BurgerFi CEO Ian Baines to retire in June

Baines plans to stay on as a consultant for another 12 months while a replacement is found. COO John Iannucci will lead as interim.
BurgerFi burger
The company operates or franchises 172 restaurants between the two brands. /Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

BurgerFi International Inc. CEO Ian Baines is retiring in June, the company said Monday.

In lieu of severance, however, Baines, who plans to officially step down on June 7, will stay on as an outside consultant for 12 months, and will be paid cash equal to $523,628 in monthly installments under an agreement that began May 8, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, the company on Monday promoted John Iannucci, the COO of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings brand since June 2022, to the role of COO of BurgerFi International, leading the company as interim while a replacement for Baines is found.

Iannucci has held leadership roles over the past two decades at several restaurant chains, including The Cheesecake Factory, Max Brenner, Logan’s Roadhouse, Shari's and Birdcall.

BurgerFi acquired Anthony’s in late 2021, less than a year after the burger chain went public in a reverse merger with blank check company Opes Acquisition. Baines, who was previously president of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, owned by Darden Restaurants, was named CEO of BurgerFi in October 2021.

BurgerFi’s Executive Chairman Ophir Sternberg said in a statement, “On behalf of the board, we would like to thank Ian for his service to BurgerFi and for leading Anthony’s through its sale to BurgerFi. We wish Ian all the best in this new chapter of his life.”

Sternberg added that Iannucci has “immersed himself in the company and has proven himself to be a dynamic and effective leader. We look forward to naming a new CEO once that individual has been identified.”

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based BurgerFi operates or franchises 112 fast-casual better-burger restaurants, and 60 company owned casual-dining restaurants under the Anthony’s banner, with franchising for Anthony’s expected to launch this year.

In fiscal 2022, the company narrows its net loss to $103.4 million, compared with a loss of $121.5 million a year ago. Revenues increased 160% to $178.7 million, which was primarily driven by the Anthony’s acquisition.

Baines said in a statement, “It has been an honor to lead this company but the time is now ripe for me to retire. I am proud of what our teams have accomplished in integrating Anthony’s into the BurgerFi system—the company now has two high-quality brands with growth potential. I wish everyone at BurgerFi all the best.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.


More from our partners