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Executive Movements - September 2022

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

September 14, 2022 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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

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

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

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

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

About Jack in the Box Inc.

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

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Donatos Hires Conrad as Chief Marketing Officer

September 14, 2022

Well-respected marketing leader returns to family-owned brand she previously served

Columbus, OH  (  Donatos is pleased to announce that Jodie Conrad, who previously worked for the family-owned brand, has been hired as the brand’s Chief Marketing Officer effective September 12.

“I am excited to welcome Jodie back home to Donatos,” said Kevin King, President of Donatos.  “She is a very well-respected person in the restaurant industry with tremendous experience and a successful track record.  She already knows our brand well, and we are confident that she will step right in and help push us forward.”

Conrad, who previously served as the Director of Brand Marketing at Donatos from 2000 to 2005, will report directly to King.  She will serve as a key member of the Leadership Team and create innovative strategies to raise awareness and drive traffic and sales.  She will oversee Marketing, Menu Innovation, Catering, and Customer Service.

“I’m very excited to rejoin the brand,” said Conrad.  “I’ve been a Donatos fan since childhood, and I look forward to helping create new fans all across the country.”

Conrad has most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Fazoli’s where she was responsible for all marketing and culinary functions including advertising, digital/social media and CRM, field marketing, consumer insights, off-premise business development, public relations, menu management, and new product development/testing.  She was with Fazoli’s for over six years and led the Marketing Department since September 2017.  In 2021, Nation’s Restaurant News named her one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Foodservice and listed her as one of 8 CMOs Who Rock and Rule.

Prior to joining Fazoli’s, Conrad previously served in brand marketing roles at Wendy’s, Donatos, Coca-Cola, and Pillsbury.  She has both a BBA and MBA from Ohio University.

About Donatos

Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963.  With 429 locations in 27 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 170 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 259 non-traditional locations (249 locations with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen).  For more information about Donatos, visit, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram.

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International Dairy Queen Announces New Chief Operating Officer, International

Nicolas Boudet Joins International Dairy Queen to Lead Global Business

September 13, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--International Dairy Queen Inc. (IDQ) today announced Nicolas Boudet joined the company as chief operating officer, international. Boudet will lead the international business, including operations, franchise development, supply chain and marketing in more than 20 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. He brings more than 20 years of business leadership experience at well-known, globally recognized hospitality and quick-service restaurant brands.

Boudet most recently served as senior vice president global development and president of international at Wingstop Restaurants, Inc. (Wingstop). Before joining Wingstop in 2018, he was executive vice president and group president international at Focus Brands where he was responsible for Auntie Anne's, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister's, Moe's and Schlotzky's. Boudet also held leadership positions at YUM! Brands serving as: head of franchising and development for Taco Bell U.S., and chief development officer Latin America and Caribbean for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

“Our international business is our largest growth opportunity and bringing in a strong international franchise leader is paramount to deliver on our future success,” said Troy Bader, president and CEO at International Dairy Queen. “With decades of increasingly successful franchise experience in the quick-service restaurant industry, Nicolas Boudet brings a vision and growth business mindset as we continue to expand in existing countries and enter new markets.”

“I am honored to join International Dairy Queen at a time when global growth is a key strategic business priority,” said Nicolas Boudet, chief operating officer, international, at International Dairy Queen. “I am committed to empowering this talented team to its full potential, building relationships with current and prospective franchise owners, and introducing new fans around the world to the DQ experience.”

Boudet holds a master’s degree from ESSEC Business School, Paris, France, in a program administered by Institut de Management Hôtelier International (IMHI) and Cornell University. He is based in Dallas, Texas, where he resides with his family.

About International Dairy Queen, Inc.

International Dairy Queen, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation and Dairy Queen Canada, Inc. Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 7,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada and more than 20 other countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (Berkshire), which is led by Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire. For more information, visit

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Cotton Patch Cafe Expands Its C-Suite From Within Its Ranks

Sep 13, 2022, 09:33 ET

Company Names Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer

DALLAS, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Cotton Patch Cafe, a Texas-inspired, scratch-made restaurant serving Texas classics, today announced the appointment of Stephanie Callihan to chief financial officer and Todd McEvoy to chief operations officer. Both will report directly to the CEO and serve on the Cotton Patch Cafe leadership team.

"We are fortunate to have two team members who have dedicated a considerable portion of their outstanding careers to the growth and success of our brand," said Mazen Albatarseh, CEO of Cotton Patch Cafe. "Their institutional knowledge and dedication to Cotton Patch Cafe are invaluable to our organization as we continue to expand our presence throughout Texas," Albatarseh adds.

About Stephanie Callihan

Stephanie Callihan kicked off her restaurant industry career with P.F. Chang's China Bistro & Pei Wei Asian Diner in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she served in various accounting and FP&A roles and was responsible for analysis and insights for the sister companies. After nearly six years, she switched industries and moved into FP&A at GoDaddy. However, the restaurant industry called upon her again, this time with Cotton Patch Cafe - where she has spent nearly a decade moving through the ranks from director of business intelligence, chief administrative officer and now to her current role as chief financial officer.

About Todd McEvoy

McEvoy's 25-plus year career with Cotton Patch Cafe began in 1997 as an assistant manager. Noting his passion for the brand, McEvoy quickly moved into a role as general manager, where he remained for 16 years. His in-depth understanding of local store operations prepared him for more strategic company roles as area director and later as director of brand standards. Noting his passion for the operational side of the business, Cotton Patch's management moved McEvoy to director of operational services and later vice president of operations, where he served until his promotion to COO.

About Cotton Patch Cafe

Founded in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1989, Dallas-based Cotton Patch Cafe is a Texas-inspired, homestyle restaurant serving Southern classics in its 49 locations across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Cotton Patch is deeply committed to being a community partner in each town it calls home and gives to many local organizations and charities, in addition to being a major donor to Scottish Rite for Children. For more information, visit or follow Cotton Patch Cafe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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FB Society Names Brad Leist as New CFO

September 12, 2022

Experiential, Dallas-based hospitality collective chooses industry veteran to lead financial operations

Dallas, TX  (  FB Society, the creator of experiential and sought-after hospitality concepts, is proud to announce Brad Leist as its new Chief Financial Officer.

Leist most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Finance for Landry’s, a Houston-based gaming, restaurant, and hospitality group, and brings more than two decades of financial experience in the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries. Prior to Landry’s, he served as the Chief Financial Officer & Senior VP of Accounting and Finance for Ignite Restaurant Group for nearly six years.

“FB Society is a growth company with an exceptional senior leadership team, and we are excited for Brad to join us as we prepare for a record year of concept and revenue growth in 2023,” said Jack Gibbons, FB Society President and CEO. “Brad’s success and experience as a multi-concept CFO, his financial expertise and his outstanding leadership qualities will be an invaluable addition to the team.”

As CFO at Ignite, Leist drove company initiatives to test server hand-held devices, table-side payment, EMV and food delivery. He also coordinated the implementation of a new ERP system and centralized the company’s accounting, accounts payable and indirect tax functions to the corporate office from a third-party service provider, while leading cost control efforts to improve profitability and pay down company debt.

In his new role at FB Society, Leist aims to fortify the company’s financial foundation to facilitate the growth of existing concepts and support the development of new experiences. He will play a critical role in FB Society’s leadership team and spearhead several initiatives designed to elevate both the employee and guest experience.

“It is extremely exciting to join a company that has not only been phenomenally successful, but also has a tremendous opportunity for significant growth for many years to come,” said Leist. “I feel privileged to join such a great team and look forward to supporting the growth of FB Society’s portfolio of experiential concepts as we serve our guests, teams, community and stakeholders.”

FB Society was one of just a dozen Texas-based companies in the food and beverage industry to be included on the prestigious Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list for 2022. The recognition joins several accolades for FB Society, including the recent recognition of Sixty Vines as a 2022 “Hot Concept” winner by Nation Restaurant News.

Leist has also served on the executive leadership team at Builders FirstSource and began his career in the audit practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a Texas native and earned his master’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University.

About FB Society

Driven by a thriving culture and constant pursuit of perfection, FB Society is an award-winning operator of a fully integrated collection of brands uniquely positioned for long-term growth and success, driven by a leadership team focused on WHY. Known for its creativity, experiential approach, exquisite attention to detail, culinary innovation, and creation and development of emerging brands, FB Society now boasts a diverse portfolio of 10 restaurant brands across 25 locations, a one-of-a-kind food hall, Modern Pour premium catering, Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. and the not-for-profit Furlough Kitchen, with more concepts on the horizon. To learn more about FB Society, visit

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Inspire Brands names John Kelly as Chief Company Restaurant Officer

The portfolio company, which counts Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins among its five brands, has announced that former Arby’s Chief Operating Officer John Kelly will now oversee operations for all of the group’s chains

Kelly was previously responsible for more than 3,500 Arby’s locations across North America

John Kelly has been promoted to the Inspire Brands Executive Team and named Chief Company Restaurant Officer as one of three appointments made by the restaurant company.

Kelly, who was previously responsible for more than 3,500 Arby’s locations across North America, will now oversee the largest collection of multi-brand company restaurants in the US and Canada, representing Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and SONIC Drive-in.

Atlanta-based Inspire Brands was formed in 2018 when fast food sandwich restaurant chain Arby’s acquired Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco. It then purchased sandwich delivery company Jimmy John’s in 2019 before acquiring Dunkin’ Brands, comprising coffee and donut chain Dunkin’ and ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, in December 2020.

The $11.3bn Dunkin’ Brands addition saw Inspire Brands become the second largest restaurant company in the US. It now operates a collective 32,000 stores across 70 countries.

