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Executive Movements - September 2023








Chipotle Appoints Laura Fuentes to its Board of Directors



14 Sep, 2023, 14:30 ET


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) today announced a new addition to its board of directors, Laura Fuentes, effective September 15. Brian Niccol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We are pleased to welcome Laura to Chipotle's board. Her people leadership experience and deep understanding of the global hospitality industry will be pivotal in helping Chipotle to deliver added value to our guests, communities, employees and shareholders." With Ms. Fuentes' election, the Chipotle board will now be comprised of 10 directors, 9 of whom are independent, with 40% female representation. The board is committed to ongoing director refreshment and continues to consider new, qualified independent directors. "I am honored to be joining the board of Chipotle – a high-growth organization with strong values and a commitment to cultivate a better world," said Laura Fuentes. "I look forward to working alongside this respected group of leaders and lending my experience to help Chipotle achieve its strategic goals." Laura Fuentes is the Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., a role she's held since 2020. Prior to that, Ms. Fuentes held the position of Chief Talent and Diversity Officer and several other executive roles at Hilton since joining the company in 2013. For six years, she served in various Corporate Strategy and Human Resources roles at Capital One Financial Corporation. Before that, she worked at McKinsey & Company advising clients across various industries in their Madrid, New York, and Washington, D.C offices. Ms. Fuentes serves as a board member for two nonprofit organizations, Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Arlington Free Clinic. Additionally, she represents Hilton on the Tent US Advisory Council for refugees and serves on the board for the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce. Originally from Spain, Ms. Fuentes holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Science in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia University. She brings extensive knowledge across corporate strategy and human resource functions including recruiting, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, total rewards and people analytics. ABOUT CHIPOTLE Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 3,250 restaurants as of June 30, 2023, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants in North America and Europe. Chipotle is ranked on the Fortune 500 and is recognized on the 2023 list for Fortune's Most Admired Companies and Time Magazine's Most Influential Companies. With over 110,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. For more information or to place an order online, visit WWW.CHIPOTLE.COM.

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Angry Chickz Prepares for Growth With New Leadership Team Members

September 14, 2023


Popular SoCal chicken brand announces new executive hires to support positioning for further growth Los Angeles, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Angry Chickz, the renowned Nashville hot chicken brand infamous for its long lines of hangry fans, is welcoming new senior members to bolster its leadership team and expansion strategy. Angry Chickz quickly made a name for itself in the California food scene since its debut in 2018 with a 900-square-foot storefront in LA’s East Hollywood Neighborhood. Following the brand’s wildly successful growth throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, these new industry veterans will keep the momentum going as they scale the brand in a significant and methodical manner: John Scott – CFO Scott has held financial leadership positions as CFO, VP of Finance and Treasurer at several iconic brands and franchise organizations over the past 23 years that include: Yoshinoya America, Mountain Mikes Pizza, Pieology Pizzeria and BJ’s restaurants. Scott is known for optimizing financial structures, fostering strategic partnerships, and driving sustainable growth. His approach aligns seamlessly with Angry Chickz’s commitment to financial strength, stability, and innovation. Steve Brown – VP of Human Resources For the past 17 years, Brown has held prominent roles in HR leadership, most recently in his position as the VP of People at Veggie Grill. His professional journey also boasts time at IHOP and Gameworks Entertainment. Brown’s extensive experience in developing and implementing HR strategies and initiatives, as well as his commitment to employee engagement and well-being will be invaluable throughout Angry Chickz’s next phase of growth. William Lopez – Director of Operations Bringing a dynamic leadership approach and a comprehensive operational expertise, Lopez has garnered a decade-long track record of delivering top-tier outcomes and nurturing emerging talents. As an operations leader at renowned establishments like Wendy’s, Raising Cane’s, and Whataburger, he has consistently achieved industry-leading accomplishments that will be instrumental to ensuring Angry Chickz’s operational excellence. Notably, Lopez’s career also consists of 17 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a Close Precision Engagement and Sniper Instructor. “Bringing this experienced and seasoned leadership team together is a significant occasion for us and we are thrilled to be able to scale and compete at a national level,” said Founder David Mkhitaryan. “We have a passion for what we do, and we’re honored these leaders have joined the team. We can’t wait to introduce the best Nashville Hot Chicken to the world.” This immensely popular brand will also begin franchise operations next month. For information, please visit angrychickz.com/franchising. About Angry Chickz Angry Chickz is a renowned Nashville hot chicken brand that has taken California by storm. Founded by David Mkhitaryan in 2018, Angry Chickz has become a go-to destination for food enthusiasts seeking bold, flavorful and spicy fried chicken. With its roots in a 900-square-foot storefront in LA’s East Hollywood Neighborhood, Angry Chickz quickly gained a devoted following by serving the best hot chicken with unmatched customer service. Driven by a passion for spice and a commitment to great culinary experiences, Founder David Mkhitaryan meticulously crafted the perfect recipe for its signature spicy chicken tenders. This dedication led to the opening of the first Angry Chickz location, capturing the hearts and taste buds of chicken lovers across California. For more information, visit www.angrychickz.com.

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SPB Hospitality Taps Tom Petska as Vice President Franchise Sales

September 14, 2023



Strengthens leadership to focus on growth mission Houston, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  SPB Hospitality, a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, recently announced Tom Petska as their new Vice President of Franchise Sales. Petska is a seasoned franchise development executive and sales professional across diverse industries including the restaurant space. He will report directly to Chief Development Officer Michael Casey. “As we expand our footprint across the country, our Development team plays a vital role in building the synergy we need with our franchisees to ensure success. Tom will be an incredible asset to Mike and our franchising efforts,” said Josh Kern, CEO of SPB Hospitality. “We’re putting the right players in place to drive our brands toward growth, while continuing to set our brands apart from our competitors with our quality offerings.” As Vice President of Franchise Sales, Tom Petska will focus on expanding the restaurant portfolio for SPB Hospitality. The organization’s current portfolio includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, J. Alexander’s, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, various craft brewery restaurants, and the recently acquired Krystal Restaurants. The company operates and franchises restaurants across 37 U.S. states and territories. Prior to SPB Hospitality, Tom Petska played pivotal roles in expanding various national brands including First Watch, Another Broken Egg Café, Jackson Hewitt, Ideal Image, and others. Throughout his career, he developed extensive experience in sales, negotiation, and marketing. He specializes in brand growth through franchising and takes a holistic approach to fostering expansion for brands and their franchisees. “We are thrilled to welcome Tom to further strengthen our Development team. He is joining at such an exciting time as we are laser-focused on expanding our remarkable brands,” said Michael Casey, Chief Development Officer of SPB Hospitality. “He brings an impressive track record of significant growth for notable brands. His leadership paired with his extensive skills and talent will be valuable to our organization as we look to increase our presence and portfolio.” For more information about SPB Hospitality and their brands, visit www.spbhospitality.com. About SPB Hospitality SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants across 37 U.S. states and territories. With a national footprint encompassing hundreds of restaurants and breweries, SPB Hospitality is dedicated to delivering exceptional dining experiences. SPB Hospitality’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and an impressive collection of high-end restaurant brands such as J. Alexander’s and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. As one of the country’s largest operators of craft brewery restaurants, SPB Hospitality takes pride in its craft beer expertise. SPB Hospitality proudly owns and operates renowned craft brewery restaurant brands like Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery. Visit our website at spbhospitality.com to explore the exceptional flavors, inviting atmospheres, and unparalleled dining experiences that await you at SPB Hospitality’s restaurants and breweries.

