Phil Friedman plans to step down as chief executive of McAlister’s Deli in the fall, intending to “look for something new,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News on Friday.
Ridgeland, Miss.-based McAlister’s, a more than 300-unit fast-casual sandwich chain, has hired a search firm to find a replacement, he said.
When asked why he decided to make the move, Friedman said, “There are a lot of reasons. I’ve been with McAlister’s for 11 years, and it’s a good time to do something else.”
He will also step down from the board of directors.
A 2009 NRN Golden Chain award winner, Friedman has grown the McAlister’s chain to 290 units at the end of 2009, reaching $352 million in systemwide sales.
Despite the recent economic downturn, McAlister’s sales grew 2.5 percent last year over the prior year. Friedman also is credited with building the franchise base by improving its unit economics. The chain has 254 franchised locations.
Friedman did not give a specific date for his planned departure.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]