KFC’s U.S. division has promoted Monica Rothgery, a 30-year veteran of parent company Yum Brands, to the role of chief operating officer.
She takes over the position immediately, replacing the recently retired former COO Phil Klezmer. Rothgery came to KFC’s U.S. division last August when she was hired as chief restaurant productivity officer. Prior to that, she served as chief operations and people officer for KFC Thailand since 2014. During her time abroad, the brand grew from 350 restaurants to 700 restaurants in Thailand.
In her productivity role, the Louisville, Ky.-based chain said Rothgery modernized the operating system and improved standards for operational performance and food safety.
As COO, Rothgery is tasked with simplifying processes, introducing new labor models, and focusing on technology integration at the brand’s 4,100 U.S. restaurants.
She steps into the role as KFC prepares to rollout nationwide delivery through Grubhub later this year. Delivery is currently available in 2,200 restaurants in major markets such as Dallas, Detroit, Northern California, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, San Diego, Boston, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Nashville and Phoenix, Az.
"In her nearly three decades with Yum Brands, Monica has demonstrated outstanding operational leadership," Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S., said in a statement. “Her knowledge of the business, passion for people, and ability to drive results make her the perfect choice to be our COO."
Last year, when she was hired as chief restaurant productivity officer, she spent several months working in restaurants to identify ways to simplify operations and improve brand compliance initiatives, KFC said.
Rothgery, who started her Yum career as Taco Bell general manager in 1992, said she is thrilled to step into her new role.
"KFC is a leader in its category because of the passion and dedication of each and every one of our team members, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work closely with our franchisees, operators and leadership team to strengthen the brand and restaurant operations."
Prior to joining Yum!, Rothgery was an officer in the United States Army.
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