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Perkins & Marie Callender’s names Jeffrey Warne CEO

Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC has named former O’Charley’s Inc. CEO Jeffrey Warne chief executive, effective April 9.

Warne, who also will join Perkins & Marie Callender’s board of directors, succeeds Joseph “Jay” Trungale, who has led the company since joining Perkins in 2004.

Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC was formed in 2006 with the merger of the parent companies of the two eponymous family-dining chains. The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 13, 2011, and emerged from bankruptcy on Nov. 30, 2011, after Wayzata Investment Partners led a group that purchased the company and eliminated more than $200 million in debt from its balance sheet.

Prior to his role as president and chief executive of O’Charley’s, Warne held several positions with Carlson Companies Inc., including president and chief operating officer of the Pick Up Stix fast-casual chain and executive vice president and COO of T.G.I. Friday’s International. He also was chief financial officer for Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.

“I have been given a tremendous opportunity,” Warne said in a statement. “Perkins and Marie Callender’s are superior brands with incredible potential. I am very excited to be joining the organization and look forward to working with the company’s executive team, the board, and the company’s employees and franchisees to continue to provide our guests personalized service and high-quality food at a great value.”

Board chairman Joseph Deignan called Warne a “strategic and seasoned executive with a strong financial acumen” in a statement welcoming the new chief executive and thanking Trungale for his eight years of service to the company.

“The board looks forward to working with Jeff to further strengthen the company’s operations while taking the Perkins and Marie Callender’s brands to a higher level of performance,” Deignan said.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 census of foodservice companies, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery experienced a decline in annual U.S. systemwide sales in 2009 and 2010, the last fiscal year for which data were available. Domestic sales declined 2.85 percent to an estimated $716 million in fiscal 2010, compared with $737 million a year earlier. Figures for the Marie Callender’s chain and the parent company were unavailable.

As part of its strategy to build sales momentum, the company launched a new branding campaign this week for its Perkins chain with the theme, “Putting it all on the table.” The marketing effort includes TV, radio, print and out-of-home material calling attention to the brand’s food quality and cooked-to-order service.

The first TV commercial, “Awaiting,” emphasizes the brand’s practice of waiting until orders come into the kitchen to begin cooking from scratch, and shows employees cracking eggs and mixing batter by hand.

Watch the commercial; story continues below

“The brand is proud of the way we prepare our food,” Cheryl Ahlbrandt, Perkins & Marie Callender’s executive vice president of marketing and research and development, said in a statement. “This campaign represents everything we stand for when it comes to honest cooking and a great family-dining experience.”

Detroit-based agency Doner produced the campaign for Perkins.

Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC is based in Memphis. It owns 132 company-operated restaurants and franchises another 296 locations for Perkins and owns 48-company operated units and franchises another 35 restaurants for Marie Callender’s.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN

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