Black Angus Steakhouse has named Dave Wolfgram its next chief executive, effective Oct. 14.
Wolfgram, who recently stepped down as chief executive of Andre Boudin Bakeries Inc., will replace Meredith “Merry” Taylor, who plans to retire while remaining an advisor, board member and equity holder in the Los Altos, Calif.-based chain.
Taylor is credited with turning around the 44-unit chain after years of declining sales and two bankruptcy restructurings. Under her watch, Black Angus developed a rebranding initiative that included a new menu and the rollout of a lively BullsEye Bar space within some restaurants that has driven traffic. The chain has recorded 16 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases.
“We thank Merry Taylor for so successfully restoring Black Angus to its position as a preferred destination for its customers,” said Gregory Segall, chief executive of Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management LLC, a private-equity firm with a controlling interests in Black Angus. “I speak for everyone at Black Angus Steakhouse when I wish Merry the very best in her retirement. We are pleased that she will continue to make contributions to the company as an advisor, equity holder and director.”
Wolfgram will lead the company in its next phase of new restaurant growth, Segall said.
“This is a long-planned transition, and we are very pleased to have attracted an executive with Dave’s comprehensive restaurant experience and leadership qualities,” Segall said. “He has a great understanding of brand value and has an excellent track record of successful business expansion. We look forward to working with Dave and seeing Black Angus continue to deliver memorable dining experiences and innovative programs as its new store growth initiatives accelerate.”
Wolfgram noted that Black Angus celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
“I see many opportunities to bring the Black Angus experience — and create new elements of that experience — to new markets in the West,” he said in a statement.
Wolfgram brings 37 years of experience to the chain. He was the founder of Go Roma Italian Kitchen, which was acquired by GESD Capital Partners LLC, parent to San Francisco-based Andre Boudin Bakeries, and sold earlier this year. He remained as CEO of the bakery concept, growing a 12-unit fast-casual variant called Boudin SF, as well as 14-unit Boudin Bakery Café. Boudin also has a flagship bakery on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, where the company also operates a full-service Boudin Bistro.
Wolfgram also created Corner Bakery Café and Maggiano’s Little Italy while he was with Chicago-based multi-concept operator Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. Wolfgram became president and chief operating officer of Corner Bakery Café when Brinker International Inc. acquired both brands.