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Nathan's Famous exec James Walker named CEO of delivery startup Buyk

The hot dog chain's SVP is leaving the restaurant industry for the developing world of ultrafast grocery delivery.
Buyk couriers
Photograph courtesy of Buyk

James Walker, the senior vice president of restaurants for Nathan's Famous, is leaving the 105-year-old hot dog chain for a decidedly younger charge. 

Walker on Monday was named CEO of Buyk, a New York City startup that aims to deliver groceries in 15 minutes using a network of storerooms and bicycle couriers. Buyk is just a couple of months old, having launched in September, and the move is a major step for the company as it looks to scale up. 

Walker has considerable experience with delivery. He helped launch Subway's massive North American delivery program as VP of U.S. and Canada, and more recently oversaw the opening of nearly 300 Nathan's ghost kitchens. He spent about two years at each chain. Before that, he held leadership roles at Johnny Rockets, Beef 'O' Brady's, Baja Fresh and Cinnabon.

James Walker

James Walker. / Photograph courtesy of Buyk

"I’m thrilled to join Buyk at such an exciting time," Walker said in a statement. "I've been highly impressed by both the company’s early success, as well as the proven expertise and track record of the founders. Add Buyk’s unique technology to the mix and you can see why I felt compelled to become part of the Buyk team."

Buyk has its roots in Samokat, a Russian delivery company co-founded by Rodion Shishkov and Slava Bocharov. The pair raised $46 million to launch Buyk, which is one of a growing crop of ultrafast grocery delivery services popping up in New York, and plan to take it worldwide under Walker's guidance.

"We feel that his expertise and experience in scaling businesses and bringing them to new markets are a valuable asset, and totally align with our goal of making Buyk a household name, first in the U.S., and then globally," Bocharov said in a statement.

Bocharov and Shishkov will continue to oversee Buyk's strategy and fundraising, while Walker will take over day-to-day operations, development and partnerships.

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