TGI Fridays snags Taco Bell's new product force

taco bell doritos locos tacos

The marketer behind breakthrough Taco Bell products like the Doritos Locos Taco has jumped to TGI Fridays as part of an overhaul of the casual-dining elder’s senior management.

In addition to adding Stephanie Perdue as CMO, the brand hired Jerry Comstock as president and COO. Comstock was previously CEO of Strategic Restaurants Acquisitions Corp., which used to operate nearly 300 Burger King restaurants. Fridays said in announcing the personnel changes that Comstock also operated 27 Fridays restaurants.

Comstock has also served as president of Bennigan’s Franchising Co., franchisor of that casual brand.

He joins Fridays at a time when 90% of the chain is franchised.

In announcing the additions, Fridays CEO John Antioco said that the chain is taking aim at one of casual dining’s core issues: a perceived sameness in menu and market position.

“Casual dining, including Fridays, needs to be more imaginative and differentiated, especially around product innovation, marketing, and customer engagement," said Antioco, a Taco Bell alumnus. "Fridays is determined to distinguish itself from the category. Stephanie and Jerry will lead that change in a big way."

Perdue was most recently chief product marketing officer at Taco Bell, with responsibility for the quick-service chain’s robust pipeline of new and remarkably different products. Those items include the Naked Chicken Chalupa, a currently spotlighted item that uses a folded piece of fried chicken in place of a taco shell.

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