Following three consecutive years of comp sales growth and the successful launch of a new contemporary restaurant prototype, Huddle House announced today it has hired Tyrone Counts as chief operating officer. Huddle House, which is re-energizing itself at age 49 with menu optimization, leadership changes, and further initiatives, is refining the brand to remain a relevant driving force in the industry for decades to come.
Counts’ key responsibilities will be to build on the company’s growth momentum and improve overall sales and profitability. With a 27-year track record of driving unit growth, real estate selection, and training/retaining longstanding employees with such brands as Pizza Hut, Counts most recently held the title of Regional Operations director with Tim Horton’s. As a restaurant and franchise industry veteran, Counts is credited with leading Tim Horton’s most profitable region, spearheading numerous new product initiatives and was instrumental in Tim Horton’s growth of 800 stores in the U.S.
“Huddle House has a competitive position in the marketplace,” Counts says. “It’s rich in tradition and poised for growth and innovation. With the support of the senior executive team, combined with the passion of the Huddle House family of franchise partners, I believe we can achieve goals in the coming years by growing the number of total units in key sustainable markets, increasing brand awareness, and improving financial performance.”
Counts joins Huddle House at a pivotal time as the 24-hour family-friendly restaurant chain is expected to add 135 new restaurants over the next four years by offering franchise opportunities in communities around the Southeast region and Texas. Huddle House is also in the midst of converting existing restaurants to incorporate a new prototype design that features a signature tower entrance, plush seating, and contemporary colors. Redesigned restaurants have already seen sales increases of 15 percent or more. To expedite the upgrade, the company recently offered a $25,000 financial incentive to the first 100 franchisees that commit to a remodel by July 31, 2014.
"Ty brings the leadership, skills, and experience to work with our franchisee partners to make progress on our system’s priorities,” says Huddle House CEO Michael Abt. “His track record in improving store-level profitability, delivering operations execution, enhancing the customer experience, and upgrading facilities translates perfectly to the needs of the Huddle House brand and our franchise partners.”