Red Robin’s chief executive officer and president, Denny Marie Post, has decided to retire, the burger brand announced on April 3. The move is effective immediately, and the company said it’s formed a search committee to identify her successor. It also appointed board chair Pattye Moore interim CEO.
Moore has been a director at Red Robin since 2007 and its board chair for the past nine years. She also previously served as board member and president at Sonic Corp.
"We want to recognize Denny for her leadership, commitment to and passion for the Red Robin brand over the last seven years in her roles as CMO, president, and CEO. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Denny for her contributions and wish her well in retirement," Moore said in a statement.
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Post will serve as an adviser as the search committe looks for a new CEO, Red Robin said.
“My years at Red Robin have been by far the most satisfying of my career. We made great strides evolving the brand and have a strategy in place, which will ensure Red Robin serves generations of families for years to come. I am confident the team will continue to realize that vision,” Post said in a statement.
Post was appointed CEO of Red Robin in 2016, replacing Steve Carley, who also retired. She joined the company as chief marketing officer in 2011 and then served as EVP and chief concept officer. Earlier in 2016, she was also appointed president and helmed Red Robin’s Canadian division.
Post’s previous stops included a run as chief concept officer at Burger King, SVP of global food and beverage operations at Starbucks, and CMO for what is now YUM! Brands, as well as chief food innovation officer at KFC.
“The board intends to move quickly on the search process as the company continues to execute our turnaround plan in this challenging and rapidly evolving casual dining landscape,” Moore added. “Our search effort will focus on identifying an external candidate who recognizes the urgency of strengthening and stabilizing our dine-in business as well as the importance of continuing our evolution to an omni-channel brand that can provide customers with exceptional experiences and our craveable food where, when and how they want it.”
Red Robin’s comparable restaurant revenue has dropped 3.6 percent through the first three months of the fiscal first quarter that ended March 24.
For the full fiscal 2018 year, revenues fell 3.5 percent at Red Robin to $1.5 billion, leaving the company with a $6.4 million net income loss. Adjusted earnings per share fell 30.5 percent to $1.73 as same-store sales declined 2.6 percent.
In the fourth quarter, same-store sales were down 4.5 percent as average guest check declined 0.1 percent and traffic slid 4.4 percent. The average check decline resulted from a 0.2 percent decrease in menu mix offset by a 0.1 percent hike in pricing.
Here’s a look at where the brand has tracked in the past two years in regards to comp sales:
- Q4 2018: –4.5 percent
- Q3 2018: –3.4 percent
- Q2 2018: –2.6 percent
- Q1 2018: –0.9 percent
- Q4 2017: 2.7 percent
- Q3 2017: –0.1 percent
- Q2 2017: 0.5 percent
- Q1 2017: –1.2 percent
- Q4 2016: –4.3 percent
- Q3 2016: –3.6 percent
- Q2 2016: –3.2 percent
- Q1 2016: –2.6 percent