Industry News | October 20, 2010

Cinnabon Taps New Chief Operating Officer

Cinnabon Inc. announced that Kat Cole was named chief operating officer. The former vice president of training and development for Hooters of America Inc. will join Cinnabon to lead the 25-year old franchise organization in achieving maximum guest satisfaction, efficiency, and growth.

“Kat’s ability to connect with people, both inside and outside the restaurant, makes her the perfect leader to evoke the kind of strategic growth, product and brand innovation that will make Cinnabon’s next 25 years an even sweeter success,” says Cinnabon president Gary Bales.

“The first word that came to mind when I met Kat was ‘dynamic,’” says parent company FOCUS Brands CEO Russ Umphenour. “She is a leader and a relationship-builder, and her tremendous experience and proven abilities will make her a stellar addition to the Cinnabon and FOCUS Brands teams.”

A results-oriented executive at Hooters of America Inc. for 15 years, Cole played a key role in research, strategy, and integration for nontraditional brand extensions and profitable revenue building initiatives. She has opened and supported restaurant operations on several continents, been instrumental in creating business and leadership development opportunities, and has led industry-recognized customer service, diversity, and philanthropic programs. In addition, Cole has successfully created highly disciplined teams and innovative cost-effective training and development programs that contributed to increased sales, profits, retention, and growth, leading to more than 460 restaurants in 29 countries.

“Cinnabon is a unique and compelling brand that has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of people around the world,” Cole says. “I am fortunate to have been given unique leadership and learning opportunities within a globally growing brand, and after getting to know the FOCUS Brands and Cinnabon teams, I knew this was the right place for me to share my knowledge. I look forward to contributing to the strategic and profitable growth of Cinnabon’s Franchise Partners, and I am honored to work with such a world-class franchise organization.”

Cole serves as chair of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) and the Certification Governing Board for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), and has led various committees and projects in the foodservice and hospitality industries. Recognized repeatedly in the restaurant industry with such awards as the WFF’s Volunteer of the Year and the Elliot Leadership Institute’s Motivator of the Year, Cole is also an avid volunteer with organizations that support women and children in need and fighting hunger and homelessness in the U.S. and various developing nations.

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