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Black Bear Diner adds Steve Sparks as CFO

Exec will work on real estate development for fast-growing family dining brand

Black Bear Diner, a family dining brand based in Redding, Calif., announced the appointment of Steve Sparks as chief financial officer on Wednesday. Sparks will report directly to Black Bear Diner president Anita Adams, who previously served as CFO in addition to her role as president. Adams will continue to serve as president. 

“Drawing from more than two decades of restaurant experience, including franchisor operations, Steve will be a trusted advisor and strategic partner on our executive team, and we look forward to his leadership at Black Bear Diner,” said Adams in a statement. 

“As Black Bear Diner continues to execute on its growth strategy, drive same-store sales and deliver industry-leading returns, having Steve on our team expands our leadership capabilities and brings a level of performance insight to ensure our continued success.”

Steve_Sparks_CFO_Black_Bear_Diner_Sept_2019-1.jpgSparks previously served in finance and administration roles in the restaurant industry, including as CFO at American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a restaurant holding company, and at O’Charley’s Inc., where he worked with the brands O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine, Village Inn, Bakers Square, Max & Erma’s and Stoney River.

In his new role, Sparks will be responsible for accounting, finance, treasury and risk functions, and will play an active role in franchise sales, real estate development and supply chain management, according to the company.

Black Bear Diner operates 132 locations in 13 states, 13 of those units were opened in 2019, and additional units are scheduled to open by year’s end. The bear-themed brand was named one of NRN’s fastest-growing chains in 2018. The brand is able to open quickly and efficiently by converting distressed restaurant units. In the latest fiscal year, Black Bear saw a sales increase of 16% to $291.6 million, according to NRN’s Top 200 research. 

“Black Bear Diner provides a best-in-class restaurant experience and is clearly focused on smart, strategic growth and operations,” said Sparks. “I am thrilled to join this excellent company and contribute to its already strong brand, leadership team and people-first culture.”

Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @GloriaDawson

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