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TooJay's Deli announced the search for a new CEO after emerging from bankruptcy in September.

TooJay’s Deli announces search for new CEO; former UNO CEO Jim Ilaria serves as interim CEO

Fast-casual restaurant emerged from bankruptcy in September

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based fast-casual chain TooJay’s Deli announced the search for its new CEO this week after emerging from bankruptcy in September.

“We are seeking an experienced, visionary leader who can manage both modern and traditional opportunities for growth and profitability,” said Ryan Esko, TooJay’s chairman, in a statement.

Jim Ilaria, former CEO of UNO Restaurants, is currently serving as interim CEO and is also a candidate for the permanent role, the company said.

The 40-year-old brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, citing dining restrictions and financial loss from the COVID pandemic. The company received a $6.4 million Paycheck Protection Program loan, which the company said was used to maintain day-to-day operations.

Chicago private-equity firm Monroe Capital Management Advisors LLC became the new owner of TooJay’s Deli in September. At that time, the chain was down to 21 units of about 30 it had before the pandemic.

“We are at a critical juncture that demands a great leader in the restaurant business, proven expertise in growing revenues and a sincere appreciation for the guest experience,” Esko said. 

TooJay’s has reported improved sales volume and profitability in the third quarter as a result of increased dine-in sales as well as takeout, contactless curbside pick-up and improved execution according to the privately-owned company.

The company did not respond by press time to questions about the departure of former CEO Maxwell Piet.


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