- Richard “Rich” Stockinger, CEO of Pollo Tropical’s parent company Fiesta Restaurant Group, has resigned from his position to pursue other interests, effective immediately, the company announced Thursday.
- Dirk Montgomery, who has been Fiesta’s CFO since 2019, will serve as interim CEO as the company searches for a permanent CEO. Controller Tyler Yoesting will serve as chief accounting officer and acting CFO.
- Montgomery, who has over a decade of experience in the restaurant industry, said he looks forward to accelerating the company’s growth.
Stockinger ended his nearly six-year stint as CEO with comparable store sales increasing 12.9% in October versus October 2021, according to an earnings release. Losses improved to $3.2 million in the third quarter versus $3.8 million in the year ago quarter. Comparable traffic also improved 140 basis points compared to the second quarter of 2022 largely due to improvements in staffing levels, expansion of sales growth initiatives and combining value pricing with LTOs.
During Stockinger’s tenure, the company sold its Taco Cabana brand for $85 million last year. The company used the proceeds to pay down its $74.6 million in debt and to help Fiesta accelerate Pollo Tropical’s expansion. As of the third quarter, Pollo Tropical had 169 units.
Stockinger oversaw a refresh/remodel program at Pollo Tropical that has helped improve sales by about 4% at redesigned units. Twenty-six restaurants were refreshed by the end of the third quarter. The company also has started a kitchen retrofit, the first was completed earlier this year, and is showing early signs of improved sales and productivity. The company is planning more kitchen renovations as part of its overall remodel initiative.
Montgomery’s experience includes helping chains improve accounting, finance, technology and global supply chains, according to the press release. His past experience includes CFO and head of supply chain at Hooters International and CFO at Bloomin’ Brands.