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Executive Movements - September 2021






The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Company Adds Three Executives To Its Senior Leadership Team

Iconic Coffee Chain Brings on Industry Veterans to Drive Tech Transformation, Bolster Omni Channel Marketing and Accelerate Franchise Development



Sep 14, 2021, 07:01 ET



LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® company, one of the world's leading roasters and retailers of specialty coffee and tea, announced today the addition of three new senior executives who will help scale the company, expand its omni channel marketing presence and introduce the brand to consumers in both existing and new markets.

The company has appointed Paul Diver as Vice President of Marketing, Gregg Benvenuto as Vice President of Development & Franchising and Michael Chachula as Head of Digital. Collectively, the three executives bring decades of experience to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® and strengthen the company's leadership team as it enters its next phase of growth. All will report to Sanjiv Razdan, President of Americas and India.

"We are building a world-class team that will help us to accelerate our footprint and digital presence in the post Covid era," said Sanjiv Razdan, President of Americas and India, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® company. "Today, speed and convenience are what consumers are looking for and we understand what our guests want and how they want to access it. Paul, Gregg and Michael bring a proven track record of success to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® with each having deep knowledge and expertise in their respective disciplines that will drive our expansion and ultimately give guests an even better and seamless experience across all touchpoints."

Diver brings more than three decades of marketing success gained in both restaurant and CPG businesses. He has delivered transformative sales, profit and market share growth for Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Nestlé and Ferrero in the USA and Europe. He will lead all of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® marketing initiatives with an emphasis on omni-channel transformation.

Benvenuto is a 30+ year restaurant franchise development veteran who has successfully delivered hundreds of restaurant openings for IHOP, Papa Murphy's Pizza and Yum! Brands Taco Bell division.  Starting his career in operations, Benvenuto has vast market planning experience to provide growth in key markets.

Chachula joins The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® as an award-winning digital innovator with a successful track record across multiple industry verticals in the hospitality and restaurant space. He will lead the company's technology transformation. Most recently, he was the Executive Director, Head of IT for IHOP at DINE Brands.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is widely credited for driving high quality and innovation to the coffee and tea industry. The iconic coffee brand started the frozen coffee drink craze with the invention of The Original Ice Blended® drink and was also the first global coffee and tea retailer to offer cold brew tea.

For more information on The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, please visit coffeebean.com.

About The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Company

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® company is a leading global roaster and retailer of specialty coffees and teas. It is widely credited for driving high quality and innovation to the coffee and tea industry. The company sources the finest ingredients and flavors from around the world, and hand blends coffee and tea for the freshest flavors. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® brand started the frozen coffee drink craze with the invention of The Original Ice Blended® drink and is also the first global coffee and tea retailer to offer cold brew tea. The company currently has more than 1,055 corporate and franchised retail locations across the globe and can also be found in grocery aisles as well as specialty locations, including airports and hotels. For more information, visit www.coffeebean.com.

View source version at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf


The ONE Group Appoints Two New Independent Directors to its Board


September 14, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. (“The ONE Group” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: STKS) today announced the appointment of Susan Lintonsmith and Haydee Olinger as independent members to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“We are pleased to welcome both Susan and Haydee to our Board as we continue executing our strategic priorities and build shareholder value,” said Emanuel “Manny” Hilario, President and CEO of The ONE Group. “Susan’s extensive experience in generating profitable growth across multi-unit restaurant and health & wellness concepts, among other businesses, and Haydee’s restaurant industry expertise and unmatched leadership in organizational compliance and asset-light restaurant development will be additive to our board and significantly support our growth and enhance our corporate governance.”

  1. Susan Lintonsmith has over 30 years of experience as a strategist and branding expert in highly competitive consumer industries. Ms. Lintonsmith currently serves as Chief Brand Officer of AtYourGate, an in-airport order app and delivery service for passengers, flight crews, and airport employees. Prior to AtYourGate, she was the CEO of Elements Massage, a national massage therapy brand with over 250 locations across the United States and Canada. Ms. Lintonsmith previously was CEO of Quiznos, the global sandwich chain with franchised restaurants in 32 countries, where she led the turn-around plan that resulted in profitable growth after years of store closures and declining sales. Prior to Quiznos, she was the CMO at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. and also held various management positions at Dean Foods Company, Western Union Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. and Pizza Hut.

  2. Haydee Olinger has over 30 years of corporate legal and business operations experience, including strategic planning, real estate leasing and purchasing transactions, franchise and licensee management, food safety, enterprise risk, corporate compliance and privacy. Ms. Olinger currently serves as a Senior Advisor at Baker Gilmore, a legal and compliance executive recruiting and advisory firm, where she provides advising, coaching, and consulting services to Chief Compliance Officers and other corporate executives. Prior to Baker Gilmore, Ms. Olinger spent over 30 years at McDonald’s Corp. where she held various legal roles; most recently as McDonald’s first Global Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer and designed and implemented McDonalds’ best-in-class corporate compliance programs.

