Kura Sushi USA, Inc., a technology-enabled Japanese restaurant concept, today announced that Carin L. Stutz has been appointed to serve as an independent member of the Board of Directors effective December 1, 2021. Ms. Stutz has also been appointed to the Compensation Committee and Strategy and Development Committee of the Board of Directors. In conjunction with Ms. Stutz’s appointment, Hiroyuki Okamoto will be stepping down as a director, effective November 30, 2021.
Hajime Uba, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Kura Sushi, states, “We are thrilled to welcome Carin to Kura’s Board of Directors. Carin is a dynamic and inspirational leader, and with over 30 years of extensive operating experience in the restaurant industry, she is the perfect complement to our board and will be a valued advisor to our leadership team. We look forward to benefitting from her industry vision as we capitalize on the whitespace opportunity and bring the Kura Experience to new markets across America.”
“The strategic vision and growth opportunity that Hajime has shared for Kura is what attracted me to serve on this dynamic board,” says Stutz. “Everyone I have met shares a passion for the unique and authentic menu as well as the role that technology plays in delivering a unique guest experience. I am honored to serve and collaborate on the next phase of their growth.”
Uba adds, “Hiroyuki Okamoto has been a key member of our board, and on behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank him for his many contributions that have guided Kura during his tenure.”
Ms. Stutz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Native Foods, the original 100% plant-based fast-casual eatery. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. where she led operations for the casual dining chain. During her tenure, she realigned the operations team for improved efficiency, resulting in the Company’s improved P&L. Before joining Red Robin, Ms. Stutz served at FOCUS Brands as President of the McAlister’s Deli brand and positioned the brand for rapid growth, moving from nine openings to more than 44 openings a year, including franchise development. Prior to FOCUS Brands, Ms. Stutz served in various leadership capacities, including President and Chief Executive Officer at Cosi bakery-café, President of Global Business Development at Brinker International, Inc., Executive Vice President of Operations at Applebee’s International, and Division Vice President at Wendy’s International, Inc.
Ms. Stutz currently serves on the board of Checkers and Rally’s and is an active member of the Fast Casual Industry Council, the Illinois Restaurant Association Board, and most recently, a founding member of the GLEAM Network Board of Directors.
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