphy also took the company public in 2015.

  3. Serving in leadership positions at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. for 11 years, including as President, Chief Executive Officer and board director from 2003 to 2008. He was previously Chief Operating Officer and also held other senior operating roles. During his tenure as President and CEO, Mr. Murphy was responsible for 593 company-operated and franchised restaurants with revenues of $390 million.

“The Board is confident Paul is the right leader to drive the continued transformation of Red Robin and restore the Company to sustainable growth and profitability,” said Ms. Moore. “Paul brings a multi-decade-long track record of substantial shareholder value-creation, as well as a unique combination of operational, brand-positioning and turnaround expertise, making him ideally suited to lead Red Robin. With the support of our experienced Board, I know Paul will be able to leverage his significant experience to further improve the business and position the Company to deliver enhanced operational and financial performance and substantial shareholder value.”

“I am honored to join Red Robin at this pivotal moment in the Company’s transformation,” said Mr. Murphy. “Red Robin is an iconic American brand with tremendous potential, and I am excited to work with the Board and management team as we execute on our significant opportunities to drive improved financial results. Pattye and the team have done an outstanding job of establishing a strong foundation, underscored by the Company’s improved operating and guest satisfaction metrics in the second quarter, and I look forward to building on this momentum as we create value for shareholders, Guests, Team Members and other stakeholders.”

About Red Robin

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

View source version at Red Robin

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Names Jessica Wescott CFO

September 5, 2019

Wescott Previously Served as Executive Vice President of Finance for the Brand

Dallas, TX  (  Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, the brand that’s as laid-back as everyone’s favorite beachside taco joint with food that’s worth talking about and margaritas with major chill, has named Jessica Wescott as Chief Financial Officer. Wescott previously served as the Executive Vice President of Finance for the Baja-inspired franchise.

Wescott began her career in wealth management before moving into the franchising world and working her way up to Vice President of Development & Finance with MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. In January 2018, Wescott was named Executive Vice President of Finance at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, where she oversaw many aspects of financial operations, as well as marketing and technology strategies, and fed her love of working with franchisees. For her, the similarities between wealth management and franchising are clear: It’s all about relationships and helping partners be successful.

To Wescott, the role offers more than overseeing the financials of the company, budgeting and forecasting. “We have the opportunity to use data to objectively analyze and shape the brand’s strategies in order to increase sales and profitability for our franchisees. Over the last year and a half, we’ve made some tremendous investments in people to take the brand to the next level.”

She’s also begun working on Fuzzy’s strategy for 2020, including how to best support multi-unit franchisees. In fact, 79% of all Fuzzy’s openings since 2017 have been with current partners looking to expand their footprint.

“Our partners are incredibly passionate about the brand,” said Wescott. “Both our ownership group and our leadership team are heavily invested in working with our partners and ensuring we remain franchisee-centric as we continue to grow. I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to impact that culture and be part of the success that Fuzzy’s has enjoyed so far—and will continue to have in the future.”

To learn more about franchise opportunities with Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, visit

About Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. The laid-back atmosphere pairs perfectly with signature Baja-style tacos, famous chips and queso and icy-cold beverages always served at a chill price. With nearly 150 corporate- and franchise-owned locations in 16 states, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was named Nation’s Restaurant News’ #10 “Fastest Growing Chains” of 2018, was included on Franchise Business Review’s “Top Franchises” list in 2017, and was QSR magazine’s Top 6 “Best Franchise Deals by Franchisee Satisfaction” in 2016.

View source version at Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Bojangles'® Names Experienced Restaurant Finance Leader as Chief Financial Officer

September 03, 2019 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bojangles’, Inc. announced today that accomplished finance executive and restaurant industry veteran Reese Stewart has joined the company as its new Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Reese will help lead the company’s efforts to drive value through strategic focus, team development, and operational and financial excellence.

Reese comes to Bojangles’ after a nearly 15-year career with CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. Most recently, Reese was Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Accounting Officer for CKE. He also previously served as the company’s Interim Chief Financial Officer. While with CKE, Reese developed and led financial teams that supported the domestic and international growth platform of both brands, was instrumental in a variety of strategic and capital transactions, and supervised the financial transition from public ownership to private equity.

Prior to his time with CKE Restaurants, Reese served as Reporting Director for Infonet Services Corporation. He started his career in public accounting, with positions in the audit departments of Deloitte and Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corporation. Reese graduated from UCLA, is a California CPA and will report directly to Jose Armario, Bojangles’ Chief Executive Officer.

“We are very excited that Reese has joined our Bojangles’ family,” Jose Armario commented. “Reese is a standout in the world of corporate finance, and his experience in the QSR industry is difficult to match. He has a well-documented history of bringing financial teams together to maximize resources and drive the business forward. We have big plans for the future of our brand and a strong, experienced financial leader is key to our success.”

“There is something very special about the Bojangles’ brand, so much so that we are moving cross country to be a part of what’s happening here,” Reese said. “Bojangles’ is a beloved and iconic brand with an amazing history unlike any other QSR business. My family and I are excited to become part of the Charlotte community, and I am eager to get to work supporting our restaurants and franchise partners.”

About Bojangles’, Inc.

Bojangles’, Inc. is a highly differentiated and growing restaurant operator and franchisor dedicated to serving customers high-quality, craveable food made from our Southern recipes, including breakfast served All Day, Every Day. Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., Bojangles’® serves menu items such as made-from-scratch biscuit breakfast sandwiches, delicious hand-breaded bone-in chicken, flavorful fixin’s (sides) and Legendary Iced Tea®. As of June 30, 2019, Bojangles’ had 763 system-wide restaurants, of which 320 were company-operated and 443 were franchised. For more information, visit or follow Bojangles’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Fazoli’s Continues Momentum of Success with New Executive Leadership Promotions

September 3, 2019

America’s largest premium QSR Italian chain promotes Marketing, Supply Chain and Information Technology executives

Lexington, KY  (  Fazoli’s, the brand known for serving up premium Italian recipes at a great value, announced the promotion of Jodie Conrad to Chief Marketing Officer, Blaine Adams to Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Quality Assurance and Wayne Pederson to Vice President of Information Technology.  

“We are extremely proud to announce the promotions of Jodie, Blaine and Wayne,” said Fazoli’s President and CEO Carl Howard. “Their experience, dedication and passion exemplify our mission and make Fazoli’s a stronger brand.”

Conrad joined Fazoli’s in 2016 as Senior Brand Director and was promoted to Vice President of Marketing in 2017. She brings a wealth of experience to the CMO role, including thirty years of marketing experience with companies such as Wendy’s, Donatos Pizza, Coca-Cola and Pillsbury.

Conrad leads all marketing and culinary functions – including advertising, digital and social media, field marketing, consumer insights, off-premise business development, public relations and new product development and testing.