About The ONE Group

The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. (Nasdaq: STKS) is a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale and polished casual, high-energy restaurants and lounges and provides hospitality management services for hotels, casinos and other high-end venues both in the U.S. and internationally. The ONE Group’s focus is to be the global leader in Vibe Dining, and its primary restaurant brands and operations are:

  1. STK, a modern twist on the American steakhouse concept with 23 restaurants in major metropolitan cities in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, featuring premium steaks, seafood and specialty cocktails in an energetic upscale atmosphere.

  2. Kona Grill, a polished casual, bar-centric grill concept with 24 restaurants in the U.S., featuring American favorites, award-winning sushi, and specialty cocktails in an upscale casual atmosphere.

  3. ONE Hospitality, The ONE Group’s food and beverage hospitality services business, develops, manages and operates premier restaurants and turnkey food and beverage services within high-end hotels and casinos currently operating 13 venues in the U.S. and Europe.

View source version at The ONE Group


Good Times Restaurants Appoints Ryan M. Zink to the Board of Directors



September 14, 2021 08:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time


GOLDEN, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Good Times Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIM) (the “Company”), operator of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, today announced the appointment of Ryan M. Zink, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, to the Board of Directors, expanding its Board of Directors from four to five members.

“As we continue to build on improving results, developing our brands and gaining an edge on consumer needs in a post pandemic environment, Ryan’s appointment ticks every box to bring these initiatives into reality,” said Geoff Bailey, Chairman of the Board. “Ryan offers a consumer-focused perspective in addition to his operations and finance knowledge, and we believe his experience and wise guidance through the turbulent events of the COVID-19 pandemic is evident in the Company’s improved operating results, making our decision to appoint him an obvious one.”

Ryan M. Zink has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2020. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Zink was the Company’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, a position he held beginning in October 2019 concurrently with his roles as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, which he was initially appointed to in July 2017. Previously, Ryan held positions with INVISTA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., including as its Corporate Finance Director. Additionally, he served in various capacities with F&H Acquisition Corp., parent of the Fox and Hound, and Champps restaurant brands, including Senior Vice President of Finance, and as Chief Operating Officer for its Champps concept.

About Good Times Restaurants Inc.: Good Times Restaurants Inc. owns, operates, franchises and licenses 41 Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants through its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is a full-service “small box” restaurant concept featuring a chef-driven menu of gourmet signature burgers, chopped salads, appetizers and sandwiches with a full bar and a focus on a selection of local and craft beers in a high-energy atmosphere that appeals to a broad consumer base. Additionally, Good Times Restaurants Inc. operates and franchises a regional quick-service drive-thru restaurant chain consisting of 32 Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard restaurants located primarily in Colorado.

View source version at Good Times Restaurants




Wingstop Announces Expanded Role for President of International Nicolas Boudet



Sep 10, 2021, 16:30 ET



DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wingstop (Nasdaq: WING), the leading technology-focused restaurant brand with more than 1,600 locations worldwide, announced an expanded role for Nicolas Boudet to SVP of Global Development in addition to his current role, President of International.

"Since joining in 2018, Nicolas has made a profound impact on Wingstop's international footprint, pioneering the UK market and laying incredible groundwork for global growth," said Chairman and CEO Charlie Morrison. "Nicolas' strong background in development at leading brands will help catapult Wingstop to achieve our stated vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand."

In addition to launching Wingstop in the UK, Nicolas' leadership within the market included Wingstop's first foray into ghost kitchens – a strategy the brand continues to replicate in the US. He also helped oversee the extension of Wingstop Mexico's development agreement, which will double the current market presence and result in 200 restaurants by 2028, as well as the brand's entrance into the Canadian market slated to occur early 2022.

Prior to joining Wingstop, Nicolas served as the Group President of International for FOCUS Brands and previously served as Chief Development Officer, Head of Franchising for Taco Bell US as well as Chief Development Officer, Latin America and Caribbean for Yum! Brands. His impressive accomplishments and roles across a variety of QSR brands have poised him as a respected leader both in the international and development space.

About Wingstop Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Addison, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises over 1,600 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and offering of classic wings, boneless wings and tenders, always cooked to order and hand sauced-and-tossed in fans' choice of 11 bold, distinctive flavors. Wingstop's menu also features signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly-made ranch and bleu cheese dips.

In fiscal year 2020, Wingstop's system-wide sales increased 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $2.0 billion, marking the 17th consecutive year of same store sales growth, and Wingstop achieved over 700% stockholder return since its 2015 initial public offering. With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, its system is composed of independent franchisees, who account for approximately 98% of Wingstop's total restaurant count of 1,624 as of June 26, 2021. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop opened 45 net new restaurants, an increase of 13.1%, and announced domestic same-store sales increased 2.1%. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop generated 64.5% of sales via digital channels including Wingstop.com and the Wingstop app.

A key to Wingstop's success is the Wingstop Way, which includes a core value system of being Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun. This value system extends to its environmental, social and governance platform as Wingstop seeks to provide value to all stakeholders.