Inspire Brands has also announced two internal promotions to the Chief Operating Officer post, with Lou Beccarelli replacing Kelly at Arby’s and Tanishia Beacham becoming the Sonic Brand Chief Operating Officer effective 1 October 2022.

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Superfood Chain everbowl® Names Trevor Sacco as Brand President

September 08, 2022 16:00 ET

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California-based craft superfood chain everbowl® (, which promotes healthy lifestyles fueled by vitamin-rich bowls and smoothies, has named restaurant industry veteran Trevor Sacco to the position of Brand President.

Sacco's 35 years of experience leading innovative gourmet, quick-service and nutrition-focused restaurant and packaged food companies includes tenures as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Beaming Wellness as well as Vice President of Operations for Umami Restaurant Group. Most recently, he served for nearly four years as CEO of Naked Infusions, maker of plant-based salsas and sauces.

"This is a new position within the everbowl brand that will drive the overall expansion and growth strategy," said everbowl Founder and CEO Jeff Fenster. "Trevor's experience as a restaurant owner, operator and consultant gives him insights from multiple perspectives that will bring incredible value to the brand. He oversaw the rapid expansion of Daphne's Greek Café to more than 70 locations. With everbowl in the midst of a similar steep and aggressive trajectory, Trevor's guidance will be instrumental."

Sacco said his passion and thorough understanding of brand growth mechanics will drive his success in leading everbowl's regional and overall expansion.

"I am committed to maintaining and accelerating everbowl's impressive track record of store openings in its efforts to give everyone a healthy, purposeful dining option to empower them to become their best selves," Sacco said. "I look forward to furthering that mission by growing the community of everbowl franchises, penetrating new markets and ensuring efficient operations and business performance that results in maximum profitability and an outstanding guest experience."

Currently, everbowl has scheduled no less than seven new store openings over the next few months throughout TX, OH, OR, UT and MO. The restaurant allows customers to select one of several menu items based on acai, pitaya, and other supercharged ingredients. Or they can create their own "Whatever Bowl®," selecting unlimited fruits, nuts, and flavorings for a customized experience. The chain recently launched a new smoothie using the same superfood foundations. Popular choices include the classic peanut butter/chocolate flavored PB Cacao Dream, and Nanaberry Bliss, everbowl's healthy version of the traditional strawberry/banana favorite.

About everbowl®

Established in 2016, everbowl® is a Southern California-based quick-serve restaurant chain with over 50 locations in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, South  Carolina, Texas, and Utah, with plans to open an additional 150+ locations over the next 36 months in Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, and more. The everbowl menu offers a variety of build-your-own craft superfood bowls featuring acai, pitaya, matcha, blue majic, vanilla, chia pudding, coconut, cacao and chewy as the base ingredient options along with unlimited fresh fruit toppings and healthy super stuff add-ins. Through a growing footprint of retail locations and CPG product extensions, everbowl encourages consumers to "unevolve®" - to live actively and eat "stuff that's been around forever®." Franchise opportunities are available. Visit

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Bar Louie Appoints Brian Wright as New Chief Executive Officer

September 7, 2022

The Original Gastrobar™ appoints business leader with over 35 years of experience to lead the brand and to continue driving growth and profitability

Dallas, TX  (  Bar Louie’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Wright as Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Original Gastrobar.

Wright will begin his tenure as CEO on Sept. 7, guiding the 70-unit full-service brand into its next phase of growth utilizing strategies and technologies designed to create a modern bar experience for customers, built on the foundations and spirit from the great history of Bar Louie.

Wright brings more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently serving as the CEO of Tijuana Flats. During his tenure at the Tex-Mex fast-casual restaurant, Wright rebuilt the senior management team and executed a highly successful three-year growth plan for the brand. Previous roles include leadership positions with Bertucci’s, Au Bon Pain and Einstein Bros Bagels, where his responsibilities spanned restaurant and franchise operations, brand positioning, executive management and more.

“We are thrilled that Brian has chosen to take the leadership reigns at Bar Louie. Brian brings an impressive background with proven success as a leader in the restaurant industry,” said Gordon Paris, Bar Louie’s Board Chairman. “With his track record of guiding legendary brands and a clear vision for the future, he is the perfect choice to take advantage of the many opportunities we see at Bar Louie and to lead our business to even greater heights.”

“I am thrilled to be joining this great brand and I appreciate the confidence and support shown by the board and owners,” said Wright. “I see numerous opportunities to drive growth and profitability and meaningfully improve the customer experience, and I am excited to begin tackling these challenges with the outstanding members of the Bar Louie family.”

The tenets of the Original Gastrobar are simple – Eat. Drink. Be Happy. Best recognized for its signature martinis, Bar Louie offers handcrafted drinks with premium liquors, delicious chef-inspired food and exceptional service in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. With Bar Louie, no two bars are the same because the brand listens to the neighborhoods it serves. Whether you’re looking for great food, refreshing cocktails or just good conversation, Bar Louie has you covered.

For more information about Bar Louie, visit

About Bar Louie

Founded in downtown Chicago in 1990 and headquartered in Dallas, Bar Louie is the Original Gastrobar with an award-winning collection of neighborhood bars with a lively, social atmosphere. With 70 locations across the United States, Bar Louie is known for its signature handcrafted martinis and cocktails, Gastrobar menu of appetizers, burgers and sandwiches served every day until close. For more information on Bar Louie, visit

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Starbucks Names Laxman Narasimhan As Next Chief Executive Officer

September, 6 2022

Howard Schultz will continue as interim ceo until April 1, 2023 and serve as an advisor to Narasimhan through calendar 2023 while remaining on Starbucks Board of Directors.

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) last week announced that Laxman Narasimhan will become the company’s next chief executive officer and a member of the Starbucks Board of Directors. Narasimhan will join Starbucks as incoming ceo on October 1, 2022 after relocating from London to the Seattle area and will work closely with Howard Schultz, interim ceo, before assuming the ceo role and joining the Board on April 1, 2023.

Narasimhan brings nearly 30 years of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands. Known for his considerable operational expertise, he has a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands. Building on companies’ histories, he has succeeded in rallying talent to deliver on future ambitions by driving consumer-centric and digital innovations. Most recently, he served as chief executive officer of Reckitt, a FTSE-12 listed multinational consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company, where he led the company through a major strategic transformation and a return to sustainable growth.

“Laxman is an inspiring leader. His deep, hands-on experience driving strategic transformations at global consumer-facing businesses makes him the ideal choice to accelerate Starbucks growth and capture the opportunities ahead of us. His understanding of our culture and values, coupled with his expertise as a brand builder, innovation champion, and operational leader will be true differentiators as we position Starbucks for the next 50 years, generating value for all our stakeholders. On behalf of the entire Board, I am thrilled to welcome Laxman as Starbucks next ceo,” said Mellody Hobson, Independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair.

During the transition period, Narasimhan will be fully immersed in the company, spending time with Schultz and the management team, partners and customers and gaining in-depth exposure to the brand, company culture, and Reinvention plan. This will initially include Starbucks store immersions, visiting manufacturing plants and coffee farms, connecting with partners around the globe as well as Starbucks long term business partners.

Schultz will remain in the role of interim ceo during this transition period, following which he will continue as a member of the Starbucks Board of Directors. He will remain closely involved with the company’s Reinvention and act as an ongoing advisor to Narasimhan.

“When I learned about Laxman’s desire to relocate, it became apparent that he is the right leader to take Starbucks into its next chapter. He is uniquely positioned to shape this work and lead the company forward with his partner-centered approach and demonstrated track record of building capabilities and driving growth in both mature and emerging markets. As I have had the opportunity to get to know him, it has become clear that he shares our passion of investing in humanity and in our commitment to our partners, customers, and communities. The perspectives he brings will be a strong asset as we build on our heritage in this new era of greater well-being. I greatly look forward to our partnership over the coming months and years,” said Schultz.

“Starbucks commitment to uplift humanity through connection and compassion has long distinguished the company, building an unrivaled, globally admired brand that has transformed the way we connect over coffee. I am humbled to be joining this iconic company at such a pivotal time, as the Reinvention and investments in the partner and customer experiences position us to meet the changing demands we face today and set us up for an even stronger future,” said Narasimhan. “I look forward to working closely with Howard, the Board, and the entire leadership team – and to listening and learning from Starbucks partners – as we collectively build on this work to lead the company into its next chapter of growth and impact.”

Previously, Narasimhan held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, including as global chief commercial officer, where he was responsible for the company’s long-term strategy and digital capabilities. He also served as ceo of the company’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, and previously as the ceo of PepsiCo Latin America, and the cfo of PepsiCo Americas Foods. Prior to PepsiCo, Narasimhan was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on its consumer, retail and technology practices in the U.S., Asia and India and led the firm’s thinking on the future of retail.

Narasimhan is also a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the UK Prime Minister's Build Back Better Council, and is a member of Verizon’s Board of Directors. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, India. He has an MA in German and International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

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Church’s Texas Chicken® Taps Industry Veteran Tim Waddell for Executive Vice President of International Business Role

Waddell will oversee the international team as it seeks to further the brand’s global expansion

September 06, 2022 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Church’s Texas Chicken® has hired QSR industry leader Tim Waddell to take on the role of EVP of International Business effective September 6. Waddell brings extensive experience in the areas of global development, sales, marketing, operations, and P&L management that will support the brand in its continued growth.

“Tim’s expertise globally and within his category will help us propel our growth internationally. Tim is an accomplished, high impact business leader with over 20 years of proven International Development experience and has an outstanding reputation as someone who builds high-performing teams and scalable business functions,” stated Joe Guith, CEO, Church’s Texas Chicken® and Texas Chicken™. “His first-hand knowledge of the global industry fits right in with the culture we are building and will play an intricate part of achieving our vision to be the global franchisor of choice. The executive team and I are excited and fortunate to welcome Tim to the Church’s Texas Chicken® and Texas Chicken™ family.”

