Church's Chicken, the Atlanta-based quick-service chicken chain, has named Jim Hyatt chief executive just two months after Hyatt resigned from the CEO position at Cosí Inc .
Hyatt succeeds Mel Deane, who served as Church’s chief executive since December 2009.
“As an operating partner at Friedman Fleischer & Lowe [the private equity firm that owns Church’s] it was always anticipated that Mel Deane ‘s role as CEO would be an interim one,” the company said. “Mr. Deane was actively involved in the entire CEO search.”
“I am very excited to be joining the Church's team,” Hyatt said in a statement. “We have a great brand, a rich heritage and exciting prospects.”
Hyatt has more than 35 years of restaurant experience, including four years at Deerfield, Ill.-based Cosí, where he worked from 2007 until his resignation in August.
At the time of his resignation he alluded to his future plans when he said, “My decision to leave was driven by personal considerations, as I was recently approached with an opportunity that will enable me to remain with my family in Atlanta.”
Before serving as Cosí’s chief executive, Hyatt spent 16 years as an executive and franchise owner at Burger King Holdings.
Burger King recruited Hyatt after having been an award-winning BK franchisee in the Atlanta market for 11 years.
During his tenure as a Burger King franchisee, Hyatt represented more than 11,000 restaurants and more than 1,200 franchisees in 65 countries while serving on various committees in leadership roles with the brand’s National Franchisee Association.
He also served as director of operations at Hardee's Restaurants from 1986 to 1990.
"We are pleased to bring the talent and track record of Jim Hyatt to Church's Chicken," Tully Friedman, Church's board chairman, said.
"Jim's unique blend of executive, field, and franchisee experience and exceptional history of driving operational and performance enhancements in restaurant concepts will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow the business and consistently deliver the best possible dining experience to our customers," he said.
Hyatt, who will work from Church's Corporate Restaurant Support Center in Atlanta, was unavailable for comment at press time.
Church’s Chicken has more than 1,700 locations in 23 countries and system sales approaching $1.2 billion.