Name: Pat Hafner
New Title: President, Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Previous Title: VP of Operations, Carrabba’s Italian Grill
As president of Carrabba’s, Hafner will take charge of operations and development at about 220 of the brand’s U.S. locations, according to a press release from Carrabba’s parent company, Bloomin’ Brands.
Hafner entered the foodservice industry as a waiter at Outback Steakhouse in 1996, according to the release, rising through the company’s ranks to regional vice president. According to LinkedIn, Hafner served as regional VP for Outback’s operations in the Western and Midwestern U.S. between 2013 and 2018. In that role, he was recognized as Restaurateur of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association in 2014, according to the release.
Hafner’s experience across different levels of operations may help Carrabba’s weather macro-economic headwinds. Bloomin’ has held its pricing increases below inflation in recent quarters, limiting menu price increases to 5.8% while labor costs jumped by nearly 10% and commodity costs rose even higher. Bloomin’ has been deploying new kitchen technology to trim costs and improve the diner experience, Bloomin’ CEO David Deno said during the company’s Q2 earnings call.