Homestyle Dining, parent company of Bonanza, Ponderosa Steakhouse restaurants, announced that John Kelly has joined the company as vice president of marketing. Kelly will lead the marketing, advertising, and communications efforts of Homestyle Dining as its two legacy, family dining concepts embark on a rebrand including a culinary revitalization, a refreshed look, and a renewed effort on franchise growth. Kelly will report directly to Tom Sacco, CEO, Homestyle Dining.
Kelly joins Homestyle Dining with multi-disciplinary experience in both restaurant operations and agency-side experience. Most recently, he served as director of marketing for Paciugo Gelato Caffe, which offers authentic Italian gelato and other gelato-inspired offerings in 44 units in 16 states. There he helped reposition the company’s marketing and branding efforts to support the chain’s evolution and growth.
“John’s unique skill set in operations, marketing, and franchising will bring significant value to the Bonanza and Ponderosa concepts as we continue to move forward with our rebranding and development efforts,” Sacco says. “He’s distinctively qualified to support and expand our restaurants and franchising efforts as we bring a more relevant menu and experience to our valued customers.”
Prior to Paciugo Gelato Caffe, Kelly held senior branding and marketing positions at Bar Louie and Pizza Inn and served on the marketing team of Panera Bread.
“I look forward to being instrumental in the future of these two legacy restaurant brands as they grow into a more modern and relevant dining experience,” Kelly says. “Homestyle Dining has a terrific team in place, and I am delighted to become a part of it during this this pivotal period.”
In late 2013, Sacco launched the comprehensive rebranding initiative with plans to integrate the enhancements system wide this year. Both Bonanza and Ponderosa will offer expanded menu offerings on the food bar and across its entrée line-up to meet the changing needs of today’s guests, who crave longtime favorites and who also want to explore updated, relevant food offerings, and even some healthier options.
New entrée menu items include a line of flavored steaks and seafood offerings, plus a completely new appetizer section. “Light ‘N Healthy” menu items will be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, with some that are gluten-free. Interiors will feature a refurbished and redesigned food bar area with eco-friendly plate ware, and will include brighter graphics with vibrant informational signage.
With the rebrand underway, Homestyle Dining will also ramp up franchising efforts in the U.S., Canada, and internationally for its two legacy brands. Homestyle Dining recently partnered with the International Franchise Association to provide franchising opportunities to veterans, minorities, and women.