BurgerFi taps former Smashburger president to be its next CEO

Carl Bachmann will jump from one fast-casual burger chain to the other when he takes over as BurgerFi CEO in July.
Carl Bachmann BurgerFi
Carl Bachmann is joining BurgerFi from rival Smashburger. / Photo courtesy of Smashburger.

BurgerFi on Tuesday said it has lured Carl Bachmann from rival Smashburger to be its new CEO.

Bachmann will take over leadership of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based owner of BurgerFi and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza on July 10.

Bachmann takes over for Ian Baines, who is set to retire in June.  COO John Iannucci was tapped to lead the company in the interim, but apparently the CEO search did not last for long.

Bachmann joined Smashburger in 2017 as its chief operating officer and later was promoted to president. He is credited with stabilizing that chain, whose system sales is down by about 25% over the past five years. System sales rose about 10% last year, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.

According to a release, however, the chain’s same-store sales growth rose in the double digits. The company oversaw a business plan to redefine its real estate, improve operations, relaunch marketing and add a new e-commerce platform.

BurgerFi is clearly hoping for similar results. Its flagship concept’s system sales declined 3.2% last year, largely due to a 3.4% decline in unit count. The chain operates 114 restaurants, most of which are franchised. Anthony’s, meanwhile, operates 60 corporate locations and system sales rose 2.3% last year, according to Technomic.

“Carl brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the restaurant space that will be valuable for our enterprise,” Ophir Sternberg, executive chairman of BurgerFi, said in a statement. His restaurant leadership “gives him a unique and deep understanding of our brands,” he added.

Before his Smashburger years Bachmann worked as SVP of operations for the Italian concept Bertucci’s and before that spent 18 years with Ruby Tuesday.

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