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29-Kona Grill_2.jpg Kona Grill

Kona Grill names new co-CEOs

Brand taps board members Marcus Jundt, Steven Schussler amid same-store sales decline

Kona Grill Inc. named concept co-creator Marcus Jundt and industry veteran Steven Schussler as co-CEOs, the company said, as it reported same-store sales at the casual-dining brand fell 14.1 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Jundt and Schussler, both directors on Kona’s board, succeed Jim Kuhn who had been in the CEO role for just a little more than three months.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based casual-dining grill and sushi brand said the two executives’ backgrounds would help them revitalize the brand.

Jundt is one of the founders of the Kona Grill concept and earlier served as the company’s CEO from February 2006 to May 2009. Schussler (left)  is the founder of several full-service concepts, including such prominent brands as Rainforest Café, T-Rex Cafe, Yak & Yeti and The Boathouse.

“The board of directors believes that the combined leadership and experience of Marcus and Steve will revitalize the Kona Grill brand as we focus on what has made this brand successful over the years,” said Berke Bakay, the company’s executive chairman, in a statement.

Kuhn succeeded Bakay as CEO in August, promoted from his post as chief operating officer.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Kona Grill’s loss widened to $5.1 million, or 39 cents a share, from $3.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues fell 15.7 percent, to $37.4 million, from $44.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

Jundt, in his role again as CEO, said in a statement: “Our focus for the remainder of 2018 and fiscal year 2019 is driving guests into our restaurants.”

He noted that the brand had recently launched its Konavore Rewards Program, mobile marketing through its smartphone app and new Happy Hour menu offerings.

Kona Grill ranked No. 195 in U.S. systemwide sales among the chains in Nation’s Restaurant News’ most recent Top 200, booking $176.3 million for the fiscal year ended in December 2017.

Kona closed two restaurants in the third quarter, bringing its total as of Sept. 30 to 44 locations in 22 states and Puerto Rico.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless




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