Blain Shortreed has stepped down as CEO of the Long John Silver’s quick-service seafood chain to become president of the family dining brand Huddle House.
In his new post, the 30-year chain-restaurant veteran will be responsible for the chain’s marketing, culinary development and franchised operations. He will also oversee Huddle House’s company-operated restaurants.
Ascent Hospitality Management, the parent company of the Perkins family dining chain as well as Huddle House, stressed in announcing Shortreed’s appointment that the new hire has deep experience in revitalizing legacy brands. It also noted that Shortreed has deep experience in operations, having joined 600-unit Long John Silver’s as COO after serving as VP of operations for the 5,000-unit domestic arm of Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut is owned by Yum Brands, which was also the parent of Long John Silver’s until the seafood concept was sold to its franchisees and outside investors. During that time, Yum tried co-branding Long John Silver’s units with other brands within its portfolio, which includes Taco Bell, KFC, The Habit and Pizza Hut. At the time, A&W was also part of the fold.
The co-branding effort failed, and Yum ultimately sold off both A&W and Long John Silver’s.
By joining Huddle House, Shortreed is reunited with former Long John Silver’s CEO James O’Reilly, now the CEO of Ascent Hospitality Management. O’Reilly joined the company several months ago after leading the Smokey Bones full-service barbecue chain.
O’Reilly has indicated that he intends to rejuvenate both Huddle House and Perkins, and has mentioned the possibility of making acquisitions.
Huddle House currently extends to about 280 locations, and Perkins has about 270 branches.
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