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Papa Johns Announces Executive Appointments


Amanda Clark named Chief Operating Officer for International; Chief Restaurant Officer Joe Sieve adding North American development responsibilities


September 13, 2023 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns” or “Company”) announced updates to its executive leadership team. Amanda Clark will transition from her role as Chief International and Development Officer to become Chief Operating Officer, International, focusing on the operations and development of the Papa Johns footprint in international markets. Chief Restaurant Officer Joe Sieve will assume North American development responsibilities. He will also continue to oversee corporate and franchise restaurant operations in North America. “With operations in approximately 50 countries and territories, our continued international expansion is critical to the future of Papa Johns,” said Papa Johns President and CEO Rob Lynch. “We continue to make strategic investments across our international organization and infrastructure. Amanda’s focus on executing this work and driving profitable expansion will greatly benefit our international franchisees. Our ultimate goal is to become the QSR pizza brand of choice for international franchisees.” “Since Joe joined Papa Johns last year, he and his team have significantly improved our restaurant operations. The results of these operational efficiencies have been evident in the recent comp growth and margin improvement across our domestic system. His more than 25 years of restaurant operations and development experience with other leading franchise restaurant brands will help Papa Johns accelerate our North America growth ambitions.” Ms. Clark and Mr. Sieve’s new appointments are effective as of Sep. 18, 2023. About Papa Johns Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) opened its doors in 1984 with one goal in mind: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.® Papa Johns believes that using high-quality ingredients leads to superior quality pizzas. Its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Papa Johns tops its pizzas with real cheese made from mozzarella, pizza sauce made with vine-ripened tomatoes that go from vine to can in the same day and meat free of fillers. It was the first national pizza delivery chain to announce the removal of artificial flavors and synthetic colors from its entire food menu. Papa Johns is co-headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. and Louisville, Ky. and is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,700 restaurants in approximately 50 countries and territories. For more information about the Company or to order pizza online, visit www.papajohns.com or download the Papa Johns mobile app for iOS or Android.

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Applebee’s Welcomes Back Chef Shannon Johnson as Vice President of Culinary


Chef Johnson previously served in various roles on the Applebee’s culinary team from 2003-2012



September 13, 2023 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Applebee’s announced today that Chef Shannon Johnson has joined the leadership team as Vice President of Culinary. A classically trained chef, Johnson has served as Applebee’s Interim Head of Culinary since June. In his previous tenure with the brand, Johnson served as an executive chef on Applebee’s culinary team in various roles from 2003-2012, including menu development, innovation, and strategy. “We are thrilled to officially welcome back Chef Shannon to Applebee’s! His institutional knowledge of the brand and its trajectory over the years, paired with a deep understanding of casual dining culinary innovation, makes him the perfect person to lead our culinary strategy,” said Applebee’s Chief Marketing Officer Joel Yashinsky. “We can’t wait to share with our guests the delicious new menu items his culinary team has been creating!” “I began my culinary innovation career at Applebee’s exactly 20 years ago, which is why Applebee’s has always had a special place in my heart,” said Vice President of Culinary Shannon Johnson. “I had the honor of learning from Applebee’s late founder, Bill Palmer, and I’m excited to return and continue Bill’s vision for the future of Applebee’s with new and exciting flavors balanced with due respect for the nostalgic flavors and meals our guests love.” Chef Johnson will work in tandem with marketing and operations brand leaders and franchise partners to drive alignment on culinary innovation. A seasoned industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, Chef Johnson has fine-tuned his craft for culinary innovation through his work with other brands including McDonald’s, YUM! Brands, and Disney’s California Adventure, among others. A certified executive chef from the American Culinary Federation, he is a graduate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. About Applebee's® As one of the world’s largest casual dining brands, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar serves as America’s kitchen table, offering guests a lively dining experience that combines simple, craveable American fare with classic drinks and local drafts. Applebee’s makes it easy for family and friends to connect with one another, whether it’s in a dining room or in the comfort of a living room, Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood™ is a familiar and affordable escape from the everyday. Applebee's restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurs dedicated to more than serving great food, but also building up the communities that we call home. From raising money for local charities to hosting community fundraisers, Applebee’s is always Doin’ Good in the Neighborhood®. Applebee’s franchise operations consisted of 1,662 Applebee’s restaurants in the United States, two U.S. territories, and 11 countries outside the United States as of June 30, 2023. This number does not include two domestic Applebee’s ghost kitchens (small kitchens with no store-front presence, used to fill off-premise orders) and 12 Applebee’s international ghost kitchens. Applebee's is franchised by subsidiaries of Dine Brands Global Inc. (NYSE: DIN), which is one of the world's largest full-service restaurant companies.

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OTG Reinforces Executive Leadership Team with Appointment of Raffaele Piarulli as Chief Operating Officer and Michael Mullaney as Executive Vice President of Business Development



12 Sep, 2023, 08:57 ET


NEW YORK, Sept. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- OTG, the hospitality group responsible for transforming the airport dining experience across North America, today announces the appointments of Raffaele Piarulli as Chief Operating Officer ("COO") and Michael Mullaney as Executive Vice President ("EVP") of Business Development. These key leadership hires mark a notable step change in OTG's continued growth and prosperity as a leader in the hospitality industry. "I am thrilled to welcome Raffaele Piarulli and Michael Mullaney to the team as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development," said Rick Blatstein, CEO of OTG. "As OTG continues to expand, we recognize the need to strengthen our leadership to be able to sustain as well as evolve our standards of excellence. Both Raffaele and Michael's exceptional industry experience and fresh perspectives will play a pivotal role in meeting the demands of OTG's growth, while achieving our forward-looking goals. We look forward to their valuable contributions ahead." Piarulli will assume the responsibilities of COO from OTG's previous President & COO, Aaron Kling, who will continue to serve as President of the company. These responsibilities include overseeing all business operations, as well as developing and executing strategies to optimize efficiency, enhance guest experiences, and drive revenue growth. The Italy-native's experience includes an impressive 15-year track record in the food and beverage industry, where he began his career as a part-time cashier at Eataly while pursuing a degree in Physics and Engineering at the Politecnico University of Torino, before climbing the ranks to Chief Operating Officer. Piarulli's career journey is marked by his success scaling and building brand awareness for the Eataly business – from managing all core functions within the organization to expanding its footprint across the United States and Canada. His tenure with the Italian market and restaurant concept has ultimately shaped his dynamic leadership style, making him the ideal candidate to scale OTG's operations while guiding and motivating a diverse range of talent and teams. "What attracted me to OTG is its unique ability to deliver an uncompromising hospitality experience to its guests, and this experience just happens to take place in an airport," shares Piarulli. "OTG's commitment to quality and curation, in a space where hospitality is perceived to be underprioritized or scarce, has afforded the company an exciting runway ahead. I'm honored to be playing a new role in the impact OTG continues to make on the traveler experience." Mullaney, a distinguished leader in the aviation industry, brings over three decades of experience to OTG with an extensive background in concession planning, airport revenue management, retail and dining concession operations, and airport development. His role as EVP of Business Development will encompass identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities, partnerships, and markets to drive the growth and expansion of the OTG business and its airport operations. Mullaney's acclaimed career trajectory includes his most recent position as CEO and President of Fraport USA, where he maximized market positioning for the airport-concessions developer via transparency-driven leadership. His longstanding commitment to developing future leaders within the aviation industry is also reflected through his service as an Advisory Board member at his alma mater, the Florida Institute of Technology's College of Aeronautics, where he earned a degree in Aviation Management and Flight. "It's been a longtime dream to merge my passion for this industry with a true industry disruptor like OTG," said Mullaney. "My career-defining desire to explore travel and aviation's countless possibilities aligns perfectly with OTG's unwavering commitment to elevating the passenger-terminal relationship, and I'm thrilled to play a role in this exciting time of growth for the company." The addition of Piarulli and Mullaney marks a crucial step in fortifying OTG's leadership team for the future. Alongside the remarkable dedication of its 5,000+ Crew members, these two new talents will contribute to driving OTG's mission forward, creating a brighter future for both the company and the hundreds of millions of passengers OTG serves annually. About OTG OTG develops and operates restaurants, retail markets, and food halls in airports throughout North America. With more than 350 locations across 23 terminals in 11 of the world's busiest travel hubs, OTG continues to elevate the passenger-terminal relationship by merging state-of-the-art technology with farm-to-terminal dining, award-winning cuisine, carefully curated food and retail options, world-class hospitality, and a striking redesign of the terminal space. Founded in Philadelphia in 1996, OTG serves hundreds of millions of passengers annually. For more information, visit www.otgexp.com.