Prior to joining the Church’s Texas Chicken® and Texas Chicken™ executive team, Waddell was Vice President and Managing Director of International Development for Inspire Brands where he supported international growth for Arby’s, Baskin Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic. He previously served as Vice President of International Development for Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, where he focused on driving the brand’s international expansion strategies.

“As this beloved brand continues its tremendous growth trajectory, I am thrilled to join an incredible team and group of franchisees who successfully opened over 175 new restaurants globally since the beginning of 2021, and has seen a 13% year over year increase in international locations,” said Waddell. “I’m confident that together we will continue to introduce the legendary, flavorful taste of Texas to new parts of the world in years to come.”

Waddell’s innovative ideas and strategic growth strategies will be an integral part of the future growth for Church’s Texas Chicken® and Texas Chicken™ in both existing and new markets where he will be responsible for managing international franchise relations.

About Church’s Texas Chicken® / Texas Chicken™ Founded in San Antonio, TX, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Texas Chicken®, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken™ primarily outside of the U.S., is one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the world. The brands specialize in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Texas Chicken™ and Church’s Texas Chicken® have more than 1,500 locations in 26 countries and global markets and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information about Church’s Texas Chicken®, visit For information on Texas Chicken™, visit

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Mo’ Bettahs Promotes President Rob Ertmann to CEO

August 31, 2022

Popular Hawaiian-style concept selects restaurant industry veteran from within organization to lead expansion

Salt Lake City, UT  (  Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Restaurant today announced its appointment of Robert Ertmann as chief executive officer of the authentic, island-inspired brand.

It is a promotion for Ertmann, who has served as president of the fast-casual brand since 2021. Mo’ Bettahs will look to his guidance and leadership as the brand continues its nationwide expansion, including its entrance into three new markets over the next few months alone.

“Savory has watched Rob carefully over the past year, and we have concluded that there is no one better suited for the growth and scale of our beloved Mo’ Bettahs brand,” said Andrew K. Smith, managing director and co-founder of Savory Fund. “While we continue to scale in seven markets in the coming year, Rob’s past experience has prepared him for this next level execution. I am personally more excited than ever about this brand in his very capable hands.”

Mo’ Bettahs was founded by brothers Kimo and Kalani Mack, who wanted to recreate the feel of family gatherings on Hawai’i and share their special connection to the ocean and family bonds through the restaurant.

“Rob came in as president at a crucial time and helped us prepare to expand and grow,” said Kalani Mack. “With Rob’s continued leadership, we are excited to continue down the path he’s laid out as we capitalize on even more opportunities to share our authentic Hawaiian food and culture with communities across the nation.”

Ertmann has an impressive background in multi-unit growth along with more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and retail industries. He has served as chief operating officer at Philz Coffee – a fast-growing specialty coffee company based in San Francisco – and held leadership roles at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group and Peet’s Coffee.

“Rob entered this business wanting to learn everything from the ground up,” said Kimo Mack. “And he did just that, which is why our team already admires and respects his decision making and leadership style. I am excited to scale our brand with Rob at the helm.”

Mo’ Bettahs offers an experience rooted in ‘ohana (family), traditions, the ocean and the ‘?ina (land). In 2017, Mo’ Bettahs partnered with, a management group that infuses exciting startup brands with capital and pairs them with its team of industry veterans to grow and thrive.

To learn more about Mo’ Bettahs, visit

About Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style

Mo’ Bettahs was founded in Bountiful, Utah in 2008 by Kimo and Kalani Mack with a goal of providing guests with an authentic Hawaiian island barbeque experience, just like they enjoyed while growing up in Oahu, Hawaii. Mo’ Bettahs serves the plate lunch with an authentic Hawaiian experience, with items like freshly grilled teriyaki chicken and steak, kalua pig, deep-fried katsu chicken, homemade macaroni salad and steamed rice. Since partnering with Savory Restaurant Fund, Mo’ Bettahs has grown to 33 locations in Idaho, Texas, Utah, Kansas and Oklahoma. Mo’ Bettahs has plans to spread the aloha spirit to more communities through continued expansion in the coming months and years. Mo’ Bettahs offers dine-in, takeout and catering. For more information, visit or follow Mo’ Bettahs on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

About Savory Fund

Savory Fund is an innovative private equity firm that combines over $500 million in assets under management with a growth playbook and expertise that has been developed over 15 years of operating in the restaurant industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, growth and 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

View source version at Mo' Bettahs

Freddy's Announces New COO and VP of Finance

Aug 29, 2022, 10:00 ET

WICHITA, Kan., Aug. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Fast-casual restaurant concept Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced today it has named Brian Wise as Chief Operating Officer and Jerry Kunz as Vice President of Finance. Brian Wise brings valuable franchisee perspective to his new role as Freddy's COO, having previously spent 15 years with a Freddy's franchise group before joining the corporate team. Over the past year, Wise has led the restaurant innovation team in delivering technology & operational improvements. As COO, he will oversee the Freddy's training team and both franchise and corporate operations.

"Freddy's success comes from our delicious food, dedication to guests and strong relationships with our franchisees. During the past 20 years, the Freddy's team has worked together to build it into the national restaurant concept it is today," said Chris Dull, President & CEO of Freddy's. "We are thankful that Brian will be continuing his great work with our brand as COO, and that Jerry decided to join our team for this next chapter of accelerating development. With our seasoned operations team having a vast array of knowledge and expertise, we're on a solid path to the brand's continued success and growth."

Serving as Freddy's Vice President of Finance, Jerry Kunz specializes in financial planning & analysis, budgeting & forecasting, corporate & operational finance, business intelligence reporting and more. Prior to Freddy's, Kunz was most recently the Director of Finance & Treasury for First Watch Restaurants.

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® is a leading fast-casual franchise concept with more than 440 locations across 36 states nationwide. Founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 2002, the brand offers a unique combination of cooked-to-order steakburgers, all-beef hot dogs, shoestring fries and other savory items along with freshly churned frozen custard treats. Known for operating the Freddy's Way, Guests experience genuine hospitality and food prepared fresh with premium ingredients. This signature approach has fueled Freddy's ongoing growth throughout the U.S. and garnered national recognition from industry-leading rankings, including being named No. 1 on Forbes Best Franchises to Buy and No. 59 on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500. For more on Freddy's, visit the Newsroom and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. For more information about development opportunities, visit

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Portillo’s Appoints Mike Ellis As Chief Development Officer

Esteemed industry veteran brings 30 years of restaurant development experience to the Chicagoland fast-casual favorite

August 26, 2022 08:01 ET

CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Portillo’s (NASDAQ: PTLO), the fast-casual restaurant concept known for its menu of unrivaled Chicago street food, today announced the appointment of Mike Ellis, to the role of Chief Development Officer. With more than 30 years of experience scaling beloved and well-known restaurant brands across the U.S., Ellis will play a key role in leading Portillo’s robust growth plan as it scales strategically in new and existing markets nationwide.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mike to the Portillo’s leadership team, and I’m confident that his expertise and exceptional record of scaling high-profile restaurant concepts will further accelerate our company’s growth,” said Michael Osanloo, President and CEO of Portillo’s. “Mike joins Portillo’s at an exciting time in our high-growth journey. I look forward to him sharing his skillset and knowledge as we continue to expand our restaurant base and introduce Portillo’s Chicago-style favorites to new legions of fans.”

Prior to joining Portillo’s, Ellis held the role of Vice President of Real Estate and Development at Cracker Barrel, where he spearheaded growth development strategy, new restaurant openings and the development of a new prototype that significantly improved operational efficiencies. Additionally, Ellis previously served as the CDO and COO of FoodFirst Global Restaurants, and the CDO of Ruby Tuesday and O’Charley’s Inc.

Ellis joins Portillo’s following the retirement of Chief Development and Supply Chain Officer Sherri Abruscato, a 40+-year veteran of the brand. Ellis’s appointment comes as Portillo’s continues its growth momentum including within the Midwest, Florida and Arizona, with plans to open its first Texas restaurant in the Dallas-Fort Worth area later this year.

About Portillo’s In 1963, Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a small trailer to open the first Portillo’s hot dog stand, “The Dog House,” in Villa Park, IL. Now called Portillo’s, the business has grown to include more than 70 restaurants in 9 states, with plans to enter Texas this fall, and ships its best-selling menu items to fans in all 50 states. Portillo’s serves a menu of craveable items, including its iconic Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, fresh salads and famous chocolate cake. The fast-casual restaurant concept has a distinct, energy-filled atmosphere designed to create a memorable experience.

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Focus Brands Appoints Industry Veterans to Key Leadership Roles in Restaurant Category

Aug 25, 2022, 06:06 ET

ATLANTA, Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne's®Carvel®Cinnabon®Jamba®McAlister's Deli®Moe's Southwest Grill® and Schlotzsky's®, announced today the promotion of Shelley Harris to Restaurant Category President and the hiring of William Armstrong for the position of Schlotzsky's Chief Brand Officer.  Both leaders have an impressive background in restaurant operations, which is critical for the success of the company's three restaurant category brands.

"Having the opportunity to promote a strong leader like Shelley Harris to lead the restaurant category shows the bench strength we have within Focus Brands, and William Armstrong's track record of operational excellence is invaluable as Schlotzsky's continues to grow and enter new markets," said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands.  "The success of our restaurant brands is imperative to the success of the company overall, and with these two leaders working alongside existing talent, I am incredibly confident in the future."

Shelley Harris has worked in operations at Focus Brands for six years, most recently as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Restaurant Category. In this role, Shelley was instrumental in leading Focus Brands through the beginning of its organizational transformation designed to leverage the scale of the portfolio of its brands.  Harris led the restaurant category operations effort to build effective, efficient and scalable solutions to further enhance the guest experience, focus on franchisee unit level economics and build a culture of operations excellence. Prior to joining the company, she spent nearly 13 years working in operations at Burger King.

William Armstrong joins the company from The Wendy's Company where he served as Head of International Operations. William brings a breadth of knowledge and experience in the QSR space, having worked domestically and internationally for brands including McDonald's and the Yum! Brands portfolio.

About Focus Brands Atlanta-based Focus Brands is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. Focus Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 50 foreign countries under the brand names Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, McAlister's Deli®, and Schlotzsky's®, as well as Seattle's Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more.

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NIKE Executive Joins Dutch Bros Board of Directors

August 25, 2022 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

GRANTS PASS, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dutch Bros Inc. (NYSE: BROS; “Dutch Bros”), one of the fastest-growing brands in the food service and restaurant industry in the United States by location count, has announced the appointment of Ann Miller to its Board of Directors, where she will serve on the Audit and Risk Committee. Inclusive of her appointment, the Board of Directors now consists of nine members.

Miller currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE), a multinational athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and services corporation. She had previously served for more than 15 years in various other roles at NIKE, most recently as Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer from November 2016 to February 2022. Miller is a practicing attorney and a member of the bar in New York, California, District of Columbia, and Oregon.

“Dutch Bros is committed to building a Board with best-in-class governance,” said Joth Ricci, President and CEO of Dutch Bros. “Ann’s extensive experience in advising public companies on business, securities, and corporate governance matters, as well as her commitment to culture, make her a valuable addition to our Board.”

“I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Oregon business leaders who understand the importance of meeting commitments to customers, communities and investors,” said Miller. “Dutch Bros is a company dedicated to making a massive difference one cup at a time while scaling growth and keeping its unique culture. I’m excited to share my knowledge in business and governance to help guide Dutch Bros at a key point in its journey.”

Miller received a J.D. summa cum laude from University of Arizona College of Law and a B.A. in History from Smith College.

About Dutch Bros Inc.

Dutch Bros Inc. (NYSE: BROS) is a high growth operator and franchisor of drive-thru shops that focus on serving high QUALITY, hand-crafted beverages with unparalleled SPEED and superior SERVICE. Founded in 1992 by brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, Dutch Bros began with a double-head espresso machine and a pushcart in Grants Pass, Oregon. While espresso-based beverages are still at the core of what we do, Dutch Bros now offers a wide variety of unique, customizable cold and hot beverages that delight a broad array of customers. We believe Dutch Bros is more than just the products we serve—we are dedicated to making a massive difference in the lives of our employees, customers and communities. This combination of hand-crafted and high-quality beverages, our unique drive-thru experience and our community-driven, people-first culture has allowed us to successfully open new shops and continue to share the “Dutch Luv” at more than 600 locations in 14 states as of June 30, 2022.

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

View source version at Dutch Bros

Denny's Corporation Appoints John Dillon as President of Denny's Inc. and David Schmidt as President of Keke's Breakfast Café

Aug 24, 2022, 16:05 ET

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Aug. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Denny's Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN) today announced the appointment of John Dillon as President of Denny's Inc. and David Schmidt as President of Keke's Breakfast Café. Dillon and Schmidt will report to Chief Executive Officer Kelli Valade.

"It was a priority for the Denny's Corporation Board of Directors and I to identify exceptional leaders to take advantage of the many opportunities in front of us for both Denny's and Keke's," said Valade. "John and David have distinguished track records within the restaurant industry and have demonstrated unwavering commitments to delivering exceptional guest experiences. They also are dedicated to talent development, operational rigor and technological transformation, which is exactly what we need as we enter the next phase of our growth for Denny's and Keke's. I look forward to working with John and David to take our portfolio of brands forward."

Dillon brings over two decades of restaurant expertise to his appointment as president of Denny's Inc. In his most recent role as Chief Brand Officer of Denny's, Dillon has helped to deliver greater shareholder value through the amplification of Denny's America's Diner brand positioning; fostering a collaborative culture with franchisees; launching Denny's on Demand, the first delivery platform in family dining; launching two successful virtual brands; creating successful LTO offers and brand partnerships; growing Denny's purpose-led social responsibility impact; and simplifying the core Denny's menu with a focus on improved product quality and operational execution.

"It's a great privilege for me to continue serving Denny's through such an extraordinary time that I believe will be a period of continued growth and success for our brand, our team and our shareholders," said Dillon. "Denny's position as America's Diner has never been more important and I'm looking forward to partnering with our dedicated franchisees and teams as we enter into the next stage of revitalization for this iconic brand."

Schmidt is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry who brings to Keke's a proven track record of operations, marketing, finance, training and HR leadership. In addition to most recently serving as Chief Financial Officer of Red Lobster and Bloomin' Brands, his experience includes serving as President of Bonefish Grill, during which he was responsible for developing and implementing the long-term growth strategy of a 200-unit polished casual concept. While leading Bonefish Grill, Schmidt built a talented and diverse leadership team that drove sales and traffic growth through differentiated brand positioning, improved product quality and execution, margin expansion, and increased employee retention.

"I'm excited about the growth opportunities in the quickly evolving AM eatery category and look forward to leveraging my experience alongside the entire Keke's team to bring our shareholders more value by growing the brand beyond Florida and positioning it as the leading franchised AM eatery in the country."

Dillon's appointment as president of Denny's will be effective on September 1, 2022, and Schmidt's appointment as president of Keke's Breakfast Café will be effective on September 12, 2022. Denny's Inc. will immediately launch an active search for a new Chief Marketing Officer.

About Denny's Inc.

Denny's Corporation is the franchisor and operator of one of America's largest franchised full-service restaurant chains, based on the number of restaurants. As of June 29, 2022, Denny's had 1,631 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world including 154 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Honduras, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Guam, Guatemala, El Salvador, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. For further information on Denny's, including news releases, please visit the Denny's website at or the brand's social channel via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinkedIn or YouTube.

About Keke's Breakfast Café

Keke's Breakfast Café is an AM eatery that's dedicated to providing handmade breakfast using the best ingredients available, including fresh fruits and vegetables and the highest quality bread and dairy products. As of June 29, Keke's had 52 franchise-operated and company-owned restaurants across Florida. For further information on Keke's Breakfast Café, visit

View source version at Denny's

McDonald's Appoints Jon Banner as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer

Aug 24, 2022, 13:05 ET

CHICAGO, Aug. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) CEO, Chris Kempczinski sent the following message to the McDonald's global System, announcing the company's new Chief Impact Officer, Jon Banner.

+ + +

I am thrilled to share that Jon Banner will be joining McDonald's as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer, reporting directly to me and serving on our Global Senior Leadership Team.

Jon is the perfect leader to oversee our Sustainability & ESG, Government Relations and Public Policy, Communications and International Corporate Relations functions, as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities—building on the momentum of the Impact function as we strengthen and protect our reputation around the world.

In getting to know Jon, it was immediately clear that his passion for McDonald's is matched only by his deep and abiding values, his people-first leadership style, his geopolitical acumen, and his vast network and expertise stewarding global brands in today's dynamic operating environment.

Jon joins us after 10 years at PepsiCo, one of the world's largest food and beverage companies. There he served in a similar capacity, responsible for the Communications function and the PepsiCo Foundation, and worked closely with the company's Sustainability and Government Affairs teams. During this time, he co-created the company's sustainability vision, PepsiCo Positive (pep+), an end-to-end transformation of how the company creates growth and shared value with sustainability and human capital at the center. He also reimagined the Foundation's global strategy towards advancing a more sustainable food system through new partnerships and investments to alleviate hunger, provide access to safe water, and drive economic empowerment. Prior to PepsiCo, Jon spent the majority of his career at Disney/ABC traveling the world as the Executive Producer on some of the most influential news programs, including "World News Tonight" and "This Week", winning numerous Emmy Awards for groundbreaking coverage.

He brings extraordinary and wide-ranging experience in building connected, high-performing teams that are equally known for being inclusive and empowering, which makes him such a great fit for our System and for the Impact function.

As McDonald's continues to focus on driving admiration and trust with all of our stakeholders, I will look to Jon to provide the leadership required to bring our purpose to life in the nearly 40,000 communities where we live, work and serve.

Jon will be based in Chicago, and he'll be joining us on September 6.

Please join me in welcoming Jon, his wife Sara, and their daughters, Sylvie and Leigh, to the McFamily.


About McDonald's 

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

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Bloomin’ Brands Announces Additions to Board of Directors

Julie Kunkel and Melanie Marein-Efron Join the Board

August 24, 2022 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN) today announced that Julie Kunkel and Melanie Marein-Efron will join the company’s Board of Directors. With their appointment, the Board increases its size from nine to 11 members. They will both serve as Class I directors and will stand for re-election at the 2023 annual stockholders meeting; they will also serve on the Board’s Audit Committee.

Kunkel served as a Partner, Financial Acc,ounting Advisory Services at Ernst & Young from 2015 until she retired in 2021. She joined the firm in 1984 and held various financial leadership positions during her tenure. She has provided financial leadership on several non-profit boards and is an executive coach.

Marein-Efron currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Urban Outfitters. She has held various financial leadership positions within Urban Outfitters, as well as the Campbell Soup Company, and Godiva Chocolatier. She began her 32-year career at Arthur Anderson & Company.

