October 13, 2015 // Franchising.com // ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - Johnny Rockets, the all-American global restaurant chain, announces today the appointment of Naresh Vinod Worlikar and Calvin Harris as Vice President of International and Director of Culinary Innovation, respectively. As the Vice President of International, Worlikar is responsible for developing and expanding market development and ensuring brand excellence overseas. Harris joins Johnny Rockets in a newly formed position to enhance culinary innovation, which will include recipe and product development, testing and implementation.
"As we continue differentiating ourselves in the competitive better burger category, Naresh and Calvin will infuse a fresh perspective to the executive team that is informed by their extensive restaurant industry knowledge," says Charles Bruce, President and CEO. "Next year is our brand's 30th Anniversary, and we anticipate immediate contributions from these restaurant professionals while we expand the brand's global presence."
Naresh Vinod Worlikar brings more than 30 years of strategic operations and sales leadership experience to the Johnny Rockets executive team. Prior to joining the company, Worlikar held the position of Vice President of International Franchise Operations, Asia for Sbarro. During his time with the Italian-inspired brand, Worlikar developed and implemented supply chain and training systems in Asia and increased restaurant growth by more than 40 percent. Prior to Sbarro, Worklikar held multiple operations roles with restaurant franchise companies, including Subway, Domino's Pizza and Little Caesars Pizza.
"Over the last year, Johnny Rockets has seen the strongest international growth in the company's history, including development agreements in Southeast Asia, China, South America and more," explains James Walker, President of Global Operations and Development. "Naresh knows the nuances of overseas markets and is an ideal fit to successfully lead our sales and operational strategies."
Calvin Harris, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, joins Johnny Rockets with more than 20 years of experience in culinary and product development, including stints at Burger King, Arby's and TGI Friday's. Prior to Johnny Rockets, Harris founded successful food manufacturing and distributing startups including Harris Food Company and Benevida Foods. After consumer demand for a more innovative Johnny Rockets menu, the brand created the position of Director of Culinary Innovation.
"We listen closely to our guests, and Calvin is a progressive chef who we have charged with responding to their requests by bringing even more quality, ingredient-inspired options to the Johnny Rockets menu," says Joel Bulger, Chief Marketing Officer. "We have prioritized making our approach to guest interaction more engaging in 2016, and Calvin will lead us in developing more limited-time menu offerings based on emerging trends and consumer flavor preferences."
Johnny Rockets is an international restaurant franchise that offers high quality, innovative menu items including fresh, never frozen 100 percent beef cooked-to-order hamburgers, Veggie Boca® burger, chicken sandwiches, crispy fries and rich, delicious hand-spun shakes and malts. This dynamic lifestyle brand offers friendly service and upbeat music contributing to the chain's signature atmosphere of relaxed, casual fun. Founded in 1986, Johnny Rockets operates more than 340 franchise and corporate locations in 26 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.johnnyrockets.com.
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