Shake Shack, Whataburger, Pincho add new execs in busy week for job changes

Executive Summary: Michael Kark becomes president of global licensing at Shake Shack and more restaurant leadership shifts.
Shake Shack
Shake Shack is among the restaurant brands making leadership changes this week. | Photo courtesy: Shake Shack

Michael Kark has been promoted to the role of president of global licensing at Shake Shack, effective. Feb. 22. He joined the fast-casual chain in 2012 and has played a critical role in growing licensed units from four to more than 225, overseeing a team both in the U.S. and at an Asian-Pacific office in Hong Kong.


Michael Kark, Shake Shack | All photos courtesy of the brands

In his expanded role, Kark will focus on scaling Shake Shack’s international infrastructure and building licensed partner relationships. Shake Shack now operates in more than 18 countries.



Scott Hudler, Whataburger

San Antonio-based quick-service chain Whataburger named Scott Hudler its new SVP and chief marketing officer. Hudler is a seasoned executive with 30 years’ experience in marketing, having worked with Popeyes, Mars, Dunkin’, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Torchy’s Tacos. Most recently he was the president and chief growth officer of the Dallas-based Cotton Patch Café. Whataburger operates more than 1,000 units in 15 states.



Alonso Castañeda, Pincho

Alonso Castañeda is the new president of Pincho, a 13-unit fast casual that sells burgers and kebabs. Castañeda will retain his role as VP of brand development and strategy for Savory Fund, Pincho’s owner.


Lorne Fisher

Lorne Fisher, the founder and CEO of Fish Consulting, is also now CEO of 919 Marketing, a franchise marketing agency. Both are owned by private-equity firm Big Rock Brands.

Fisher will replace 919 founder and CEO David Chapman, who moves to a chairman role on March 1.


Big Flavor Brands, the food division of Starpoint Brands, has a bunch of new vice presidents. Starpoint is a family of brands within United Franchise Group.


Peter Tortillo, Big Flavor Brands

Peter Tortillo has been named VP of training and support for Big Flavor Brands, which is the division for multiple fast-casual brands that include The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, Graze Craze and Cannoli Kitchen Pizza. He was previously director of operations for Graze Craze.


Rick Case, Cannoli Kitchen Pizza

Rick Case is VP of operations for Cannoli Kitchen Pizza, the newest franchise brand to join Big Flavor Brands.


Chuck McAulay, The Great Greek

Chuck McAulay is VP of marketing for The Great Greek, a promotion. He was previously the marketing director for the brand.


Ryan Papillo, Graze Craze

‌And Ryan Papillo is VP of operations for Graze Craze. He served previously as director of national accounts for the brand.


Tutta Bella

Alex Camara, Tutta Bella

Seattle-based neighborhood restaurant group Tutta Bella has named Alex Camara as president and chief operating officer.


Multi-concept operator SPB Hospitality has added Ellen Rockwell as EVP of people and culture and elevated Amanda Hyde to SVP of operations for Krystal. SPB’s portfolio includes Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, J. Alexander’s, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.

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