Doug Pendergast has resigned as president and CEO of the troubled Quiznos grilled-sandwich chain after holding the post for less than 17 months.
Quiznos said Pendergast had tended his resignation because he wanted to spend more time with his family in Atlanta. Quiznos is based in Denver, Colo.
There were no hints of an imminent departure during Pendergast’s presentation at the Fast Casual Industry Council meeting on the first day of the National Restaurant Association Show, May 22. He noted that Quiznos was facing significant challenges, having shrunk from 4,225 restaurants in 2005 to 667 in 2015, after the franchisor had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
“Our Number One customer complaint is, ‘I can’t find one of your restaurants [because of all the closures],’” Pendergast joked during his presentation.
He noted that “we certainly have some challenges,” but voiced optimism about the brand, detailing a four-point plan to traffic and improve unit economics. Virtually all of the chain is franchised.
Pendergast sounded particularly upbeat about the spinoff of a broader-menu concept called Quiznos Grill.
The departure leaves an open slot on the long list of industry and finance veterans who have served as CEO of Quiznos. Pendergast left the Krystal burger chain to replace Stuart Mathis in the sandwich chain’s top job in January 2015. Other CEOs have included Rick Schaden, now the chairman of Smashburger; Dave Deno, CFO of Bloomin’ Brands; and Greg Brenneman, the onetime CEO of Burger King.
Quiznos said that CFO Katie Scherping will fulfill the duties of president and CEO until someone is hired for the jobs.