Checkers and Cousins Subs name new executives

Executive Summary: A roundup of high-level job changes in the restaurant business includes a new executive for Texas Roadhouse.
Hilary Krekling and Lakeisha Britten.
Hilary Krekling and Lakeisha Britten. | Photos courtesy of Cousins Subs and Ruby Slipper.

Executive Summary

Checkers & Rally’s welcomes two new executives to its C suite. Michael Blair has been appointed to the role of chief financial officer and Scott Johnson joins the company as chief marketing officer. They will both help to grow the business, focusing on driving profitability, guest engagement and continued expansion of the brand.

Blair brings a wealth of experience in finance to the role. Most recently, he served as the chief financial and administrative officer at Miller’s Ale House. Prior to that role he spent nine years with Bloomin’ Brands in several finance roles including International CFO, where he oversaw both company and franchise financial performance throughout the world.

Johnson has led marketing teams for a variety of restaurant brands, including Smashburger, BurgerFi and Outback Steakhouse. Most recently, he served as vice president, head of marketing at Jollibee Group of Companies. In that role, he led marketing for Smashburger and JFC North America. He also served as vice president, head of global marketing, for BurgerFi International.

“I am pleased to welcome Michael and Scott to the Checkers & Rally’s leadership team and am thrilled to gain their expertise and insight as we embark on an exciting chapter ahead for our brand,” said Frances Allen, CEO of Checkers & Rally’s, in a statement.

Cousins Subs has promoted Hilary Krekling to vice president of operations. Krekling joined the sandwich chain in 2006 when she began working in store. She was later hired as a training coordinator and quickly promoted to an area director. Then, in 2020, she was promoted to director of operations where she managed 50 corporate locations, spearheaded a team of area directors and supported nearly 1,000 employees.  In her new role, she is responsible for overseeing the brands operations department at the Cousins Subs Corporate Support Center.

"Hilary's extensive experience and dedication to our brand make her the perfect fit for this role,” said Christine Specht, CEO at Cousins Subs, in a statement.  “Her leadership has been instrumental in navigating the challenges of the past few years, and we are excited to see her continue to drive operational success."

Texas Roadhouse promoted its longtime communications specialist Travis Doster to chief communications officer. Doster joined Texas Roadhouse in 2006 as director of communications. He became senior director, and then VP of communications in 2018. In his new role, he’ll lead the chain’s communications, marketing, events, public affairs, government relations and sustainability functions. Doster has more than 30 years of media and PR experience in the restaurant industry.

Lakeisha Britten has been promoted to regional director of operations at Ruby Slipper. Britten joined the company in 2018 as an assistant general manager. In less than a year, she was promoted to general manager. From there, she served as a district manager. Her new region will include Baton Rouge, Old Metairie, the Marigny and Ruby Slipper’s newest Metairie location.

Also this week, Noodles & Company said that Dave Boennighausen Is leaving his role as CEO. Former Panera Bread President Drew Madsen will serve as CEO on an interim basis as the company looks for a permanent replacement. Madsen also serves on the Noodles Board. Boennighausen, had served as CEO since 2017.

And Uncle Julio’s named Scott Lawton CEO. Lawton also serves as CEO of Bartaco, a role he will keep as he takes the helm at Uncle Julio’s. RJ Thomas also joins the company as president and chief operating officer. Thomas spent 11 years as president and COO of King’s Seafood Company.


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