Black Bear Diner announced October 2 the appointment of Steve Sparks as its new chief financial officer, a move that will continue to strengthen the growing chain’s executive leadership team. Sparks will report directly to Black Bear Diner president Anita Adams, who previously served as CFO in addition to her role as president.
“Drawing from more than two decades of restaurant experience, including franchisor operations, Steve will be a trusted advisor and strategic partner on our executive team, and we look forward to his leadership at Black Bear Diner,” says Adams. “As Black Bear Diner continues to execute on its growth strategy, drive same store sales and deliver industry leading returns, having Steve on our team expands our leadership capabilities and brings a level of performance insight to ensure our continued success.”
As CFO, Sparks will be responsible for leading Black Bear Diner’s accounting, finance, treasury and risk functions, as well as play active roles in franchise sales, real estate development, and supply chain management.
“Black Bear Diner provides a best-in-class restaurant experience and is clearly focused on smart, strategic growth and operations,” says Sparks. “I am thrilled to join this excellent company and contribute to its already strong brand, leadership team, and people-first culture.”
Sparks has more than 20 years of extensive finance and administration experience in the restaurant industry. His most recent position was CFO at American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a more than $1 billion restaurant holding company. There, he led the accounting, treasury, payroll and tax departments for the holding company’s four restaurant brands and bakery operation.
His previous experience includes a progression of financial planning and analysis roles with both American Blue Ribbon Holdings and O’Charley’s Inc., where he has worked with restaurant brands including O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine, Village Inn, Bakers Square, Max & Erma’s and Stoney River.
Sparks has an MBA from Murray State University.
Black Bear Diner has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country, with 13 units already opened in 2019 and an additional seven units scheduled to open by year’s end. The company has also been acknowledged as a disruptor in the family-dining segment for its growth and performance, and will continue to focus on serving home-style comfort food classics as the brand continues to execute its expansion plan.