Award-winning Breakfast, Brunch, and Lunch restaurant First Watch today announced the hiring of Paul Hineman as chief financial officer.

Hineman joins First Watch with 20 years experience in the restaurant and finance industry. As chief financial officer for First Watch, Hineman will oversee the financial strategy and management of the restaurant company, which now boasts more than 100 locations in 15 states and has plans for nearly 300 by 2017.

A recognized leader in the industry, Hineman most recently served as the executive vice president for the National Restaurant Association. He also has held senior finance and accounting positions with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Planet Hollywood International.

“With Paul’s experience and proven success in the industry, he will be a welcome addition to our executive team,” says Ken Pendery, chief executive officer for First Watch. “It’s no secret that we’ve been expanding rather rapidly throughout the U.S., and we expect that growth to continue. Paul will help maintain strong financial management as we move forward.

Coming off a banner year in 2012, First Watch’s aggressive growth strategy continued in 2013 with the opening of nine new restaurants in the first half of the year and entry into the Atlanta metro market. Plans call for at least seven more to be open before the end of the year.

Hineman is a certified management accountant and holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. He also is an advisory board member for Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, the Food and Beverage Leadership Exchange, and the Restaurant Leadership Conference.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Finance, Industry News, First Watch Restaurants