Ascent Hospitality Management, parent company of Huddle House and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, has named James O’Reilly as its CEO, effective June 19. He replaces Michael Abt, who has been in the role since 2012.
O’Reilly is charged with leading growth and development across Ascent’s brands, which count nearly 600 locations across the U.S. and Canada. He is also tasked with identifying additional brands to acquire as part of the Ascent portfolio.
He most recently served as CEO of Smokey Bones, a position he held since May 2019. Prior, he was the CEO of Long John Silver’s from February 2015 through April 2019. He’s also held c-suite roles at Sonic, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, and Yum Brands. He began his career with Proctor & Gamble in Canada.
"I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead these two legendary, family-dining brands," O'Reilly said in a statement. "We have significant opportunities ahead to grow and expand both restaurant brands and I look forward to working with our franchisees and the Ascent team to maximize our potential."
According to Datassential’s 2022 Top 500, Huddle House had about 300 locations and its unit count declined by 2.3% from 2021 to 2022. Its sales, however, increased by about 6.7%, from $172.7 million to $184.3 million. Average unit volumes at the Atlanta-based chain increased by nearly 8%.
Perkins, according to Datassential’s report, also decreased its domestic footprint from 2021 to 2022, ending 2022 down nearly 5% with 269 locations. Sales were up nearly 3%, from $506.6 million to $521.1 million, while AUVs were up nearly 8%.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]