“Julie and Melanie bring a depth and breadth of financial and consumer insight that will help us reach our Total Shareholder Return commitment,” said James Craigie, Chairman of the Board at Bloomin’ Brands. “Julie’s experience in all sectors of retail, especially the food and agriculture sectors, will complement the expertise of our existing Board members. Melanie’s active finance and business development background makes her well-suited to ensure we have expert financial controls and provide guidance relative to our growth goals.”

“I look forward to working with Julie and Melanie as they share their experience with our Board,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer at Bloomin’ Brands. “They will serve as a great resource as we accelerate the growth phase of this business.”

The new positions filled by Marein-Efron and Kunkel became effective August 22, 2022.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

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

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Donatos Hires Jackson as Chief People Officer

August 24, 2022

New CPO brings 20+ year of strategic HR leadership experience

Columbus, OH  (  With a focus on the continued growth and development of its associates, Donatos is pleased to announce that it has selected Christina Jackson to serve as Chief People Officer effective August 29, 2022.

“I am excited for Christina to join our family,” said Kevin King, President of Donatos.  “Our people are our most valuable resource, and her vast experience in various strategic leadership roles in the People Services field will guide us in our daily focus of being a preferred workplace where every associate is encouraged to be their authentic self.”

Jackson, who will serve as a key member of the Donatos Leadership Team and oversee the People Services department, will report directly to King.  She will be charged with creating innovative strategies, developing a strong, inclusive, diverse people plan, and enhancing the company culture that lives and breathes the Donatos core values.

With over 20 years of diverse professional experience from leading organizations in corporate sales, financial services, higher education, healthcare and retail, Jackson has held several strategic leadership roles.  Most recently, she worked at Designer Brands (the parent company of DSW, Vince Camuto, and The Shoe Company) where she served as their first ever Leader of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Those who know Jackson best describe her as an inspirational, servant leader who masterfully builds relationships, leans into her work with curiosity and moves beyond traditional ways of doing things to positively impact people, culture and, ultimately, operational performance.

Jackson, who resides in Central Ohio with her husband and two children, is excited to be joining a company that has played an integral part in her fondest family memories from childhood and beyond. “I feel honored to have the opportunity to leverage my background and experiences to help lead and support Donatos on the road to becoming a billion-dollar company,” said Jackson.

Jackson earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Business Administration degree from Capital University, has certifications as a Diversity Professional and Executive Coach, and gives back to the community as part of Girls on the Run Central Ohio’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Committee as well as through Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

About Donatos

Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963.  With 422 locations in 26 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 170 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 252 non-traditional locations (242 locations with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen).  For more information about Donatos, visit, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram.

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Krystal Names Casey Terrell Chief Marketing Officer

August 24, 2022

Atlanta, GA  (  Krystal, the original home of the slider in the South, recently announced that Casey Terrell has been named  Chief Marketing Officer, effective immediately. Terrell is a seasoned marketing professional with demonstrated experience in transforming B2C and B2B revenue along with visibility and operations for globally recognized brands across multiple sectors including retail, hospitality, restaurants, tech, and more. He will report to Krystal President Thomas Stager.

“We are thrilled to bring Casey on to our executive team. His extensive marketing experience, focus on innovation, and ability to cultivate cross-functional collaborations will be vital as we continue our aggressive growth plans,” said Thomas Stager, President for Krystal Restaurants LLC. “Our company is continuing to evolve; we are actively adding new franchisees and opening new stores in new and existing markets.  It’s critical that we have a solid leadership team that can steer us into a future that best serves our customers, franchise partners, and overall enterprise.”

Prior to joining Krystal, Terrell was the Head of Digital Transformation for Focus Brands. In this role, he oversaw transformation and change management for all seven brands: Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne’s®, McAlister’s Deli® and Jamba®. He was responsible for collaboration and innovation company-wide across business processes, digital, technology, and organizational transformation. Prior to serving as Head of Digital Transformation, Terrell led marketing for Schlotzsky’s. Focus Brands has more than 6,500 locations worldwide.

Terrell’s food and beverage marketing experience also includes Head of Global Retail Marketing & Digital Transformation for Anheuser-Busch, Vice President/Head of Global Brand, U.S. Marketing & Digital Transformation for Le Pain Quotidien, International Brand Manager (2014-2015) and Manager, Integrated Marketing (2013-2014) for Outback Steakhouse, and Brand Manager for Burger King.

Before launching into his marketing career, Terrell served as a U.S Army officer. He managed a more than 90-person troop and oversaw deployment training for more than 1,000 soldiers.

Casey Terrell is working towards a Master of Science, Strategic Communications from Columbia University, and holds a Master of Business Administration, Marketing & Finance from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Systems Engineering and Art History, Philosophy & Literature from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Terrell is a member of the Innovation. He has served as a guest speaker for various professional conferences, where he shares his insights on innovation and best business practices.

About Krystal Restaurants LLC

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Krystal Restaurants LLC is the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South. Krystal hamburgers have been served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun since 1932. The company proudly sticks to the classics, but is rapidly innovating its menu and growing it’s franchisee community.

Krystal has grown to be in 10 states with nearly 300 restaurants and continues to deliver a one-of-a-kind taste experience through their craveable menu items. The company’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of more than 3,500 employees. In 2019, the company was selected to USA Today’s Top-10 Best Regional Fast Food List.  More recently Krystal has also been named one of the “Most Craveable Burgers” was  just named a “Breakout Brand” of 2022.

For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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McDonald's Announces Key Changes to Board of Directors

Aug 22, 2022, 07:00 ET

After 15+ years of outstanding service, Sheila A. Penrose will retire from the Board

Tony Capuano, Marriott International; Jennifer Taubert, Johnson & Johnson; and Amy Weaver, Salesforce, will join McDonald's Corporation's Board of Directors

Five Things to Know files with quotes from Tony, Jennifer and Amy and headshots are embedded within this release.

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) today announced the retirement of Sheila A. Penrose from the McDonald's Board of Directors. The Company also announced the election of Tony Capuano, Marriott International; Jennifer Taubert, Johnson & Johnson; and Amy Weaver, Salesforce, to the Board. Sheila's retirement will be effective September 30 and the election of Tony, Jennifer and Amy takes effect October 1.

"For over 15 years, Sheila has been a deeply committed and highly valued member of our Board. We have all benefited from her thoughtful counsel, strong expertise and unwavering dedication to McDonald's. Through her leadership of the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee, Sheila has overseen McDonald's critical progress against our ambitious climate, responsible sourcing and diversity, equity and inclusion goals, positioning us as a leader in the industry. We are grateful for all that she has done for McDonald's and the communities we serve," said Enrique Hernandez, Jr., McDonald's Chairman of the Board. "It is a testament to this great brand, and a continuation of the rich legacy of its Board, that we are welcoming such experienced, global leaders to help steward McDonald's continued success. Each of these individuals represent the highest caliber of values-based leadership, bringing deep and varied expertise to help guide the Company."

"Sheila has been a tremendous resource for me on our Board of Directors. She's helped to spearhead our sustainability efforts and advocated on behalf of the larger role that McDonald's plays in communities around the world. I will miss her," said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer. "At the same time, I'm excited to welcome Tony, Jennifer and Amy to McDonald's. They are inspiring leaders with a demonstrated track-record leading large, complex organizations. Their experience stewarding some of the world's most respected global brands will benefit McDonald's greatly and position the Company for continued growth."

Today's appointments include:

  1. Anthony Capuano who serves as CEO of Marriott International, a global hospitality company with a footprint of over 8,100 properties around the world that are home to some of the most well-known and iconic brands in travel. Capuano brings deep experience in real estate and leading an organization with a significant focus on franchising and driving digital customer engagement through its Marriott Bonvoy® loyalty program. Under Capuano's leadership, the company launched "Marriott's Bridging the Gap" program, a multi-year development initiative focused on fostering a more diverse and inclusive owner and franchisee base.

  2. Jennifer Taubert who serves as Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest and most broadly based healthcare company. As leader of the company's largest sector, with $52 billion in worldwide sales and more than 45,000 employees, Taubert has extensive experience navigating the complexities of a global business in a highly dynamic environment. A purpose-driven leader, she has dedicated her career to healthcare and making a positive impact for people and communities on a global scale. Taubert has been named to Fortune's "Most Powerful Women" list for the past six years.

  3. Amy Weaver who serves as President and Chief Financial Officer of Salesforce, the leader in customer relationship management technology. A seasoned executive with extensive financial, legal and digital experience, Weaver is responsible for leading Salesforce's global finance organization. Before her appointment in 2021, she served as the company's Chief Legal Officer. Weaver has driven many of Salesforce's most strategic and operational initiatives, translating social imperatives into business successes. She also brings a deep understanding of the hospitality industry and customer experience from her time in leadership at, the online travel company.

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

View source version at McDonald's

SPB Hospitality Names Josh Kern as Interim CEO

August 22, 2022

Leading operator of full-service dining restaurants announces leadership changes to build on momentum; Kern appoints Jessica Hagler to CFO role

Houston, TX  (  SPB Hospitality, the industry-leading operator and franchisor of steakhouses, pizza and craft brewery restaurants, today announced the appointment of Josh Kern as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Kern subsequently announced the appointment of SPB veteran Jessica Hagler as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer.

Kern most recently served as President of Concepts at SPB Hospitality, overseeing marketing, culinary, beverage, supply chain, and information technology. He previously held leadership positions with several successful restaurant groups including Quiznos, American Blue-Ribbon Holdings, Smashburger, and Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts. Kern began his restaurant career working on White Castle with J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.

“I’m honored to take the reins at such an exciting time for SPB Hospitality as we work together to build on our momentum,” Kern said. “In my 25 years in the restaurant industry, I’ve been fortunate to be part of many great brands, and I see that same greatness in the SPB Hospitality portfolio. I’m inspired by being on-site at our locations and talking with the people who create outstanding dining experiences for our guests each day. There is extraordinary potential in this collection of brands, and I’m proud to be a part of this exceptional team.”