The Company has been ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine's "150 Strongest-growing Franchises" and "The World's Best Franchises" (2020), Franchise Business Review's "Top Food Franchises" (2020), Nation's Restaurant News' "Top 200 Restaurant Chains" (2020), Fast Casual's "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" (2020), and named to The Stevie Awards for Great Employers (2020).

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

View source version at Wingstop


MOD Pizza Welcomes Becky Mulligan as Senior Vice President, Operations


Mulligan Brings 25 Years Of Experience To MOD Executive Team


September 08, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC (“MOD Pizza”, “MOD” or the “Company”), the purpose-led, people-first, fast casual pizza pioneer, today announced the appointment of Becky Mulligan to the role of Senior Vice President, Operations, effective immediately. A restaurant industry veteran, she brings to MOD over 25 years of experience at leading brands.

In her new role, Becky will oversee all aspects of operations across 420+ Company-owned-and-operated stores, focusing on continuous improvement of MOD’s operational execution and the development and support of field leadership teams, in order to deliver a consistently exceptional experience to the MOD Squad and customers. She will lead the Field Operations and Operations Excellence teams, as well as manage operational standards for the Company’s 80+ franchise locations. Becky will be based at the Company Support Center in Bellevue, Washington, reporting directly to Scott Svenson, MOD co-founder and CEO.

Becky joins MOD from AB Wellco, where she was Chief Executive Officer, overseeing three culinary brands (The Little Beet, Little Beet Table and Le Pain Quotidien US) currently comprised of 76 locations and three commercial kitchens. Prior to that, Becky spent 16 years at Starbucks Coffee Company excelling in local and regional leadership roles during periods of immense growth. While at Starbucks, she led several key initiatives including mobile order and pay, drive-through innovation, and delivery pilot programs. She also oversaw the Starbucks Mercato food program and created an employee development succession program for top field leaders.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Becky to the MOD team and are excited for her to bring her hands-on approach and impressive track record to our field leadership team,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD. “As a true servant leader, Becky will fit in perfectly with our people-first culture, as we double down on our commitment to develop our people in advance of significant growth ahead. We are still in the early chapters of the MOD journey, and Becky is the perfect leader to help us continue to improve our execution to ensure we continue to deliver on our mission to build a brand that helps make a positive social impact in the communities we serve.”

Added Mulligan, “It has been exciting to watch MOD’s incredible growth over the past several years, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to contribute to the next chapter of this exciting journey. MOD has not only firmly established itself as the leader in the fast casual pizza category, but as a company committed to creating a truly inclusive workforce that always puts people first. The past 18 months have created dynamic shifts for the restaurant industry along with significant opportunities. I’m excited to help lead MOD towards its very bright future.”

MOD Pizza is the pioneer of fast casual pizza, with over 500 locations and 10,000+ Squad members throughout North America, with plans for continued store growth. The Company reported 2020 system-wide sales of $461 million – bolstered by a 275% increase in digital revenue over 2019.

ABOUT MOD PIZZA:

MOD Pizza is a purpose-led, people-first brand founded in Seattle in 2008 by serial entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. MOD serves individual artisan-style pizzas and salads that are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own pizzas and salads with any combination of over 30 toppings, all for one incredible price. With 500+ locations system-wide**, MOD is committed to creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work. MOD recently earned a spot on the Fortune 2019 “Change the World” list, for its purpose-led culture and commitment to provide opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. The Company has also been named America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic for four years running and named the most loved pizza brand by Foodable Network. MOD has earned a spot on the Inc.5000 list and has been recognized by Fortune as one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail,” a “Best Workplace for Women,” a “Best Workplace for Millennials,” and a “Best Workplace for Diversity.” For more information, please visit www.modpizza.com or connect with the brand via FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

View source version at MOD Pizza


Operator of 3 Mongolian Grill Chains Names Gregg Majewski CEO

The longtime industry veteran has previously served as CEO of Jimmy John's.

By Peter Romeo on Sep. 08, 2021

The parent company of Genghis Grill, FlatTop Grill and bd’s Mongolian Grill has named Gregg Majewski, a former leader of Jimmy John’s, as its new CEO.

“I’m eager to invest and upgrade each brand–not only by refreshing the ingredients we use but also by building a championship team,” Majewski said in a statement.

Mongolian Concepts’ three brands extend collectively to 75 locations. Each chain specializes in Mongolian barbecue—fresh ingredients selected by a customer and handed to a cook for preparation on a big flattop grill as the patron watches

Majewski’s restaurant experience includes a long run at Jimmy John’s, a sandwich chain that claimed delivery as a key point of differentiation before off-premise business soared for the whole industry in recent years. He served the brand, now a part of Inspire Brands, as COO, CFO and CEO.

