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Golden Corral names new CEO

While the millions of customers who visit Golden Corral each year won’t recognize the name of its new CEO, they are probably familiar with some of the products he introduced to the chain’s dining experience.

Golden Corral introduced the flowing fountains of chocolate and caramel in its restaurants after Lance Trenary, then the company’s chief operating officer, passed an Asian restaurant buffet in Indianapolis with a line of people out the door waiting to dip a stick with fruit in a chocolate fountain.

On Jan. 1, Trenary took over as president and chief executive officer of the Raleigh-based Golden Corral, the nation’s leading grill and buffet chain that served 175 million people in 2014.

Trenary is the third CEO for the company, which opened its first restaurant in Fayetteville in 1973. Golden Corral now has 501 locations in 41 states, including 399 franchisee-owned restaurants. About 171 employees work out of the company’s Raleigh-based support center.

Company founder James Maynard served first in the top position, followed by Ted Fowler, who was CEO for 25 years before he retired at the end of 2014.

The company’s retirement program sets 65 as the maximum age for officers. Fowler, 65, will serve on the board of directors for Investors Management Corp., a privately held Raleigh holding company that was founded by Maynard.

Maynard said that Trenary is the perfect choice to lead the company.

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