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Shannon Hennessy has been promoted to CEO of The Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill promotes Shannon Hennessy to CEO

Shannon Hennessy joined Yum Brands in 2020 as CFO of the KFC Global Division before moving onto president of The Habit in July 2022.

Shannon Hennessy has been promoted to CEO of The Habit Burger Grill, effective June 6. She will succeed Russ Bendel, who is retiring, and will report to Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs.

Hennessy has served as president of the chain since July 2022 and has driven “meaningful advances for the brand in development, topline initiatives and digital sales growth,” Gibbs said in a statement.

Yum acquired The Habit Burger Grill in March 2020 and the concept has since grown to nearly 340 restaurants in 14 states and 11 international markets. In 2022, The Habit grew its franchise base to 18%, up 5% year-over-year, and generated 35% of its sales through digital channels. Its average unit volumes grew to $2 million. As CEO, Hennessy is tasked with continuing to build on that momentum.

During Yum’s Investor Day in December, Hennessy said The Habit has “bold ambitions for growth,” including outside of its home market of California. The Habit, she added is growing faster than the overall fast casual burger category and has experienced 30% system sales growth since joining Yum Brands.

Shannon_Hennessy.jpegHennessy joined Yum in 2020 as the chief financial officer of the KFC Global Division, where she was responsible for leading the global finance function and ensuring continued growth and profitability of the KFC business. She also oversaw the brand’s global financial planning, supply chain management and strategy functions.

“With Shannon’s background as KFC Global Division CFO and her nearly 20 years with McKinsey & Company, she has a unique skillset that will be vital as we continue to scale The Habit, offering our franchisees an investment opportunity in an award-winning, fast-casual concept in the better-burger category with a long runway for growth. I’m thrilled Shannon and Russ have worked so closely together to ensure a seamless transition and am confident in the long-term growth of The Habit,” Gibbs said in a statement.

“I’m excited to continue working with our passionate team and franchisees to drive accelerated growth for the brand while offering our customers the delicious, handcrafted quality food, meaningful variety and choice and family hospitality they’ve come to expect from The Habit,” Hennessy said in a statement.

Russ Bendel joined The Habit in 2008, growing the brand from 16 restaurants to approximately 350 restaurants by the end of 2022. Bendel’s led a major brand transformation that introduced drive-thrus and digital order channels to meet growing needs for convenience. Prior to joining The Habit, Bendel served as president and chief operating officer of The Cheesecake Factory. Bendel’s career also includes tenures as president and chief executive of Mimi’s Café, president of Roy’s Restaurants, franchise partner of Outback Steakhouse in California and chief operating officer of El Torito Restaurants and Panda Express.

This announcement comes on the heels of The Habit’s appointment of Jack Hinchliffe as CMO. Hinchliffe most recently served as CMO of KFC and Ireland and has been a part of the Yum Brands’ system since 2015.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

TAGS: Fast Casual
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