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New management takes over Famous Dave’s

Responsibility for the beleaguered Famous Dave’s full-service barbecue chain was transferred today to a new CEO and COO, Jeff Crivello and Geovannie Concepcion, respectively.

Crivello, who had been CFO of the investment firm PW Partners Capital Management, takes over his role from Mike Lister, a former franchisee who held the CEO’s job for just a year.

Lister was quoted in the announcement of the transition as saying his mission—improving operations, pruning weak stores and getting corporate units ready for refranchising—had been achieved. “The timing of this transition makes strategic sense for the company as it advances into the next phase of its transformation,” Lister said in the statement.

Crivello set his objectives as improving Famous Dave’s “existing value proposition,” otherwise evolving the brand, and cutting general and administrative costs to about $8 million annually.

Famous Dave’s has been losing money, though its net losses for the third quarter were narrowed to $562,000, from a deficit of $5.6 million for the year-ago period. The company noted that same-store sales for corporate-run restaurants improved during the third quarter by 0.9%, though comps for franchisees remained negative, down 2.1%.

Concepcion moves up to COO from the post of chief development and franchising officer.

Famous Dave’s has been mired in a long slump. The chain has seen a quick succession of CEOs as it struggles to find traction. The office has been held by Adam Wright, Lister’s predecessor, and Ed Rensi, a former CEO of McDonald’s.

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