Kona Grill sign outside a restaurant.

flickr: Yelp Inc.

Jundt, who is one of the founders of Kona Grill, previously served as CEO from 2006–2009.

Kona Grill Founder Marcus Jundt Takes Over as Sole CEO

This will be the second executive change for the 44-unit chain within the last six months.

Kona Grill is undergoing another major change at the beginning of 2019. The contemporary American grill and sushi bar’s co-chief executive officer, Steve Schussler, announced January 11 that he was resigning from his executive position and the company’s board of directors.

Marcus Jundt, who was named co-chief executive officer along with Schussler last November, will take over full responsibility as Kona Grill’s sole chief executive officer.

“I have enjoyed my years of service as a director of Kona Grill and enjoyed working with Marcus Jundt as Co-CEO in helping revitalize the Kona Grill brand. As a founder of Kona Grill, Marcus is committed to the company’s success and I wish he and the Kona Grill team the best,” Steve Schussler said in a statement.

Before joining Kona Grill, Schussler founded several recognizable brands, including Rainforest Café, T-Rex Café, Yak & Yet, and The Boathouse. Jundt, who is one of the founders of Kona Grill, previously served as CEO from 2006–2009.

“Steve Schussler’s creativity and attention to customer service has been a valuable asset to Kona Grill through his service as both a director and officer. We are sad to see him leave, but understand the commitments that he has to his existing restaurants,” Jundt said in a statement.  

The executive changes come only a week after the 44-unit chain was hit with a delisting notification from Nasdaq. On January 4, the Arizona-based company filed documents, which notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company received a deficiency notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market. According to the documents, Kona Grill fell below Nasdaq’s listing standard of $15 million minimum market value within the previous 30 consecutive business days.

According to the SEC filing, “Based on the number of publicly held shares on the date of this filing, in order to satisfy the $15 million market value requirement, the closing bid price of the Company’s common stock would need to be at least $1.89 per share for ten consecutive business days.”

On January 4, Kona’s shares traded at $1.29 when the market closed. The company has 180 days or until June 26 to regain compliance with Nasdaq.

Over the last year, Kona Grill has switched strategies to increase guest traffic and boost sales. As a part of its turnaround strategy, the company revamped its menu twice over the past year to make the menu more global, and elevate the offerings—new and old. Jundt said Kona Grill would look to elevate its menu so that every plate or cocktail is “Instagram level.”

Along with menu changes, the company has re-evaluated pricing to make it more accessible for guests.