Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., eager to improve operations as it works to regain lost sales, has named Scott Boatwright as its first chief restaurant officer, effective May 30, the company said Thursday.
Boatwright comes to the 2,300-unit chain from Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc., where he was senior vice president of operations.
“Continuing to focus on providing the very best guest experience is one of our top priorities,” Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in a statement. “Scott’s proven accomplishments elevating the guest experience will help us accelerate the momentum we have seen so far in 2017.”
Chipotle is coming off a year in which same-store sales fell more than 20 percent, revenue decreased 13.3 percent and net income plunged following a series of foodborne illness outbreaks in 2015.
Sales have started to recover, including a 17.8-percent increase in same-store sales in the first quarter. But Chipotle says it needs to improve operations to win back the remaining customers.
In Boatwright, the company has an experienced industry veteran from a chain with considerable momentum. Arby’s has generated 25 straight quarters of same-store sales growth.
Boatwright began with Atlanta-based Arby’s in 1997, and has held a variety of positions during his tenure. In his most recent role, he was responsible for the performance of nearly 2,000 franchised and company-owned restaurants.
“Chipotle is a remarkable brand, and one that has redefined what a fast-food experience can be,” he said in a statement. “The company has reshaped the category and paved the way for a new generation of restaurants.” He said there is “considerable opportunity ahead to impact food culture and improve the way people eat.”
Boatwright will work with Chipotle restaurant support officers Gretchen Selfridge and Mike Duffy to oversee operations, including improving the customer experience, overseeing field leadership teams, improving operational efficiency and developing teams inside restaurants.
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Correction, May 15, 2017: A previous version of this article misspelled Scott Boatwright's name in the headline.