Ardent Leisure Group announced that Chris Morris has been appointed as president and chief executive officer of Main Event Entertainment, effective March 26.
Morris brings more than 20 years of experience with multisite businesses, including over six years in the family entertainment business. His career includes extensive experience in brand revitalization strategies, operational execution and new unit development. He has successfully opened over 200 units with five different businesses.
Morris previously served as president of California Pizza Kitchen, a leading casual dining brand, operating 260 restaurants in 30 states and 12 countries worldwide. During his time at CPK, the company revitalized the 32-year-old business into a thriving and relevant brand returning it to positive comparable store sales.
Before CPK, Morris held senior executive roles for On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and CEC Entertainment (owners of Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza). At On the Border, he served as executive vice president & chief financial officer, and joined the company at the time it was acquired by a private equity firm. He led the company through a successful carve out, implemented brand revitalization strategies and successfully sold the company generating strong returns for all stakeholders.
Prior to On the Border, Morris served as CFO for CEC Entertainment while it was a publicly traded company. During his time at CEC, the company successfully opened over 90 new entertainment centers and generated over $800 million in revenue. Earlier in his career, Morris also held positions of increasing responsibility at NPC International and Applebee’s International. He began his career at Deloitte & Touche.
Ardent Chairman Dr. Gary Weiss, says, “The board is delighted with the appointment of Chris Morris, after an extensive search process. He brings to the business excellent executive leadership experience with a significant understanding of family restaurant and entertainment operations and we look forward to his commencement in March. On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank Darin Harper for his contribution as Interim CEO during this period of change. Darin will return to his role as CFO at Main Event upon Chris’ commencement.”
Commenting on his appointment, Morris says, “I am thrilled to take up this opportunity at Main Event and I look forward to working with the Board and the entire team to continue the growth strategy of the business. Main Event is an extraordinary brand with an industry-leading business model, and I am excited about its long-term prospects in markets across the nation.”