- Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers promoted Brian Wise, who previously worked as SVP of operations, to chief operating officer, the company said Monday.
- The company also hired Jerry Kunz, a former First Watch executive, as its vice president of finance.
- Freddy’s has shaken up its C-suite over the last year-and-a-half creating a new position of chief experience officer and hiring Chris Dull as CEO.
The hires accompany Freddy’s aggressive growth plan. The chain has more than 440 locations across 36 states, with more than 90 units added to its pipeline as of August, and plans to expand in key markets, such as California, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners acquired Freddy’s in spring 2021, accelerating the chain’s current growth spurt. The chain ended 2020 largely insulated from the pandemic, with systemwide sales growth of over 21%, average unit volume increases of 6.5% and 30 new restaurant openings. In 2021, systemwide sales grew 17.8% and franchisee AUVs increased 13.7%.
In 2020, the chain also rolled out a mobile ordering platform and the adopted curbside delivery. The chain developed a restaurant prototype without a dining room last year and added a loyalty app for delivery, pickup and rewards in June.
Both Kunz and Wise have decades of experience to support these ongoing initiatives and growth. Wise led the restaurant innovation team for Freddy’s in the last year, delivering technology and operational improvements. Prior to joining the corporate team, Wise spent 15 years with a Freddy’s franchise group. In his new position, he will oversee the chain’s training team in both franchise and corporate locations, which will be vital as the chain continues to tweak operations and layout.
As VP of finance, Kunz will focus on financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, corporate and operational finance, business intelligence reporting and more. Kunz most recently served as the director of finance and treasury for First Watch Restaurants, which went public late last year.