This year hasn’t been a safe one for restaurant industry CEOs.
Numerous restaurant chains, from small ones such as Not Your Average Joe’s to big chains such as Taco Bell, have changed chief executives so far this year.
Some of this is due to simple CEO movement, or the chains are growing and in need of more sophisticated leadership. But it’s also a sign of an industry in the midst of a volatile period, with weak sales and profits at many chains leading companies to make changes at the top.
The trend is nothing new. A lot of restaurant brands named new CEOs last year, too.
Here’s a look at the chains that have new CEOs this year.
On the Border: Matt Hood
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina tapped former The Habit Burger Grill executive Matt Hood to be its new CEO this month. Hood replaced Ward Whitworth, who had been CEO of the 158-unit Mexican casual dining brand since 2014.
The Krystal Co.: Paul Macaluso
Paul Macaluso, former president of McAlister’s Deli, was hired as CEO of 86-year-old burger chain Krystal in April. “It was just something I couldn’t pass up,” he said in an interview. McAlister’s, by the way, replaced Macaluso with former Cinnabon President Joe Guith.
Taco Bueno: Omar Janjua
The Krystal Co. job was open because the chain’s former CEO, Omar Janjua, was hired to lead the 179-unit Tex-Mex chain Taco Bueno. Janjua had been with Krystal for three years and had worked with chains such as Sonic, Pizza Hut and Steak ‘n Shake.
Not Your Average Joe’s: Peter D’Amelio
Not Your Average Joe’s tapped former Cheesecake Factory President Peter D’Amelio to be the company’s CEO. He replaces the 22-unit chain’s founder, Steve Silverstein, who will operate the chain’s original store and be a consultant for the company.
The Pie Hole: Edie Ames
Growing pie and coffee chain The Pie Hole tapped Edie Ames to be the chain’s new CEO and focus on brand expansion. Ames had worked with The Counter and Built Custom Burgers, and before that worked with Wolfgang Puck, Real Mex Restaurants and Del Frisco’s.
Main Event: Chris Morris
The food and entertainment chain Main Event hired former California Pizza Kitchen President Chris Morris to be its new CEO. The 38-unit company’s longtime chief executive, Charlie Keegan, departed the company in November.
Torchy’s Tacos: G.J. Hart
In January, Torchy’s Tacos named former California Pizza Kitchen chief executive G.J. Hart to be its new CEO and guide the chain through its next growth phase. It was a great move for Torchy’s, which got a longtime, well-known industry executive who guided Texas Roadhouse through its 2004 IPO.
California Pizza Kitchen: Jim Hyatt
Hart’s move to Torchy’s came one week after CPK named former Ruby Tuesday CEO Jim Hyatt to lead the chain. Hyatt had been CEO of Ruby Tuesday for eight months in 2017 before the chain was sold to NRD Capital.
Voodoo Doughnut: Chris Schultz
Chris Schultz, a 30-year industry veteran who had spent time with MOD Pizza and Starbucks, was named CEO of the Voodoo Doughnut chain in January. Voodoo has six units and is based in Portland, Ore.
Domino’s: Richard Allison
Patrick Doyle in January announced plans to step down as CEO of Domino’s. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based pizza delivery chain named Richard Allison, president of Domino’s International, to be his replacement. Doyle almost immediately had to dismiss suggestions he was going to Chipotle.
Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar: Steve Shlemon
Steve Shlemon, former CEO of Benihana and a longtime industry veteran, in January was named CEO of Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar and Ida Claire, a pair of concepts owned by Front Burner Restaurants.