Former Popeyes Exec Takes Over at Granite City
Former Popeyes executive Richard Lynch will take the helm at Granite City Food & Brewery, the operating company of 36-unit Granite City Food & Brewery and five-unit Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill. Lynch, who served as chief brand officer at Popeyes for the past nine years, will begin as the company’s chief executive officer May 15.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to unleash the untapped potential of this brand,” Lynch says in a statement. “Granite City is one of the originators of the craft brew trend, and one of the only places where you experience brew-culture at its most authentic coupled with a chef-created, made-from-scratch, distinctive menu. I believe the Granite City experience is unique in its space. I look forward to leveraging the brand to drive a differentiated employee and guest experience as well.”
The revenue of Granite City, which was founded in 1999, declined 4 percent to $35.9 million in the quarter that ended September 27, Bloomberg reported from a recent filing.
But Lynch is no stranger to revitalizing sales. He helped Popeyes achieve eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth and increase its market share from 13 to 27 percent. AUV grew 45 percent from $1 million to $1.45 million and restaurant level profitability increased from 17 percent to nearly 24 percent as Popeyes’ unit count grew from 1,860 locations to roughly 2,700.
“Our search focused on identifying a leader with top-level branding expertise to unlock the potential for this dynamic concept and bring it into the future. We were fortunate that Dick’s expertise was already known to us as he has served on our board the past 15 months,” says Fouad Bashour, chairman of the board for Granite City Food & Brewery, in a statement. “Dick has demonstrated an appreciation for the potential of our brand. That, together with his expertise, will be invaluable as we elevate the Granite City brand profile.”
Lynch served on the company’s board for the past 15 months. He remained with Popeyes until it was sold to Restaurant Brands International for $1.8 billion in March. The acquisition by the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons also led CEO Cheryl Bachelder to step down.