“Jodie has been an invaluable part of the Fazoli’s team,” Howard said. “I look forward to seeing her continued innovation and triumph as we position the Fazoli’s brand to meet the ever-changing consumer demands. Our industry is undergoing the fastest period of change and disruption in its history, and I’m pleased that we have a marketing leader with a proven track record of success at the helm.”

Another leader with a proven track record of success, Adams joined Fazoli’s in 2013 after an impressive 23-year run at Darden Restaurants where he worked on brands including Red Lobster, Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden. Before joining Fazoli’s, he served as Vice President of Supply Chain and Quality Assurance at Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

“Blaine has been instrumental in positioning Fazoli’s as an industry leader by developing strong vendor partnerships and generating cost-saving opportunities for our brand,” Howard said. “Due to his expertise and commitment to excellence, Fazoli’s is able to offer the highest quality products and services at the best value in the industry. We are so proud to have him on the team and he’s a major reason Fazoli’s continues to be the best franchise in the business.”

Pederson, an executive team member with an accomplished career featuring a variety of IT and Operations leadership positions with Yum! Brands, Domino’s Pizza and Bloomin’ Brands, joined the Fazoli’s team in 2016 as Executive Director of Information Technology.

“Wayne and his team have worked tirelessly to implement technology solutions to modernize our IT infrastructure, while also introducing new technology that has expanded our ability to compete in the fast-growing off-premise segment,” Howard said. “As technology continues to play an increasingly larger role in the ‘stay-at-home, on-demand economy,’ I am confident Wayne and his team will keep the brand at the forefront of new technology and maintain Fazoli’s status as a leader in the industry.”

For more information, visit

Fazoli’s: Fast. Fresh. Italian.

About Fazoli’s

Founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli’s owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states, making it the largest elevated QSR Italian chain in America. Fazoli’s prides itself on serving premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. Menu offerings include freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts – along with its unlimited signature breadsticks. Named one the “Best Franchise Opportunities for 2018” by Franchise Business Review, a “Brand of the Year,” and an Entrepreneur 2018 “Franchise 500.” Recipient of the 2019 American Business Awards Gold Stevie Awards in Food & Beverage for Company of the Year and Achievement in Management by CEO Carl Howard. For details on development opportunities, visit

View source version at Fazoli's

Potbelly Corporation Appoints David Head to the Board of Directors

Tenured CEO with Nearly 40 Years of Restaurant Experience to Join Board of Directors

August 28, 2019 08:30 ET

CHICAGO, Aug. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB), the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop concept, today announced the appointment of David Head to the Company’s Board of Directors.

Dan Ginsberg, Chairman of the Board of Potbelly commented, “We are very excited to add David Head to our Board of Directors. David brings over three decades of experience leading brand transformations and facilitating franchise growth across numerous restaurant concepts. He complements the other strong restaurant experience that we have added to the board over the last few years and will provide strong stewardship for our executive team as they focus on maximizing shareholder value as we move forward.”

Mr. Head stated, "I am honored to join the Board of Directors of Potbelly. I look forward to leveraging my past experiences to share insights with the Company as its turnaround strategy continues to gain momentum.”

Mr. Head brings nearly 40 years of transformative executive leadership experience from the fine dining, casual, fast-casual and quick service sectors. Currently, he serves as Chairman and CEO of Primanti Brothers, where he has nearly tripled the size of the high-profile Pittsburgh-based chain during his six-year tenure. He has also served as the CEO of O’ Charley’s, Captain D’s, Romacorp and Houlihan’s Restaurant Group, in addition to spending nearly a decade as a successful franchisee partner in the Applebee’s and Red Robin systems. Mr. Head also previously served on a number of Boards of Directors, including Bob Evans Farms, O’ Charley’s, Inc., Captain D’s / Sagittarius Brands, and Imvescor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.

About Potbelly Potbelly Corporation is a neighborhood sandwich concept that has been feeding customers’ smiles with warm, toasty sandwiches, signature salads, hand-dipped shakes and other fresh menu items, customized just the way customers want them, for more than 40 years. Potbelly promises Fresh, Fast & Friendly service in an environment that reflects the local neighborhood.  Since opening its first shop in Chicago in 1977, Potbelly has expanded to neighborhoods across the country - with more than 400 company-owned shops in the United States. Additionally, Potbelly franchisees operate over 40 shops in the United States.  For more information, please visit our website at

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Pie Five Welcomes Scott Black as Vice President of Operations

August 28, 2019

Industry veteran to drive operational efficiencies and bolster customer experience

Dallas, TX  (  Pie Five Pizza today announced that Scott Black has joined the team as vice president of operations.

Black has a proven track record of driving top line guest experiences and bottom line results with over 30 years of experience in the food industry. He began his career as general manager at Nick-N-Willy’s Take-N-Bake Pizza, where he worked his way to CEO of the restaurant chain in less than 10 years. Since then, Black has served in key operational and development leadership roles with several highly respected fast-casual brands, including Noodles & Company, Garbanzo Fresh Mediterranean, &Pizza, Naked Pizza, LYFE Kitchen and Bobby’s Burger Palace.

“Scott really understands the Pie Five vision and he brings invaluable experience in both pizza and the fast casual segment to our team,” Rave President Bob Bafundo said. “He has the incredible ability to develop systems and processes, build teams, and optimize emerging brands that are in growth mode, making him the perfect fit for Pie Five.”

In his new role, Black will work with executive leadership to formulate an operations structure that drives continued growth, impactful training programs, and superior communication among franchisees.

“Pie Five has incredible potential; it is growing and moving in the right direction,” Black said. “Pie Five is a leader in the rapidly growing fast-casual pizza segment and I’m eager to continue its momentum and leverage my expertise to take Pie Five to a whole new level.”

Pie Five’s fast-casual concept provides guests with a fully customizable experience from start to finish. With more than 30 fresh toppings, six savory sauces and five crust choices, there’s a delicious pairing to match every guest’s preference. In addition to offering low-carb Cauliflower Crust, Pie Five accommodates dietary restrictions with its gluten-free crust and vegan cheese options.

For more information on Pie Five’s locations, please visit the Pie Five location finder. Connect with Pie Five on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

About Pie Five Pizza

Dallas-based Pie Five Pizza is a subsidiary of Rave Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVE). Rave owns, franchises and supplies more than 250 Pie Five and Pizza Inn restaurants operating domestically and internationally. Pie Five Pizza is the leading brand in the rapidly growing fast casual pizza space, offering individual handcrafted pizzas with fresh ingredients made to order in less than five minutes. The brand was named among Fast Casual’s Top “Movers & Shakers” for three consecutive years, 2015 “Best Franchise Deal” by QSR Magazine, 2012 Hot Concepts winner by Nation’s Restaurant News and one of “10 Hot New Restaurant Chains from Established Brands” by For more information, please visit

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Blaze Pizza CEO Jim Mizes Retires

A former Bloomin' Brands exec is taking over as interim CEO


The brand recently inked a multi-unit deal to expand in Dallas.