Hagler has served as interim Chief Financial Officer of SPB Hospitality since April 2022. She was previously Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer & Secretary of J. Alexander’s (“JAX”) until its acquisition by SPB Hospitality in September 2021. Hagler had held various roles at JAX including Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Director of Financial Reporting and Director of Compliance. Prior to joining J. Alexander’s, Hagler was a Senior Manager in the audit practice at KPMG, LLP.

“Josh has played in integral role in the growth and success of SPB Hospitality, so he was the obvious choice to serve in this new leadership role,” said Morgan McClure, President of SPB Hospitality and Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group. “We have enormous confidence in both Josh and Jessica to lead these brands and build on the vision for our collection of restaurant brands and their thousands of team members across the country.”

To learn more about SPB Hospitality’s brands and locations, visit

About SPB Hospitality

SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, spanning a national footprint of hundreds of restaurants and breweries in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The Company’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and a collection of restaurant-brewery brands, including Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. SPB Hospitality also operates a collection of specialty restaurant concepts including ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, J. Alexander’s Restaurant, Merus Grill, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery. In addition, the brand created and operates several virtual brands including Twisted Tenders, Ember Smoked, Leo’s Italian Kitchen, Roadies, and Logan’s on the Road.

About Fortress

Fortress Investment Group LLC is a leading, highly diversified global investment manager with approximately $44.4 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2022. Founded in 1998, Fortress manages assets on behalf of over 1,900 institutional clients and private investors worldwide across a range of credit and real estate, private equity and permanent capital investment strategies.

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Pat Hafner Promoted to President of Carrabba’s Italian Grill

25-Year Bloomin’ Brands Veteran Began as a Server & Cook

August 16, 2022 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) announced the promotion of Pat Hafner to President of Carrabba’s Italian Grill. He will be responsible for leading the operations and development for approximately 220 Carrabba’s restaurants across the United States. Hafner started his career with the company in 1996 and spent 21 years with Outback Steakhouse before moving to Carrabba’s Italian Grill to serve as Vice President of Operations.

“Pat’s commitment to growth and development not only propelled his own career, but the success of the Carrabba’s brand and its expansion of off-premises, including catering” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin' Brands. “His strength in both leadership and results are invaluable.”

Hafner’s restaurant career began with Outback Steakhouse as a server, advancing and excelling in each role including Manager, Managing Partner, Joint Venture Partner, and Regional Vice President, before joining Carrabba’s Italian Grill as Vice President of Operations in 2018.

He was recognized as Restauranteur of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association in 2014 - the highest honor a restauranteur can achieve in New Mexico - for his contributions to the advancement of the restaurant industry. He was awarded “Outbacker of the Year” by Outback Steakhouse in 2015 for his positive impact on the brand throughout his career.

Hafner earned both his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of New Mexico.

About Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.

Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio of leading, differentiated restaurant concepts. The Company has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The Company owns and operates more than 1,450 restaurants in 47 states, Guam and 20 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit

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Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill Welcomes Nico Nieto as CMO

August 16, 2022

Rapidly growing fast-casual concept selects seasoned Marketing professional to lead Marketing

Chicago, IL  (  Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill today announced Nico Nieto has joined the emerging brand as Chief Marketing Officer with a focus to grow and evolve the restaurant’s owned and third party channels, digital capabilities and customer acquisition, loyalty and retention initiatives..

An experienced marketing professional with over two decades of delivering strategic, brand-defining and business-improving results, Nieto will lead data-driven advertising, loyalty and promotional programs to increase revenue and optimize budget and resources.

“I’m incredibly proud to join Naf Naf Grill and be part of building this brand across the country,” Nieto said. “It’s such an exciting time in the world of food, powered by experiences and flavors that break stereotypes and bring people together.  Naf sits right at the heart of those conversations in every community where we operate.”

Nieto gained experience from working with multiple Top 100 Fortune Brands. He amassed a diverse portfolio that includes McDonald’s, Capital One and Volvo, each time utilizing strategic campaigns that mix science and heart that led to sustained business results.

“We’re looking to take the next step in our brand’s growth with an eye towards data-driven decisions and an increased focus on our customer experience,” said Naf CEO and Chairman Greg Willman. “Nico has a track record of doing exactly that! He is the person that will help drive Naf Naf to the next level. His expertise and his excitement for our brand is infectious.”

Naf is currently expanding nationwide, adding 7 locations – including three in new markets – in the first half of 2022, with another four projected by the end of the year. Based in Chicago, the emerging brand has 35 locations currently with plans to add another 15 by the end of 2023.

To learn more about Naf or view their menu, visit

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill: Fan The Flame of Your Passion (and your appetite).

About Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill

Naf is making fresh Middle Eastern cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Inspired by tradition, Naf’s genuine hospitality paired with handmade dishes derived from Old World recipes create a welcoming atmosphere where guests are invited to fan the flame of culinary exploration. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking with choices of top-quality meats, like its award-winning Chicken Shawarma roasted on a vertical spit, to freshly ground falafel and pillowy pita baked in-restaurant throughout the day. Naf is headquartered in Chicago with more than 30 locations nationwide. For more information, visit

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Panera Brands Appoints Konrad Meyer as Chief Financial Officer

August 12, 2022 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panera Brands Inc., which includes the iconic fast casual and hospitality brand Panera Bread as well as Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Brands, is pleased to announce the appointment of Konrad Meyer as Chief Financial Officer, effective August 22, 2022. Mr. Meyer joins Panera Brands from JAB, where he has been a Partner helping to source and oversee its investments, including its fast casual restaurant portfolio. He brings significant experience in the industry, including previously serving as interim CFO of Pret a Manger.

Ted Stedem, current Panera Brands CFO, is stepping down from his role to pursue other interests after supporting the company during a time of significant evolution and growth. In addition to the appointment of Mr. Meyer to CFO of Panera Brands, Mark Wooldridge, SVP, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, will also assume the responsibilities of Panera Bread Chief Financial Officer.

Panera Brands is one of the world’s largest and most innovative fast-casual restaurant companies, focused on providing delicious options made from high-quality ingredients while providing an elevated experience rooted in omni-channel access, personalization, and convenience. In the past year, Panera Brands companies have driven rapid innovation, combining leading competencies in digital and loyalty with a best-in-class food innovation pipeline, a first of its kind Unlimited Sip Club subscription, new franchise partnerships and new convenience-focused store formats, building an unrivaled fast casual platform with tremendous runway for growth.

“Ted has been an outstanding colleague and partner, and we are grateful for his many contributions over the last three years as Panera has continued to thrive and grow,” commented Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Brands and Panera Bread. “At the same time, we are truly excited to welcome Konrad Meyer as Panera Brands’ Chief Financial Officer. Konrad is a trusted partner and a friend who has extensive industry experience, including numerous financial and investment leadership positions, as well as a deep familiarity with Panera, which will make him a valuable member of our management team as we continue to execute our strategy and build on our leading portfolio of brands.”

About Panera Brands

Panera Brands is one of the world’s largest fast casual restaurant platforms, with 3,852 locations and 120,000 employees, including franchisees, across 11 countries. A portfolio of complementary brands bound by common values and shared growth opportunities, Panera Brands is comprised of Panera Bread®, Caribou Coffee® and Einstein Bros. Brands. Panera Brands companies are independently operated and underpinned by industry leading technology, loyalty, craveability, and high-quality ingredients. Panera Brands companies are united in their mission to be force multipliers for good for their guests, communities, the planet, and the shareholders they serve. Panera Bread is a pioneer and market leader in fast casual, with leadership in the quality of its clean, transparent, sustainable ingredients, and in omnichannel access, digital convenience (48% of sales are e-commerce in Q2 2022) and engagement (49 MM MyPanera loyalty members as of June 30, 2022).

As of June 30, 2022, there were 2,130 Panera Bread bakery-cafes in 49 states (including the District of Columbia) in the United States and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Caribou Coffee provides high-quality handcrafted beverages and food options, with 738 stores in 10 countries. Einstein Bros. Brands, consisting of Einstein Bros. Bagels®, Bruegger’s Bagels®, Noah’s New York Bagels® and Manhattan Bagel® is a market leader in bagels and bagel sandwiches operating 984 company-owned and licensed units across the US.

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BELMAR (8-11-2022) - Playa Bowls of New Jersey, a fast casual standout restaurant leader offering açaí, pitaya, coconut bowls, smoothies, cold pressed juices and other healthy food options today announced the appointment of Industry operations and development veteran Mark A. Belanger, CFE, as President.

In his new role, Belanger will oversee all company’s operations and national development. “With a proven track record of exceeding business and financial objectives, Mark will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow and develop our business,” said Rob Giuliano , Chief Executive Officer of Playa Bowls. “We are pleased to welcome Mark to the team and look forward to his contributions in leading us into the next chapters of our brand’s growth”

Belanger has over 30 years of experience in successfully establishing and implementing strategic business plans, introducing new products and service initiatives, and developing policies, operations systems and procedures for leading retail brands. Most recently, Belanger held the position of President of Global Development at Craftworks Restaurants and Brewery Group and previously was Vice President of Café Operations at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Belanger has also held various positions at Dunkin’ Brands Inc and Starbucks Coffee Corporation including Director of Franchise Services and Director of Brand Services.

“I’m honored to join Playa Bowls and see tremendous opportunity to build on the Company’s existing restaurant platform,” said Belanger. “I look forward to building new business verticals, relationships and creating long lasting partnerships with our franchisees and key vendors to grow the brand’s presence in key markets.” Belanger will lead the  Executive leadership team and will report directly to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Giuliani and the Board of Directors. Belanger will be based out of the company’s Belmar, New Jersey headquarters.