View source version at Mongolian Concepts




Wetzel's Pretzels Announces Kim Freer as New Chief Marketing Officer

Innovative Snack Category Leader Adds Restaurant Marketing Powerhouse to Team



Sep 08, 2021, 13:15 ET



PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wetzel's Pretzels (Wetzel's), known for inspiring handheld happiness with its mouth-watering, portable snacks, announced today the appointment of Kim Freer as Chief Marketing Officer. Recognized as a proven leader in the restaurant industry, Freer brings a wealth of franchise marketing experience across a portfolio of nationally recognized brands. In her new role with the iconic pretzel brand, Freer will support its continued growth, with enhancements to its menu, ease of ordering and digital infrastructure.



"I've always admired Wetzel's Pretzel's for its crazy good food and distinctive voice. It's a beloved, established brand that continues to innovate and iterate. We're making our fresh made and fresh squeezed menu items available in a variety of flavors, and adapting our concept into various formats," said Freer. "Fans continue to rave about their Wetzel's experience, so we're on a mission to make enjoying a hot pretzel even easier and more convenient than ever before."


Freer joins an experienced leadership team at Wetzel's Pretzels, bringing her skills in managing marketing for thousands of Subway restaurants during its height. She led brand marketing for Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza during a period of immense growth, from store 26 to 345, including 41 states and six countries. Most recently, she served as CMO at Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen, where she launched off-premise sales channels, including the brand's first mobile app and loyalty program, resulting in record sales.

"As a former Chief Marketing Officer at Wetzel's Pretzels, this role has a special place in my heart, and I know that we can expect big things from Kim," said Jennifer Schuler, CEO at Wetzel's Pretzels. "Not only is Kim joining Wetzel's during a time of great growth, but we're excited to tap her experience and continue to bring pretzels to the people in inventive new ways."

And Wetzel's is only getting started. As the concept continues to outpace its competitors in annual sales volume, it's also shown its flexibility, adapting to a variety of location needs to meet guests wherever they are. Wetzel's can now be enjoyed at tourist areas, convenience stores, Walmarts, transit destinations and via food trucks, as well as its more traditional mall locations.

About Wetzel's Pretzels

Providing a fun, fresh take on soft pretzels, Wetzel's Pretzels was founded in 1994 by Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel in Redondo Beach, California. Drawing fans to its mouth-watering, portable snacks that are hand-rolled, baked fresh and served hot from the oven, word quickly spread about the delicious West Coast brand. Today, Wetzel's Pretzels has grown to more than 300 bakeries, including premier locations like Disney Springs® at Walt Disney World® Resort, Downtown Disney® District at Disneyland® Resort and Universal CityWalk,TM continuing to cultivate fanatics around the world with its SoCal vibes and "gram-worthy" snacks. It's cult-like following includes famous fans like Ben AffleckBillie EilishJimmy Kimmel and Kim Kardashian. As the nation's leading pretzel chain, the franchise has received numerous accolades, most recently being named to the 2021 Top Food Franchises and the Culture100 by Franchise Business Review. For additional information about the Wetzel's franchise opportunity, visit https://www.wetzelsfranchising.com.

View source version at Wetzel's Pretzels


National Restaurant Association CEO Tom Bene Steps Down

He is taking a position with the alcohol wholesaler Breakthru Beverage Group. Marvin Irby will serve as the association’s interim CEO.

By Jonathan Maze on Aug. 31, 2021

Tom Bené, who took over as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association during the depths of the pandemic, has resigned to take over as chief executive of Breakthru Beverage Group, an alcohol wholesaler, the organizations announced on Tuesday.

Marvin Irby, the association’s chief financial officer and chief people officer, will serve as interim CEO. The National Restaurant Association is the majority owner of Restaurant Business parent company Winsight LLC.

“We appreciate Tom’s leadership and commitment to the industry during this difficult time,” Brian Casey, owner of Oak Hill Tavern and chair of the National Restaurant Association board, said in a statement. “Tom’s unique industry experience was invaluable in helping the association and Foundation navigate a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.”

Bené is a 30-year veteran of the food and beverage industry, most recently as CEO of the giant distributor Sysco, when he was tapped last year to succeed longtime association chief executive Dawn Sweeney. At the time, the restaurant industry was being hammered by state and federal efforts to curb the coronavirus—which had closed dining rooms, left millions out of work and cost the industry more than $200 billion in total sales.

The association during his tenure helped push for more assistance to the industry, including the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the first time Congress had approved grant aid specifically to save restaurants. The association continues to push Congress to inject the fund with more resources as the delta variant threatens the industry’s recent recovery.

The organization also acquired majority ownership of Winsight, which owns and operates the annual National Restaurant Association Show.

“I am incredibly proud of the work this team has done and all that we have accomplished together during this incredible time,” Bené said in a statement. “Whether it’s the significant impact we’ve made to support the industry through our advocacy efforts; the new governance model that we put in place to drive deeper engagement and more effectiveness; or the restructuring of the organization to meet the changing needs of the industry, our state associations, and our members, it has been a truly collaborative effort. I know the association and foundation, and these teams, are well-positioned for continued success.”

The departure leaves the association without a CEO for the second time in two years. Irby, who has more than 30 years of leadership experience and held leadership positions with Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Disney before coming to the association in 2010, had previously served as interim CEO in 2019 and 2020 before Bené was hired.

