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Michael Montagano joins Dog Haus after serving on its board for the past three years, and as a commercial partner since 2018.

Dog Haus names Kitchen United’s Michael Montagano to newly created CEO role

Michael Montagano has served on the Dog Haus board for the past three years and has been the CEO of Kitchen United since 2020.

Dog Haus today announced the appointment of Michael Montagano as its new CEO, effective September. Montagano joins the brand after serving on its board for the past three years, and as a commercial partner since 2018. He previously served as CEO of Kitchen United.

Michael_Montagano_Headshot.jpegThe CEO role is new to Dog Haus. The company has been led since its 2010 inception by founding partners and longtime friends Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener. Montagano, left, will report to the three partners, who will continue in their respective roles.

“We believe Dog Haus is positioned for exponential growth and, as such, we recognize the need to bolster our leadership team with a seasoned executive who can guide this brand, and our franchise partners, into the future – and Michael checks all the boxes,” Vener said in a statement. “Michael’s expertise in growing franchises, expanding virtual brands and delivery, and implementing new technologies and marketing strategies is exactly what we need as we capitalize on our momentum in the marketplace.”

Dog Haus’ suite of virtual concepts – known as The Absolute Brands – include the award-winning Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos and Bad Mutha Clucka, which now drive an incremental 20% of system-wide sales for the company. Off-premises sales, which now account for nearly half of company revenues, are another key strategic focus for the brand.

“Over the past several years in working with Dog Haus, I’ve seen first-hand impressive store growth, world-class menu innovation and diversification, and soaring off-premise demand,” Montagano said in a statement. “This is an exciting time for the brand, and I’m eager to work with the partners to continue the initiatives underway to enhance our technology, expand our brands, and maximize our online and in-store strategy, all in an effort to add meaningful value for our franchisees and guests.”

Throughout his 20-year career in the restaurant industry, Montagano has worked in a variety of strategic roles with many brands, including Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, Wingstop, Cinnabon, Jersey Mike’s, Portillo’s, Dave’s Hot Chicken, Hawaiian Bros and the Halal Guys.

Most recently, he has grown Kitchen United to more than 150 kitchens across the country while securing key partnerships with, and institutional funding from, Restaurant Brands International, Kroger, Alimentation Couche-Tard (the owner of Circle K convenience stores), Google Ventures, Fidelity Investments, HAVI, RXR, Simon Property Group, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products.

Prior to his time in the restaurant industry, Montagano practiced M&A and corporate finance law for one of the world's largest law firms, Faegre Drinker LLP (then Baker & Daniels, LLP), working primarily in consumer and food private equity. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

Correction: August 28, 2023
This story has been updated with Montagano’s September start date.
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