View more at Playa Bowls

Jon Asher Becomes Nékter Juice Bar’s First Chief Marketing Officer

August 9, 2022

Costa Mesa, CA  (  Nékter Juice Bar, the pioneering leader of the modern and 100% authentic juice bar experience with 170 locations across the U.S., today announced that Jon Asher has been promoted to serve as the brand’s first Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Previously the brand’s vice president of digital marketing, Asher joined Nékter Juice Bar in 2015 as director of digital marketing and has been responsible for leading a successful rebranding effort, evolving the brand towards omnichannel marketing, and transitioning its loyalty program from punch cards to a pioneering mobile app with more than 1 million members.

As CMO, Asher will lead brand development and marketing, brand partnerships, franchise marketing, technology enhancement and innovation, menu innovation, and product development. His core focus will be to ensure a fresh, frictionless and fun omnichannel marketing experience across all customer touchpoints in-store, online and out-of-home (OOH).

“Jon is one of the most gifted digital marketers in the industry whose creativity and ingenuity has positioned Nékter Juice Bar as one of the industry’s top success stories,” said Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO, Nékter Juice Bar. “With deep and proven digital marketing expertise and a keen sense of innovation, he continues to be a key reason for Nékter’s continued success and expansion across the country.”

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Asher started his career as an aerospace analyst before earning an MBA and serving in various marketing roles in the biotech, automotive, and outdoor equipment industries.

“It’s true,” said Asher, “that I began my career days counting beans at an aerospace company and today I am promoting the benefits of a plant-based menu at Nékter Juice Bar. Seriously however, I get to come to work every day, work with people that I respect and enjoy, and work with a company that is helping make a healthy lifestyle accessible and affordable in communities around the country. It doesn’t get much better than that!”

About Nékter Juice Bar

As the pioneer of the modern juice bar experience and the champion of menu transparency and ingredient-integrity, Nékter Juice Bar was founded in 2010 to nourish America’s increasing appetite for plant-based, healthy food options that promote and support various lifestyles and diet preferences. With a steady eye on innovation, the health and wellness brand offers a delicious menu of freshly made, clean and nutrient-rich juices, superfood smoothies, acai bowls, wellness shots, cold-pressed “Grab N’ Go” juices, healthy snacks, and several natural cleanse options to help guests “Keep It Real.” At its core, Nékter believes that “healthy” can taste great, be easily accessible, and be affordable too.

Now with 180 locations in the U.S. and 150+ more in development, Nékter is an industry leader in the truly healthy juice bar category. Recent industry recognition includes being named to the Entrepreneur 2021 Top Food Franchises list and earning a spot on the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll, reserved only for companies named to the Inc. 500 at least five times. Since opening its first location in 2010, Nékter has received tremendous recognition from multiple leading business and restaurant industry authorities such as Franchise Times, Nation’s Restaurant News, Newsweek, QSR Magazine, Restaurant Business, and more. Notably, Nation’s Restaurant News ranked Nékter in the top 250 restaurant brands in the country.

Nékter continues to seek qualified franchise partners, including single-unit, multi-unit and multi-brand operators, who will benefit from one of the healthiest revenues in the industry, a low initial investment, competitive franchise fees, exceptional support from an experienced team, and robust loyalty program which now boasts more than 1 million guests. Veterans will also benefit from a 15% reduction in franchise fees among other incentives.

For more information about the brand or franchising opportunities, please visit

View source version at Nekter

Frisch’s Big Boy Announces James Walker as New CEO

Industry Veteran James Walker Joins the Team as The Iconic Brand Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

August 05, 2022 03:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Frisch’s Big Boy, the 75-year-old American comfort food and casual-themed restaurant brand, announces the hiring of its new Chief Executive Officer, James Walker. Walker, an accomplished restaurant industry veteran, comes to the brand most recently from Nathan’s Famous.

“Fewer and fewer restaurant brands today have the kind of legacy that Frisch’s Big Boy has. The people of Cincinnati and surrounding areas have an emotional connection with this brand,” states James Walker, CEO of Frisch’s Big Boy. “As the brand celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, I couldn’t be more excited about joining an incredible team that understands that connection. My role is to guide us in leveraging our brand equity.”

Walker, whose storied career of working with legacy brands to keep true to their core beliefs and culture while updating the food and customer experience, offers the brand over 30 years of broad-based, senior-level management experience in the hospitality and retail industry. Walker previously held positions at well-known brands such as Nathan’s Famous®, Baja Fresh®, Cinnabon®, and Subway®.

As the North American Vice President for Subway®, Walker oversaw their 28,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada and was instrumental in starting Subway’s delivery program, menu transformation, and remodel program. While at Nathan’s Famous, Walker repositioned the brand as “The Flavor of NY” and successfully developed the sandwich menu offerings to drive both check average and frequency.

Walker holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and has received certificates and diplomas from several institutions and colleges, including Yale’s School of Management and Harvard’s Business School. Additionally, in 2017 and 2020, he was a Reader’s Pick for the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power List” of notable restaurant executives.

To learn more about Frisch’s Big Boy, visit.

About Frisch’s Big Boy

Founded in 1947, Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants have always served scratch-made food, prepared to order from their own kitchens at a reasonable price. The signature double-decker burger the “Big Boy” is made with fresh, never frozen beef patties, a double decker bun, and the Frisch’s Original Tartar Sauce that guests have come to crave. An unlimited soup and salad bar as well as scratch-made soups and salad dressings, hand-breaded onion rings, house-made pies and desserts and fresh baked biscuits are also served daily. Home of burgers, the unlimited weekend breakfast bar and the beloved Big Boy mascot, who has been serving up food, fun and family memories for 75 years. The brand consists of over 100 company-owned and franchise partner locations across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. For more information, visit

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Jack In The Box Inc. Promotes Del Taco’s Chief Operating Officer Chad Gretzema To Brand President

August 05, 2022 08:08 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced today the promotion of Del Taco’s Chief Operating Officer Chad Gretzema to Del Taco Brand President. He replaces John Cappasola who has stepped down from his role as Del Taco President & Chief Executive Officer.

"Chad has been an instrumental part of the executive team at Del Taco that has compiled an impressive eight consecutive years of positive franchise same-store sales,” said Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris. “He has been a champion for Del Taco operators, franchisees and guests as the Chief Operating Officer and I am confident his proven leadership and strategic vision will further drive our combined company to the next phase of growth. Chad has been an incredible partner in bringing our two brands together, and is helping us maximize the benefits of our increased scale and shared services to leverage best practices and synergies across the brands.”

Gretzema has been with Del Taco since 2012 and was most recently Chief Operating Officer, having previously served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning & Innovation and Senior Vice President, Operations Support and Engagement. With more than 25 years of food and restaurant industry experience, Gretzema has held positions in operations, training and marketing at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Noodles & Company and Oscar Mayer Foods.

About Jack in the Box Inc.

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

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Yum! Brands Names Allyson Park as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) announced that it has named Allyson Park to the role of Yum! Brands Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, effective August 15, 2022. An accomplished corporate affairs leader with more than 25 years of strategic communications and government relations experience, Park will have oversight of all aspects of the Company’s Communications, Public Policy and Government Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) teams.

August 04, 2022 12:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) today announced that it has named Allyson Park to the role of Yum! Brands Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, effective August 15, 2022. An accomplished corporate affairs leader with more than 25 years of strategic communications and government relations experience, Park will have oversight of all aspects of the Company’s Communications, Public Policy and Government Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) teams. Park will join the Company’s Global Leadership Team, and report to Yum! Brands Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer Tracy Skeans.

“Allyson’s proven record serving some of the world’s most recognizable brands makes her an ideal fit for the role of Yum! Brands Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, and she brings a wealth of expertise about business-critical functions,” said Skeans. “The Global Leadership Team and I are excited to work closely with Allyson as a strategic thought partner as we continue to advance our Recipe for Growth and Good strategies and elevate our people-first culture.”

Park joins Yum! with deep experience across all aspects of communications and public affairs. Most recently, she worked for Mars, Incorporated serving as Global Vice President, Corporate Affairs, for Mars Wrigley. In that role, she oversaw the company’s purpose initiatives; internal and external communications; ESG; public policy and government affairs; the Mars Wrigley Foundation; and consumer care across 180 countries for brands including M&Ms®, Snickers®, Skittles®, Dove®, and EXTRA®, among others. She also led Corporate Affairs, Sustainability and Health & Wellbeing globally for Mars Chocolate, and led Corporate Affairs for Mars Petcare North America. Prior to Mars, Park held five roles in The Coca-Cola Company including as Global Vice President of External Affairs. She began her career in agencies at Hunter PR and Jackson Spalding. A committed people grower, Park is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. At Mars, Park served as the executive sponsor for business resource groups focused on supporting women and people of color.

“Yum!’s iconic brands, leadership team and reputation for emphasizing culture and embracing the value of people in its business strategy are just a few reasons why I’ve long admired the Company,” said Park. “Yum! and its brands continue to demonstrate the resiliency of their business model and ability to drive global growth in a dynamic environment, and I am excited to lead Corporate Affairs for an industry powerhouse with unmatched scale, world-class franchise partners and an unrivaled workforce of more than 1 million employees and restaurant team members.”

A committed advocate for community engagement, Park currently serves as an advocate to OnBoard, whose mission is to increase the number of women in executive leadership and on corporate boards; as an advisor to Globowl, a company of internationally-influenced organic baby food; and as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Leadership Greater Chicago, where she was selected as one of The Daniel Burnham Inaugural Fellows. She has served nearly a dozen organizations as a Board Director including most recently World Business Chicago, Junior Achievement of Chicago and as a member of the Executive Committee for World Federation of Advertisers.