The association said it is forming a task force to search for a new president and CEO. Bené now takes over as the CEO of Breakthru, one of the leading wholesalers of alcohol in the U.S. Bené officially begins as chief executive of the group on Oct. 4.

View source version at National Restaurant Association




Wingstop Promotes Michael Skipworth to President and Chief Operating Officer, Alex Kaleida to Chief Financial Officer



Aug 27, 2021, 16:05 ET



DALLAS, Aug. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wingstop (NASDAQ: WING), the leading digitally-savvy, tech-focused restaurant brand with more than 1,600 locations worldwide, today announced the promotion of Michael Skipworth to President and Chief Operating Officer, and Alex Kaleida to Chief Financial Officer. Michael succeeds Mahesh Sadarangani, the Company's COO who has resigned after being recruited to become CEO of a private equity-backed company.

"I'm thrilled to provide amazing growth opportunities within our organization for both Michael and Alex," said Chairman and CEO Charlie Morrison. "People are the foundation of our business, and I truly believe we have some of the most talented and brilliant minds in the industry. This enables us to promote from within, which equates to amazing opportunities and continued growth for our Wingstop team members."

Michael joined Wingstop in December 2014 and most recently served as EVP and Chief Financial Officer. During his tenure, he has worked closely as Charlie's right-hand partner and esteemed colleague to drive the business forward and has been a key player in propelling the brand's success. Included in this success, Charlie and Michael took the brand public together in 2015, celebrating one of the industry's most successful IPOs, with more than 700% total shareholder return to-date.

Alex joined Wingstop in 2019 as VP, Financial Planning & Analysis, immediately working closely with Michael, and in his most recent role led Investor Relations, fostering key relationships with shareholders and the investment community. With previous leadership roles at Wendy's and Kraft Heinz Company, Alex is a well-respected leader within the industry and possess a wealth of financial knowledge and deep understanding of financial impacts and levers across marketing, digital, operations and more.

About Wingstop Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises over 1,600 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and offering of classic wings, boneless wings and tenders, always cooked to order and hand sauced-and-tossed in fans' choice of 11 bold, distinctive flavors. Wingstop's menu also features signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries and freshly-made ranch and bleu cheese dips. In addition, Wingstop launched virtual brand Thighstop in June 2021 featuring crispy bone-in and boneless thighs sauced and tossed in Wingstop's 11 signature flavors, available through Thighstop.com and DoorDash.

In fiscal year 2020, Wingstop's system-wide sales increased 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $2.0 billion, marking the 17th consecutive year of same store sales growth, and Wingstop achieved over 700% stockholder return since its 2015 initial public offering. With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, its system is comprised of independent franchisees, or brand partners, who account for approximately 98% of Wingstop's total restaurant count of 1,624 as of June 26, 2021. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop opened 45 net new restaurants, an increase of 13.1%, and announced domestic same-store sales increased 2.1%. During the fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2021, Wingstop generated 64.5% of sales via digital channels including Wingstop.com and the Wingstop app.

A key to Wingstop's success is the Wingstop Way, which includes a core value system of being Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun. This value system extends to its environmental, social and governance platform as Wingstop seeks to provide value to all stakeholders.

The Company has been ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine's "150 Strongest-growing Franchises" and "The World's Best Franchises" (2020), Franchise Business Review's "Top Food Franchises" (2020), Nation's Restaurant News' "Top 200 Restaurant Chains" (2020), Fast Casual's "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" (2020), and named to The Stevie Awards for Great Employers (2020).

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

View source version at Wingstop



Dine Brands Global, Inc. Appoints Martha C. Poulter as Member of Board of Directors







Dine Brands Global, Inc. Appoints Martha C. Poulter as Member of Board of Directors

August 26, 2021 08:35 AM Eastern Daylight Time


GLENDALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of Dine Brands Global, Inc. today announced the appointment of Martha C. Poulter as a new independent member of its Board of Directors.

Poulter, 54, serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Group, a role she has held since 2018.

Prior to Royal Caribbean Group, Poulter served as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., where she was the lead architect of their guest-facing technology strategy and guest experiences.

Earlier in her career, Poulter served in numerous leadership positions with General Electric Company, most recently as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for GE Capital.

“Martha is a well-respected Fortune 500 CIO with 32 years of experience in complex, global IT consumer-focused industries; leading corporate transformational changes that capture market share and embrace technology for competitive advantage,” says Richard Dahl, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dine Brands Global, Inc.

“The Board of Directors, Dine, and our Brands will benefit greatly from Martha’s experience and worldview, which extend from strategy to operations and encompass a strong understanding of managing outcomes and driving technology and business innovation. Moreover, Martha’s appointment as a member of our Board is further action on our part towards our investments in a technology-driven future for our franchisees and our brands.”

About Dine Brands Global, Inc.

