Hooters Adds New COO and Vice President of Franchise Development

Hooters of America, LLC, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Parrish as chief operations officer and Mark Whittle as vice president of North American franchise development. Both executives are helping lead the company’s remodeling and expansion initiatives with more than 150 new locations planned within the next five years.  

Parrish has been a member of the Hooters of America Executive Committee since April 2013. In his role as COO, he is responsible for U.S. and Canadian operations for the approximately 190 company-owned and franchise locations. Whittle joined Hooters in June 2013 and is responsible for all aspects of franchise sales, franchise and corporate real estate, strategic growth planning and strategy for new development in the United States and Canada.  

“With their extensive restaurant experience, Jim and Mark have already been instrumental in Hooters growth and remodel strategies,” says Terry Marks, CEO, Hooters of America. “We will continue to refresh Hooters locations with our new contemporary design elements and look forward to fostering even more franchise relationships to advance our iconic brand.”

Earlier this year, Hooters unveiled a new contemporary restaurant design with the remodeled Hooters of Kirby, Texas, and the ground-up prototype Hooters of Slidell, La., located just outside of New Orleans.  By the end of the year, Hooters plans to refresh or remodel a total of 18 locations, with additional plans to refresh more than 120 Hooters locations over the next few years. Overall growth plans include development of more than 150 new Hooters locations worldwide over the next five years.

Parrish has a proven track record in the restaurant industry as an expert operator, most recently serving as COO at Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC. In addition to his store operation responsibilities, Parrish oversaw training creation and implementation, quality assurance and restaurant support. During his time at Friendly’s, Parrish implemented systems and processes that significantly improved the guest experience, leading to improved guest feedback measures and the depletion of a negative sales trend.

Parrish also spent five years at Church’s Chicken where he also served as COO. Parrish first gained experience in the restaurant industry at Pizza Hut where he spent 28 years in a variety of operational capacities including product commercialization before being named divisional vice president of operations, a role in which he oversaw the operations of more than 600 locations.

Whittle has an extensive background in franchise development, recently serving as the chief development officer at Huddle House where he was responsible for leading the franchise sales, real estate, and construction departments for the franchisor.  During his tenure, he was instrumental in increasing new unit growth by 50 percent over two years and in developing and rolling out a new prototype design for the brand.

 Prior to his experience at Huddle House, Whittle was the vice president of real estate for Focus Brands, where he was responsible for all real estate and strategic growth planning for both corporate and franchise development. In this role, he oversaw the annual development of over 300 Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s Deli locations in a five year period. Whittle also served as national director of real estate for Church’s Chicken for six years, leading the development team in opening more than 75 corporate and franchise restaurants annually. He also spent 12 years as director of company development for Little Caesars Pizza, managing aggressive annual growth of 125 corporate units in the United States and Canada.


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