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The Power List

Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown and chief commercial services officer Navin Sharma on closing a major restaurant acquisition during the pandemic

These Power List players discuss the lessons they learned as they acquired Dunkin’ during Inspire Brands’ big year


Despite celebrating off of one of the largest restaurant acquisitions in recent restaurant industry history, Power Listers Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown and chief commercial services officer Navin Sharma know that this past year has still been a challenging one. With the $11.3 billion acquisition of Dunkin’, Inspire Brands is now the second-largest foodservice company in the United States and their leadership believes that the challenges of the pandemic served to highlight their company strengths.

“We were able to do the things others were having trouble with whether it was supply chain or digital operational capabilities,” Brown said. “It really validates that thesis of multi-branding.”

But acquiring a new brand is not the only focus Inspire Brands had during the pandemic. Sharma said that they were well-positioned to succeed in 2020 because prior to the pandemic, they spent a lot of time and effort investing in their digital infrastructure, like online personalization and customers being able to order what they want through their preferred channel.

“We wouldn’t have been able to have the results we had last year if we had not made those investments,” Sharma said.

Watch the video to learn more leadership lessons from Inspire Brands’ power List honorees and check out more leadership conversations here.

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