Upward Projects, the hospitality group gaining national attention thanks to its beloved brand Postino, announced two industry mavericks joining its leadership team. Anoop Mathew, formerly of the San Francisco-based hospitality group, Back of House Restaurant Group and also Kimpton Hotels + Restaurants, has been named the new Chief Financial Officer of Upward Projects. Additionally, Brent Renner, formerly of the Cava Group in Washington DC and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been named the new Chief Development Officer.

Postino, an Arizona-born restaurant concept with 10 locations across Arizona, Colorado, and Texas, has built a cult-like following with gorgeous mid century adaptive reuse design, trend-setting real estate selection, decked-out menu of bruschetta’s and crave-worthy sharables that’ll instigate last-bite fights. Postino also proudly pours a wide variety of craft brews, paired with an ever-changing selection of approachable boutique wines, including more than 30 wines by the glass. Mathew and Renner will join the Postino executive team that leads over 1,300 incredible humans to spread good vibes, and outstanding hospitality.

Most recently serving as the CFO of the innovative, San Francisco based hospitality group, Back of House Restaurant Group and its 30 restaurants including breakout concepts like Super Duper Burgers, Anoop Mathew was responsible for asset management and strategic planning for the privately held company with revenues north of $100mm, and growing at 20% per year. Previously, Mathew served as the Head of Finance for Michael Chiarello’s Hospitality Group, as well as the Restaurant Controller for Kimpton Hotels + Restaurants. Born in India and raised in Nigeria, Mathew earned a degree in Hotel Administration in Switzerland before receiving his MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Self-described as an “accidental accountant,” Mathew started in operations before falling in love with the financial side of the hospitality business, and the joy of creating value by putting the right people and processes in place, and bringing a holistic vision to the back-of-house. Most important, Mathew says he wasn’t interested in leaving San Francisco until he met the Upward Projects team and was, “Blown away by the culture, the energy and the progressiveness.”

Previously the Senior Vice President of Real Estate for the Cava Group, Upward Projects’ new CDO, Brent Renner oversaw a portfolio of 345 restaurants across multiple brands in 24 states, and before that served as a Real Estate Manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill. A graduate of Washington College with an Masters in Real Estate Development from the John Hopkins Carey Business School, at Upward Projects Renner has been charged with the brand’s thoughtful national growth plan, as well as overseeing the design and construction of new restaurants, many of which utilize old, historic buildings that go through an extensive adaptive reuse process. That said, Renner says what made Upward Projects so appealing had nothing to do with real estate. “Upward is all about people, and the belief that people make the product, not the other way around.”


“It’s somewhat of a ‘pinch-me-moment’ to have two individuals with such incredible experience and expertise in our field join us,” says Upward Projects CEO and Co-Founder, Lauren Bailey. “Beyond their talents, these are two people that really ‘get” what we’re set out to do – to bring our brands to new communities, while protecting the authentic culture we’ve worked so hard to establish. They’re going to absolutely blow the doors off this thing, and we’re all so excited to have them on our team.”


Founded in 2009, Upward Projects’ portfolio features ten markedly unique Postino locations straddling Arizona, Colorado and Texas with new openings slated in additional markets. In addition to Postino, Upward Projects is one of the original industry trailblazers in Phoenix, opening up local favorites like Windsor & Churn, a pub-style neighborhood hangout with an adjoining nostalgic ice cream shop; Federal Pizza, a wood-fired pizzeria and drive-thru craft beer destination; and two Joyride Taco House locations known for their kicked-back, eclectic vibe. In 2017, Upward Projects took an investment from progressive L.A.-based private equity firm, Brentwood Associates, to take the Postino brand national.

Chain Restaurants, Industry News