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Jack in the Box Inc. Announces Tom Rose as New Del Taco Brand President


September 12, 2023 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced that Tom Rose will assume the role of Del Taco Brand President, effective immediately. He replaces Chad Gretzema, who has stepped down from the role to pursue a new opportunity. Rose is a 30-plus-year veteran in the restaurant business with a proven track record in various corporate and franchise leadership roles. Most recently, he consulted Jack in the Box on the recent initiative to improve the company-owned Kansas City market. Before supporting Jack in the Box, Rose spent a decade as co-founder and franchisee of North Star Foods, a restaurant franchise management and acquisition firm specializing in maximizing operational excellence and sustainability. This organization would own 130 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants and generate revenues of over $200 million. In addition, the two subsidiaries of North Star Foods were ranked in Restaurant Finance Monitor's Top 200 restaurant groups in the U.S. and grew to be the third largest KFC franchisee in the U.S. YUM Brands system. “I have worked with Tom throughout my career, and since beginning work on the Kansas City market, we have seen meaningful staffing and sales improvement leveraged by his operational expertise and ability to execute,” said Darin Harris, chief executive officer. “We are excited for Tom to evolve Del Taco to its next phase of growth and operational excellence, as he has demonstrated throughout his entire career.” Rose also held various senior leadership positions at Orion Food Systems, later acquired by Kohlberg & Company, including chief operating officer and board member for four years. He began his career as an Area Coach and Director of Operations at KFC & Taco Bell. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from East Carolina University. “I admire how these two brands started and the legacy they have created through their amazing people,” said Rose. “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to be a part of an organization with such a bright future.” 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 approximately 2,200 restaurants across 21 states, and Del Taco®, the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the U.S. with approximately 600 restaurants across 16 states. For more information on both brands, including franchising opportunities, visit www.jackinthebox.com and www.deltaco.com.

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Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken Appoints Michael Reinert as Vice President of Procurement

September 7, 2023


Shalimar, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  LFR Chicken LLC, parent company and owner of the iconic quick-serve restaurant Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken, is excited to announce the appointment of Michael Reinert as the new Vice President of Procurement. Reinert is a seasoned executive with a strong history in strategic supply chain management, procurement, and sourcing, making him a valuable addition to the executive leadership team at Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken “We are thrilled to welcome Mike Reinert as our new Vice President of Procurement,” said Ryan Weaver of Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken. “His deep expertise in strategic sourcing and supply chain management along with his exceptional track record made him the ideal candidate to lead our procurement function forward as our brand continues to grow.” Before joining Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken, Reinert served as Vice President of Procurement at Oak View Group (formerly Spectra), a global leader in sports and live entertainment venue development. Reinert provided strategic leadership and oversight of the procurement function and played a critical role in driving connectivity and business alignment through a global pandemic. Reinert’s experience also includes being the Vice President of Procurement at Delaware North, a leading global food service and hospitality company, where he led $500 million in annual direct and indirect spending across food, beverage, equipment, supplies, and services. Reinert’s expertise in marketplace dynamics and industry trends will help propel and shape the brand’s strategic direction. “I am honored to join the leadership team at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and take on the Vice President of Procurement role,” Reinert said. “I am excited to contribute to the company’s continued success and growth by optimizing our supply chain strategies, ensuring cost efficiency while maintaining the highest standards of quality.” For more information about Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken, visit www.leesfamousrecipe.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram. About Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken For more than 55 years, Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken, a quick service franchise founded in Lima, Ohio, has specialized in fresh, never frozen chicken. Lee’s is recognized as the #1 Fast Food Fried Chicken by the 2023 USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.  Today, there are more than 130 Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken locations in 12 U.S. states and in Canada, most are individually owned and operated. For additional information, please visit LeesFamousRecipe.com.

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First Watch Names Matt Eisenacher Chief Brand Officer

Promotion comes as First Watch continues its growth towards a potential for more than 2,200 restaurants in the U.S.

September 06, 2023 09:01 ET



BRADENTON, Fla., Sept. 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Watch Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FWRG) (“First Watch” or the “Company”), the leading Daytime Dining concept serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, today announced the promotion of Matt Eisenacher to Chief Brand Officer. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy and Innovation at First Watch, spearheading a number of initiatives aimed at growing brand awareness, defining brand positioning and implementing demand generation strategies. “Matt is a proven leader who shares our values, understands our mission and believes in our vision, and we could not be prouder to have him take on the role of Chief Brand Officer,” said Chris Tomasso, First Watch CEO and President. “For the past four years, Matt has proven to be an invaluable part of this team. His leadership and marketing expertise have helped us significantly deepen awareness of the First Watch brand across generations while also raising the bar on how First Watch shows up in the lives of our customers.” During his tenure at First Watch, Eisenacher has overseen a variety of initiatives that have successfully elevated the brand, including evolving the Company’s digital touchpoints to enrich customer experiences and transforming seasonal, limited-time menu launches into national brand moments. In 2022, Eisenacher was named one of the 13 Most Influential Marketing Leaders in the Restaurant Industry by FSR Magazine. Eisenacher possesses a wealth of business and food industry experience. Prior to joining First Watch in 2019, he served as Chief Concept Officer for Piada Italian Street Food, a fast-casual Italian restaurant concept. He also spent ten years in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry with brands including Nestle USA and Abbott Nutrition. Eisenacher began his career in financial services and business recovery at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “At First Watch, I’m fortunate enough to help guide a brand that offers endless inspiration thanks to our relentless commitment to innovation and excellence, all reasons why I am honored to be part of this team,” said Eisenacher. “I am excited to build on our unique daytime occasion while encouraging more people to discover First Watch and what makes it one of the most beloved restaurant brands in the country.” About First Watch First Watch is an award-winning Daytime Dining concept serving made-to-order breakfast, brunch and lunch using fresh ingredients. A recipient of hundreds of local “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” accolades, First Watch’s chef-driven menu includes elevated executions of classic favorites along with First Watch specialties such as the protein-packed Quinoa Power Bowl®, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, Avocado Toast, Chickichanga, Morning Meditation (juiced in-house daily), Vodka Kale Tonic and its famous Million Dollar Bacon. In 2022, First Watch was awarded a sought-after MenuMasters honor by Nation’s Restaurant News for its seasonal Braised Short Rib Omelet, recognized with ADP’s coveted Culture at Work Award and named a Most Loved Workplace® in Newsweek by the Best Practice Institute. In 2021, First Watch was recognized as FSR Magazine’s Best Menu and as the fastest-growing full-service restaurant chain based on unit growth. There are more than 490 First Watch restaurants in 29 states, and the restaurant concept is majority owned by Advent International, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms. For more information, visit www.firstwatch.com.

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Velvet Taco Hires William Davenport as CFO SEPTEMBER 6, 2023 Velvet Taco announced the addition of a new Chief Financial Officer, William Davenport, as the brand surpasses 40 locations nationwide. This new hire coincides with Velvet Taco’s plans to accelerate development and brand growth, bringing its innovative, chef-driven tacos to communities across the country. As Velvet Taco expands, the Tribe welcomes William Davenport to join its executive team. Davenport is a dynamic industry leader with a reputation for driving profitable growth in the retail, entertainment and restaurant industries. Most recently, he served as Chief Financial Officer at internationally recognized Topgolf, driving the company’s expansion from nine to more than 90 locations worldwide. Prior to joining Topgolf, Davenport held various senior leadership positions, including a 13-year stint at Brinker International, where he led the finance department for the Maggiano’s brand before being named Senior Vice President of Finance for both Chili’s and On the Border restaurant brands. He has also held the roles of Vice President of Finance for Neiman Marcus and Last Call and CFO for Haggar Clothing Company. “We are excited to welcome William to the Tribe and to have his extraordinary leadership in this key role. His impressive wealth of experience and proven track record in fostering growth and financial success will be integral in elevating the Velvet Taco brand,” says Velvet Taco CEO and Taco Maker Clay Dover, “His expertise will undoubtedly contribute to the continued growth and success of Velvet Taco.” “I am honored to join the trailblazing Velvet Taco team during this pivotal time of growth as CFO,” says Davenport. “Together, I am confident that our passionate leadership will continue to push boundaries and power the brand to new heights.”

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Farmer Brothers announces transition of chief executive officer

Deverl Maserang to depart upon appointment of successor

September 06, 2023 16:45 ET



NORTHLAKE, Texas, Sept. 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Farmer Brothers Company (NASDAQ: FARM), a leading roaster, wholesaler, equipment servicer and distributor of coffee, tea and other allied products, announced today it has commenced a transition of the chief executive officer role. Under the transition plan, the board of directors and Chief Executive Officer Deverl Maserang have mutually agreed his employment with Farmer Brothers will conclude on Sept. 30 and he will complete his current term as a member of the board, unless his permanent successor is identified prior to the end of his term. Farmer Brothers’ current Head of Coffee John Moore will assume the role of interim CEO starting Oct. 1. The planned transition is not connected to any disagreements or concerns with the company’s operations, policies or practices. Mr. Maserang’s continued service as a member of the board will ensure an orderly transition as the company moves forward with its commitment to right sizing its operating cost structure to better align with the current size of the company. “Under Deverl’s leadership, Farmer Brothers implemented a multi-year turnaround effort, managed through the significant business challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and more recently, executed the sale of our direct ship and private label business, including our production facility and corporate office building in Northlake, Texas as we continue to optimize our manufacturing and distribution network. We greatly appreciate Deverl’s tremendous contributions at the management and board levels,” said Farmer Brothers Chairman of the Board Alfred Poe. “As we move forward with our full focus on our direct store delivery business, we will be bringing on a new generation of leadership to drive the company toward profitable growth and value creation.” “Farmer Brothers has exciting opportunities ahead and it has been a pleasure to help position the company to realize its true potential,” said Mr. Maserang. “I look forward to working with the board on identifying new leadership at the CEO and CFO positions as the entire Farmer Brothers team continues to work hard to complete our journey to profitability.” About Farmer BrothersFounded in 1912, Farmer Brothers is a national coffee roaster, wholesaler, equipment servicer and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products. The company’s product lines, include organic, Direct Trade and sustainably produced coffee. With a robust line of coffee, hot and iced teas, cappuccino mixes, spices and baking/biscuit mixes, Farmer Brothers delivers extensive beverage planning services and culinary products to its U.S.-based customers. It serves a wide variety of customers, from small independent restaurants and foodservice operators to large institutional buyers, such as restaurant, department and convenience store chains, hotels, casinos, healthcare facilities and gourmet coffee houses, as well as grocery chains with private brand coffee and consumer branded coffee and tea products, and foodservice distributors. Headquartered in Northlake, Texas, Farmer Brothers generated net sales of $469.2 million in fiscal 2022. The company’s primary brands include Farmer Brothers, Artisan Collection by Farmer Brothers, Superior, Metropolitan, China Mist and Boyd’s.

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Bonchon U.S. Appoints New Chief Growth Officer



31 Aug, 2023, 14:47 ET



Suzie Tsai to lead company's rapid growth and brand strategyDALLAS, Aug. 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Bonchon, a global leader in fast-casual Asian fusion dining known for its distinctive Korean double-fried chicken, has appointed Suzie Tsai to lead Bonchon U.S. as chief growth officer. Tsai joins Bonchon with more than 25 years of marketing and branding experience, leading the strategy and growth of prominent brands such as On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, KidZania USA, Chili's Grill & Bar, Verizon and The Dallas Morning News. "As we look at our next stage of growth, it's important that we have a leader who has a track record of scaling brands and contributes to our mission of sharing the joy of Korean comfort food around the world," said Bonchon CEO Bryan Shin. "Suzie's multifaceted experience in food and beverage marketing, insights, innovation, brand strategy and global franchise operations will play an instrumental role in helping us evolve as a brand." Tsai will oversee guest experience and menu innovation, leverage technology to improve efficiencies, develop unique branding and growth strategies, and continue to strengthen Bonchon's positioning and overall presence, which is critical for meeting the needs of the growing brand. "Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to lead several innovative brands, but Bonchon is unique in that it represents more than my love for food. It signifies my Korean-American roots and my passion for connecting with people," said Tsai. "My role at Bonchon serves as an exciting opportunity to guide one of the fastest-growing brands to its full potential while bringing Bonchon's authentic Korean flavors and culture to a broader audience in the U.S." For more information about Bonchon, go to www.bonchon.com. About Bonchon Bonchon is a global restaurant brand known for distinctive Korean double-fried chicken, Asian fusion cuisine and Korean specialties. Born in Busan, South Korea, in 2002, the concept was established in the United States in 2006. Bonchon sets out to have its fans "Crunch Out Loud" by sharing the joy of hand-battered, double-fried, crazy-crispy Korean fried chicken with the world. It currently has more than 400 restaurants across eight countries: Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, France, Vietnam and the United States. The brand has earned several recent accolades. It was recognized by Business Insider as "the gold standard for fried chicken" and included on Nation's Restaurant News' 2022 "Top 500 Restaurants," Fast Casual Magazine's 2023 "Top 100 Movers & Shakers" and Entrepreneur's 2022 "Franchise 500," "Fastest Growing Franchises," "Top Food Franchise" and "Top Global Franchise" lists. For more information about Bonchon, visit bonchon.com. To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit franchising.bonchon.com.

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Pokeworks Names Regina Cheung New CEO

