Real Mex Restaurants announced that Bryan Lockwood has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Real Mex Restaurants is a full-service, casual-dining Mexican restaurant chain operator in the United States with 112 company-owned and operated restaurants, as well as 13 franchised restaurants. Real Mex's brands include: El Torito Restaurants, Acapulco Mexican Restaurants, Chevys Fresh Mex Restaurants, El Torito Grill Restaurants, Las Brisas Restaurant, Sinigual Restaurant, El Paso Cantina, and Who Song and Larry's.

Lockwood is a proven executive with extensive operational expertise in the restaurant industry. Lockwood is a 35-year restaurant and hospitality industry veteran. Most recently, Lockwood founded Rare One, LLC., his personal restaurant investment company. 

From 2003 to 2013, he served first as president and then as CEO of Tavistock Restaurants, a company that he co-founded. Lockwood was directly responsible for Tavistock Restaurant's portfolio of upscale restaurant concepts in the U.S., which include Abe & Louie's, Atlantic Fish, Aquaknox, Blackhawk Grille, Cafe del Rey, California Cafe, Canonita, Coach Grill, Joe's American Bar & Grill, Napa Valley Grille, Sapporo, and ZED451. 

He also led growth initiatives such as the acquisitions of Back Bay Restaurant Group and E-Brands Restaurants as well as the acquisition and expansion of fast-casual brand, Freebirds World Burrito. During his time at Tavistock Restaurants,  Lockwood successfully grew the business to $300 million in annual revenues through the acquisition and turnaround of brands that had been through bankruptcy as well as organic growth.

Prior to co-founding Tavistock Restaurants,  Lockwood established and served as an advisor at Lockwood Advisory Partners from 1997 to 2003, providing financial and operational advisory services to a number of industry-specific institutions, including Houlihan's, J. Gilbert's Wood Fired Grill, CNL Restaurant REIT, Denny's, TGI Friday's, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn, among others. He previously served on the advisory Boards of Le Cordon Bleu, Art Institute, and Tournament Players Club.   

"I am pleased to have someone of Bryan's caliber lead Real Mex during this exciting phase of growth for the company," says James J. Zenni, chairman of Real Mex and President and CEO of Z Capital Partners. "Bryan brings extensive industry knowledge and valuable operational experience, as well as a proven track record of overseeing the successful turnaround and growth of various restaurant brands. 

"Under Bryan's leadership, I am confident that the company will continue to successfully build out our premier brands and further execute on our transformational strategy to drive growth and profitability. I look forward to capitalizing on Bryan's unparalleled expertise to elevate Real Mex to new heights for the benefit of all our constituents, including our valued customers."                                                          

"I am extremely honored to join Real Mex at such an important time in the company's history," Lockwood says. "Real Mex has an impressive portfolio of leading brands, and I look forward to getting started and working closely with this talented team to build on the company's momentum."

Real Mex is a portfolio company of Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. and Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News