This is the latest installment in a series that highlights major executive changes at top fast casual, QSR and casual dining chains over the past week.
Just a year after Jollibee Foods Corporation's acquisition of American burger chain Smashburger, the Filipino restaurant group has tapped four new executives to drive growth at the brand, and Saladworks has hired a new CEO.
Check out more leadership changes below:
Fiesta Restaurant Group: The parent company of Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana has hired Dirk Montgomery as its new chief financial officer effective Sept. 9. Montgomery has over a decade of restaurant experience and previously served as CFO of Hooters International and also held the position of CFO at Bloomin' Brands. He succeeds Lynn Schweinfurth, who exited the role before joining Red Robin in January.
Saladworks: The 100-unit salad chain has appointed Kelly Roddy as CEO. Roddy, who has worked in the restaurant industry for three decades and most recently served as president of Schlotzysky's, succeeds Patrick Sugrue. While Roddy was at Schlotzysky's, the chain saw 10 straight years of positive comp growth. Roddy told Restaurant Business that in order to drive growth, Saladworks will need to invest in digital technologies, double down on store-level profitability and make the menu more relevant to the modern diner.
Schlotzky's: Beto Guajardo, former SVP of Global Strategy for Starbucks, will now serve as Schlotzky's new president beginning in September. Guajardo will replace Kelly Roddy at the 370-unit chain. While at Starbucks, Guajardo specialized in technology, delivery and personalization.
Jollibee Foods Corporation: COO Carl Bachmann has been named president of Smashburger, the Filipino fast food chain's burger brand, according to a company release. He boasts 30 years of experience in managing restaurants, including stints at Bertucci's and Ruby Tuesday. Since entering the role of COO in 2017, Bachmann drove record-breaking food quality and speed of service.
Scott Johnson has been hired as vice president and head of marketing at Smashburger. Johnson has more than two decades of industry experience and has worked at Arby's, Outback Steakhouse, Bravo Restaurant Group and BurgerFi.
Charlie Sayre has been appointed as vice president and head of finance at Smashburger. Sayre will be responsible for maintaining the restaurant's profit model and joins the company after developing international market strategies for World Wrestling Entertainment and playing a role in the mergers and acquisitions valuation of Mooreland Partners.
Rowel Vijandre will serve as president and country business group head of JFC North America. Rowel previously served as president of Chowking, JFC's Chinese fast food brand. Under his tenure, Chowking reached its highest sales value and market share and experienced double-digit growth for the past three years — overtaking KFC and making it the fastest growing restaurant brand in the Philippines.
Willie's Restaurants: Gregory Lippert has been hired as president and CEO of the Houston-based restaurant group, which owns Willie's Grill & Icehours and Fajita Willie's Cafe and Cantina, according to a company release. Lippert has over three decades as CEO, CMO and COO of regional and national restaurant brands. Most recently, Lippert worked as CEO of Taco Mac, where he facilitated the brand's sale to French Hospitality.