The Power 20

This year's 20 elite leaders of the restaurant industry

The Power 20

Nate Weir

Scratch cooking from local ingredients is imprinted in Nate Weir’s DNA. “I grew up in Haiti as a missionary’s kid, and my earliest food experience is going to the open markets with my mom. There were no packaged foods … everything had to be made fresh from scratch,” he says.

The Power 20

Anna Greenberg

Anna Greenberg has been part of the Bartaco family for the past 13 years, working her ways up from bartender, to manager, to the corporate office.

After serving as a director in the Hyatt Hotels CorporationCorp., Stacey Murray made the leap to the restaurant business in 2016.

Recipes can be revised, marketing plans can be rewritten, management teams can be rebuilt. But resetting a corporate culture, the strategic foundation for any and every change, is like sculpting a statue out of smoke.

“Bill Long joined Snooze three years ago and had an immediate impact on both our business and the Denver community,” says CEO David Birzon.

Alex Adler had never worked in restaurants when he decided in 2011 to launch an elevated taco concept called Puesto. “I was a home cook my whole life,” Adler says. “I just had this crazy idea. We are Mexican-American, our parents are from Mexico. … When we started thinking about Puesto, we saw Mexican food and tacos, especially, being an afterthought.” The chain evolved from a fast casual to a full-service concept, which now has six units in California with three slated to open this year. As a young leader, Adler says he “grew on the job.” But one of his biggest takeaways so far has been in how he hires new talent. “What makes a great leader is being able to focus on what other people’s past has been,” Adler says. “I want people to come in with their previous experience and really educate us, and for us to be receptive about that. A lot of people miss on that point, and that’s been essential.”

Last August, the New York Times called Marguerite Mariscal the “secret sauce” behind the growing Momofuku Group restaurant empire.

The restaurant industry’s leadership preferences tend to go in cycles. In a trying economic environment, finance veterans appear to have an inside track to the CEO’s job.

Zip Allen has spent her career driving results in the digital realm for big brands. While with Pizza Hut, she launched several initiatives to drive customer acquisition via digital experiences, such as digital-only offers, flash sales and the launch of the Hut Rewards loyalty program.

When Lucy Brady was promoted to the role of chief digital customer engagement officer in January, CEO Chris Kempczinski sent a letter across the business that said, “Lucy is an instrumental member of our leadership team with a strong customer orientation and proven expertise delivering complex solutions to drive McDonald’s top- and bottom-line growth.” He added that she and her team have been the driving force behind the fast growth of McDelivery—growing the business from $1 billion to $4 billion in three years—and ran point on the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, a technology that’s already driving check growth with digitized menu boards.

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