August 30, 2023


Popular poke bowl brand positions itself for further growth, innovation and industry leadership with new appointment and return of founding partners Los Angeles, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Pokeworks announced today a strategic transition in its leadership team as Regina Cheung has been elevated from Chief Financial Officer to the role of Chief Executive Officer. She will pulling double duty as she retains the title of CFO as well. During her tenure as CFO, Cheung successfully created a data-driven culture focused on achieving the brand’s KPIs, built strong relationships with franchisees and modernized the company’s systems and infrastructure. In her new role as CEO, she is turning her focus to increasing franchise profitability, introducing the brand to new markets and leveraging the knowledge and talents of Pokeworks’ team and board members, including the original founders and Toridoll Holdings, to build a sustainable and scalable franchise business. “I like to think of myself as a servant-leader to the team and our franchise owners,” Cheung said. “I want the whole team to feel a positive energy when they come to work and I think that is important for upholding Pokeworks’ core values and culture, which will ultimately lead to accelerated growth and innovation. “In addition, I’m a loyal customer, and my entire family – including my 9-year-old daughter – absolutely loves the food and can’t get enough,” continued Cheung. “I’m also passionate about our entrepreneurial spirit; we are professional, but we’re also scrappy and growing every day.” Cheung will be the company’s first female and Asian-American CEO – something Co-Founder Mike Chen believes is important for the brand. As the company prepares to expand outside of the U.S. for the first time – with several new locations opening soon in the Toronto area before the end of the year – keeping the authentic flavors of Asian cuisine at the forefront is a primary goal for the brand. “Poke plays a large role in Asian food culture,” Chen said. “Having a leader who shares that culture as part of her DNA will help us maintain our authenticity. We expect big things from Regina in her new role and can’t wait to see where she leads us in the months and years ahead.” Chen noted that he and his fellow co-founders are returning to the brand in various consultative capacities, offering their expertise and support to Cheung and the management team as the brand enters a new stage of growth. For more information, please visit pokeworks.com. About Pokeworks Pokeworks was founded in 2015 with the simple mission of spreading its love of poke – the crisp, fresh, healthy Hawaiian favorite – with the world. Pokeworks’ innovative Poke Your Way™ approach is groundbreaking, offering guests limitless ways to customize their poke order to match their eating preferences including vegan, gluten-free, and other mindful diets. The Poke Burrito has developed a cult-like following, much like Pokeworks’ proprietary sauces, which range from sweet and spicy to savory. Pokeworks believes in living a healthy lifestyle and eating meals made from the freshest, highest quality ingredients from sustainable food sources. In 2022, the brand was honored to be named the “Top Poke Franchise” by Startups Magazine. Pokeworks has quickly expanded to become the leading fast-casual poke brand in the world with three consecutive years on Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list. The brand has more than 60 locations across 20 states, with Taiwan, Mexico and Canada coming soon. For more information, visit pokeworks.com or follow Pokeworks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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PETER PIPER PIZZA NAMES CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER



29 Aug, 2023, 11:14 ET


Industry veteran Genaro Perez returns to the brand to oversee marketing, brand strategy PHOENIX, Aug. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Peter Piper Pizza, the "food, family and fun" fresh-made pizza restaurant, has named seasoned restaurant industry executive Genaro Perez as the brand's chief marketing officer, effective immediately. Perez most recently served as senior vice president of marketing at P.F Chang's, where he oversaw all facets of marketing, including advertising, research and development, online/interactive/digital, public relations and promotions. Prior to that, he was vice president of marketing for Peter Piper Pizza. In his new CMO role, Perez is charged with all marketing strategy, planning and execution for Peter Piper Pizza, Peter Piper Express and Peter Piper Pizzeria, developing marketing campaigns and content strategies across all channels, including online, digital and social, as well as public relations. Perez will work alongside senior leadership to further develop Peter Piper Pizza's overall brand presence within the marketplace and support the brand's continued expansion. "Genaro's return to Peter Piper as CMO comes at an ideal time as we continue building upon the momentum he helped start as our VP of marketing," said CEC Entertainment CEO David McKillips. "With Genaro's leadership and deep understanding of the brand and our guests, we expect continued growth and success among all portfolio brands and franchise partners." In addition to Peter Piper Pizza and P.F. Chang's, Perez has held key positions with several major brands, including Brinker International and Nokia. He has more than 25 years of restaurant and hospitality branding and marketing experience. "It's an exciting time to return to the beloved Peter Piper Pizza brand as we celebrate 50 years of food, family and fun in 2023," said Perez. "The first Peter Piper Pizza opened in 1973, and since then, we have grown to more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Mexico, with three distinct concepts that will propel the company forward over its next 50 years." Perez, a native of Mexico City, holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. About Peter Piper, LLC Peter Piper, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CEC Entertainment, LLC, was founded in Glendale, Arizona, in 1973. Peter Piper Pizza features dining, entertainment and carryout with a neighborhood pizzeria feel and "pizza made fresh, families made happy" culture across its more than 120 locations in the U.S. and Mexico. Peter Piper Pizza takes pride in delivering made-from-scratch pizza dough every day and providing the highest quality food and fun that reconnects family and friends. With the latest technology and games, ever-popular weekday all-you-can-eat lunch buffets, and beer for adults, Peter Piper Pizza appeals to parents and kids alike. Peter Piper Pizza supports children's education by donating a portion of every fundraising event and has given more than $600,000 annually to schools, hospitals and nonprofits that focus on children's education and development. For more information, visit peterpiperpizza.com.

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TGI Fridays® Announces Brandon Coleman III as new Chief Executive Officer



29 Aug, 2023, 12:00 ET



Following his role as US President and Global Chief Marketing Officer for TGI Fridays, Coleman will lead the transformative new phase for iconic bar and restaurant brandDALLAS, Aug. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- TGI Fridays said today that Brandon Coleman III has been named Chief Executive Officer. The announcement was made by Rohit Manocha, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of TriArtisan Capital Advisors. TriArtisan, the lead investor in TGI Fridays with extensive holdings and deep experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, conducted an extensive search among internal and external candidates led by the global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Mr. Coleman will lead TGI Fridays into a transformative next phase revitalizing the brand to position it as a growing market leader in the rapidly evolving food and hospitality industry. This entails accelerating the company's evolution as an experiential hospitality and entertainment destination by offering bold new offerings across key dayparts as well as an expansion of restaurant locations, domestically and internationally. Applying his prior experience from experiential entertainment destinations, Mr. Coleman is focused on anchoring TGI Fridays around its heritage as the bar of choice providing the ideal environment for socialization and good times around a compelling food and beverage offering. This includes creative new cocktails with that Fridays flair, along with buzzworthy partnerships and industry-leading offerings across beer, wine, spirits and the burgeoning non-alcoholic sector. Celebrations, parties and fun times with friends and family are core to the brand and creating exciting, differentiated experiences to win these occasions will be the focus for the new CEO and his leadership team. TGI Fridays and Mr. Coleman have been at the forefront of deploying innovative creative offerings appealing to today's customers via their successful launch, in restaurant and off premise, of Krispy Rice, a cutting edge, but accessible, sushi offering, developed in partnership with food technology company C3. This product has not only contemporized the TGI Fridays menu, but also broadened its customer appeal. Most recently, under Mr. Coleman's leadership, TGI Fridays expanded its presence at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with a location that is on track to be the highest volume sales location of any U.S. airport restaurant with an anticipated annual revenue of $14MM. Mr. Coleman also recently led the brand through its biggest menu change since the 1990's with the launch of its Grilled & Sauced platform. "Brandon has proven time and time again that innovation layered on top of rich brand history is the key to sustained and impactful growth," said Mr. Manocha. "Since first coming to the company as our Chief Marketing Officer, following a storied career in the restaurant industry, Brandon has been driving greater relevance and stronger connection with today's consumers. TriArtisan Capital Partners believes in the future of TGI Fridays and we know what it takes for this restaurant to win. We are thrilled to continue this journey and we are confident that Brandon is the right person to lead TGI Fridays into its strategic next phase." The 40-year-old Coleman will bring his extensive, award-winning experience to his new role with the brand. Mr. Coleman joined the company in October 2022 where he led the domestic corporate and franchise stores as well as the TGI Fridays brand as US President and Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, Mr. Coleman had a highly successful career in the restaurant industry, serving as Senior Vice President and CMO of Dave & Busters, various leadership roles at Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, and as Chief Marketing Officer of Romano's Macaroni Grill as well as serving as CEO and Management Consultant for Brava Partners, a consulting group focused on branding and business strategy. In 2013, Mr. Coleman was named one of Ad Age's 40 Under 40. "I am incredibly proud to be named Chief Executive Officer of TGI Fridays and lead this incredible brand," said Mr. Coleman. "TGI Fridays is entering a new era of growth and prominence that will build on our beloved tradition and the emotional connection of great food and drinks along with the fun and entertainment that only TGI Fridays can do. I thank Mr. Manocha, our board of directors, and the team at TriArtisan Capital Advisors for their confidence in me and I am looking forward to working with our franchisees and our company owned restaurants to lead TGI Fridays into a new chapter." TGI Fridays, the world's first casual bar and grill, operates and franchises over 650 restaurants across 52 countries. The company saw total system wide sales of $1.6B in 2022 with same US sales growing at +8% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). The company announced its most significant deal in September of last year, consisting of 75 new franchised restaurants to be opened throughout South and Southeast Asia over the next 10 years representing an additional $500MM in restaurant revenue. About TGI Fridays® As the world's first casual bar and grill, TGI Fridays® is the birthplace of fun, freedom, and celebration, bringing people together to socialize and experience "That Fridays Feeling™" – a sense of celebrating the fun in everyday moments, big and small. For over 50 years, Fridays® has been lifting spirits around the world with over 650 restaurants in 52 countries, serving high-quality, classic American food and iconic drinks backed by authentic and genuine service. Visit www.Fridays.com for more information and join Fridays Rewards®. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. About TriArtisan Capital Advisors TriArtisan Capital Advisors is an established, New York-based private equity investing firm. TriArtisan's flexible institutional capital allows it to invest in companies requiring a broad range of investment needs. In each of its investments, TriArtisan partners with high quality management teams and founders to support them in achieving returns for its institutional and management partners. For more information, please visit the firm's website at www.triartisan.com.

