- Mod Pizza hired Stephen Blum as its first chief development officer and promoted Becky Mulligan to a newly created position of chief restaurant officer, the company said Monday.
- The company also hired three additional executives to support franchising, culinary innovation and operations.
- These leadership appointments will help support the growth of the company, which reached over 520 locations this year.
The latest executive changes at the fast casual pizza restaurant reveal the chain is gearing up for extensive expansion. While Mod would need to ramp up development to reach 1,000 restaurants by 2024, a goal it set in 2019, it has grown moderately despite the pandemic and opened its 500th store in 2021. The company is expanding into new states, including Oklahoma, with its first store opening in that state in April. Mod also considered going public last year with a confidential draft registration statement, but it has yet to provide any updates or public documentation to the SEC.
Blum is tasked with guiding this growth. He has over two decades of experience within the restaurant industry, including at Panera Bread, Panda Restaurant Group and Au Bon Pain. He most recently worked at Hertz as SVP of real estate and facilities for six years, according to his LinkedIn profile. In his new role, Blum will lead store development, including real estate, store design, construction, facilities and portfolio management.
Mod’s new hires also show the company is planning to expand and grow its franchise business. In 2020, the company added its 10th franchise partner, DBMC Restaurants, in a deal that would add 30 stores over seven years.
Mulligan has been at Mod for a year, during which time she led the field operations and operations excellence teams for over 440 company-owned restaurants. Her expanded role will allow her to lead all company stores as well as the brand’s franchised restaurants. Mod also hired Cynthia Richardson as VP of franchising, reporting to Mulligan. Richardson, who has spent 25 years at 7-Eleven supporting franchisees across 17 countries, will support franchise, non-traditional and international operations.
The company also brought on Ben Coarde, who spent over 14 years at Starbucks, as regional vice president of operations overseeing the Eastern region. James Holguin, who has worked at Mod for seven years, was promoted to regional vice president of operations, responsible for the Western region. Additionally, Scott Uehlein joined Mod as VP of culinary excellence and innovation, focusing on menu development and innovation.