Former Focus Brands exec Kat Cole joins Nextbite as advisor

The restaurant veteran and president of nutrition company Athletic Greens will help the virtual brand company with brand development and operations.
Kat Cole
Kat Cole has nearly 30 years of restaurant experience. / Photograph courtesy of Nextbite

Kat Cole, the former president and COO of Focus Brands, is joining virtual brand company Nextbite as an advisor.

Cole, who became one of the industry's most prominent executives while at Focus, is currently president and COO of direct-to-consumer nutrition company Athletic Greens. She comes to Nextbite as it looks to continue growing, and will lend her expertise in running consumer brands and scaling companies.

Founded in 2017, Denver-based Nextbite develops delivery-only restaurant brands and licenses them to restaurants to sell out of existing kitchens.

Cole's role will include helping the company create healthy and innovative delivery brands, Nextbite said in a press release.

"Technology is reshaping restaurants," Cole said in a statement. "Nextbite and a variety of their brands can help brick and mortar restaurants leverage existing assets, drive financial growth, and reach more customers."

Cole has nearly 30 years of restaurant experience, including lengthy stints at Hooters of America and then Focus, the owner of Jamba, Auntie Anne's and other brands. She joined the company in 2010 as president of Cinnabon and led a turnaround of its franchise business.

"Kat’s career was built in the kitchen and she’s recognized as an industry visionary," Nextbite CEO Alex Canter said in a statement. "She understands what it takes to keep customers coming back and how to build and manage brands that are aligned with restaurant and consumer needs and trends."

Cole is the latest high-profile restaurant leader to join Nextbite. Former Red Robin CEO Denny Post began advising the company last September and in June was named co-president. 

The additions come amid some major changes at the company this year, including two rounds of layoffs in response to what Canter called "the changing restaurant market." 

The future of delivery-only brands has come into question as people return to restaurants and delivery sales slow. But Nextbite leaders remain enthusiastic about the model.

"A creative and profitable revenue stream for brick-and-mortar restaurants is an eternal need," Post said in a recent interview.

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


Why Wingstop isn't afraid of Popeyes' chicken wings

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual wing chain says its sales improve when another brand pushes the product. Here’s why that might be.


Mendocino Farms masters a meaty Philly cheesesteak sandwich—without the meat

Behind the Menu: The fast casual uses a mushroom-based meat alternative for its Philly Shroomsteak Sandwich, a new menu item targeted to flexitarians, not just vegans.


Pay hike for couriers shakes up food delivery in NYC

Customers are paying more, and couriers are working less. What it all means for restaurants is still unclear, but some fear it could get ugly.


More from our partners