Rave Restaurant Group, the parent company of Pizza Inn and fast casual Pie Five, revealed in a July 16 securities filing that it’s “terminated the employment” of chief executive officer Scott Crane.
President Bob Bafundo, who was promoted last September after overseeing Pizza Inn for two years, is moving into a “principal executive officer” position. The change went into effect July 12. Before Rave, Bafundo worked at Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, first as VP of company and franchise operations and then as president. He was also the SVP of operations at Back Yard Burgers from 2007–2009.
The company didn’t give a reason for Crane’s departure. Crane succeeded interim CEO Clinton J. Coleman in January 2017. His most recent job prior to the Rave position was president and CEO of Smashburger. He helped lead the company’s development from a two-unit startup in 2007 to a global brand with 330-plus locations.
Per the filing, Bafundo doesn’t have a written employment agreement with Rave and is an at-will employee. For now, he will continue to receive his current annual salary and is eligible to receive discretionary annual bonuses.
Rave reported a net loss of $300,000 in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, ended March 24. The company’s total revenue increased by $400,000 to $3.1 million compared to $2.7 million in the prior-year period.
Pizza Inn’s domestic same-store sales increased 3.3 percent, year-over-year. Pie Five’s performance has been more challenged, however. The fast casual’s comps dropped 4.4 percent in Q3 while total systemwide retail sales fell 18.1 percent due to a decrease in average units open during the quarter.
Crane also credited “extreme winter weather in our norther markets,” for the hit. The brand launched some menu tests, including calzones.
In Q3, Pie Five opened one domestic store and closed five others, bringing the domestic footprint to 61 restaurants. “Pie Five's 'Goldilocks' model continues to gain positive traction,” Bafundo said at the time. “We've added new talent and resources to our development team to capitalize on this renewed interest. We also have a commitment from an existing Pizza Inn franchisee to open a Pie Five location. We are excited to see more crossover opportunities from both brands."
In February 2017, Pie Five debuted its 100th location in Independence, Missouri. Pie Five has steadily retracted its unit count over the last two years, including an 18-store cut in mid-2017.