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Bloomin’ Brands Announces Board Changes


Rohit Lal Appointed New Independent Director

R. Michael Mohan Named Chairman; Jim Craigie Retires as Chairman and Director


August 28, 2023 09:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN) today announced that Rohit Lal, who currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Saia Inc., has joined the company’s Board of Directors. In addition, R. Michael Mohan, who has served as a Director since 2017, has been named Chairman of the Board. Mohan succeeds Jim Craigie, who has retired as Chairman and as a Director after 10 years of service to Bloomin’ Brands. These appointments are part of the Company’s ongoing Board refreshment and succession planning, and its commitment to good corporate governance. “I’m honored to assume the role of Chairman and I look forward to continuing to work closely with my fellow directors and the leadership team in supporting the company’s initiatives to elevate the customer experience, deliver sustainable sales and profit growth and drive shareholder value,” said Mohan. “On behalf of the entire Board, I am grateful to Jim for his leadership and many valuable contributions to Bloomin’ Brands over the past decade.” Mohan added, “Rohit’s expertise in the areas of digital, supply chain logistics and cybersecurity complements our current Board composition. All three areas play a pivotal role in growing our dynamic brands and we are excited to benefit from his additional perspectives.” David Deno, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Rohit’s proven success will help guide the digital transformation we have underway. We look forward to his insights and expertise as we continue to drive strategies that maximize customer-facing experiences. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for Jim’s guidance and commitment and welcome Mike as our new Board Chairman.” Lal currently leads IT teams in enterprise-wide solutions from applications to analytics in his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Saia. Lal is an expert in transforming IT systems and cultures and ensuring IT solutions and data-driven decisions become competitive tools to enable and advance an organization’s strategic objectives. He brings experience in designing and implementing solutions focused on customer satisfaction, productivity, and asset utilization. Prior to Saia, Lal held the role of Director, Enterprise Architecture for CONA Services, an IT shared services company owned by the 11 largest Coca-Cola Bottlers in North America. Mohan was appointed to the Board in 2017. He currently serves as Chairman of the Compensation Committee and is a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer and in various other executive roles in merchandising and marketing during his nearly 18-year tenure at Best Buy Co., Inc. Mohan is an operations expert, with significant experience in retail management and digital marketing, as well as a deep understanding of Bloomin’ Brands’ dynamic family of brands, its guests, and its go-forward strategy. 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 13 countries, some of which are franchise locations. For more information, please visit bloominbrands.com.

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Dog Haus Appoints Michael Montagano CEO

August 28, 2023


Acclaimed gourmet hot dog, sausage and burger concept doubles-down on growth with addition of industry veteran Pasadena, CA  (RestaurantNews.com)  Dog Haus announced today that food industry veteran and CEO of Kitchen United Michael Montagano has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective September. Montagano joins the award-winning brand after serving on its Board of Directors for the past three years and as a commercial partner since 2018. The CEO role is new to Dog Haus. The company has been led since its 2010 inception by founding partners and longtime friends Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener. Montagano will report to the three partners, who will continue in their respective roles. “We believe Dog Haus is positioned for exponential growth and, as such, we recognize the need to bolster our leadership team with a seasoned executive who can guide this brand, and our franchise partners, into the future – and Michael checks all the boxes,” said Vener. “Michael’s expertise in growing franchises, expanding virtual brands and delivery, and implementing new technologies and marketing strategies is exactly what we need as we capitalize on our momentum in the marketplace.” Dog Haus’ suite of virtual concepts – known as The Absolute Brands – include the award-winning Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos and Bad Mutha Clucka, which now drive an incremental 20% of system-wide sales for the company. Off-premise sales, which now account for nearly half of company revenues, are another key strategic focus for the brand. “Over the past several years working with Dog Haus, I’ve seen first-hand impressive store growth, world-class menu innovation and diversification, and soaring off-premise demand,” said Montagano. “This is an exciting time for the brand, and I’m eager to work with the partners to continue the initiatives underway to enhance our technology, expand our brands, and maximize our online and in-store strategy, all in an effort to add meaningful value for our franchisees and guests.” Throughout his 20-year career in the restaurant industry, Montagano has worked in a variety of strategic commercial contexts with many of America’s favorite restaurant brands – from national partners such as Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, WingStop, Cinnabon and Jersey Mike’s to hyper-growth brands like Portillo’s, Dave’s Hot Chicken, Hawaiian Bros and the Halal Guys. He brings with him a proven track record of driving growth, strategic partnerships, cutting-edge technology, institutional investment and operational excellence, along with expertise in online ordering and delivery. He has grown Kitchen United to more than 150 kitchens across the country – powering both major suburban and urban trade areas – while securing key partnerships with, and institutional funding from, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), grocery giant Kroger, Alimentation Couche-Tard (the owner of Circle K convenience stores), Google Ventures, Fidelity Investments, HAVI, RXR, Simon Property Group, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products. “I am incredibly honored to join my close friends at Dog Haus in this new role,” Montagano continued. “My friendship with André began more than five years ago at a school function for our children and has continued to grow ever since. Over time, I developed an equally close and productive business relationship with all three partners. I look forward to supporting André, Hagop, Quasim and the entire Dog Haus team as we build this incredible brand into a haus-hold name.” Prior to his time leading various food-tech and restaurant companies through growth, financings and acquisitions, Montagano practiced M&A and corporate finance law for one of the country’s largest law firms, working primarily on private equity transactions. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law. Michael grew up in a restaurant family, anchored by an Italian restaurant and a neighborhood grocery store and butchery founded by his grandparents. Michael resides in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Dr. Bethany Montagano, and son, Joey, a proud Polytechnic Panther. About Dog Haus Dog Haus is an award-winning concept known for its gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers, plant-based and fried chicken offerings, creative full bar program and The Absolute Brands (virtual concepts). Founded by longtime friends Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener, the first Dog Haus opened in Pasadena, California in 2010. Dog Haus was honored with Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious MenuMasters Award and has been named in Fast Casual’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers list since 2020. Most recently, Franchise Times announced the winners of its annual Zor Awards and Dog Haus came out on top – winning the prized honor of “Top Brand to Buy.” The brand continues to garner critical acclaim for its signature all beef-dogs and hand-crafted sausages with no added nitrates, and 100% Black Angus beef burgers – all of which are made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and served on grilled King’s Hawaiian rolls. With its mission to sustainably feed everyone who walks through their doors, Dog Haus also offers a diverse lineup of plant-based burger, sausage and chicken creations. As more and more diners make the brand a “haus”-hold name, Dog Haus continues to give back through its national charity partnership with No Kid Hungry, donating proceeds from its Absolute Würst Sausage Series to help feed millions of kids nationwide. For up-to-date location and brand information, visit doghaus.com and follow Dog Haus on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

