Leadership

Logan’s Roadhouse owner names Josh Kern interim CEO as Jim Mazany steps down

SPB Hospitality hired Mazany in 2020 to help turn around a group of newly acquired concepts. Kern will take the reins after three years with the company.
Logan's Roadhouse exterior
Kern will take charge of Logan's and more than a dozen other restaurant concepts. / Photograph courtesy of SPB Hospitality

The owner of Logan’s Roadhouse and other full-service brands has promoted Josh Kern to interim CEO following the departure of former chief Jim Mazany.

Kern has been president of concepts at SPB Hospitality since last September and has more than two decades of restaurant experience, primarily in marketing. 

He will lead the franchisor as it searches for a permanent replacement for Mazany, who was hired in August 2020, shortly after SPB acquired Logan’s and a handful of other brands out of bankruptcy. The industry veteran and former TGI Fridays COO was charged with turning them around.

“The Board thanked Jim for his work over the last few years—during which the company and the entire industry faced unprecedented challenges—and wished him the best in his next endeavor,” an SPB representative said in an email.

Kern has been with SPB since 2018, when he joined as CMO. Before that, he held CMO roles at Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts, Smashburger and American Blue Ribbon Holdings. He was also VP of marketing at Quiznos from 2002 to 2007.

His first move as CEO was to hire a new CFO, Jessica Hagler. Hagler has been SPB’s interim CFO since April, and prior to that was CFO of J. Alexander’s before it was acquired by SPB last September.

“I'm honored to take the reins at such an exciting time for SPB Hospitality as we work together to build on our momentum," Kern said in a statement. "In my 25 years in the restaurant industry, I've been fortunate to be part of many great brands, and I see that same greatness in the SPB Hospitality portfolio.”

That portfolio includes 16 steakhouse and brewery brands, including Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Old Chicago Pizza + Taproom, and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. They account for hundreds of locations across 39 states.

The bulk of SPB’s brands were acquired from CraftWorks Holdings after it filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 and then “mothballed” all 261 of its restaurants.

SPB reopened many of them. But at least some of the brands have struggled to fully recover from the combined blows of the bankruptcy and the pandemic. 

The largest brand in the deal, 136-unit Logan’s Roadhouse, underperformed competitors in the booming steakhouse segment last year, according to Technomic data: Sales rose just 5% year over year and were still down more than 30% compared to 2019. Fellow concepts Old Chicago and J. Alexander’s had also not returned to pre-pandemic benchmarks last year.

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