Ruth's appoints COO for Mitchell's Fish Market

HEATHROW Fla. Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. said Tuesday it has named Sam Tancredi senior vice president and chief operating officer of Mitchell’s Fish Market, the company’s upscale seafood brand, effective immediately.

Tancredi most recently was a franchisee and chief operating officer for six Paradise Bakery & Café restaurants in Indianapolis, a brand that Panera Bread Co. acquired in 2006. A 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Tancredi has worked with such chains as Bonefish Grill, The Magic Pan, Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurants and Outback Steakhouse.

Ruth’s Hospitality, parent of the 119-unit Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain, in February acquired 19 seafood restaurants under the Mitchell’s Fish Market and Columbus Fish Market brands, and three Cameron’s Steakhouse and Mitchell’s Steakhouse restaurants, from Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC for $92 million.

Following the acquisition, the company has struggled against slowed sales at its namesake chain, and in April its longtime chief executive, Craig Miller, was ousted by the company’s board of directors and replaced in August by Michael O’Donnell.

Further executive shakeups continued in October when Damon Liever, the company’s executive vice president and president of the Mitchell’s Seafood division, and David L. Cattell, senior vice president and chief development officer, resigned to pursue other opportunities. Later that month a new senior vice president and chief operating officer of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Kevin Toomy, was named, after the resignation of Geoffrey D. K. Stiles.