Granite City exterior

Granite City names former Popeyes executive CEO

Richard Lynch will take the helm at the casual-dining chain

Granite City Food & Brewery has named former Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen executive Richard Lynch CEO, the company said Thursday.

Lynch replaces Phil Costner, who was named CEO only last July. Rob Doran, a member of Granite City’s board of directors, served as the casual-dining chain’s interim CEO.

Lynch was Popeyes chief brand officer until March, after the quick-service chicken chain was acquired for $1.8 billion by Restaurant Brands International Inc. He was a member of Granite City’s board.

Granite City has struggled as fewer consumers dine out at casual-dining restaurants. The Minneapolis-based chain has 36 locations and operates five Cadillac Ranch units.

Last year, revenue decreased slightly, to $150.3 million, from $150.6 million the previous year, according to NRN Top 200 research.

“Granite City is one of the originators of the craft brew trend, and one of the only places where you experience brew culture at its most authentic, coupled with a chef-created, made-from-scratch, distinctive menu,” Lynch said in a statement. “I believe Granite City is unique in the space.” 

Lynch helped Popeyes increase market share in the quick-service chicken segment. The chain generated eight straight years of same-store sales growth, and its market share more than doubled as average unit volumes increased 45 percent.

“Dick has demonstrated an appreciation for the potential of our brand,” Fouad Bashour, chairman of Granite City’s board, said in a statement. “That, together with his expertise, will be invaluable as we elevate the Granite City brand profile.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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