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The concept currently has nine locations and is shoring up for what CEO Mike Reynolds says will be a big 2015 with six to eight additional restaurant openings planned Photo Rock  Brews

Rock & Brews names Michael Sullivan president and CEO

Former Buffalo Wild Wings executive and industry veteran to lead chain’s expansion

Rock & Brews, the restaurant and entertainment concept co-founded by members of the rock band KISS, has named Michael Sullivan president and CEO, the company said Tuesday.

Sullivan, a 25-year industry veteran, will be tasked with continuing the 19-unit chain’s expansion.

Rock & Brews president and CEO Michael Sullivan
Photo: Rock & Brews

rock and brews

“Sully’s experience as a multi-brand franchisee and restaurant owner and partner, combined with his success as part of the team responsible for the meteoric growth at Buffalo Wild Wings, made him a natural choice to spearhead the next phase of Rock & Brews’ expansion,” said Michael Zislis, Rock & Brews managing partner and co-founder, in a statement.

Rock & Brews named Mike Reynolds CEO in 2014, but he left to become chief development officer at Mrs. Winner’s Chicken & Biscuits last April. Zislis had been acting as interim CEO since Reynolds’ departure.

Sullivan has been in the restaurant business for more than 25 years, starting when he bussed tables at Aurelios Pizza at 15 years old, and continuing to when he was 22 years old and bought his first Subway location.

In 2003, he went to work for Buffalo Wild Wings and helped the chain grow from 150 locations to more than 1,200 units. In 2012, he was named emerging brands director, and was tasked with acquiring concepts and integrating them into the company.

Sullivan met Rock & Brews principals at an industry conference, and then visited several locations.

“I was so impressed with the brand, the passion of its founding partners and its potential that I not only accepted the role of president and CEO, I personally invested in the brand,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Rock & Brews is a dynamic, one-of-a-kind experience. It’s simply cool, and I look forward to being part of its growth.”

Zislis said: “He is well versed in all aspects of franchise operations and restaurant expansion. He has a keen eye for identifying top-notch, multi-unit franchisees, and we have confidence that his leadership will play an important role as Rock & Brews continues its strategic expansion and diversification.”

KISS co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, along with Zislis and concert industry veterans Dave Furano and Dell Furano, opened Rock & Brews in El Segundo, Calif., in 2012. The first location booked $10 million in sales a year.

The chain has a rock-and-roll, family-friendly theme with locations in the U.S. and Mexico.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze


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