Nathan’s Famous announced Wednesday that it has hired James Walker, CFE, as the company’s Senior Vice President, Restaurants. Walker comes to Nathan’s Famous from Subway where he was Vice President, North America, overseeing all franchised restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.
“We are excited to have James on board to lead our all-important restaurant division,” says Eric Gatoff, CEO of Nathan’s Famous. “While our success over the last decade has largely come from our product licensing and foodservice businesses, Nathan’s started as a restaurant company in 1916. James’ skill set includes extensive experience in restaurant operations, franchising and product development. Adding someone as accomplished and innovative as James demonstrates our continued commitment to our restaurant business operations.”
Walker brings more than 30 years of broad based, senior level, management experience to Nathan’s Famous. He has held president, Chief Development Officer, Senior Operations and New Product Development positions, for brands such as Baja Fresh, Cinnabon, Johnny Rockets, and Subway. Walker has conducted business in more than 65 international markets, including such emerging markets as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Mongolia.
“I’m thrilled to join Nathan’s Famous, a truly iconic brand that started on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island and is now a global player in the restaurant and retail spheres,” Walker says. “I look forward to making every guest experience in our restaurants rewarding and enjoyable on every level.”
A Certified Franchise Executive, Walker earned his MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He has achieved additional certificates and diplomas from Yale, Harvard, and MIT. In 2016, Walker was awarded the President’s “E” award from President Obama for Excellence in Furthering American Business Internationally.
Nathan’s Famous products are currently sold in more than 78,000 retail and food service locations, and are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands, and in 16 foreign countries. Nathan’s products are available in arenas and stadiums all over the country, movie theaters, colleges and universities, travel plazas, amusement parks, casinos and hotels.