Former McDonald's executive Rick Altizer has been appointed CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based Elevation Burger—one of the first and largest organic burger chains in the country. Altizer assumes the role from founder Hans Hess, who takes on the role of board chairman, and will advise Altizer and the leadership team on brand, growth, and sustainability strategies. The transition will be effective as of March 24, 2014.
Altizer began his career in food franchising nearly 25 years ago when he joined McDonald's Corporation as a regional controller. He went on to run a billion dollar McDonald's region with 500 stores as a regional vice president and general manager. He then took on key leadership positions at two international franchise organizations: Midas International and Jiffy Lube. After serving as Jiffy Lube's president for three years, Altizer was recruited by Jiffy Lube's parent company, Shell Oil, to be general manager of marketing for North America within the retail fuels operation.
Of all the candidates we encountered, Rick was chosen for his food and beverage experience, as well as his deep finance, franchising, and marketing background, says Hess. I'm excited to be putting the brand in Rick's hands and confident that Elevation Burger will achieve its mission and the next level of growth with him at the helm.
Working with Elevation Burger¹s leadership team, Altizer will lead the execution of the brand's long-term strategy while overseeing day-to-day operations. The fast-casual burger franchise currently has a total of 32 U.S. restaurants located along the East Coast and as far west as Austin, Texas. The company has an additional 10 international locations in Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and projects a total of 60 locations worldwide by the end of 2014.
“Elevation Burger is a great brand and a great business opportunity,” says Altizer. “I'm eager to help take this growing company to a new level of success for our franchisees, employees, investors, and most importantly our thousands of loyal guests across the nation.”
Hess originally set out to create a burger that would differentiate itself in terms of taste, quality of ingredients, and sustainability. The first Elevation Burger location opened in Falls Church, Virginia, in September 2005. Hans later added three other company owned Elevation Burger locations, two in Virginia and one in Maryland. In his new role as board chairman, he'll be actively recruiting outside board members with experience in senior management, finance, and food and beverage to help develop and accelerate the growth agenda for Elevation Burger moving forward.
Elevation Burger¹s menu consists of burgers made from 100 percent organic, grass-fed, free-range beef and fries cooked in heart-healthy olive oil—offering burgers and other food items with less fat and fewer calories, including two different vegetarian burgers: a vegetarian and a vegan option. Protein dieters can also choose to have their burgers wrapped in iceberg lettuce or served on a potato roll.
The brand is also committed to environmentally friendly practices, including recycling oil into bio-diesel fuel, and using sustainable materials and energy-efficient equipment in its restaurants. The commitment to sustainability doesn't stop there: the restaurants décor is made from bamboo and recycled materials, plus the open kitchen provides guests with the ability to see their food being created right in front of them.