Einstein Noah hires marketing VP, new ad agency

LAKEWOOD Colo. In moves that could signify the preparation for a major marketing and advertising push, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group has appointed a vice president of marketing and tapped a new agency of record.

Jeff Keune, who most recently was vice president of daypart development for Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, will now oversee marketing strategy and product management for Einstein Noah, which operates or licenses more than 600 restaurants in 36 states under the Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel brands. Keune held several marketing positions during his nine years with Wendy’s/Arby’s.

Separately, Einstein Noah said its chief financial officer, Rick Dutkiewicz, was stepping down next month. Dutkiewicz will take on the CFO role at Real Mex Restaurants Inc.

In his new post, Keune will work closely with Einstein Noah’s new agency of record, Y&R Chicago. He will report to Einstein Noah’s chief concept officer, James O’Reilly.

“As an experienced and innovative marketing professional, Jeff is a welcome addition to our team,” O’Reilly said. “With his hiring we are building on the momentum we have gained in driving transactions and increasing awareness for our brands. We are also increasing our focus on all three of our brands as we continue to leverage franchising and licensing as a growth strategy.”

As the new agency of record, Y&R Chicago will handle creative, digital and media campaigns. A report in Advertising Age estimated that Einstein Noah’s media spending would be increased to between $8 million and $10 million this year, a substantial increase from its $500,000 media budget last year.

“We were impressed with the integrated ideas Y&R delivered, both online and offline,” O’Reilly said. “Creative and media were seamless, including traditional, digital and social-marketing initiatives.”

Einstein Noah’s largest brand, Einstein Bros. Bagels, recently completed its own successful social-media promotion [3], with a “Bagel Bonanza” coupon offer on Facebook in January growing the brand’s number of social-media fans from less than 5,000 to more than 400,000. While O’Reilly would not elaborate on specifics of the campaign, he told Nation’s Restaurant News in an earlier interview that the free-bagel coupon giveaway produced a significant increase in guest counts.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected] [4].