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Auntie Anne's

Financing

How Focus Brands plans to compete for the digital customer

Jim Holthouser, CEO of the owner of Cinnabon and Jamba, discusses how his company plans to take on aggregators to own the customer relationship.

Leadership

Heather Neary to leave Auntie Anne’s as parent Focus Brands overhauls management

Melissa Smith was named chief people officer for Focus; Kendall Ware was named chief brand officer of Carvel and Cinnabon; and Alisa Gmelich was named chief brand officer for Auntie Anne’s.

The executive’s departure comes amid a host of changes at the Atlanta-based brand operator.

The company named Kristen Hartman president of its specialty brands, including Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, while Erik Hess will oversee Moe’s, Schlotzsky’s and McAlister’s Deli.

The chain hopes app ordering will reduce its dependence on shopping traffic.

He replaces Tim Muir, who was named chief sales officer at the parent company of Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon.

The former Hilton executive, who took the job two weeks before the pandemic hit, leans on his hotel experience, and sees parallels between the two industries.

Focus Brands, which also owns Jamba, McAlister’s Deli and several other brands, is offering relief pay and deferring or waiving franchisees’ fees.

The operator of Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and other concepts named the former Hilton executive to replace the retiring Steve DeSutter.

A roundup of recent winter beverage items launched at chain restaurants.

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