FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent company of Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo Cucina Italiana, has named Steve Layt as the company’s new chief executive officer.
The change is effective immediately, as former CEO and FoodFirst founder Brad Blum has stepped down from his role as chairman and chief executive, the Columbus, Ohio-based company said in a statement released Tuesday morning. The company said Blum will remain an owner-partner as the company plans to reposition both casual dining brands.
“I would like to personally thank Brad for his outstanding leadership and contribution in setting up the foundation for FoodFirst’s success,” Antonio Bonchristiano, CEO of GP Investments, FoodFirst’s main investor, said in a statement.
Layt, left, is a 30-year restaurant veteran who previously worked as president and CEO NPC International, the nation’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee, FoodFirst said. Prior to that, he was president of Applebee’s.
“We’re excited to have an operator and executive of Steve’s caliber join our team and we look forward to all we will achieve under his leadership,” Bonchristiano said in a statement. “The Board and I are confident Steve is the right leader to build on current momentum and continue to drive our operations towards industry-leading excellence.”
FoodFirst, which formed which formed in 2018 after the brands went private earlier that year, said Layt’s “first priorities will be to deliver outstanding operational excellence” and customer service to guests.
The company said it is repositioning Brio Tuscan Grille in the polished, upscale segment of casual dining. It will be called Brio Italian Mediterranean. Casual dining brand Bravo Cucina Italiana will also be repositioned and renamed Bravo Italian Mediterranean, the company said.
The company provided no other details on the rebranding.
Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven