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The Turnaround King
As CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Paul Brown and his team took a legacy brand and turned it into a social-media innovator and revenue powerhouse in less than five years. Growing same-store sales for more than 20 consecutive quarters and registering the largest average unit volume growth in the sandwich category in 2014 was largely attributable to Arby’s push to embrace the Millennial cohort by appealing to their demand for high-quality foods, more choices, affordability and convenience.
Known for: Brown and his team used the “We Have the Meats” advertising campaign to reinvigorate the Atlanta-based brand and raise customer awareness of what the company describes as the “diversity and authenticity” of its menu. Brown’s team also embraced social media and brilliantly used it to their advantage in 2015 when The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart started poking fun at the brand on the air.
Power move: Utilizing the buying power of parent company Roark Capital Group, Brown made a huge splash by acquiring Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.9 billion in November 2017. The combined companies will have nearly 5,000 units, creating what Brown called a “transformative multi-brand restaurant company.”
What's next: As the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings once the deal closes, Brown will be tasked with integrating and reinvigorating the brand. The casual-dining chain has struggled in recent years with decreased traffic and falling same-store sales.