Red Robin’s leadership shakeup continued Monday. The burger chain named David Pace, most recently the chief executive officer of Jamba, its board chairman, effective November 1. Pace held the top role at the now-FOCUS Brands run juice chain from 2016–2018. He helped lead its repositioning and August 2018 sale to the multi-concept parent company of Moe’s and McAlister’s Deli, for $200 million.
Thirty-year-old Jamba has since dropped the “Juice” from its name and is working on a broad refresh, including a new app, updated store design, elevated customer experience, and the tagline “Smoothies, Juice and Bowls.” Read more about the changes here.
Before Jamba, Pace served as president of Bloomin’ Brands’ Carrabba’s Italian Grill from 2014–2016. He oversaw operational changes, margin improvement, and accelerated profit growth. In the four years prior, Pace was EVP and chief resource officer at the company, also parent to Outback Steakhouse, where he was responsible for real estate development and human capital deployment across about 1,500 restaurants, 100,000 employees, and five brands.
“Dave’s extensive track record of improving performance and leading successful transformations makes him ideally suited for the role of Red Robin’s Chairman,” retiring board chair Pattye Moore said in a statement. “The board and management team have made significant progress stabilizing the business and laying the foundation for long-term success. We look forward to leveraging Dave’s insights, leadership and guidance to restore long-term growth and improve profitability.”
Moore, who is set to retire at year’s end, held the interim CEO role following Denny Marie Post’s retirement in April. 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.
In September, Red Robin replaced Post officially with Paul Murphy, ending a lengthy search. Murphy directed fast casual Noodles & Company as executive chairman since 2017, where he was responsible for 459 locations across 29 states. He was also CEO of Del Taco Restaurants from 2009–2017, overseeing 543 stores with revenues of $470 million, and held leadership positions at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. for 11 years, including as president, CEO, and board director from 2003–2008. At the top post, he led 593 restaurants with revenues of $390 million.
“The board and management team are pleased to welcome Dave as our next chairman,” Murphy said in a statement. “We are excited to be working with him as we continue building on Red Robin’s momentum and driving business improvement to enhance value for all Red Robin stakeholders, including our shareholders, guests, franchisees, and team members.”
Pace was part of Red Robin’s August board appointments, which also included Tom G. Conforti, the former CFO at IHOP, and Torchy’s Tacos CEO G.J. Hart, who led Texas Roadhouse previously as well.
Aylwin Lewis is set to retire from the board November 1, and Stuart Oran is not standing for re-election at Red Robin’s 2020 meeting of shareholders. Red Robin will have eight directors following the changes, seven of whom are independent.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as chairman of Red Robin, an iconic brand with a rich history and deeply loyal customer base,” Pace said in a statement. “Since joining the Board in August, I have seen the focus and commitment of the entire Red Robin team as they continue to execute on the five pillars of the company’s strategic plan. I intend to work with our newly restructured board, along with Paul and his management team, to enhance Red Robin’s operational and financial performance and create significant shareholder value.”
Red Robin’s same-store sales declined 1.5 percent in the second quarter as traffic fell 6.4 percent. The 562-unit burger chain’s comps have been negative five straight periods.
- Q2 2019: –1.5 percent
- Q1 2019: –3.3 percent
- 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