Award-winning chef and restaurateur José Andrés and partner Rob Wilder announce the appointment of Kimberly Grant as Chief Operating Officer of their ThinkFoodGroup (TFG). Grant joins TFG with more than 20 years of experience leading domestic and international restaurant operations.
Most recently, Grant served as COO and president of Ruby Tuesday, leading the company’s $1.2 billion flagship, as well as its fast-casual concept, Lime Fresh. For Andrés and ThinkFoodGroup, Grant’s experience as a results-driven executive offers unique expertise in operations, marketing, finance, and team leadership to propel their organization ahead in its mission and growth plans.
In 2014, TFG will open four new dining concepts in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Las Vegas; thus taking the Andrés-led collection to nearly 20 restaurants across the nation, with opportunities in new markets on the horizon. “We could not be more proud to have Kimberly join us,” says Wilder, TFG’s CEO. “She will add enormous value to our company as we continue to refine our operations, innovate, and evolve our bold growth strategy.”
Andrés first met Grant seven years ago at Blackberry Farm, the fine-dining luxury resort in Tennessee where she is still an active member of the Board of Directors. “Kimberly has been a good friend,” Andrés says. “She is a very hands-on leader with amazing vision and ideas, and for us, she will focus on developing our people, our practices and our organization.”
Grant’s addition to the dynamic and innovative restaurant company is the next step in the evolution of Andrés’ culinary crusade. In 2012, Andrés and Wilder secured an infusion of equity capital to set up TFG for new initiatives and ventures such as José Andrés Foods, as well as to strengthen their team and build centers of creativity with minibar by José Andrés and the ThinkFoodTank. As part of the company’s organizational development, the founders chose to formalize a group of motivated investor advisors, which include Fred Schaufeld and Todd Klein of N.E.W and SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, Chairman and co-Founder of the CoStar Group, Inc, Mike Klein, Jon Riberas, head of Gonvarri, the Spanish-based global manufacturing and renewable energy company, and other prominent investors. “We have worked very hard, and very smart, to get our company to this place,” Andrés adds, “and I am so honored to have all of these brilliant minds and big thinkers as a part of our future.”