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Sweetgreen Strengthens Leadership Team with Two New Hires


Chad Brauze joins as Head of Culinary and Michael Kotick as VP, Head of Marketing


August 21, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sweetgreen, the mission-driven restaurant brand serving healthy food at scale, today announced the hiring of Chad Brauze, Head of Culinary, and Michael Kotick, VP, Head of Marketing, to join the Sweetgreen team. "We are thrilled to have these two industry leaders join our team at such an exciting time for the company,” said Sweetgreen Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Neman. “Over the past several months, we have introduced heartier menu options and launched our loyalty program, building on our industry-leading digital app. Their deep experience in menu innovation and marketing, combined with their passion for scaling businesses and pushing boundaries, will help us further our mission of connecting people to real food.” Chad Brauze brings extensive menu innovation experience from quick service to fast casual and fine dining restaurants. In his role, Chad will be responsible for overseeing the Sweetgreen menu development and the innovation roadmap, and will report to Nicolas Jammet, Co-Founder and Chief Concept Officer. Chad joins Sweetgreen from Burger King where he was the Senior Director of Culinary Innovation and Sustainability, overseeing the core menu and limited time only food program. Prior to that, he was the Director of Culinary and Menu Development at Chipotle Mexican Grill. His work included the testing and successful launches of Queso Blanco, Carne Asada and Brisket. Chad has trained in renowned kitchens around the world including at El Bulli, Per Se and Daniel. He holds a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Michael Kotick adds award-winning marketing, innovation, and communications experience to the team from his time working with fast casual and CPG food brands. In his role, Michael will be responsible for overseeing Sweetgreen’s marketing and menu strategy, and will report to Nathaniel Ru, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer. Prior to joining Sweetgreen, Michael served as Chipotle’s Senior Director of Marketing. He was responsible for driving Chipotle’s purpose-driven marketing through national campaigns, brand and sustainability actions, menu and product innovation, digital marketing, loyalty program growth, and in-restaurant experience. During his tenure, Michael also led the marketing strategy for Chipotle’s brand growth in Canada and Western Europe. Additionally, Michael spent eight years at Nestlé where he served in various marketing leadership positions, including marketing director, general manager, Member of Nestlé’s global marketing leadership team, and global head of digital and social media of PetCare. Michael has been recognized as one of Business Insider’s 25 Rising Stars in Brand Marketing, and has earned a Master's in Global Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Michigan State University, and a BA in Economics from Michigan State University. About Sweetgreen: Sweetgreen (NYSE: SG) passionately believes that real food should be convenient and accessible to everyone. Every day their team members create delicious seasonal meals from fresh ingredients and produce that prioritizes organic, regenerative, and local sourcing. Sweetgreen strongly believes in harnessing the power of technology to enhance the customer experience to meet their customers where they are. Sweetgreen’s strong food ethos and investment in local communities have enabled them to grow into a national brand with a mission to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food. To learn more about Sweetgreen and its menu, visit www.Sweetgreen.com. Follow Sweetgreen on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @Sweetgreen.

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Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. Appoints Nicole Miller Regan to Board of Directors


August 17, 2023 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) (“Red Robin” or the “Company”), a full-service restaurant chain serving an innovative selection of high-quality gourmet burgers in a family-friendly atmosphere, today announced the appointment of Nicole Miller Regan as an independent Board Director, effective immediately. Her addition to the Board will increase its size from eight to nine members. Since December 2022, Ms. Miller Regan has served as the Chief Financial Officer of 7 Brew, a network of drive-thru beverage-only stands recognized for its hospitality model. Previously, she served as the managing director and head of the consumer equity research practice at Piper Sandler, a leading investment bank, from 2006 through 2022. Dave Pace, Red Robin’s Board Chair, said, “I am pleased to welcome Nicole to the Board of Directors as we continue to build a highly talented and diverse team made up of complimentary skillsets. She brings tremendous expertise in capital markets and a unique perspective that will help ensure Red Robin remains aligned with the investment community.” “Having known and greatly respected Nicole for two decades, I too am excited to welcome her to our Board. Her input will be invaluable in helping us grow the business as well as effectively positioning Red Robin in the eyes of investors,” said G.J. Hart, Red Robin’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Miller Regan said, “I have long admired Red Robin and previously covered the company as an equity research analyst earlier in my career. I am honored to serve on the Board and look forward to contributing to this iconic brand’s comeback alongside my fellow Board members and the executive team. Red Robin has tremendous opportunity through the implementation of its North Star plan, and I am fortunate to join the Board during this exciting time.” Ms. Miller Regan holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from College of St. Benedict. Currently, Ms. Miller Regan sits on the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America and serves as a director for Tacombi, a privately held fast casual Mexican restaurant chain. About Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (www.redrobin.com), is a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 that operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, Red Robin International, Inc., and under the trade name, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews. We believe nothing brings people together like burgers and fun around our table, and no one makes moments of connection over craveable food more memorable than Red Robin. We serve a variety of burgers and mainstream favorites to Guests of all ages in a casual, playful atmosphere. In addition to our many burger offerings, Red Robin serves a wide array of salads, appetizers, entrees, desserts, signature beverages and Donatos® pizza at select locations. It's now easy to enjoy Red Robin anywhere with online ordering available for to-go, delivery and catering, or you can download our new app for easy customization, access to the Red Robin Royalty® dashboard and more. There are more than 500 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including those operating under franchise agreements. Red Robin… YUMMM®!

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Subway Announces New Senior Leadership Appointments

