Big Changes at Smith & Wollensky
Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group (SWRG) is expanding the company to include a corporate headquarters in Boston's financial district, key corporate hires, and the upcoming opening of a second Boston location in September on Atlantic Wharf.
Bunker Hill Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm, recognized the expansion opportunities with Smith & Wollensky brand and added the business to its investment portfolio in 2007.
Mark DeBlois, a managing partner with Bunker Hill Capital, says, “We are proud to play a role in the growth of this classic steakhouse, which has a tremendous following and rich heritage. With less than a dozen restaurants, the brand offers exceptional potential here in the U.S. and abroad. Our commitment to the brand is evident with the opening of our new Boston Atlantic Wharf location.”
Over the past four years, Bunker Hill Capital reorganized SWRG and has made several key corporate hires, first appointing Cathy Tsoukalas as the new CFO to spearhead the financial strength and integrity of the company.
Next, a new vice president of marketing, Kim Lapine, was brought on board and tasked with re-invigorating the brand.
Michael Feighery, a 25-year veteran and now president of SWRG, says, “After 30 years we needed to refine our strategy. It was important to treasure the brand equity and maintain its swagger while evolving and making it more relevant.”
Lapine says, “Our new brand icon, featuring the classic Smith & Wollensky steak knife, and the tagline, You’ve Arrived, speak to both the brand’s heritage and its classic hospitality while reaching an evolving target audience. We wanted to make this brand more approachable and welcoming to the next generation, while staying true to our reputation as the premier American steakhouse.”
Continuing with additions to the corporate team, a tenured senior vice president of private events and catering, Cheryl Kahn-Brocco, was hired to position SWRG as a premier event facility with impressive event capacities across the country.
Stuart Roy, national director of wine & spirits, was added and tasked with taking the beverage program beyond expectations.
SWRG is also adding more than 100 employees to operate the new Atlantic Wharf restaurant, to be led by seasoned 14-year Smith & Wollensky veteran, David Doyle, as the general manager.