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Former Outback exec returns to restaurant industry

Paul Avery, who was COO at OSI Restaurant Partners Inc., has joined World of Beer as president and chief executive

Paul Avery is returning to the restaurant industry more than three years after leaving his position as chief operating officer at OSI Restaurant Partners Inc.

Avery has assumed the president and chief executive roles at World of Beer, a craft beer tavern concept based in Tampa, Fla. Avery said he originally looked into the brand as a potential franchisee. But he decided to purchase a controlling interest in the company after he discovered the growth potential of the craft beer segment.

“I’m at a point where I want to reengage with the business,” he said. “This is an opportunity to get involved with a brand that has exceptional potential and a talented, progressive team.”

Avery left Outback Steakhouse parent OSI Restaurant Partners (now Bloomin’ Brands Inc.) in 2009 to prioritize his work as a board member for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, or FARA. Now that FARA is running smoothly, he said, it’s time for him to step back into the restaurant industry.

“I’m having a great time,” Avery said. “To be back in the saddle is really a great thrill for me. It’s in my DNA.”

The focus of World of Beer is to serve craft beers in a laid-back tavern setting. Avery first became interested in the concept because two of his former OSI Restaurant Partners colleagues, Ben Novello and Jim Pollard, were working there in executive roles.

“Joining forces with Paul once more, after decades of working together at Outback Steakhouse, is like a dream come true,” said Novello, who previously served as chief executive at World of Beer, in a statement. “Jim and I have a long, storied history of success with Paul, and the addition of a close friend and industry legend means a great deal to us both.”

Both Novello and co-owner Pollard will remain with World of Beer in executive roles and will serve as principals and board members for the company.

Founded in 2007, World of Beer currently has 36 locations in 11 states. During the next year, the company plans to open 40 more units. In 2014 and beyond, Avery said World of Beer hopes to open 50 more locations each year. The company is also looking to expand beyond the Southeast, he said. Las Vegas, Seattle and Portland are all target markets. “It’s nationwide in scope,” he said of the concept.

World of Beer differentiates itself by allowing nearby restaurants to deliver food to guests. “So customers can come in one night and have craft beer and enjoy a delicious pizza,” Avery said. “The next night, they can come in and enjoy a craft beer and have sushi or Chinese food.”

Although some World of Beer franchisees serve food at their locations, there is no company-wide food menu available yet. However, the company plans to roll one out in 2013, Avery said.

“It’s not a fad,” Avery said of craft beer. “It’s a trend that over the last decade has showed double-digit growth. It’s where the consumer is today, and it’s only going to continue to grow.”

Contact Erin Dostal at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @ErinDostal

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