Dig Inn names Irene Cook COO

Dig Inn names Irene Cook COO

Former Panera Bread executive to oversee operations and human resources

Dig Inn has named former Panera Bread Co. senior vice president, chief company and joint venture operations officer Irene Cook as its new COO, effective Monday, the 12-unit fast-casual operator said.

In her new role, Cook will oversee human resources and operations-related functions. She will be based in Boston, a market Dig Inn entered with one location in July. Dig Inn has another 11 units in New York City.

“[Cook’s] commitment to food accessibility, purposeful sourcing and culinary education aligns perfectly with Dig Inn's overall mission,” a public relations representative for Dig Inn wrote in an email. 

In the same email, the representative said that Dig Inn, which prides itself on serving nutritious, local and seasonal food, plans to open five to six new locations in New York and Boston by early 2017.

Dig Inn was founded in September 2011, when Adam Eskin, who had worked for a private-equity firm on Wall Street, bought Pump Energy Food, a five-unit chain, and converted it to the Dig Inn brand.

Since then, Dig Inn has raised $21.5 million in financing, most recently $15 million in Series C financing from a group of investors led by Wexford Capital.

Cook joined Panera Bread’s management team in 2004 as vice president of learning and development. She became vice president of operations in 2006, senior vice president and chief company and joint venture operations officer in 2012, and vice president of company operations in 2014.

Before that, she was vice president of training and recruiting at casual-dining Italian chain Bertucci’s.

Correction: Sept. 13, 2016  An earlier version of this story misstated Irene Cook’s latest position at Panera Bread Co. She was senior vice president, chief company and joint venture operations officer. This story has also been updated with additional information about Cook.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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