Former Panera Bread executive Eduardo Luz was named CEO and president of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., the company said Monday.
Luz, who was previously chief brand and concept officer for Panera, takes the helm at the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based casual dining brand immediately, replacing former CEO Damola Adamolekun, who stepped down in July to work at investment firm Paulson & Co. Inc., which took an ownership stake in the chain in 2019.
Board member Rohit Manocha, co-founder of TriArtisan Capital Advisors—which co-owns P.F. Chang’s— has served as interim CEO while the company searched for a successor.
At Panera, Luz was involved in all aspects of driving sales, including strategy, channel P&Ls, digital, loyalty, subscriptions, pricing, culinary, guest experience, advertising, design, media and sustainability, the company said. Before that, he served in leadership positions at The Kraft Heinz Company, and he was also CEO for 8Greens, a digital wellness startup.
“Eduardo brings deep industry experience and a unique set of skills to take advantage of P.F. Chang’s leadership in high-quality Chinese-inspired Asian food service,” said John Paulson of Paulson & Co., in a statement. “His expertise in marketing, consumer experience, operations and the growing fast-casual category provide us market-leading capabilities.”
Adamolekun guided the more than 300-unit chain through the pandemic and made a lot of changes to set P.F. Chang’s up for the post-Covid era. He refreshed the chain’s menu and tech stack, opened 10 restaurants including a flagship location in Manhattan, and launched a smaller-footprint to-go concept.
Luz said he was humbled and honored to lead the team to aggressively grow the brand.
“I believe that P.F. Chang’s has a tremendous omni-channel opportunity, both domestically and abroad,” Luz said in a statement. “We will broaden our reach as we offer high-quality Asian cuisine and hospitality, proudly serving freshly prepared, chef created dishes with a differentiated guest experience.”
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