Personnel Updates

• Biscuitville (11) named Krispy Kreme’s Anne Goldman to succeed recently retired Tim Hegarty as Chief Development Officer.

• Brinker International (70) announced that Chili’s President Kelli Valade is leaving the company. Her responsibilities will be assumed by Brinker President and CEO Wyman Roberts.

• Buffalo Wild Wings (70) brought in Seth Freedman as its new Chief Marketing Officer and hired Lyle Tick to head up the brand as President.

• Captain D’s (29) hired Chris Kuehn away from Golden Corral to be its Chief Marketing Officer.

• CEC Entertainment (15) hired Jim Howell as its new CFO.

• Cooper’s Hawk (16) named Michael Coyne as its new CFO. Coyne left Potbelly for the position.

• Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (17) hired Phil Butler as its new Research and Development Chef.

• El Pollo Loco (17) has its first Chief People Officer, Jennifer Jaffe.

• Friendly’s (13) and Johnny Rockets (13) CEO John Maguire stepped down. He’s replaced by separate CEOs for the brands. George Michel is the new interim CEO at Friendly’s while Mike Nolan joins as CEO of Johnny Rockets.

• Home Run Inn Inc. (8) promoted restaurants President Dan Costello to corporate CEO.

• Killer Burger (5) veteran Brian Hebb was named Director of Development while Marisa Kraft takes over as Director of Operations for company stores and Scott Haehnel assumes the newly created position of Director of Franchise Development.

• Krystal (21) has a new Chief Marketing Officer, Dominic Losacco.

• Mountain Mike’s Pizza (4) named Jim Metevier President and COO.

• Paris Baguette USA (5) named John Billingsley Chief Development Officer.

• Papa John’s (35) Chief Development Officer and President of International Timothy O’Hern left the company “effective immediately”.

• Potbelly (17) CFO Michael Coyne resigned to take a position with Cooper’s Hawk.

• Rave Restaurant Group (23) promoted Bob Bafundo to the newly created position of President and Andrea Allen to Chief Accounting and Administrative Officer.

• Red Robin (40) announced that COO Carin Stutz is no longer with the company. CEO Denny Post is interim COO and CFO Guy Constant will permanently fill the position as soon as a new CFO is identified.

• Rotolo’s Pizzeria (6) brought in Ryan Brach as its new COO.

• Shari’s Management Corporation (15) hired Joan Hansen as its new Director of Marketing.

• Taco Cabana (11) named Roberto Lopez as its new VP of Culinary Design.

• Tijuana Flats (12) promoted Rick Van Warner to CEO.


Industry Insight

• Chipotle, in partnership with DoorDash, added nationwide delivery capabilities via its app.

• Dunkin’ Donuts is sinking $100 million into a brand update. A large portion of that spend is geared towards improving grab-and-go service. The company will roll out 50 pilot locations this year.

• Fox Restaurant Concepts has plans to double the footprint of its True Food Kitchen concept in the next 3 years.

• Freddy’s LLC has opened more than 30 new restaurants to date in 2018 and plans to add another 20 or so by the end of the year.

• Inspired Brands has changed the name of recently acquired R Taco back to Rusty Taco.   

• Smoothie King opened store number 1,000.

• Taco Bueno closed 16 restaurants.


Mergers and Acquisitions

• ARC Group bought the four-unit Fat Patty’s concept for $12.3 million. The company is still working to close the deal to acquire Titled Quilt.

• Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group is selling Sullivan’s Steakhouse to Romano’s Macaroni Grill for $32 million in a deal expected to close by the end of the month.

• MTY has been relatively quiet of late, but that’s changing. The company is buying 300-unit sweetFrog for $35 million.


Real Estate

• Chicken Salad Chick opened its first restaurant in Oklahoma.

• Cowboy Chicken opened its first Georgia location in McDonough. The company has two additional California locations in the works.

• Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group added a second Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston, making that city the first to have two Double Eagle locations.

• FAT Brands is expanding in Southern California in the next year with a dozen co-branded Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express restaurants. The company will also open a co-branded location in Washington within a new casino development.

• Gyroville, as small South Florida concept, has additional locations in the works for Orlando and Michigan.

• Inspire Brands is building a new HQ in Atlanta suburb Sandy Springs.

• Krystal opened a new prototype in Jackson, MS. The new model is less than 1,800 square feet, down from 2,000 to 2,500 square foot spaces.

• Nathan’s Famous recently opened a 3,000 square foot store in Cape Coral, FL that serves as its new North American prototype.

• Pie Five expanded to Rhode Island with a new space in the Tiverton Casino Hotel.

• Shuckin’ Shack announced partnership agreements that will see expand into Florida and Virginia in 2019.

• White Castle will expand to Arizona with a Scottsdale restaurant slated to open in late 2019.


Just because we don’t mention it here doesn’t mean it didn’t happen – or we didn’t capture it. In the past four weeks, we’ve updated more than 725 companies in the Restaurant Franchisee Premier Database, with many of those companies’ records updated at multiple points.