Blaze Pizza’s chief executive officer and president, Jim Mizes, announced his retirement August 23 after six years with the company. Mizes joined the pizza chain in 2013 as chief operating officer before he was promoted in 2017.

Amanda Shaw, who most recently served as Blaze’s chief financial officer, will step in as the interim chief executive officer. Shaw joined Blaze in early 2018. Before, Shaw served in various roles, including chief information officer and chief financial officer at Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

Mizes and Shaw worked together since she joined Blaze, which will "ensure a smooth transition for the business," the company said in a statement.

A committee was formed to search for a permanent successor to Mizes. The company said it will consider both internal and external candidates to fill the role.

The shakeup in leadership comes on the brink of Blaze’s next wave of growth. Since opening in 2011, the pizza chain has expanded from its California base to 341 restaurants in 42 states and 5 countries.

“Frankly, most people in this country have not yet walked through a door of a Blaze Pizza,” Blaze’s founder Elise Wetzel says. “We are still very much a young, emerging brand. While awareness is growing, the opportunity to open more restaurants helps us build awareness to get our brand out there.”

The brand recently inked a multi-unit deal to expand in Dallas

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Papa John’s Appoints Proven, Transformational Leader Rob Lynch as President and CEO

Company Reaffirms Most Recent Guidance for Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share of $1.00 to $1.20, North America Comparable Sales of -1.0% to -4.0% and International Comp Sales of 0.0% to 3.0%

August 27, 2019 07:23 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) today announced the appointment of Rob Lynch as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Previously, Mr. Lynch was President of Arby’s, the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries, where he led the brand’s dramatic turn-around to strong growth and profitability.

Jeff Smith, Chairman of the Papa John’s Board of Directors, said, “I am thrilled to welcome Rob to Papa John’s at this pivotal moment in the company’s history. His proven record transforming organizations and realizing the growth potential of differentiated brands is ideally suited for Papa John’s as the company sets forth on its next chapter. I would also like to thank Steve Ritchie for his steady leadership as CEO over the past year and a half. Papa John’s is stronger today because of Steve’s good work stabilizing the company, and our business continues to perform on plan. We are all grateful for his dedication and contribution to the company for more than 20 years and wish him success in the future.”

As recently disclosed, Papa John’s reported continued progress against its strategic plan in the second quarter of 2019, including a significant investment in marketing and the franchise system, improved profitability and a third quarter of sequential improvement in comparable sales. The company also announced that operating results were in-line with its fiscal 2019 plan. On the basis of continued solid results as of the current date, the company has reaffirmed its most recent outlook for adjusted diluted earnings per share and North America and international comparable sales.1

As Papa John’s new President and CEO, Mr. Lynch’s priority is to focus the company and its franchisees on the brand’s tremendous future potential, building on Papa John’s history of great food, outstanding customer service and passionate team members. His record reigniting purpose-driven organizations, leading high-performing, collaborative teams and growing successful consumer brands was demonstrated most recently during his tenure at Arby’s. Mr. Lynch and his team transformed Arby’s into the “Fast-Crafted” QSR brand of choice, delivering 16 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and achieving record sales and profits for the brand last year.

“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to work with this outstanding team to help make Papa John’s the best pizza company in the world,” Mr. Lynch commented. “Papa John’s has the most loved pizza in the industry, incredibly dedicated team members and franchisees that have proven their resilience and commitment, and a long history of innovation that puts the company at the front of where the foodservice industry is going. I look forward to building on these strengths, working with Papa John’s team members, franchisees and business partners. I absolutely believe that Papa John’s best days are ahead.”

Since 2017 Rob Lynch was President of Arby’s and led the company’s operations, marketing, culinary, and development, as well as its digital transformation. Mr. Lynch joined Arby’s as Chief Marketing Officer in 2013, during which time he created the “We Have the Meats” campaign. As President of the Arby’s Franchisee Association since 2013, he rebuilt strong franchisor/franchisee relations, driving the first new restaurant growth in ten years.

Mr. Lynch has also held leadership positions at Taco Bell, HJ Heinz Company, and Procter & Gamble and has 20 years combined experience in QSR and consumer packaged goods. Among other recognition, Mr. Lynch was named the 2017 Outstanding Marketer of the Year by PRWeek, the 2017 Content Marketer of the Year by Digiday, and a 2015 Marketer of the Year by AdAge. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester, where he obtained his B.A. and M.B.A.

About Papa John's

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

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Inspire Brands Announces New Arby’s President

August 27, 2019

Atlanta, GA  (  Inspire Brands today announced that Jim Taylor has been named President of Arby’s. Taylor, who most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer of Arby’s, will report to Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire.

“One of the many strengths of Inspire is our development of future leaders, and we are thrilled to have Jim lead Arby’s,” Brown said. “During Jim’s time at Arby’s, he has helped introduce one of the most dynamic and innovative product pipelines in our industry and has a proven track record of driving strong sales for the brand. The Arby’s business, our team members, and franchisees, are in great hands with Jim at the helm.”

“It’s an honor to lead Arby’s and continue to build on our strong foundation,” Taylor said. “Over the past several years, we’ve achieved record-level sales and unit growth, welcomed millions of new guests to our restaurants, and developed an incredibly strong franchisee community. I look forward to continuing this momentum to help Arby’s reach even greater heights.”

Taylor succeeds Rob Lynch who is stepping down to pursue a new professional opportunity outside the company, effective immediately. “Rob was a great business partner for the past six years and a key member of the leadership team as we worked to transform Arby’s,” Brown said. “I’m thankful to Rob for his many years of leadership and wish him the best on the next chapter of his career.”

Prior to his most recent role as Chief Marketing Officer of Arby’s, Taylor served as Senior Vice President of Brand Advertising and Activation, as well as Senior Vice President of Product Development and Innovation. Taylor worked for Darden Restaurants prior to joining Arby’s, where he served as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy, Innovation, and Marketing, among other positions. Taylor began his career at P&G, where he served in various finance and marketing leadership capacities during his 15-year tenure with the company.

About Arby’s

Arby’s, founded in 1964, is the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants in eight countries. Arby’s is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. For more information, visit and

About Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands is a multi-brand restaurant company whose current portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, visit?

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Aramark Chairman, President & CEO Eric Foss to Retire

August, 26 2019

Steve Sadove Appointed Non-Executive Chairman - Board Initiates Search for New CEO and Establishes an Office of the Chairman to Serve Until Successor Named

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) announced today that Chairman, President & CEO Eric Foss is retiring and Lead Independent Director Stephen Sadove has been named non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. Foss will remain in an advisory capacity until October 2, 2019. The Company’s Board has established an Office of the Chairman, whose members will oversee the Company’s day-to-day operations and engage with the Board on a regular basis until a successor to Foss is named.

The Office of the Chairman will consist of Sadove; Stephen Bramlage, Chief Financial Officer; Lynn McKee, Executive Vice President, Human Resources; and Lauren Harrington, Senior Vice President, General Counsel. The Board has commenced a search for a successor.

