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Pepper Lunch names industry vet as COO.

Japanese fast-casual restaurant Pepper Lunch names Mark Bailey chief operating officer

The Troy Hooper-run concept brought on the executive to oversee domestic growth

Pepper Lunch, the Japanese fast-casual restaurant brand known for its DIY teppan, last week named Mark Bailey as its chief operating officer.

The brand, which has its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles, is led by restaurant industry veteran Troy Hooper.

Bailey was most recently the director of operations at Chronic Tacos. Before that, he served in operations roles at FOX Sports Grill, OHCAL Foods/Subway Sandwiches, Red River Steak & Fish, and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza.

Along with overseeing Pepper Lunch operations, Bailey will focus on the development and management of the company’s first corporate-owned restaurant in North America, and streamlining Pepper Lunch’s supply chain infrastructure as the brand continues its aggressive growth plan.

In addition to Pepper Lunch’s new COO, the company also appointed Jonathan Whiteside as its director of creative and technology.

“It’s our goal to create the same fondness guests have Pepper Lunch abroad right here in the states, and to accomplish that, a best-in-class leadership team is critical,” Hooper said in a statement. “We have gone from filing our FDD to nearly 40 restaurants in the development pipeline, headed by experienced multi-unit franchisees, in just a few short months. With the addition of [Bailey] and [Whiteside] to our executive team, we’re anticipating a continued growth trajectory as we head to 100 locations open in the coming two years.”

Whiteside had been working in a contractual role with the company before his permanent appointment and was pivotal in constructing the systems that have enriched the user experience, according to the statement.

Previously a consultant for agencies and upstarts looking to fast-track growth, Whiteside will lead initiatives across website development, automation, AI integration, branding, graphic design, and all general marketing for the company.

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