Ascent Hospitality Management, franchisor to leading family dining brands Huddle House and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, continues to build its executive team and recently announced Mindy Armstrong as Vice President of Menu Innovation. Armstrong will focus on establishing an innovation and culinary vision, establishing robust innovation process and outlining the menu strategy.
“Mindy is an exceptional creative leader with a strategic mindset. She brings a fantastic blend of insight and expertise with consumer and culinary trends that will be vital for our brands as we continue to explore ways to keep our menus exciting for guests and expand our offerings,” says James O’Reilly, Chief Executive Officer for Ascent Hospitality Management.
Prior to joining Ascent Hospitality Management, Mindy Armstrong served as Senior Director of Brand Innovation for Inspire Brands, Inc. During her tenure with the second-largest restaurant company in the U.S., she led the development of innovation strategy and commercialization of new products for Buffalo Wild Wings. Under her guidance, the brand launched more than 80 new items in less than five years, including the top two best-selling LTO sauces in the brand’s history, and received industry recognition for best menu revamp by Nation’s Restaurant News.
Armstrong previously served as Managing Director, Insights & Innovation for FoodIQ, a boutique culinary innovation agency specializing in designing and integrating best-in-class innovation processes to drive product ideation, development, and commercialization for clients. In this role, she led a group of talented chefs, strategists, and planners and managed a broad portfolio of high-profile clients including Coca-Cola, Foster Farms, Bush Beans, Checkers & Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants, plus various foodservice manufacturers, multi-unit restaurant chains and agencies.
Armstrong regularly serves as a contributor on trends and innovation in the restaurant industry, including as a trends panelist for Flavor & The Menu, Flavor Experience, and FastCasual.com. Additionally, Armstrong actively serves as an advisory board member for Women in Restaurant Leadership, a noteworthy event hosted by the teams at QSR/FSR magazines. Her involvement underscores her commitment to fostering diversity and empowerment within the industry. Most recently, she participated in the National Restaurant Association’s educational series, leading “Manage your Menu for Greatest Profitability” workshop.
“I am delighted to join Ascent Hospitality Management and partner with their teams at Huddle House and Perkins to further build on their well-loved menus and introduce new offerings that speak to the tastes and cravings of their guests,” says Armstrong.