Leadership

Buffalo Wild Wings' new parent names chief of R Taco, slates layoffs

Inspire Brands continues to lay its infrastructure with the recruitment of former Qdoba President Tim Casey.

Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings parent Inspire Brands has named former Qdoba President Tim Casey as brand head of its third operation, the R Taco fast-casual chain. In addition, it's disclosed plans to eliminate 132 corporate positions at BWW.

Casey will report to Inspire Chief Growth Officer Christian Charnaux, another new hire. Charnaux was previously SVP of corporate finance for Hilton, where Inspire CEO Paul Brown has also worked. Brown, who recently moved to his current job after serving as CEO of Arby’s, has likened his new charge to a multiconcept hotel operation. Casey has held a number of positions at restaurant companies, including CEO of the parent of Mrs. Fields and TCBY frozen yogurt. His resume also includes time at Starbucks.

The 132 BWW jobs earmarked for elimination are redundant with Inspire positions, the company indicated in a statement reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The story indicated the layoffs will come in 11 phases starting in May and ending in January, with most slated for later in the year.

Inspire was formed by the private-equity firm Roark Capital through the purchase of BWW for $2.9 billion and the merger of the franchisor with Arby’s, one of two dozen restaurant brands in Roark’s portfolio. R Taco was part of BWW, one of several diversifications the wing chain had tried in its efforts to crack the fast-casual market and come up with a new franchising vehicle.

Roark is setting up Inspire as a distinct company, with its own management and headquarters. Widespread speculation holds that Roark intends to buy other restaurant brands, combine them into Inspire and then spin off the company as a public entity.

Inspire is based in Atlanta, where Roark and another free-standing operation, Focus Brands, are also located.

Roark’s other restaurant holdings include Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Jimmy John’s, Culver’s, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Naf Naf Grill and Cinnabon.

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