“We thank Eric for his leadership and strategic contributions that position Aramark for future success. In addition to solid financial performance, Eric built a strong management team and advanced the Company’s efforts in diversity & inclusion, health & wellness and frontline education,” said Sadove. “As a Board, we are committed to conducting a comprehensive search, including seeking input, to identify the next Chief Executive Officer to execute on our growth strategy and lead our 270,000 team members, for the benefit of all of our shareholders.”

“It has been an honor and privilege leading Aramark through a transformative journey, from a successful IPO to an impressive run as a public company,” Foss said. “I am enormously proud of the Aramark Service Stars around the world and what we have accomplished together. The Company’s future prospects are extremely encouraging and I look forward to a smooth transition.”

Aramark has delivered strong performance since its IPO in 20131.

  1. Total shareholder returns of +111%

  2. Revenue growth from $13.9B to $15.8B

  3. Adjusted Operating Income growth from $788M to $1.11B

  4. Adjusted Earnings per share growth from $1.26 to $2.25

Sadove, who has been an independent director on the Aramark Board since 2013, is the former Chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated and former Chair of the National Retail Federation. A graduate of Hamilton College and Harvard University (MBA), Sadove currently serves on the Boards of Colgate-Palmolive Company, Park Hotels and Resorts and Movado Group, Inc.

1Operating Income increased from $514.5M to $826.1M from Fiscal 2013 to Fiscal 2018, and Earnings per share increased from $0.33 to $2.24 from Fiscal 2013 to Fiscal 2018.

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Hard Rock International Appoints David Pellow To Senior Vice President Of Company Cafe Operations

August, 26 2019

Hard Rock International last week announced the appointment of David Pellow to Senior Vice President of Company Cafe Operations. Pellow, who has been with Hard Rock for nearly 20 years, previously held the position of Area Vice President of Cafe Operations – Europe, where he managed operations for Hard Rock Cafe locations in 13 countries across the continent. In his new role, Pellow will lead the Cafe Operations team, managing more than 60 company owned locations throughout the United States and Europe, and will oversee the brand's Area Vice Presidents, Facilities team, Retail Operations and Sales & Marketing team. He will report directly to President of Cafe Operations of Hard Rock International, Stephen K. Judge.

"David Pellow has been a vital part of the Hard Rock team for many years and is the ideal executive to be at the forefront of the Cafe business," said Stephen K. Judge, President of Cafe Operations. "We look forward to seeing him prosper in his new role and continue to make tremendous contributions to the organization."

In 2001, Pellow began his career with Hard Rock as Assistant General Manager of Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh and was quickly promoted to General Manager. In 2009, Hard Rock International named Pellow "General Manager of the Year". Just one year later, under his leadership, Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh received the prestigious "Cafe of the Year" award at Hard Rock International's 2010 Global Conference.

Throughout his tenure with Hard Rock, Pellow has been instrumental to the openings of nine new Hard Rock Cafes across Europe, including the new flagship location in London's iconic Piccadilly Circus that opened on Monday, July 8, 2019 and showcases Hard Rock Cafe's modern vision for the future. Further, Pellow coordinated large scale events and concerts in iconic locations throughout Europe, including Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Piazza San Marco in Venice, Promenade des Anglais in Nice and Platja del Forum in Barcelona, all of which attracted thousands of music fans.

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Velvet Taco Elevates Clay Dover to Chief Executive Officer

August 26, 2019

Brand poised for growth in new and existing markets

Plano, TX  (  Velvet Taco – the trend-setting, elevated fast casual taco concept created by Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants and partnered with consumer-focused private equity fund Catterton since 2016 – has announced the appointment of Clay Dover as the company’s new chief executive officer.

Dover joined Velvet Taco as president in early 2017, and the brand has grown from four restaurants to 11 current locations, with five more scheduled to open for the remainder of 2019.

“With a distinctly broad appeal, Velvet Taco has developed a loyal following across the country and is poised for significant growth in the coming years,” said Chris Roberts, Partner Catterton Growth Fund. “We see a tremendous opportunity to expand Velvet Taco’s presence in new and existing markets and look forward to Clay leading this differentiated brand.”

“I am both humbled and excited with the opportunity to lead Velvet Taco as CEO,” Dover said. “I look forward to continuing the progress we have made by creating a truly unique guest experience. I appreciate the hard work of our team and believe that Velvet Taco is well positioned for future growth.”

Velvet Taco opened its first restaurant in Dallas in 2011 and later expanded to Chicago, Houston and Fort Worth. Over the past two years the brand has grown in these markets and expanded into Austin, and soon to open in Atlanta, Ga. and Charlotte, N.C. Nation’s Restaurant News named the brand a 2016 “Hot Concept” Winner.

For more information, including a complete menu, visit

About Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco is the place to go for anyone looking to get their taco fix. It’s a one-of-a-kind taco concept serving premium food in a unique and funky fast-casual setting. Founded on the idea that tacos do not have to be inspired by Tex-Mex cuisine and can be made with the same care and premium quality ingredients as fine dining, Velvet Taco is where anything goes meets the art of possible. Velvet Taco uses the freshest ingredients to offer a wide selection of tacos that explore the edge of multi-cultural boundaries, liberating tacos to a new level of sophistication and taste. The all-day menu features scratch-made everything, including handmade corn tortillas, slowly roasted rotisserie meats and corn, fresh fruit margaritas and homemade red velvet cake for dessert.

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Beto Guajardo brings deep strategic-planning and international experience to the post.By Peter Romeo on Aug. 21, 2019

Beto Guajardo, formerly SVP of global strategy for Starbucks, has been named president of Focus Brands’ Schlotzsky’s sandwich chain, filling the vacancy left by Kelly Roddy’s departure to become CEO of Saladworks.The appointment, announced hours after Roddy’s move was officially aired, puts a seasoned strategist with deep international experience at the helm of Schlotzsky’s, which is in the process of rebranding itself as Schlotzky’s Austin Eatery. The recast nudges the 47-year-old concept upmarket, with touches such as making tacos and nachos to order. It currently does not have an international presence.Before his 5 1/2 years at Starbucks, Guajardo held several other jobs with “strategic” in their title, all at consumer brands. For almost three years, he was VP of global strategy for Levi Strauss, the jeans marketer, and, for nearly six years beforehand, VP of North American strategy for Avon.Schlotzsky’s currently has about 370 locations.

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Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Names Dirk Montgomery as Chief Financial Officer

August 21, 2019 05:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Fiesta” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FRGI), parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® fast-casual restaurant brands, today named Dirk Montgomery as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective September 9, 2019. Mr. Montgomery has significant experience as a financial and operational executive in the restaurant, retail apparel, and consumer products industries, including multiple roles as a Chief Financial Officer at various public companies.

Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Stockinger said, “We are pleased to welcome Dirk to Fiesta as our new CFO. Dirk is a uniquely qualified individual and seasoned leader who brings to us an impressive track record of strengthening organizations and driving value through strategic focus, operational improvement, and talent development. His impressive resume includes leadership roles at a variety of public and private companies, and he has extensive experience in strategy, supply chain management, field operations, and capital markets transactions. Dirk is highly respected within the investment community and is well-suited to join our executive management team as we leverage the foundation we have built through our Renewal Plan to improve sales and profitability in the years to come.”

Mr. Montgomery has over a decade of restaurant industry experience, most recently as Chief Financial Officer of Hooters International, a $1 billion iconic restaurant chain with 425 units globally in 25 countries, where he was responsible for accounting, finance, technology, and global supply chain. He was previously Chief Financial Officer at Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., operator of leading global restaurant brands including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. Mr. Montgomery also had responsibility for supply chain and IT during his tenure at Bloomin’ Brands.

Mr. Montgomery has other related experience as a public company Chief Financial Officer at Health Insurance Innovations, Inc., a health insurance and technology company; and at Ascena Retail Group, Inc., a women’s retail apparel portfolio.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Montgomery served in a variety of domestic and international leadership roles in the areas of finance, procurement, strategic planning and operations in the retail and consumer products segments. This included significant experience in financial leadership roles such as Chief Financial Officer of Con Agra Foods Retail Group, as Chief Financial Officer of Express (previously a division of Limited Brands) and in several senior management positions with Sara Lee Corporation.

Mr. Montgomery has an undergraduate degree in Accountancy from Miami University of Ohio, a CPA from the State of Ohio, and an MBA from the University of Chicago with a concentration in Finance and a specialization in Policy.

About Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. is the parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® restaurant brands. The brands specialize in the operation of fast-casual restaurants that offer distinct and unique tropical and Mexican inspired flavors with broad appeal at a compelling value. The brands feature fresh-made cooking, drive-thru service and catering. For more information about Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., visit the corporate website at

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Saladworks Announces Hiring of Kelly Roddy as Chief Executive Officer

August 21, 2019

Experienced President and Chief Executive Officer to lead focus on brand expansion and franchisee profitability for the Pennsylvania-based entrée salad concept

Conshohocken, PA  (  Saladworks announced today the appointment chief executive officer Kelly Roddy effective August 1, 2019.

Kelly brings 30 years of industry experience to the brand. As former president of Schlotzsky’s, the famous Austin-originated sandwich franchise, Roddy has demonstrated focus on unit level economics and franchisee success. Most notably under his reign, Schlotzsky’s experienced 10 consecutive years of positive comp growth. Roddy contributes his success to great franchisee development and a team that focuses on working on initiatives that matter. Prior to his leadership in the QSR space, Roddy led operations, sales and marketing at the San Antonio-based supermarket chain H-E-B.

“I am honored to have been elected as Saladworks’ new chief executive officer,” said Roddy. “Saladworks is extremely well-positioned for longevity and success within the fast-casual segment, offering relevant, fresh options for an increasingly health-conscious consumer base. The brand has an amazing opportunity to for explosive growth over the next few years.”

Roddy joins Saladworks at a pivotal time for the brand—with locations across the globe, Saladworks has become the leader in the entrée salad segment, blazing the trail for health-conscious, fan-driven dining. Now, as other brands rush to adapt to the healthy and personalized expectations of millennial customers, Saladworks’ established menu of endless fresh-ingredient combinations offers a strong, on-trend advantage.

“We have plans to grow the brand unit count at high double-digit rates every year, including a 20% increase by the end of 2019,” said Roddy. “The proven Saladworks model positions franchisees for unit-store level profitability, volume expansion and tech advancement.”

Saladworks has been steadily implementing the latest technology tools to benefit customers, franchisees and team members, including a state-of-the-art learning management system, enhanced online ordering platform and third-party delivery options.

With nearly 20 new stores slated to open by the end of the year and a continued partnership with nontraditional venues such as airports and universities, Saladworks has a bright future as the nation’s No. 1 salad franchise.

About Saladworks

Saladworks, the nation’s leading entrée salad destination, serves people nature’s best, one salad at a time. America’s original fast-casual salad concept, Saladworks first opened its doors in 1986 and launched its first franchised location in 2001. Today, consumers can visit Saladworks in nearly 100 different locations in thirteen states and two countries. At Saladworks, all salads are made to order, one at a time, from a wide variety of the freshest vegetables, fruits, proteins and delicious dressings. Saladworks guests can create their own salad, or enjoy one of many signature and seasonal salads, together with a selection of freshly-made complementary products like wraps and soups. In 2018 and 2019, Saladworks was ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 200 Food and Restaurant Franchises list, Franchise Dictionary Magazine’s Top 100 Game Changers for 2018, and also on the Top 100 Movers and Shakers by In 2017 and in 2018, Saladworks ranked on the Franchise Times Top 200+. For franchise information, visit

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Carl Bachmann will oversee the Jollibee Foods Corp.-owned fast casual as it grows.By Heather Lalley on Aug. 19, 2019

Carl Bachmann, who has been with Smashburger for two and a half years, has been promoted to president, the fast-casual chain’s parent company announced Monday.Bachmann started as vice president of operations for the eastern region and was appointed Smashburger’s chief operating officer two years ago. He has previous executive experience with Bertucci’s and Ruby Tuesday.As COO, Bachmann raised guest experience scores by streamlining operations, the company said.

The Philippines-based Jollibee Foods Corp. completed its takeover of Smashburger late last year. Smashburger, which first opened in 2007 in Denver, has 340 corporate and franchised units.

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Gregory Lippert Appointed CEO of Willie’s Restaurants

August 19, 2019

The Houston-based restaurant group is poised for unit expansion in the Texas market  

Houston, TX  (  Willie’s Restaurants, the group that operates Willie’s Grill & Icehouse and Fajita Willie’s Cafe and Cantina, today announced that Gregory Lippert has been appointed as president and chief executive officer of the Houston-based restaurant group.

Lippert is a visionary leader that brings more than 30 years of experience as CEO, COO and CMO of national and regional restaurant brands to his new position at Willie’s. His career includes extensive experience in taking brands to critical mass in addition to prototype development. He also takes pride in serving on national and state restaurant and community volunteer-based boards.

Prior to joining Willie’s Restaurants, Lippert served as CEO of Taco Mac, which resulted in the brand’s successful sale to Fresh Hospitality. He was also CEO of Quaker Steak & Lube where he reversed negative sales trends in just seven months and lead the acquisition by Travel Centers of America. Before Quaker Steak & Lube, Lippert directed 155 Mazzio’s, Zio’s Italian Kitchen, and Oliveto restaurants with 2,900 employees in eight states as CEO of Mazzio’s Corporation. Earlier in his career, Lippert held brand and marketing positions of increasing responsibility at Fazoli’s, the Seven-Up Company, and Procter & Gamble.