Based in Glendale, California, Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries, franchises restaurants under both the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar and IHOP brands. With approximately 3,450 restaurants combined in 16 countries and approximately 350 franchisees, Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. For more information on Dine Brands, visit the Company’s website located at www.dinebrands.com.

View source version at Dine Brands



Yum! Brands Appoints Pizza Hut Division Chief Executive Officer to Drive Global Brand Strategies and Growth


Company Names Global Consumer Packaged Goods Veteran Aaron Powell as Pizza Hut Division CEO







Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced that Aaron Powell, 50, former President of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s Asia-Pacific Consumer Business, will join the Company as global Pizza Hut Division Chief Executive Officer, reporting to Yum! Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs, effective September 20.

August 26, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time


LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced that Aaron Powell, 50, former President of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s Asia-Pacific Consumer Business, will join the Company as global Pizza Hut Division Chief Executive Officer, reporting to Yum! Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs, effective September 20. In this role, Powell will assume global responsibility for driving Pizza Hut Division’s growth strategies, franchise operations and performance. Today’s announcement concludes Yum! Brands’ search for Pizza Hut Division’s top leadership post.

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Aaron to the Yum! Brands and Pizza Hut family and believe this global brand division leadership structure will enable the Pizza Hut U.S. and international teams to further implement best practices worldwide and continue their growth trajectory for franchisees and shareholders,” said Gibbs. “Aaron brings more than 25 years of deep experience in the business-to-business and consumer packaged goods sectors and is known for driving break-through innovation and delivering strong performance for iconic household name brands operating in complex environments around the world.”

Gibbs continued, “We’re fortunate to have a global growth strategist of Aaron’s caliber join the accomplished Pizza Hut leadership team. We’re thankful for Kevin Hochman’s and Vipul Chawla’s excellent leadership that has strengthened Pizza Hut and look forward to Aaron, Kevin and Vipul partnering to lead the brand forward and deliver continued momentum in the U.S. and internationally.”

Kevin Hochman, President and Chief Concept Officer KFC U.S. and Interim President Pizza Hut U.S., and Vipul Chawla, President Pizza Hut International, will report to Powell. Under their leadership and in partnership with its best-in-class franchisees, Pizza Hut has delivered product innovation and sustained sales improvement and strong unit economics. In addition, Pizza Hut has continued investing in its off-premise channel in response to shifting consumer demand across the world.

Powell joins Pizza Hut from Kimberly-Clark, a global manufacturer and marketer of personal care, consumer tissue and other household products, after more than 14 years in a variety of global leadership roles across business-to-business and consumer operations with extensive experience in corporate strategy, M&A, sales, marketing, e-commerce and operations. Most recently, as President of Kimberly-Clark’s Asia-Pacific consumer business, Powell was responsible for the Company’s largest international region with operations in more than 30 countries, covering Australia, China, India and South Korea. Prior to that, he led the Kimberly-Clark Professional business globally, including a wide range of commercial products and services, led the Company’s consumer business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and served as Managing Director of its consumer business in Central and Eastern Europe.

Powell previously spent four years with Bain & Company, one of the world’s largest strategic management consulting firms, serving in its consumer practice, and eight years in sales leadership and brand management roles at Procter & Gamble. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Sherwin-Williams.

“The chance to join an iconic, powerhouse global brand like Pizza Hut, combined with the backing of a world-class and culture-rich company like Yum! Brands, created an opportunity I knew I had to be a part of and simply couldn’t pass up,” said Powell. “I’m excited to work with Kevin and Vipul, and can’t wait to begin working alongside and building relationships with such a talented team of employees and franchisees around the world.”

About Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kan., Pizza Hut operates nearly 18,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. With easy order options including the Pizza Hut app, mobile site, and Amazon and Google devices, Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery – and has Hut Rewards, the Pizza Hut loyalty program that offers points for every dollar spent on food any way you order.

Now more than ever, restaurants have an important role in helping to safely feed families. As one of the largest pizza brands in the world by store count, Pizza Hut is committed to doing its part. To help keep team members and customers safe, customers can get their favorite Pizza Hut pizza via three contactless offerings: curbside pickup, delivery, or carryout. After becoming the first national pizza brand to offer Contactless Curbside Pickup, Pizza Hut launched The Hut Lane™, a dedicated digital order pick-up window available at more than 1,500 locations across the country.

Pizza Hut is also the proprietor of The Literacy Project, an initiative designed to enable access, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading. The program is rooted in the foundation set by the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which is the longest-running corporate supported literacy program, impacting more than 14 million students each year. Pizza Hut is the Official and Only Pizza Sponsor of the NFL® and NCAA®.

For more information about Pizza Hut, visit www.pizzahut.com or http://www.pizzahut.com/c/content/sitemap.

About Yum! Brands, Inc.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 51,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, operating the Company’s brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. The Company’s family of brands also includes The Habit Burger Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. Yum! Brands was included on the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. In 2020, Yum! Brands was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and was ranked among the top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by 3BL Media.

