Marugame Udon hires former Pieology Pizza CEO to lead U.S. growth

Gregg Imamoto is the 11-unit fast casual’s new CEO. He will be charged with expanding the Japanese brand in this country.
Marugame Udon
Photo courtesy of Marugame Udon

Fast casual Marugame Udon has named Gregg Imamoto as its CEO of U.S. operations, the company announced this week.

Imamoto was previously chief executive officer of Pieology Pizza, from 2018 until this year, and has more than 25 years of executive experience in restaurants, consumer products, healthcare and other industries.

Gregg Imamoto

Gregg Imamoto, CEO Marugame Udon. Photo courtesy of Marugame Udon

Marugame, which has more than 1,000 restaurants in 10 countries, has 11 U.S. locations and is looking to grow.

It is the flagship concept for parent company Toridoll, which is working in partnership with private equity firm Hargett Hunter to expand the Japanese chain in the U.S.

“We searched at length to find the right executive who will refine our mission and sharpen our business model in preparation for growth,” Hargett Hunter Managing Partner Jeff Brock said in a statement. “Gregg has the financial, strategic and operational expertise to help us replicate Marugame’s international success here in the U.S.”

The chain, which was founded in Japan in 2000, specializes in handmade Japanese Sanuki udon noodles and tempura, prepared in an open kitchen. Marugame Udon opened its first U.S. location in Waikiki a decade ago and has since expanded into California and Texas.

“I’ve been a fan of Marugame Udon since the first time I tried it in Waikiki – I ate there every day of every week I was in town when we discovered it – so the offer to lead the company and grow the brand’s U.S. presence was especially attractive because of my personal enjoyment of the brand,” Imamoto said in a statement.


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