STACKED: Food Well Built, the innovative casual dining concept delivering experiential dining to allow guests to fully customize their meals and their overall dining experience, announced that Craig Carlyle, who served in top leadership roles at Yard House Restaurants, has joined the company as its first chief operating officer. Carlyle is the latest addition to a loaded management team at STACKED, now majority-owned by two private equity firms, North Carolina-based Hargett Hunter and TriSpan of New York and London, which acquired their stakes in September 2018.

STACKED is building on the loyal following it has established in Southern California to expand to new markets outside the Golden State. Founded in 2011, and now with five restaurants in Southern California, STACKED pioneered user-friendly, tabletop technology that allows guests to create their own personal dining experience from ordering to paying their bill. With an inventive and delicious menu of American favorites, including burgers, salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, shakes, desserts, and much more, guests choose specific ingredients on tabletop iPads to build literally millions of combinations of menu items, and only pay for the ingredients they choose.

Carlyle, who joined the leadership team at Yard House at one unit and served as president following its $585 million acquisition by Darden Restaurants in 2012, is joining STACKED to help lead the expansion efforts. He joins an impressive team, led by co-founders Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, the former co-CEOs of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc., who built the BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse concept into a national chain. STACKED is now actively targeting new locations in Texas as well as additional locations in California. 

“Craig’s deep industry experience and entrepreneurial expertise in building restaurant brands into America’s favorite dining spots will be invaluable as we bring STACKED: Food Well Built to more communities,” says Paul Motenko, president and CEO, STACKED Restaurants. “The combination of the incredible support of our new private equity partners and Craig’s arrival puts STACKED in an enviable position in this new phase of growth and innovation. We are very fortunate to have such a talented individual join our team.”

Carlyle joined Yard House Restaurants in 1998, serving as general manager at its first restaurant in Long Beach, California, assuming greater roles over 20 years including executive vice president of operations and president. “I am tremendously excited to join STACKED on the cusp of its expansion,” adds Carlyle. “I’m excited to work with Paul and Jerry, excited to join the company in this entrepreneurial stage, and excited about its potential to become a popular and loved American restaurant brand.”

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Labor & Employees