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Krystal names Paul Macaluso CEO

The former McAlister’s Deli president brings marketing and operations experience to the job.

The Krystal Co. on Monday named longtime industry executive Paul Macaluso the chain’s new CEO.

Macaluso comes to Atlanta-based Krystal from McAlister’s Deli, where he had been president. He replaces Omar Janjua, who last week was named CEO of Taco Bueno.

Paul Macaluso


“Paul Macaluso is sharp, action-oriented and innovative,” Michael Klump, founder and president of Krystal’s owner, Argonne Capital Group, said in a statement. Klump said Macaluso has a “winning attitude,” and an “ability to drive outstanding relationships and results.”

Macaluso takes over a 360-unit burger chain with $1.1 million average unit volumes and $394.5 million in U.S. system sales. But both were down from last year. System sales fell 5.4% in 2017, according to Technomic data, and average unit volumes declined 5.4%.

Macaluso began his career as a general manager with Yum Brands and then held several management positions with Taco Bell. He worked with Burger King and Sonic before moving to Focus Brands, where he was the chief marketing officer with Moe’s Southwest Grill before becoming president at McAlister’s.

Krystal cited Macaluso’s success in generating same-store sales and growing unit counts at McAlister’s. McAlister’s unit volumes grew 2.2% last year, according to Technomic, while system sales rose 8.6%.

“Krystal is the original challenger brand,” Macaluso said in a statement. “And we’re going to make sure we regain share of minds and hearts with our guests.”

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