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Burger chain plucks former Bloomin' Brands execs for leadership posts

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  • | 2:15 p.m. November 16, 2023
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Tampa-based Checkers Drive-in Restaurants has more than 800 locations under the Checkers and Rally’s brands.
Tampa-based Checkers Drive-in Restaurants has more than 800 locations under the Checkers and Rally’s brands.
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Tampa-based Checkers and Rally's says they have made two new executive hires, and both of them have experience at Bloomin' Brands.

On Thursday, the burger giant made Michael Blair its new chief financial officer and made Scott Johnson as chief marketing officer.

"In their respective roles, Blair and Johnson will help fuel growth in the business, focusing on driving profitability, guest engagement and continued expansion of the brand," the company says in a Thursday news release.

Blair and Johnson will report to Frances Allen, company CEO and president. The move is likely part of the company's plan to expand and grow revenue to the $1 billion mark. The company saw its 2022 sales grow 4.2% to $890 million.

Checkers and Rally's says Blair "brings significant CFO experience within the restaurant industry both nationally and internationally, with deep cross-functional knowledge leading finance and accounting, payroll, risk management, human resources, legal and IT departments during his career."

Most recently, Blair served as CFO at Miller's Ale House. Prior to that, Blair spent nine years with Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands in a variety of finance roles before transitioning to Bloomin' Brands International. In his final two years with Bloomin' Brands, Blair served as their international CFO, overseeing both company and franchise financial performance throughout the world, including in the brand's markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Brazil.

Johnson also has significant experience with a number of eatery brands. He led marketing teams for Smashburger, BurgerFi, BRAVO!, Bonefish Grill and Outback Steakhouse, among others, Checkers and Rally's officials say.

Johnson was picked because he has done "innovative work in social media and digital commerce, menu development, consumer engagement and other marketing, advertising and P.R. initiatives," the company says.

Most recently, Johnson served as vice president, head of marketing at Jollibee Group of Cos., where he led marketing for Smashburger and JFC North America.

Johnson began his career as a brand manager for Arby's, before becoming senior director of marketing, where he oversaw the national marketing calendar, new product marketing and brand development for 3,000 locations in 50 states.

Officially known as Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., the drive-thru restaurant chain operates and franchises both Checkers and Rally's restaurants, merging in 1999.

The burger company (which also sells a variety of fast-food, including wings, cheese sticks and hot dogs) has more than 800 restaurants and has been working for several years on updating their modular stores with better designs and dedicated drive-thru lanes for e-commerce users and delivery drivers.

The company will soon open its archetype, a new and modern Checkers and Rally's store in Auburndale, Polk County, as company officials recently told the Business Observer.


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