- Bar Louie, a 70-unit gastrobar chain, has appointed Brian Wright as CEO. Wright most recently worked as CEO of Tex-Mex fast casual chain Tijuana Flats, and has been in the hospitality industry for at least 35 years.
- Wright will take the helm of the company on Sept. 7, succeeding Tom Fricke, who stepped down in June after almost five years in the post.
- Wright’s tenure at Tijuana Flats saw a successful three-year growth push, which could help Bar Louie’s growth, profitability and customer experience.
In addition to his tenure at Tijuana Flats, Wright also held leadership positions at Au Bon Pain, Bertucci’s and Einstein Bros Bagels, where he worked in executive management, branding, and restaurant and franchise operations, according to a press release.
Bar Louie is targeting a growth phase that will be supported by new operations and technologies that will facilitate “a modern bar experience,” per the release.
The chain is also exploring new off-premise opportunities through virtual brands. Bar Louie now offers two virtual concepts, gourmet grilled cheese brand Macs & Stacks and Sweet Lou’s, which sells wings, sandwiches and desserts. This digital strategy emerged when Bar Louie exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 and honed its business to fit pandemic market conditions. During this period, the company also worked with third-party delivery platforms for the first time, and bolstered its loyalty offering to take advantage of online traffic. In 2021, the company posted $150 million in sales, according to Technomic data.