View source version at Yum! Brands


Morgan Flatley Names McDonald’s Global CMO as Company Shifts Executive Roles

Former Petco marketing executive Tariq Hassan will take over as U.S. CMO. Paul Pomroy will lead the company’s International Operated Markets while Alistair Macrow moves over to the U.K. and Ireland.

By Jonathan Maze on Aug. 24, 2021

McDonald’s on Tuesday named Morgan Flatley the company’s global chief marketing officer and Tariq Hassan its new U.S. CMO as part of a series of moves brought about by the recent creation of the customer experience team.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s in the U.K. and Ireland, will be named corporate SVP, International Operated Markets—a group of 12 mature international markets. That was the position Manu Steijaert had before he was named global chief customer officer.

Alistair Macrow, who had been the global chief marketing officer, will now become CEO of the U.K. and Ireland. Flatley takes over his old job and Hassan takes her old job, coming to the company from the pet retailer Petco.

Hassan will take his role on Sept. 27. The other appointments will be effective Nov. 1.

“Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to developing a pipeline of customer-focused leaders who are making sure the McDonald’s brand doesn’t just remain relevant for this generation, but for the next,” CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote in a post on LinkedIn.

Flatley has been with McDonald’s since 2017, and as the company’s U.S. CMO has overseen successful campaigns such as its “Famous Orders” collaborations with Travis Scott and BTS that have driven strong sales growth this year.

She takes over for Macrow, who moves over to the U.K. market, which he knows well after having been the CMO there. He also directed marketing strategy over the chain’s international operating markets. He joined McDonald’s in 2007, according to a message to the system from Steijaert and Ian Borden, president of McDonald’s international, seen by Restaurant Business.

Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a message that Flatley’s promotion reflects her “outstanding contributions to McDonald’s USA and the system.” He noted that she created “some of our most inspired marketing campaigns” to support priorities like chicken and digital.

“Morgan’s curiosity for consumer insights combined with her passion for creative has resulted in stronger, more inclusive and longer-lasting connections with U.S. consumers,” Erlinger said.

McDonald's executives Tariq Hassan Morgan Flatley

Hassan has more than 20 years of global marketing experience and is currently the CMO with Petco. He has held positions with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HP and Omnicom. Erlinger said he has a “proven track record of growing and developing talent at all levels within a marketing function, and we look forward to him building on the tremendous success that Morgan made in the last several years.”

Pomroy, meanwhile, led the U.K. and Ireland business through a period of strong growth, Borden and Steijaert said in their message. They said that he “championed investment and innovation in restaurant design, food quality and operational excellence” through relationships with franchisees and suppliers.

All of these moves follow the elevation of Steijaert, who will be tasked with overseeing the customer experience at McDonald’s both in-store, in the drive-thru and through the chain’s digital ordering applications.

“Our customers should be able to move seamlessly between the in-store, takeaway and delivery service channels so that we offer more convenience and better personalization,” Kempczinski said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call last month.

Steijaert, he said, “will oversee everything from the physical restaurants that we design and build to the digital experiences that we embed along each step of the customer journey.”

View source version at McDonald's


Tom Curtis Appointed President of Burger King U.S. & Canada



August 23, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, today announced that industry veteran Tom Curtis has been appointed President of Burger King U.S. & Canada.

“Tom joined us a few months ago and has quickly established a strong leadership position in the business and trust with our franchisees, informed by his 35 years of previous restaurant experience as both a franchisee and senior operations executive,” said José Cil. “Tom will lead the acceleration of our business to deliver on our vision that Burger King should always be our guests’ first choice for a quality meal, an exceptional and convenient experience and great value. We have the right priorities identified and this is a matter of having a strong leader and team with the right focus and pace to deliver the high expectations that we have of ourselves.”

“I’m extremely impressed by the quality of our team and the partnership we have with our great franchisees. Together, we will work to accelerate the performance of the Burger King brand through an intense focus on our guest experience and success on five key priorities. We intend to play to our distinctive heritage and strengths, evolve our menu to deliver exceptional taste and value in key day parts, streamline our operations to provide our guests with a consistent, quality experience, accelerate our digital integration – led by the nation-wide launch of our Royal Perks loyalty program, and drive the transformation of our restaurant network with high quality locations, exciting design and high ROI for our franchisees,” said Tom Curtis, President of Burger King U.S. & Canada.

About BURGER KING®: Founded in 1954, the Burger King® brand is a global fast-food hamburger chain known for food quality and value as the only place guests can get the flame-grilled Whopper® and the hand-breaded Ch’King™ sandwiches. The Burger King system operates more than 18,700 locations in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. Almost 100 percent of Burger King restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned operations that have been in business for decades. To learn more about the Burger King brand, please visit the Burger King brand website at www.bk.com or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and TikTok.

View source version at Burger King


Hawaiian Fast Casual Mo’Bettahs Gears Up for Massive Growth with New President

August 18, 2021


Brand adds Rob Ertmann to leadership team as it preps for expansion in three new markets

Salt Lake City, UT  (RestaurantNews.com)  Hawaiian cuisine has drawn a lot of fanfare in the past decade as Americans seek new flavor experiences. And one of the most authentic fast-casual brands in the Hawaiian category, Mo’Bettahs, is ready to meet that demand as it ramps up expansion efforts across the country with a new president and locations in three new markets.

