LAKE FOREST Calif. John Fuller has been named chief executive of Johnny Rockets Group Inc., parent of the 1950s-style diner chain, replacing Lee Sanders.
Fuller has served as chief financial officer for Johnny Rockets since April 2008, and previously worked with San Diego-based hospitality group JC Resorts and Rubio’s Restaurants Inc. Fuller said Johnny Rockets has no immediate plans to fill the CFO position, so he will maintain those duties in addition to those of chief executive. His appointment is effective Jan. 20.
Fuller is hitting the ground running with the recent debut of a Johnny Rockets restaurant and sports lounge in New York City. The restaurant, which opened last month but officially launches Jan. 14, is the chain’s second location of the hybrid concept. The first opened last year at a Six Flags Theme Park in New York.
The franchisee-operated New York variant features the chain’s classic menu of burgers, sandwiches and shakes, as well as a full-service bar, a new line of appetizers, and “Fantasy Shakes” that contain alcohol. The restaurant also includes a bank of television screens for watching sports.
Johnny Rockets officials said Sanders was leaving to pursue another opportunity and that he would reveal his plans later this month. Sanders has been with the chain since 2007, shortly after the company was acquired by private-equity firm Red Zone Capital, which also owns Six Flags.
Over the past two years, Johnny Rockets has launched an aggressive franchising push, both domestically and internationally, with the goal of quadrupling the chain’s size. Lake Forest, Calif.-based Johnny Rockets currently operates or franchises 280 locations in 29 states and 11 countries.