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Fresh from bankruptcy, TooJay’s Deli looks for a CEO

Former Uno Restaurants CEO Jim Ilaria, a candidate for the job, is serving as the fast casual’s interim chief.
Photograph: Shutterstock

TooJay’s Deli, Inc., which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in April, is seeking a new CEO while Jim Ilaria, the former chief of Uno Pizzeria and Grill, serves as its interim head, the chain announced.

TooyJay’s restructured its debt in September and operates 20 restaurants throughout Florida. It had 28 units when it declared bankruptcy. 

Max Piet was the fast casual’s president and CEO from October 2017 until November of this year, according to his resume on LinkedIn.

A TooJay’s representative declined to comment on the reasons for Piet’s departure.

“We are seeking an experienced, visionary leader who can manage both modern and traditional opportunities for growth and profitability,” TooJay’s Chairman Ryan Esko said in a statement.

Ilaria, who is also a candidate for TooJay’s CEO, was president and CEO at UNO Restaurants from November 2018 until May of this year, according to LinkedIn. He has held the interim TooyJay’s post since last month.

The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based concept reported improved sales and traffic for its third quarter as it balances dine-in traffic, curbside pickup and takeout.

TooJay’s, one of the first restaurant chains to file for bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic, received a $6.4 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to court documents. It had $33 million in secured debt outside of that loan, the filing said.

“We are at a critical juncture that demands a great leader in the restaurant business, proven experience in growing revenues and a sincere appreciation for the guest experience,” Esko said in a statement.

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