“I’m thrilled to join Willie’s Restaurants and I’m eager to work with the entire Willie’s team to grow the business,” Lippert said. “Willie’s Restaurants is an iconic brand where we will accelerate the growth of both concepts. I look forward to leveraging my experience to expand these restaurants in the state of Texas.”

Lippert earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University with continuing education from the University of Cincinnati.

About Willie’s Restaurants

Founded in 1982, Willie’s Restaurants operates original concepts in the Houston and San Antonio area. Its largest concept, Willie’s Grill & Icehouse is a casual dining traditional Texas Icehouse where its guests can relax and enjoy great food and cold beer in a laid back atmosphere. In addition to the Icehouse concept, Willie’s Restaurants operate two Fajita Willie’s Cafe & Cantina locations in the Houston area specializing in Tex-Mex fare. For more information, visit

View source version at Willie's Restaurants

Impossible Foods Hires Ravi Thakkar as Vice President of Product Management

  1. Thakkar will oversee all aspects of product management for Impossible Foods

  2. Formerly having served in product leadership roles at Apple and Motorola Mobility, Thakkar brings more than a decade of product experience to the food tech startup

August 15, 2019 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Impossible Foods announced today the hiring of Ravi Thakkar in the all-new position of Vice President of Product Management.

Thakkar will build and lead a team of product managers at Impossible Foods. The Redwood City, Calif-based food tech startup currently sells the award-winning Impossible Burger, and its scientists are working on a full range of delicious, nutritious, plant-based meat and dairy foods.

Thakkar joins Impossible Foods from Apple, where he served as iPhone Product Manager in the Worldwide Product Marketing division. Before Apple, Thakkar held several product leadership roles at Motorola Mobility, a mobile devices company acquired by Google.

“I am deeply passionate about the mission at Impossible Foods. The profound impact we can have on animal welfare and the planet is limitless,” Thakkar said. “It is a privilege to build a world-class product management organization to make the global food system sustainable.”

Scorching demand

Impossible Foods has experienced tremendous growth since the launch of the award-winning and “shockingly good” Impossible™ Burger 2.0 in January 2019. The Impossible Burger is now sold in more than 15,000 restaurants in the United States and Asia.

Growth has come from every sales category where Impossible Foods does business -- independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as White Castle, Qdoba and Red Robin, and non-commercial outlets such as theme parks, museums, stadiums and college campuses nationwide. Earlier this month, Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 US restaurants.

In addition to an increasing number of outlets that sell the Impossible Burger, many restaurants are expanding the number of items made from the versatile plant-based meat; average per-store volume is increasing. Sales have increased more than four-fold in Asia over the last four months.

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

Apple hire is most recent executive to join startup

Thakkar has a track record of launching successful products at global scale. He has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thakkar’s experience spans product management, engineering, marketing, sales, operations and other functions.

“Ravi brings a wealth of product experience and leadership from high-tech companies,” said Sheetal Shah, Senior Vice President for Product and Operations. “It is so important that we build a strong product management function as we scale the business and there’s no one better than Ravi to lead it.”

Impossible Foods’ executive team includes executives with an unusually diverse range of backgrounds, including government, academia and the food sector, as well as “hypergrowth” startups Dropbox, Google and Tesla.

About Impossible Foods:

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

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Bonchon Appoints Greg Buchanan As Senior Vice President Of Development And Bryan Shin As Chief Financial Officer

Industry veterans to lead Bonchon expansion into new markets


Bonchon, the world-famous restaurant chain known for its signature Korean double-fried chicken, announced today the appointments of Greg Buchanan as Senior Vice President of Development and Bryan Shin as Chief Financial Officer.

The new appointments, announced by Bonchon CEO, Flynn Dekker, are part of Bonchon’s strategy to add experienced leaders to the team to drive Bonchon’s rapid growth in the United States and around the world.

As Senior Vice President of Development, Buchanan will oversee the company’s growing roster of domestic franchise locations while introducing the brand to new markets and partners from coast to coast. As a seasoned industry veteran, Buchanan’s focus will be on solidifying new partnerships with qualified franchisees, enhancing the site selection process, testing new formats, and increasing the development pipeline as the brand looks to add an additional 500 locations in the United States over the next seven years. Buchanan will split his time between Bonchon’s corporate headquarters in New York City and the company’s new regional office in Dallas, Texas.

“We are thrilled to have Greg join the Bonchon team,” said Flynn Dekker, Bonchon CEO. “He brings a deep understanding of finance, operations and restaurant development from his years as a proven leader in this industry. His vast knowledge and expertise in franchise growth and management is a huge asset to Bonchon as we continue to gain more franchisees in the United States and expand into new markets. In this newly created position, he will lead and expand on our organization’s level of expertise in real estate, development, construction and design as well as help us continue to look toward the future when it comes to service models, operations and technology.”

Buchanan joins Bonchon with over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has held senior level development roles at TGI Friday’s and Darden Restaurants, and has served as President of La Madeleine and Buffet Partners Holding Company. Most recently he served as Chief Development Officer for Le Duff America where he was head of all development functions for notable brands La Madeleine Bakery Café, Brioche Doree, Mimi’s Café and Bruegger’s Bagels. Prior to his tenure at Le Duff America, he led his own real estate advisory firm providing development consulting services to the restaurant industry.

As Chief Financial Officer, Bryan Shin, based in Seoul, South Korea, will oversee and analyze the financial planning and development for Bonchon as the brand moves to increase its presence in new and existing markets worldwide. Shin’s prior experience includes senior executive positions and strategic roles at Goose Island Brewing Company, CJ Foodville and YUM! Brands where he led strategic brand-building, market penetration, and business turnaround efforts.

“We are excited to have Bryan as Bonchon’s new Chief Financial Officer. With years of financial, operational, and strategic marketing experience, he will be instrumental as Bonchon continues to grow both domestically and internationally,” says Dekker. “Bryan’s longstanding career as a change agent leading world-wide brands and high-growth companies to massive success is going to be a game-changer for Bonchon. In addition to his fiduciary duties, he will also support our international Master Franchisees across seven countries and continue to drive innovation and strategy at our Global Kitchen in Busan, South Korea where our signature sauces are made.”

Bonchon debuted in the United States in 2006 and quickly became one of the fastest growing restaurant chains around the world based on its proprietary sauces (custom made at Bonchon’s Global Kitchen in Busan, South Korea), signature crunchy, double-fried chicken recipe, and other authentic menu offerings. Bonchon is headquartered in New York City, with its international headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.


Founded in South Korea in 2002 and established in the United States in 2006, Bonchon, Korean for ‘my hometown’, currently has 93 United States restaurants in operation with franchise outposts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Bonchon has a total of 333 locations worldwide including Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Kuwait, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Bonchon was recognized by Food & Wine Magazine in 2017 as “The Best Chicken Wings in the U.S.” The traditional sit-down restaurant provides a friendly, fine casual experience great for dining with family and friends. For the ultimate convenience, Bonchon fried chicken is just as enjoyable at home, and most restaurants offer take-out and delivery services. For menus, locations or franchise opportunities go to Follow @bonchonchicken on Instagram and @bonchon on Twitter.