“Mo’Bettahs, which was acquired by Savory Fund in 2017, announced the addition of restaurant industry veteran Rob Ertmann as president, rounding out a leadership team guided by cofounders and brothers Kalani and Kimo Mack, who built the brand around their experience growing up in Hawaii.

“Rob Ertmann joins us at such a crucial time in our business as we continue to grow into new markets,” Kalani Mack said. “His experience and multi-unit growth pedigree are the perfect fit to help Mo’Bettahs spread our authentic brand of Aloha to those customers looking for that true island taste.”

Ertmann’s hire comes as Mo’Bettahs prepares for massive expansion. The brand plans to open 26 new locations by the end of 2022, doubling the size of the enterprise, including its first stores in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas City this year. Mo’Bettahs currently has 22 locations in Utah and Idaho.

Mo’Bettahs was acquired by Savory Fund in 2017, a management group that infuses exciting startup brands with capital and pairs them with its team of 65 industry veterans, who have experience in everything from real estate, development and construction, store operations, technology, recruiting, training and finance.

“After reviewing and meeting with several dozen impressive leaders within the food and beverage industry, Rob Ertmann really stood out because of his genuine personality, his humility, and his willingness to be a servant leader,” said Andrew K. Smith, managing partner of Savory Fund. “To talk about how, in his first 100 days in a position, he would be in the trenches with the team learning the business, and that nothing was beneath him, was a match for each of us when picking the right person to lead this incredible brand. It is how everyone at Savory operates as well; in the trenches with each brand, every day.”

Ertmann has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and retail industries. He most recently served as chief operating officer at Philz Coffee, a fast-growing specialty coffee company based in San Francisco, where he and his team improved store-level EBITDA by 10% and grew average unit volumes by $200,000. He also held leadership roles at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for more than 200 company-owned locations and revenue in excess of $170 million, and Peet’s Coffee, where he oversaw 250 company-owned locations and revenue in excess of $269 million.

“We were so impressed with his background of multi-unit growth,” Smith added. “He’s worked for some impressive firms, and we’re excited to see him implement a lot of his multi-unit experience as we grow Mo’Bettahs into multiple new geographies and new states in the coming years.”

“I am thrilled to join this incredible brand, shaped by Kimo and Kalani to serve incredible food inspired by their growing up in Hawaii,” Ertmann said. “It is an exciting time to be a part of this journey as we grow the number of communities that get to share this delicious island food, both in Utah and into new markets that have yet to experience Mo’Bettahs. I have no doubt that customers in these new communities will love and appreciate the opportunity to enjoy our Aloha spirit as we provide them with an authentic Hawaiian experience and delicious food without having to step on a boat or an airplane to get it.”

Mo’Bettah’s first opened in Bountiful, Utah, in 2008, and has spent the last 13 years serving loyal customers the adventurous flavors of the Hawaiian Islands that the Mack brothers grew up eating. The menu offers an array of boldly flavored proteins — Teriyaki Chicken or Steak, Kalua Pig, Pulehu Chicken, Katsu Chicken, and Shrimp Tempura — served with white rice and macaroni salad, along with a range of delicious sauces.

“I am very excited to share our unique brand of Hawaiian-style food, developed in our own kitchen and backyard in K?ne’ohe, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu,” Kalani Mack said. “These are the recipes that we and our children grew up on. We can’t wait to share that with the folks in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.”

“Opening in new markets is really exciting for us. For two inexperienced island boys to come as far as we have has been a dream come true,” Kimo Mack added. “To think we will make it all the way to the Midwest and have a partner like Savory Fund help us get to over 50 units and beyond is crazy. That’s a long way from Oahu.”

About Mo’Bettahs

Mo’Bettahs was founded in Bountiful, Utah, nearly a decade ago by Kimo and Kalani Mack. The goal was to transport guests to an authentic Hawaiian island experience, like they had where they grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. After partnering with Savory Restaurant Fund, they have since grown the Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant to over 20 locations in Utah and Idaho, with expansion to more markets in the coming months and years to expand the brand and spread the aloha even further. The brand serves up the plate lunch with an authentic Hawaiian experience, with items like Teriyaki Chicken and Steak, Katsu Chicken, homemade mac salad and fresh steamed rice, to name a few. For more information, visit www.mobettahs.com.

About Savory Fund

Savory, a Mercato Partners Fund, is focused on delivering outsized returns through strategic investments in the food and beverage industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands, to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, revenue opportunities, profitability enhancements, and new location development. The Savory team contributes directly to all aspects of growth and replication by using a proven playbook and methodology. Founder involvement in the expansion of a brand is a central theme of the Savory approach as founders carry the tribal knowledge around the uniqueness that has energized early success and is essential to future growth. For more information, visit SavoryFund.com.

View source version at Mo' Bettahs

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