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Krystal names Paul Macaluso CEO

Krystal names Paul Macaluso CEO

Executive succeeds Omar Janjua, who left to head Taco Bueno

The Krystal Company has named Paul Macaluso as CEO, the burger brand announced Monday.

Macaluso joins the Atlanta-based quick-service company from his role as president of McAlister’s Deli, and he succeeds Omar Janjua, who left in March to become CEO at Dallas-based Taco Bueno Restaurants L.P.

“Paul Macaluso is sharp, action-oriented and innovative, making him a great fit for our team at Krystal,” said Michael Klump, founder and president of Argonne Capital Group, which owns Krystal along with other multi-unit brands.

“We’re all looking forward to his winning attitude and his ability to drive outstanding relationships and results,” Klump said in a statement.

Macaluso began his career with Yum! Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell Corp. and later worked with Burger King Corp. and Sonic Drive-Ins. He joined Atlanta-based Focus Brands as chief marketing officer for its Moe’s Southwest Grill and was promoted to president of its 400-unit McAlister’s brand in December 2016.

“Krystal is the original challenger brand,” Macaluso said, “and we’re going to make sure we regain share of minds and hearts with our guests.” Krystal, founded in 1932 in Chattanooga, Tenn., has 360 restaurants in 11 states.

Janjua worked with such brands as Pizza Hut, Sonic and Steak ‘n Shake before joining Krystal in January 2015. He succeeds Mike Roper, who had served as CEO since 2015, the year the brand was purchased by private-equity group TPG Capital.

“Taco Bueno is an iconic brand with a deep heritage and passionate fans, a fresh menu and a business model that aligns well with what customers want today.” Janjua said in a statement.

Taco Bueno, founded in 1967 in Abilene, Texas, operates 179 restaurants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

In Nation's Restaurant News' most recent Top 200 census, Krystal ranked No. 98 with about $435.1 million in U.S. systemwide sales for the year ended December 2016. Taco Bueno ranked No. 165 with about $226.1 million in U.S. systemwide sales for the same period.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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