August 17, 2023


Douglas Fry named President of North America; Carrie Walsh named President of Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA); Mike Kehoe named Global Chief Development Officer Miami, FL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Subway, one of the world’s largest restaurant brands, has announced leadership transitions that continue to build on the brand’s strong momentum and drive its transformation journey. After an exceptional 18-year tenure, Subway’s President of North America Trevor Haynes has announced that he will leave the company at the end of the calendar year. Haynes, who joined Subway in 2006 as Territory Manager in Australia, has worked across several continents and held significant leadership positions during his time with the brand, including Chief Business Development Officer and interim CEO. “Trevor has played a pivotal role in shaping the brand’s vision, strengthening our position in the market, and enriching the lives of our guests, franchisees and employees,” said John Chidsey, CEO of Subway. “We’re immensely grateful for his numerous contributions to accelerate our brand transformation strategy in North America and know the positive impact of his leadership will continue to shape Subway for many years to come.” Douglas Fry, Country Director of Subway Canada, will assume the role of President of North America, effective September 5. For the remainder of the year, Fry and Haynes will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition, with Haynes in a strategic advisory role. In just two years at Subway, Fry has demonstrated tremendous success in Canada, as the region continually achieved record-breaking average unit volumes and positive traffic trends. In addition to his strong track record leading Subway Canada, Fry brings more than 20 years of restaurant and consumer packaged goods experience to the position, previously holding senior leadership roles at McDonald’s, Recipe Brands and Kraft Heinz. The brand is actively working to identify his successor in Canada. “Doug’s impact in Canada has been nothing short of remarkable, and I’m excited to see him continue building on our growth and progress in North America as he steps into this new role,” said Trevor Haynes, President of North America for Subway. “I was honored to play a role in selecting Doug as my successor and I’m confident that he will make a meaningful impact on the brand’s future.” Subway’s former Global Chief Marketing Officer, Carrie Walsh, recently transitioned to a new role as President of EMEA. Walsh is responsible for overseeing all functions across 50 countries and territories with more than 6,200 franchised Subway locations, including operations, finance, marketing and development. Walsh has been a member of Subway’s Executive Leadership Team for four years and transformed the company’s marketing efforts, bringing thousands of new and lapsed fans back to the brand. The company’s former EMEA President, Mike Kehoe, will return to the U.S. as Global Chief Development Officer – a new role for Subway, focused on setting the global strategy for traditional and nontraditional development. During his tenure in EMEA, Kehoe has made significant contributions to the continued development, profitability and expansion of the Subway brand in the EMEA region. He also was instrumental in our international expansion, signing Master Franchise agreements in seven countries, representing nearly 3,000 future restaurant commitments. Kehoe will assume his new role on October 16, 2023. In addition, Subway has promoted Cristina Wells as Senior Vice President of U.S. Marketing. Wells joined the U.S. marketing team in 2021 as Vice President of Strategy and Planning after spending five years with Subway in Canada in both marketing, strategy and operations roles. These executive updates come on the heels of Subway announcing its 10th consecutive quarter of positive sales, as it continues to execute against its multi-year transformation journey. The brand also remains focused on smart growth to boost franchisee profitability and protect its position in the market globally. About Subway® Restaurants As one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant brands, Subway serves freshly made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads and bowls to millions of guests, across more than 100 countries in nearly 37,000 restaurants every day. Subway restaurants are owned and operated by Subway franchisees – a network that includes thousands of dedicated entrepreneurs and small business owners – who are committed to delivering the best guest experience possible in their local communities.

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Black Rock Coffee Bar Accelerates Growth, Welcomes Industry Veteran Mark Davis as CEO

August 16, 2023


Trendsetting brand places business growth expert at the helm to further drive market leadership Portland, OR  (RestaurantNews.com)  Black Rock Coffee Bar today announced the hiring of Mark D. Davis as Chief Executive Officer. Davis will leverage his track record in developing strategic business plans and implementing profit-building initiatives to continue establishing the emerging brand as a segment leader. Since its market debut, Black Rock Coffee Bar has empowered and elevated its baristas to accelerate authentic guest connection with exceptional products, spaces and stories that inspire the next visit. By doing so the organization has established a cult following of loyal and enthusiastic fans built upon these genuine customer and barista connections. The emerging coffee trendsetter currently operates more than 100 locations across the country – with more than 100 additional locations slated to open by 2026. “Black Rock is a massively popular brand with all the ingredients for success,” said Davis. “There is a tremendous opportunity to further accelerate the company’s growth through the development and execution of consistent processes and systems that will shine a spotlight on the organization’s key differentiators, increase same-store sales, drive staff retention and establish industry-leading revenue margin based on systemwide alignment and collaboration. Prior to joining Black Rock Coffee Bar, Davis was a key player in achieving exponential growth for multiple fast-casual concepts, including Bagel Brands, Panera Bread and Tokyo Joe’s. In his role as CEO of Tokyo Joe’s, the brand more than doubled its national footprint under his leadership. “We’re beyond excited to welcome Mark to our team, and we believe he will take the success we’ve already achieved to the next level,” said Jeff Hernandez, co-founder and executive chairman of Black Rock Coffee Bar. “I have no doubt that Mark is going to rocket Black Rock from an emerging leader to full-blown nationwide sensation status. He’s the true personification of our brand ethos: grit, growth, gratitude and grace; and we can’t wait to see how he catapults us to the country’s top coffee spot.” The key to Black Rock Coffee Bar’s success is superior products and great people. Its coffee is made from the highest quality beans and roasted in small batches regionally for the freshest, best tasting coffee. Black Rock provides the ultimate barista-guest experience that brings its “Fuel Your Story” motto to life via caffeine, connection and community. From Black Rock Coffee Bar’s unmatched products to its inviting stores, it’s no surprise that this emerging brand has earned twice the customer loyalty of its top competitors. For more information on Black Rock Coffee Bar, visit www.br.coffee. About Black Rock Coffee Bar Black Rock Coffee Bar is a national boutique coffee shop known for its premium roasted coffees, teas, smoothies and flavorful Fuel® energy drinks. Founded as a family-owned and operated business in Oregon in 2008, Black Rock Coffee Bar now operates more than 100 retail locations in seven states, alongside a growing monthly coffee subscription service. Black Rock was named the Fastest Growing Private Company in Oregon and SW Washington in 2021 by the Portland Business Journal and ranked as one of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies by Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Annual List in 2022. Black Rock’s culture is built on being a positive force for the communities it serves and empowering the team members who fuel their locations by displaying the 4G’s of Black Rock – grit, growth, gratitude and grace. For the latest from Black Rock Coffee Bar, follow on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Download the Black Rock Coffee Bar app in the App Store.

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Taziki’s Mediterranean Café Bolsters Executive Team with Pair of Industry Veterans

August 15, 2023


Acclaimed Mediterranean café taps Robert Brown as Vice President of Operations and Lynn Edwards as Vice President of Human Resources and People Operations Birmingham, AL  (RestaurantNews.com)  Taziki’s Mediterranean Café has established its reputation as the go-to place for fresh, modern Mediterranean fare. Now, the acclaimed café is pushing that bar even higher with a pair of industry experts added to its Executive Leadership Team this year – Robert Brown is now at the helm of Operations as Vice President and Lynn Edwards was recruited to build Taziki’s HR as Vice President of Human Resources and People Operations. Brown enters his new role with a wealth of experience in tow, having led Franchise Operations and Operations Services teams at Huddle House for the previous five years. Prior to that, Brown also held an assortment of leadership roles at Melting Pot, as well as various franchise operations support roles in his 22 years at YUM Brands. He received his Certified Franchise Executive designation in 2018 and has been partnering with restaurant franchisees for over 25 years. A military veteran of the United States Coast Guard, Brown is excited to tap into all that he has learned over the years and lead Taziki’s Company and Franchise operations teams, while also guiding Supply Chain, Standards and Innovation. He makes his home in Atlanta with his wife and three daughters. Edwards brings more than 25 years of progressive human resources experience with him and is excited to continue building high-impact teams and creating winning cultures with the brand. He joins the popular Mediterranean café after most recently serving as Vice President of Field Human Resources with CKE Restaurants Holdings – the parent company of Hardee’s and Carrl’s Jr. brands. Edwards also served as the National Director of Field HR for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Like Brown, Edwards is a proud military veteran, having served in the Army. He is now tasked with recruiting, retaining and training both corporate personnel and in-restaurant teams at Taziki’s. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife and three sons. To learn more about this hyper-growth restaurant named “#1 Mediterranean Franchise in 2022” by Entrepreneur Magazine, visit TazikisFranchising.com. For more information about Taziki’s, visit Tazikis.com. About Taziki’s Mediterranean Café Founded by Keith and Amy Richards in 1998, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Taziki’s is a fresh celebration of the Mediterranean diet with a colorful menu that offers handcrafted, elevated, affordable fare the entire family enjoys. For the sixth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been ranked best overall diet in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings. Much of the original menu is still the same, with added efficiency in the process and technology to make the brand a systems-driven, scalable operation. This year the brand is celebrating 25 years of success and now serves its modern Mediterranean fare to customers at almost 100 locations in 16 states. For more information, visit Tazikis.com and follow Taziki’s on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

View source version at Taziki's

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