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Kona Grill names Marcus Jundt and Steve Schussler co-CEOS

Jundt, a Kona Grill founder, and Schussler, who founded Rainforest Cafe, take over the top post from Jim Kuhn.
kona grill

Kona Grill Inc. named one of its founders along with the founder of Rainforest Cafe as joint chief executive officers of the Asian-fusion concept Thursday.

Marcus Jundt, who founded Kona Grill and served as CEO from 2006 to 2009, joins restaurateur Steve Schussler in the role. Both currently serve on the company’s board of directors.

In addition to Rainforest Cafe, Schussler founded T-Rex Cafe, Yak & Yeti and The Boathouse.

“The Board of Directors believes that the combined leadership and experience of Marcus and Steve will revitalize the Kona Grill brand as we focus on what has made this brand successful over the years,” Berke Bakay, Kona’s executive chairman of the board, said in a statement.

The appointments come at a challenging time for the company. Kona Grill reported a same-store sales nosedive of 14.1% late Thursday for the quarter ended Sept. 30. 

The two replace outgoing CEO Jim Kuhn as heads of the 44-unit chain. Kuhn has only held the post since August, after succeeding Bakay. Bakay served as Kona’s CEO for six years.

The full-service concept, which serves sushi as well as stir-fry, pasta and flatbreads, saw average unit volume dip 9.1% from 2016 to 2017, according to Technomic data.  

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