Park holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, and she currently serves as an adjunct faculty professor in the university’s Public Relations department.

About Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, and its subsidiaries franchise or operate a system of over 53,000 restaurants in 155 countries and territories under the company’s concepts – KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the Habit Burger Grill. The Company's KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands are global leaders of the chicken, Mexican-style food and pizza categories, respectively. The Habit Burger Grill is a fast-casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. Yum! Brands was named to the 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and was ranked on Newsweek’s list of 2021 America’s Most Responsible Companies. In 2022, Yum! Brands was named to 3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

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Church’s Texas Chicken™ and Texas Chicken™ Names Industry Veteran Joe Guith as New CEO

Guith brings extensive experience in global consumer and restaurant industries, supporting the brand’s next phase of growth as it expands into new international markets

August 02, 2022 12:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Church’s Texas Chicken™ and Texas Chicken™, one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the world, announced it has named industry veteran Joe Guith as the brand’s new CEO, effective August 1, 2022. As Church’s Texas Chicken looks to accelerate a new phase of growth, Guith brings extensive experience in the consumer and restaurant businesses as well as deep expertise working in a highly franchised organization.

“I’m impressed with this brand’s resiliency and its ability to navigate a challenging environment over the past few years. With a strong base of domestic and international franchisees and a number of strategic growth initiatives on the horizon, this is an exciting and defining time in this great brand’s history,” said Guith. “I look forward to expanding the brand’s footprint so that Church’s Texas Chicken continues to thrive and reach new customers across the globe, particularly in new major markets abroad.”

Guith joins Church’s Texas Chicken™ from Focus Brands, where he was Restaurant Category President overseeing a portfolio of over 1,500 restaurants across the Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s brands. Previously, he held Brand President positions at McAlister's Deli and Cinnabon, with both brands realizing steady growth, expanded customer bases and improved unit level economics during his tenure. Earlier in his career, Guith served as General Manager of the KFC South Territory, a region that included more than 1,500 restaurants, 200+ franchisees, and system revenues of $1.5 billion. He also served in several roles for The Coca-Cola Company in a global capacity, working with franchise bottlers across six continents.

In addition to continued growth, Guith’s priorities at Church’s Texas Chicken will be to lead insights-driven investments in technology to mirror evolving consumer behaviors, such as an enhanced digital customer experience, including a new mobile app and loyalty program.

“As a strategic leader with extensive category expertise, Joe’s proven track record supports our efforts to build upon the brand’s strong foundation to drive future success,” said Anand Gowda, founder of High Bluff Capital Partners, which owns Church’s Texas Chicken along with various alternative investment funds managed by FS Investments. “His expertise in operating restaurants, combined with his passion for growing brands, accelerating digital capabilities and developing high-performing teams, will be incredibly valuable to the Church’s Texas Chicken system.”

Guith replaces Joe Christina, who served as CEO and President of Church’s Texas Chicken for six years, leading the company through unprecedented times for the restaurant industry and driving the brand’s continued expansion, adding hundreds of restaurants around the world.

For more information about Church’s Texas Chicken, visit

About Church’s Texas Chicken™ / Texas Chicken™

Founded in San Antonio, TX, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Texas Chicken, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken primarily outside of the U.S., is one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the world. The brands specialize in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Texas Chicken and Church’s Texas Chicken have more than 1,500 locations in 26 countries and global markets and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information about Church’s Texas Chicken, visit For information on Texas Chicken®, visit

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McDonald's Appoints Brian Rice as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer

Aug 01, 2022, 11:05 ET

CHICAGO, Aug. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) CEO, Chris Kempczinski sent the following message to the McDonald's global System, announcing the company's new Chief Information Officer, Brian Rice.

+ + +

I am proud to announce that Brian Rice is joining McDonald's as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, reporting directly to me and serving on our Global Senior Leadership Team.

Brian's accomplishments make him the perfect enterprise leader to continue to drive our digital vision to new heights as we deliver on our Accelerating the Arches strategy.

In getting to know him, it is clear Brian leads with a unique blend of head, heart and foresight.  A vocal champion for values-based leadership, he has a keen desire to empower the people around him, learn through thoughtful questions and identify synergies that lead to impactful and valuable solutions. These qualities make him a tremendous fit for our System.

His experience leading enterprise technology teams spans well-known brands and global businesses, including Kellogg Company, Mars, General Motors and Cardinal Health. At each turn, Brian has successfully modernized technology systems, built new capabilities, and elevated the role of digital in building relationships with customers to drive growth. At the same time, he's continuously developed and trained technology professionals, several of whom have gone on to become CIOs of global corporations. This experience and mentorship will be crucial as we build upon our strong foundation and deep bench of talent.

Our innovations in digital and technology are powering our ambition to double down on our 3Ds (digital, delivery and Drive Thru). We're scaling new capabilities including loyalty – which is now in nearly 50 markets – introducing new innovations like artificial intelligence and automated order taking, and modernizing data systems to move faster while improving the experience for customers and crew.

As I shared in our most recent earnings call, these investments are driving the business forward. This past quarter, digital sales were $6 billion in our top 6 markets alone and we have an opportunity to significantly increase digital as a percentage of total sales.

While we further fortify an even stronger technology backbone across every aspect and touchpoint of our business, Brian will partner with leaders across the center, our segments and our markets to support our transformation of the McDonald's experience into an extraordinary and personalized journey for every person.

Brian and his family will be based in Chicago, and he'll officially be joining us on August 31.

In the meantime, please join me in welcoming him to the McFamily.


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

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Union Square Hospitality Group Announces Chip Wade to Succeed Founder Danny Meyer as CEO

Aug 01, 2022, 11:00 ET

Danny Meyer remains Executive Chairman; Chip Wade, current President and COO of USHG, becomes CEO effective September 6, 2022

NEW YORK, Aug. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) today announced that, effective September 6, 2022, Chip Wade, current President & COO of USHG, will become Chief Executive Officer, and will join the USHG Board of Directors. Danny Meyer, Founder and current Chief Executive Officer, will continue as Executive Chairman of USHG.

Chip Wade joined USHG as President and COO in May of 2019. Since then, Chip and Danny have established and begun implementing a long-term growth plan for the company, including the assembly of an industry-leading senior leadership team. Following business closures and a 90% reduction in staff in 2020, Chip and Danny worked together to reopen and rebuild USHG's restaurants. Stronger than ever, the company is now surpassing pre-pandemic performance levels, paving the way for future growth. Last year, USHG launched their newest restaurant, Ci Siamo, to critical acclaim and financial success, while simultaneously doubling the footprint of the emerging Daily Provisions brand. In the past year, Chip has also led Union Square Events and its expansion and relocation to Brooklyn's Industry City, as well as the growth of Hospitality Quotient, the company's leadership, learning and development consultancy.

"Starting this company 37 years ago – with aspirations to open just one successful restaurant – and seeing the outstanding and inspirational role our colleagues have come to play in our industry - has been the personal and professional joy of a lifetime," says USHG Founder Danny Meyer. "When Chip joined us three years ago, our hope was that he'd one day be prepared to succeed me as USHG's leader, and that day has unquestionably arrived. He is an exemplary operational leader, wholly dedicated to our team members and committed to their professional and personal growth. We've partnered together and navigated the business through an incredibly challenging period emerging healthier than ever. This is the ideal time for me to hand Chip the baton."

Wade, 59, joined the USHG Executive team following a rich 30-year career in operational leadership in the hospitality industry. Most recently, Chip spent 17 years in leadership with Red Lobster and Darden Restaurants, where he oversaw all operations and development, drove best-in-industry people metrics, and enhanced financial performance for several of Darden's high-growth brands.

He also served as Chief Operating Officer for Legal Sea Foods in Boston, Massachusetts, in which capacity he led all operations for the family-owned group's 31 restaurants and oversaw the launch of the Legal Test Kitchen concept. Earlier in his career, Chip worked in development and human resources for Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.

A Pennsylvania native, Chip earned his culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University, his B.S. from Widener University, and his M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Dallas. Chip also serves on the boards of Cracker Barrel Restaurants, Johnson & Wales University, Share Our Strength and Youth Villages.

"I am honored and humbled by today's announcement," says Wade. "Working with Danny over the past three years has been a career highlight, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. Day in and day out, I have the unique privilege of witnessing the power of hospitality and the success of an employee-first model, evident across all USHG businesses. As CEO, I'm looking forward to accelerating our growth through cultural, operational and financial performance, in addition to driving new business priorities."

In his role as Executive Chairman, Danny will continue to collaborate with the USHG leadership team on the creation of new restaurant concepts, consult on innovation and expansion strategies, and remain an active advisor and mentor to the USHG culinary, beverage and restaurant management leadership teams. Danny will continue as Managing Partner of Enlightened Hospitality Investments and Board Chairman of USHGAC (NYSE: HUGS). He also serves as Board Chairman of Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK).

About USHG

Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) has created some of New York's most beloved restaurants, cafes, and bars, which offer outstanding food delivered with its signature warmth and hospitality. Founded by Danny Meyer with the opening of Union Square Cafe in 1985, and later, other restaurants including Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, and Daily Provisions, the company extends its innovative approach to hospitality beyond the walls of its eateries. USHG offers operational and hospitality consulting via Hospitality Quotient, runs a multifaceted catering and events business, Union Square Events, and created two growth funds, Enlightened Hospitality Investments I and II. USHG also created Shake Shack, now a separate public company (NYSE: SHAK). USHG has long supported its communities through hunger relief and civic organizations. USHG holds an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards and has earned numerous accolades for its distinctive style of hospitality.

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