- Foxtrot has named Liz Williams, a former top executive of hairstyling company Drybar and Taco Bell, as president and chief financial officer, the upscale convenience store chain said in an emailed announcement on Monday.
- Williams oversees the retailer’s operations, finance, strategy, real estate, growth, human resources and supply chain divisions.
- Williams is joining Foxtrot’s senior leadership team as the company presses forward with plans to add dozens of new locations and expand its prepared foods selection.
Foxtrot is bringing aboard an executive with deep expertise in helping businesses grow to oversee its operations as the Chicago-based omnichannel retailer seeks to replicate its concept at a rapid clip in multiple cities.
The company, which currently operates 21 locations in Chicago, Dallas and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, intends to hit the 100-store mark by the end of 2024, Williams said in an interview. Foxtrot concluded that it needed someone skilled in operations in a top-level position to ensure it has the necessary infrastructure to manage that aggressive expansion.
“With Taco Bell, we had very clear standard operating practices that were really fundamental and non-negotiable. Picking the most important ones and also having the magic of the brand is — to me — what successful retailers [do]. They have this amazing brand, but then they execute it really, really well,” Williams said.
Foxtrot expects to finish 2022 with 30 locations and plans to launch operations in Austin, Texas, as part of its expansion this year, according to Williams. Beyond that point, the company plans to add new stores at a rate of between 30 and 40 per year for the next two years — a pace Williams called “aggressive but achievable.”
In addition to its expansion to Austin, Foxtrot is working to add stores in Houston and is looking at sites in Miami and Southern California, Williams said. The company is also in the process of adding more stores to its existing markets.
As part of her efforts to build Foxtrot’s brand and scope, Williams said she also wants to help Foxtrot improve its ability to serve customers looking for prepared meals to have in the evening. The company plans to start offering choices like grilled chicken breast, roasted salmon and dips to help shoppers assemble dinners. Foxtrot is also planning to test pizza as an option and will promote the food in conjunction with its wine program, Williams said.
Williams said she plans to bring the expanded prepared food options to most of the company’s locations, but noted that some locations are too small to accommodate them.
Convenience stores have emerged as a site of foodservice competition in recent years, drawing consumers from restaurants with prepared food offerings. The blend between c-stores and more traditional restaurants is evident in Foxtrot’s focus on prepared evening meals. Some chains, like 7-Eleven, have made direct plays for QSR consumers. Delivery aggregators like DoorDash and chains like Sbarro have identified convenience stores as growth opportunities in the last year.
Williams is joining Foxtrot after serving as CEO of Drybar, a California-based hairstyling chain that she led from 2020 until her departure in 2021 following the company’s sale of the franchisor rights to its locations to WellBiz Brands. Williams is also on the boards of Stitch Fix, an online clothing styling service, and advertising software supplier Viant, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Prior to joining Drybar, Williams spent more than nine years at Taco Bell, where she served as vice president of strategy and finance, then became CFO and finally assumed the role of president of Taco Bell International in 2018, per her LinkedIn profile.