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Dunkin' Brands Announces New Regional Vice Presidents

Aug 14, 2019, 08:00 ET

CANTON, Mass., Aug. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN), the parent company of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, has added three experienced industry executives as new Regional Vice Presidents to oversee Dunkin' operations and development in key, regions throughout the country. The company today announced the hiring of Maria Hollandsworth as Regional Vice President – West, and Jorge Salvat as Regional Vice President – Central Atlantic, and the appointment of Peter Green to Regional Vice President – Mid-Atlantic. All three will report to Rick Colón, Dunkin' Brands' Senior Vice President of Operations and Development.

Ms. Hollandsworth brings a wealth of operations expertise to Dunkin', having held several leadership roles within the Quick Service Restaurant industry. She most recently served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Operations Services at Jack In The Box, Inc., driving the customer experience and implementing strategic initiatives across 2,250 restaurants. She also served as Jack In The Box's Regional Franchise Director and Operations Director in the West, developing a deep understanding of the region as she worked closely with franchisees and senior leaders to achieve sales growth and improved operations and financial performance. Ms. Hollandsworth earned an MBA at Grand Canyon University, and a B.S. degree in Public Health at the University of the Philippines.

Mr. Salvat has more than 30 years of retail, operations and franchising experience, having served in several different leadership roles for domestic and international concepts spanning the food, sports memorabilia, beauty and specialty services industries. He spent 15 years at Burger King, which included oversight of South Florida markets and the Caribbean as Director of Operations. He also spent eight years at McDonald's, which included serving in the role of Vice President of Franchising and Operations for the Southeast and Central Atlantic regions. Mr. Salvat earned a B.S. degree in Science at the University of Miami.

Mr. Green has been with Dunkin' for nearly seven years, most recently serving as Dunkin's Regional Vice President for the brand's Western markets, successfully overseeing Dunkin's return to California while strengthening key markets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. He joined Dunkin' from McDonald's, where he served as Director of Operations, responsible for achieving operational compliance and customer satisfaction in over 700 restaurants. In his role on the operations team, he was one of the first to roll out the marketing and local market execution of the brand's McCafé line. Mr. Green earned a B.A. in Business Administration and Management from Manchester Business School.

"We're very pleased to have Maria and Jorge join the Dunkin' operations team and to appoint Peter to Regional Vice President for the Mid-Atlantic," said Rick Colón. "Maria, Jorge and Peter are seasoned operations leaders with a wealth of experience driving operational excellence, developing their people and supporting franchisees' profitable growth. We look forward to their contributions to the Dunkin' business as we continue our work to better support our franchisees and better serve our guests."

About Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc.

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

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El Pollo Loco Names Jason Weintraub as New Chief Legal Officer

Former BSH and Taco Bell Executive is Latest Addition to New Leadership Team Leading the Brand’s Transformation

August 13, 2019 09:00 ET

COSTA MESA, Calif., Aug. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation's leading fire-grilled chicken chain, today announced the appointment of Jason Weintraub as Chief Legal Officer, effective August 29. Bringing nearly 20 years of experience, Mr. Weintraub is the most recent addition to El Pollo Loco’s newly restructured Senior Leadership Team. His appointment follows Miguel Lozano, Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Jaffe, Chief People Officer and Hector Muñoz, Chief Marketing Officer, who were brought in over the course of a year to lead El Pollo Loco’s transformation agenda.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Jason as our new Chief Legal Officer and member of our Leadership Team,” said Bernard Acoca, President and Chief Executive Officer at El Pollo Loco. “His previous experience in franchise matters will be invaluable as we seek to grow the brand in new geographies and look to forge even tighter bonds with our franchise partners.”

Most recently, Mr. Weintraub served as the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for BSH Home Appliances Corporation in Irvine, Calif. There he led the Legal, Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management functions. His role included documenting transactions facilitating billions in revenue, leading a deal team for multiple strategic acquisitions, and supporting partnerships enabling accelerated growth for the company.

Prior to BSH, Mr. Weintraub worked at Taco Bell where he led the transactional legal function, developed and implemented a brand licensing program, and served as Head of Business Development for Taco Bell International. He also structured international franchise partnerships yielding a 600% increase in new unit development within two years and supported the brand’s launch in multiple new markets.

“I’m excited to join the impressive team at El Pollo Loco,” said Mr. Weintraub. “Having the chance to lead the legal function for such an iconic brand fulfills a long-standing career goal. I look forward to leading the team and working closely with the Leadership Team to grow and transform this great brand and company.”

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 L.A. Mex food, an innovative blend of traditional Mexican cuisine and better-for-you eating, that Los Angeles is known for. Since 1980, El Pollo Loco has successfully opened and maintained more than 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, 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

View source version at El Pollo Loco

Yum! Brands Announces CEO Succession Plan to Drive Next Chapter of Global Growth, Effective January 1, 2020

August 12, 2019

Board elects David Gibbs as Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands

Gibbs will succeed Greg Creed who announces decision to retire after 25-year career with the Company

Louisville, KY  (  Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously elected David Gibbs as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2020, and appointed him to the Company’s Board, effective November 1, 2019. Gibbs, 55, who currently serves as Yum! Brands President and Chief Operating Officer and oversees the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions, will succeed Greg Creed, 62, who has announced his decision to retire at the end of 2019 after a successful 25-year career with the Company.

“I’ve had the privilege of partnering with our franchisees to grow the three iconic brands within the Yum! Brands portfolio for over 30 years and am honored to follow in Greg’s footsteps,” Gibbs said. “It’s thanks to Greg’s terrific leadership and innovative brand building during some of the most pivotal moments in our history that Yum! Brands has emerged as a vibrant and industry-leading growth company. I’m grateful that Greg and I have had the good fortune to build on the legacy of our co-founder David Novak—a strong foundation of three iconic brands and the positive recognition culture he established after our company’s spinoff from PepsiCo in 1997.”

Creed has served as Yum! Brands CEO since January 2015. As CEO, Creed successfully executed the 2016 spinoff of Yum China, led Yum! Brands’ transformation to become more focused, franchised and efficient, and helped the Company deliver strong and consistent financial performance to shareholders. Since 2017, Yum! Brands has transformed its business model to over 98 percent franchised, while increasing G&A efficiency and significantly reducing capital expenditures. Before his time as Yum! Brands CEO, Creed led the global Taco Bell Division as its Chief Executive Officer and was responsible for transforming the brand into the iconic and innovative industry leader it is today.

“It has been an incredible journey at Yum! Brands during the past 25 years and my absolute privilege to serve as CEO during such an exciting time for our company,” said Creed. “No other retailer in the world is like Yum! Brands, with our iconic global brands, category leadership, massive scale and uniquely diversified portfolio. I’m proud of how we’re emerging from our multi-year transformation as a more focused, franchised and efficient growth company. The best of Yum! is still to come and I’m delighted we have an exceptional leader like David who will drive the next wave of growth for our company.”

