Big News
Wray Executive Search Opens in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA, January 16, 2018 -
Wray Executive Search continues its expansion with the opening of a new office in Los Angeles, led by Assistant Vice President Sarah Cavey. Ms. Cavey has 20+ years of hospitality experience. Prior to joining Wray Executive Search, Ms. Cavey held sales leadership positions with Lucky Strike Entertainment and McCormick & Schmick's. During her tenure, she focused on sales team development, creation and execution of outside sales strategies, talent acquisition and implementing sales processes to create cohesiveness in sales and operations across regions she oversaw. Sarah grew quickly within the leadership positions, which she attributes to her inquisitive nature and drive to make a difference. She is excited and honored to be able to assist Wray's clients to find the right candidates and to help candidates achieve their career dreams.  
Full Article »
Executive Movements
Dunkin' Brands Promotes Scott Murphy to COO Dunkin' U.S. & Hires Rick Colón as SVP, Ops & Development  (Another stellar Wray Search placement)
Full Article »
Lance F. Tucker to Join Jack in the Box Inc. as Chief Financial Officer
Full Article »

Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle Plans to Leave Company in June; Board Names Richard Allison as CEO; Russell Weiner as COO
Full Article »

NRD Capital Portfolio Company Ruby Tuesday Appoints Ray Blanchette as CEO
Full Article »

Wingstop Appoints Larry Kruguer Executive Vice President and COO

Berry L. Epley Named Chief Financial Officer for The Krystal Company
Full Article »

Red Robin Promotes Dana Benfield To Senior Vice President and CMO
Full Article »

Papa John's Promotes Steve Ritchie to CEO
Full Article »

Financial Overview

Jack in the Box Inc. Announces Definitive Agreement to Sell Qdoba Restaurant Corporation
Full Article »

Muscle Maker Grill Initial Public Offering is Now Qualified With Sights Set on NYSE American Listing
Full Article »

Sentinel Capital Partners Acquires Captain D's
Full Article »

MOD Pizza Raises $33M in Equity Capital and Closes $40M Credit Facility
Full Article »

Connect With Us
  Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    
Roaring into '18 with Measured Confidence: Takeaways from ICR
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg
Digital, delivery, value and labor costs remained the dominant themes at the 2018 ICR Conference, with corporate tax reform adding a new dimension. Consumer confidence is running high and sentiment was generally positive. Fundamental concerns on cost and competition continue across all segments. When a resurgent McDonald's talks value, the other QSRs listen and react. Labor cost inflation and scarcity remain a substantial focus with technology as an offset to these issues.

What the Bigs had to say:  
Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
5 qualities of emotionally intelligent leaders
by Joel Garfinkle

Joel Garfinkle
Some of the most revered leaders in business today share common traits that attract great staff and inspire the best work. These people are often described as warm, personable, approachable and just plain real.

What do they have in common? The qualities can best be described as emotional intelligence -- the ability to be aware of their own and others' emotions, giving them the capacity to better handle interpersonal work relationships.

If you aspire to be a better leader, you would do well to work on your emotional intelligence quotient. While these traits may seem natural and inborn, they can also be learned, fostered, developed and honed. If you're looking to better connect with others, draw the best resources and keep your team happy and focused, read on to learn about identifying and developing these qualities.   
What's New?
What's in Store for 2018?
by Kevin Stockslager, Assistant Vice President at Wray Executive Search

Kevin Stockslager
Heading into 2017, optimism was high amongst operators and executive leaders within the restaurant industry. Coming off the results of the 2016 Presidential election, restaurant leaders anticipated changes in policies that would drive job creation and economic growth for the industry. The nomination of CKE's Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor inspired additional confidence, but unfortunately, Puzder eventually withdrew from consideration after a long and trying Senate Confirmation Hearing process. While total restaurant industry sales continued to rise and approached $800 billion for 2017, same-store sales and traffic struggled for much of the year. However, recent figures indicated positive (0.4%) same-store sales growth for Q4, the first quarter of growth in the past two years. While traffic continued to show a decline (-1.9%) in Q4, it was also the best quarter for the industry in the past two years. 
Executive Chat 
Michael Chissler, President and COO of Holler & Dash
by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search

Rebecca Patt
Holler & Dash is an emerging fast-casual brand started by the powerhouse restaurant company Cracker Barrell, based in Franklin, TN.  Michael Chissler joined Cracker Barrell in 2004 and previously spent 28 years with McDonald's.
Full Article  »


"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."  
~Douglas MacArthur

Financial Edge
Tailwinds & Headwinds in 2018
by David Ulrich, EVP/Partner Wray Executive Search

David Ulrich
As we embark on the new year, 2017 proved to be a pretty good year for both Wall Street and Main Street. Even the Federal Government is showing signs that they can get things done with the passage of the Tax Reform Bill just before the Christmas Holiday. Unemployment is at an all-time low and according to the latest  consumer sentiment study published by the University of Michigan , we're experiencing some of highest levels of consumer confidence since 2004.
Casual Dining Labor Lite?
by John A. Gordon, principal and founder of Pacific Management Consulting Group

John Gordon
At last week's ICR Exchange Conference, investors and analysts heard from about 30 publicly traded restaurants and another 10 non-public companies. One of the most interesting operational stories heard was from Red Robin (RRGB), who provided more detail on their plan to rework their store service model. Specifically, the Red Robin chief financial officer noted they eliminated the store expeditor role in Q4 2017, and they were eliminating the busser role currently. The reason, cited was to offset minimum wage changes, the latest round of which hit January 1 2018. This was somewhat of an accentuation from November, where the company took a "let's wait and see" attitude on labor and service tests underway.