Industry News | April 4, 2012

Pendergast Named New Krystal CEO

Doug Pendergast is the new CEO of The Krystal Company.
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The shareholders of The Krystal Company, a 360-unit hamburger chain located in 11 states, today announced the appointment of three top officers. The new leadership team will help oversee the 80-year-old burger chain, which was recently acquired by Argonne Capital Group LLC, a private investment firm based in Atlanta.

Doug Pendergast has been tapped to serve as the CEO of the iconic brand, replacing James Fred Exum Jr.  A 12-year restaurant industry veteran, Pendergast comes to Krystal from Chattanooga, Tennessee–based CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc., where he served as chief development and franchising officer. Prior to joining CraftWorks, Pendergast was EVP and chief franchise officer at Church’s Chicken, where he and his team grew the company by 250 units over a five-year period. 

“I am delighted to be part of a company with both a deep history and strong growth potential,” Pendergast says. “The leadership team and investors deserve tremendous credit for stabilizing the company and building a sound foundation for expansion.”

The executive board also named Al Ryan as the new vice president of operations and Partha Mukherjee as chief information officer. Ryan most recently served as vice president of international operations for Church’s Chicken, managing 450 restaurants. Prior to joining Church’s, he was director of operations for Domino’s Pizza. Mukherjee is also a Church’s veteran, most recently serving as chief information officer of the quick-service restaurant chain.

“By adding these new players to an already talented management slate, we’re building a team that will lead Krystal along the steep growth trajectory established in recent months,” says Harsha V. Agadi, non-executive chairman of the board at Krystal. “Our brand and our customers have a great future ahead.”

On March 22, Argonne Capital, an Atlanta-based private investment firm, announced its purchase of The Krystal Company for an undisclosed amount.

The fast food icon, made famous by small burgers with a big taste craved by millions throughout the South, finished 2011 with increased sales and consistently outperformed the overall quick-service sandwich category in driving traffic last year. The company continues to experience growth in 2012.