Salsarita's taps new leader

Salsarita's taps new leader

CHARLOTTE N.C. The Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina said it has named franchising veteran Paul Mangiamele its new chief executive and president.

Mangiamele, 55, will oversee the fast-casual Mexican chain’s franchise growth plans, as well as marketing and operations, the company said in a statement. The chain has 78 units, most of which are franchised, and officials said they hope to grow the chain to 100 units by year end and to 200 units by 2010.

Mangiamele succeeds Salsarita’s founder Bruce Willette, who now holds the title of chairman. The company said Willette would focus on “non-traditional development opportunities,” including alliances with such contract feeders as Compass Group North America and HMSHost.

Mangiamele most recently spent four years with Austin, Texas-based Sport Clips Inc. in various roles, including chief operating officer. Mangiamele helped lead the hair salon franchise company as it grew from 100 to 500 locations. His restaurant experience includes stints as president and CEO of Dalt’s Classic American Grill and Diner. He also is a former franchisee of Pizzeria Uno, which has since been renamed Uno Chicago Grill.

Salsarita's recorded around $50 million in sales for 2007, officials said. The company was founded here in 2000.