Dallas, TX (RestaurantNews.com) Corner Bakery Cafe today announced the appointment of franchise and restaurant veteran Michael J. Nolan as Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer to oversee the company's rapidly-growing franchise development program and target market strategy, effective immediately.
In addition, brand veteran Blake Bernet has been promoted from Senior Vice President and General Counsel to Chief Legal Officer.
Nolan brings more than 25 years of leadership experience to his new post, including executive management positions with Panera Bread Company and Bloomin' Brands, Inc. among other leading restaurant chains.
Most recently Nolan served as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer–Worldwide at Bloomin' Brands, directing the global restaurant development strategy of the company's five brands: Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Roy's Hawaiian Fusion. The five brands include more than 1,500 casual dining restaurants operating in 26 different countries.
Prior to moving to Bloomin' Brands, Nolan spent more than a decade at Panera Bread Company where he held several executive positions. He served as Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer and Managing Director for Canada, where he oversaw restaurant development, including real estate, design, construction and remodels for the fast casual bakery cafe concept. During his tenure at Panera, Nolan was part of the team that grew the concept from 250 units to more than 1,500 locations.
Before joining Panera, Nolan served as Senior Vice President for John Harvard's Brew House and on the Board of Directors for American Hospitality Concepts, Inc. He also served as Vice President of Real Estate and Development for Apple South, Inc., an Applebee's franchise group; Vice President of Real Estate and Development for Morrison Restaurants, Inc.; and held various real estate positions with Cardinal Industries, Nolan Development and Investments.
Nolan, who also serves on the Board of Advisors for Smashburger, LLC, joins Corner Bakery Cafe as the fast casual brand is on target to more than double its footprint in the U.S. in the next three years through a combination of franchised and company-owned cafes.
"I am incredibly excited to join the Corner Bakery Cafe Team," he said. "I believe that Corner Bakery is exceptionally well positioned to further establish itself as one of the dominant brands in the fast casual segment, and I see tremendous growth opportunity for both company and franchise locations. I'm looking forward to joining this very seasoned team and leading the development process to even greater success."
Nolan comes on board after a record-breaking year for Corner Bakery Cafe that included 12 new Area Development Agreements, adding commitments for more than 120 new cafes.
"Mike is a dynamic restaurant and franchise executive with more than 25 years of leadership that will be invaluable as we move forward with our aggressive expansion plans" said Gary Price, Corner Bakery Cafe President. "Blake has been a tremendous asset to the brand over his many years and will play an even larger role as we continue with our record setting pace of growth."
Bernet joined Corner Bakery Cafe in 1996 and previously held the position of General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Development where, in addition to his legal responsibilities, he led the evolution of the building prototype and growth of the brand from 50 to 165 units.
"This is a very exciting time for our brand, our franchise partners and our leadership team," said CEO Mike Hislop. "Mike knows the bakery cafe segment and the restaurant industry from real-world experience in the U.S. and on the international scene. He will play an integral part in taking our brand to the next level. Blake is also an exceptional leader with great vision, and we're excited to congratulate him on his promotion. His experience and expertise will no doubt help our company as Corner Bakery Cafe continues our growth trend."
Corner Bakery Cafe has a roster of 29 franchise partners with 53 open cafes and development commitments for more than 350 locations. The fast-casual chain also has plans to expand into new markets in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, among others. To see all available franchising territories, visit CornerBakeryCafe.com/Franchise-Information.
Corner Bakery Cafe's made-to-order menu features hot breakfast scramblers, signature panini and sandwiches, homemade soups, hand-tossed salads, pastas and indulgent sweets while providing a place to gather with family and friends. With 165 company-owned and franchised locations in 17 states and Washington, D.C., Corner Bakery Cafe provides a robust, best-in-class catering platform, presenting fresh food perfectly packaged for delivery or pick up.
To locate the nearest Corner Bakery Cafe or for additional information on franchise opportunities, visit www.CornerBakeryCafe.com.