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'Breastaurant' chain Twin Peaks taps Hooters execs for growth

'Breastaurant' chain Twin Peaks taps Hooters execs for growth

Former Hooters CEO Coby Brooks leads new franchise team

Front Burner Restaurants Inc., parent to the Twin Peaks chain, will announce later today that an investment group led by six former executives of competitor Hooters, including former CEO Coby Brooks, has signed a deal to develop as many as 35 units, sources close the company say.

Brooks, the new franchise group’s majority partner, is the son of late Hooters of America LLC owner Robert H. Brooks and until last month was chief executive of Atlanta-based Hooters. Twin Peaks, a 15-unit, casual-dining chain shares a so-called “breastaurant” service model similar to the all-female Hooters wait staff.

The franchise group will open Twin Peaks restaurants in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina over the next 10 years, with two in the next 18 months and an option for more.

Brooks, who appeared on CBS’ “Undercover Boss” in February 2010 had continued as  CEO at the 425-unit Hooters after the January completion of its sale by Robert Brooks’ estate to Chanticleer Holdings Inc.

Brooks leads an investment group that includes five other former Hooters executives:
• Joe Hummel, former executive vice president of operations and purchasing
• Roger Gondek, former vice president of company store operations
• Clay Mingus, former vice president and general counsel
• Jim Tessmer, former vice president and controller
• Patti Frederick, who served 17 years as business administrator to Robert Brooks, who owned Hooters from 1984 until his death in 2006, and for the past five years with the Brooks estate.

Hummel Gondek, Mingus and Tessmer resigned from Hooters last month.

Another former Hooters executive, Rick Akam, who served as president and chief executive of Hooters of America from 1995 to 2003, joined Twin Peaks as chief operating officer in May.

“I have great respect for Rick and his understanding of what it takes to build a national restaurant brand,” Brooks said in a statement to be released later today. “His decision to join the Twin Peaks management team made my decision to pursue this opportunity that much easier.”

Randy DeWitt, Twin Peaks co-founder and chief executive, said, “To have these proven industry pros recognize the potential of Twin Peaks and want to be a part of that growth speaks volumes about the foundation we have put in place.

“There is no doubt that this will have a major impact on our expansion plans,” DeWitt said.

Twin Peaks, which earned a Hot Concept award from Nation’s Restaurant News in 2010 has units in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Six additional restaurants are scheduled to open later this year in the Texas cities of Houston, Odessa and San Antonio as well as Baton Rouge, La., Denver, Colo., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

DeWitt and partner Scott Gordon opened the first Twin Peaks in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Texas, in 2005.

Watch a video with Coby Brooks and Randy DeWitt on their plans for Twin Peaks

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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