Personnel Updates

• Dave & Buster’s Inc. (27) has named Scott Bowman as CFO, succeeding Interim CFO Joe DeProspero.

• FOCUS Brands Inc. (31) has named Dan Gertsacov to the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer.

• The Greene Turtle Franchising Corporation (4) has named Geovannie Concepcion as President and CEO to succeed Bob Barry, who is stepping down from the role.

• KFC Corporation (45) has promoted Monica Rothgery to the role of COO. She takes over the position immediately, replacing the recently retired Phil Klezmer.

• Kona Grill Inc. (11) named its sixth CEO in nine months, saying Jonathan Tibus will take the title.

• The Madera Group (5) announced it has promoted CFO Mikey Tanha to the role of President. The company also named Matt Smith as Chief Marketing Officer.

• Marco’s Franchising LLC (33) announced it has named Jeffrey Rager as its new CFO.

• Momofuku Restaurants (3) has named Marguerite Zabar Mariscal its first-ever CEO.

• MOOYAH Franchise LLC (9) has named Tony Darden as President and COO.

• Muscle Maker Inc. (8) has promoted Aimee Infante to Chief Marketing Officer.

• National Restaurant Association (34) announced its CEO and President Dawn Sweeney will step down at the end of 2019.

• Panera Bread Company (59) has named Niren Chaudhary as the company’s new President and CEO, replacing Blaine Hurst who is retiring.

• Papa Gino’s Holdings Corp. (19) announced Tom Sterrett as its new President. Deena McKinley was hired as Chief Marketing Officer.

• REGO Restaurant Group (14) has named Mike Gieseman its Director of Culinary Innovation.

• Wahlburgers (12) has named Patrick Renna to the new position of President.


Financial Focus

• Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. reported digital sales, which include delivery, increased 100.7% and accounted for 15.7% of the company’s sales for the first quarter ended March 31.

• Kona Grill Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after closing several more locations.


Industry Insight

• Famous Dave’s of America Inc. announced a franchisee in Tucson, AZ has opened a fast casual Famous Dave’s, the first of its kind for the brand. The 2,500 sq. ft. restaurant is about 4,000 sq. ft. smaller than a standard Famous Dave’s.


Mergers & Acquisitions

• Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. has completed its previously announced acquisition of 165 Burger King and 55 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants from Cambridge Franchise Holdings LLC.

• GPS Hospitality, LLC has acquired 75 Pizza Hut restaurants in four states. The acquisitions were made in two separate undisclosed deals.


Real Estate

• Aurify Brands LLC has signed a multi-unit franchise development agreement to grow its Melt Shop concept in Florida. In partnership with CFL EATZ LLC, Melt Shop will open six restaurants.

• California Fish Grill has opened its first location outside of California. The 3,183 sq. ft. restaurant opened at the Mesa Grand center in Mesa, AZ.

• Eataly North America announced it will open a new location in Dallas, TX in 2020.

• Potbelly Corporation announced plans to close 15 to 22 restaurants, including 9 to 12 company stores.

• Restaurant Brands International announced it plans to increase its store count from about 26,000 restaurants to more than 40,000 restaurants globally over the next 8 to 10 years.

• Tropical Smoothie Franchise Development Corp. opened its 750th location on May 17, in Sugar Land, TX. The company plans to open 130 new locations in 2019.



• Domino’s Pizza Inc. is piloting GPS driver tracking, beginning in 27 corporate-owned stores throughout Phoenix, AZ. The pilot will be extended to select stores in three franchise markets later in the spring, including Lansing, MI; Roanoke, VA; and Seattle, WA.


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 672 companies in the Restaurant Franchisee Premier Database, with many of those companies’ records updated at multiple points.