Creed remains CEO through the end of 2019 to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. He will serve as a part-time advisor next year and also remain on the Yum! Brands Board of Directors.

“Greg Creed is one of the most talented and passionate brand builders in the restaurant industry today,” said Brian Cornell, Non-Executive Chairman of the Yum! Brands Board of Directors and Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to sincerely thank Greg for his focus on building great brands, strengthening franchise capabilities, expanding the company’s global footprint and leveraging Yum! Brands’ world-class culture and talent to fuel results.”

Cornell continued, “The Board and I are confident that David Gibbs is the ideal leader to drive the next chapter of global growth for the company. He has played a central role in all that Yum! Brands has accomplished over the past several years and understands the need to put customers, employees, franchisees and shareholders at the center of everything. David will build on the company’s position of strength to ensure it is well equipped for the future.”

As Yum! Brands CEO, Gibbs will assume responsibility for the Company’s overarching strategies, structure, people development and culture and will focus on driving global growth and sales and profitability at all Yum! franchise businesses worldwide. The following Yum! Brands leaders will report to Gibbs effective January 1, 2020: Chris Turner, Chief Financial Officer; Tracy Skeans, Chief Transformation and People Officer; Scott Catlett, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary; and Ken Muench, Collider Lab Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder. In addition, the global brand division CEOs will continue to report to Gibbs including: Tony Lowings, KFC Division; Mark King, Taco Bell Division; and Artie Starrs, Pizza Hut Division.

Of Gibbs, Creed said, “David is an outstanding commercial leader with a passion for Yum! Brands’ global business, brands and people. He has been an invaluable strategic partner to me during our transformation and instrumental in shaping our global strategy, accelerating the pace of global new unit development, executing our transformation goals and laying a strong foundation for future growth. Importantly, David lives and breathes our people-first culture and is determined to take it to the next level. I look forward to cheering on David and everyone at Yum! Brands as a friend, loyal customer and shareholder.”

“I am excited to accept this new role as we conclude the third and final year of our company’s strategic transformation,” Gibbs said. “Because of our journey to become more focused, franchised and efficient, we’re now in the best position we’ve ever been in to accelerate growth and improve franchise unit economics, but we still have more to achieve. Everywhere we operate, we need to continue elevating and investing in a world-class customer experience, with unrivaled talent, modern assets, the best operations and innovative technology. This effort is only achievable through a strong partnership with our more than 2,000 franchisees who run 98 percent of our restaurants globally and employ more than 1.5 million restaurant team members who work for our brands around the world. When we are at our best, we’ll continue to deliver long-term value for all our stakeholders.”

Since joining in 1989, Gibbs has held a variety of leadership roles in all three of YUM’s brands including global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Earlier this year, he was promoted to an expanded role as President and Chief Operating Officer, assuming operating leadership of the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions.

Before this role, he served as Yum! Brands President and Chief Financial Officer and was the chief architect of Yum! Brands’ financial, refranchising and restaurant development strategy to transform the company into a capital-light, pure-play franchisor. Previously, he was CEO of the global Pizza Hut Division, and President and CFO of Yum! Restaurants International, responsible for growing KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outside the U.S. and China, along with having general management responsibility for several international markets. Gibbs also served as Yum! Chief Strategy Officer during which time he revamped Yum! Brands’ global restaurant operations model, as Pizza Hut U.S. CFO and in various real estate and restaurant development leadership roles in KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

About Yum! Brands

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

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Global Franchise Group® Poised For Growth With Leadership Additions And New Departments

Global Franchise Group announces the promotion of GFG executive Jenn Johnston to Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations and industry veteran, Jim Parrish, joins team as Chief Operating Officer. The creation of the GFG Innovation Center and Brand Integration & Corporate Services team positions the company for expansion.

Aug 08, 2019, 08:26 ET

ATLANTA, Aug. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Franchise Group® (GFG), the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Pretzelmaker®, Marble Slab Creamery®/MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery® and Round Table Pizza® is poised for fast-paced growth with the promotion of Jenn Johnston to Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations and the addition of restaurant industry veteran Jim Parrish to Chief Operating Officer. In addition to the leadership advancements, the organization has created two new departments – the GFG Innovation Center (IC) and Brand Integration & Corporate Services to support expansion, future acquisitions and continued success.

"This is a thrilling and defining time for Global Franchise Group and these changes position GFG to better service, support and grow our franchise and corporate operations," said Chris Dull, President and CEO of Global Franchise Group. "With strong strategic leadership, internal resources and shared services, we are ready to champion the next phase of success for our growing company as we look to acquire additional brands under our portfolio."

For a decade, Johnston served as both Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operations Officer before being promoted to Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations. She is a key principal in the organization with a reputation for strategic EBITDA growth (organic and through acquisition), building brands and achieving strong Same Store Sales results by analyzing consumer research and trends, and garnering respect with long-standing GFG franchisees. In her new role she will focus on building the franchising side of GFG's business, as well as generating new revenue streams through licensing, merchandising and e-commerce.

Parrish has extensive experience in restaurant leadership most recently as COO of Hooters of America where he supported delivering nine consecutive quarters of positive comp sales. Prior to Hooters, he served as Senior Vice President and COO of Friendly's Ice Cream, EVP and COO of Church's Chicken and Division Vice President for Yum Brands where he provided leadership for 600 Pizza Hut restaurants. As Chief Operating Officer of GFG he will be primarily focused on company store operations and leading the organization through Round Table Pizza Development Corporation (RTDC) revitalization and future development of Hot Dog on a Stick.

The company promoted longtime GFG veterans Allison Lauenstein (former Executive Vice President of Marble Slab Creamery and Pretzelmaker) to lead the Innovation Center as Chief Innovation Officer and David Kaiser (former Executive Vice President of Great American Cookies) to head the Brand Integration & Corporate Services team as Executive Vice President. The Innovation Center highlights GFG's commitment to new product innovation through strategic leadership. The center will assist in growing GFG's brands by leveraging research to develop new products through a consumer-centric lens and testing for sales potential. The new Brand Integration & Corporate Services team was created to ensure the shared services platform is always poised for company growth and future brand acquisitions.

Global Franchise Group's mission is to champion brands and the people who build them. It builds great brands that connect people with craveable products and memorable experiences. GFG currently supports more than 1,500 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.

About Global Franchise Group, LLC - Global Franchise Group, LLC is a strategic brand management company with a mission of championing franchise brands and the people who build them. The company owns a portfolio of franchise brands that includes five primary quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise concepts: Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Marble Slab Creamery®, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery®, Pretzelmaker® and Round Table Pizza®. The brands are managed by GFG Management, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Franchise Group, LLC. Global Franchise Group, LLC is a portfolio company of Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Lion Capital LLP and Serruya Private Equity, Inc.

View source version at Global Franchise Group

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