Lemonade Restaurant Group, a Los Angeles-based fast-casual restaurant company that serves seasonal California cuisine, announced that veteran leader Larry Kurzweil joins Lemonade as president and chief executive officer effective December 1. The co-founders of Lemonade, Alan Jackson and Ian Olsen, will assume the role of chairman and chief culinary officer and chief development officer, respectively.
Kurzweil served as president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, from 1999 to 2016. He oversaw the iconic Theme Park and Studio Tour, and adjacent Universal CityWalk—the first-of-its-kind outdoor entertainment complex with over 60 restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. Most recently, he led a five-year, billion-dollar revitalization that transformed over 75 percent of the destination, culminating with the highly anticipated opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," in April 2016. Throughout the past decade, Kurzweil led Universal Studios Hollywood to all-time high operating and financial performance. Before Universal, he held a variety of key executive marketing and management positions at Darden Restaurants, Nestle Foods, and General Mills.
“We are thrilled to have Larry join Lemonade as president and CEO and believe it is the next step in growing Lemonade as a national brand. We selected Larry for his innate ability to shepherd strong brands to the next level of success and believe that his seasoned experience as a key executive leading best-in-category consumer-retail brands is an incredible and unique asset that will be instrumental in Lemonade’s continued growth,” says Lemonade founder Alan Jackson. “Larry’s addition to Lemonade will allow the co-founders to focus on the areas of Lemonade we’re most passionate about: food, culture, and guest experience.”
“The chance to join Lemonade as president and CEO at this unique and exciting moment in time is an opportunity that’s incredibly well-suited for me,” says Kurzweil. “Alan Jackson and his team have done an outstanding job creating and expanding Lemonade as an iconic and culturally transformative dining experience. I admire Lemonade’s vision for the future of this business and am excited to be a part of its growth as it continues to evolve.”
Adam Waglay and Dustin Beck, co-founders of Butterfly Equity which, along with KKR, holds a significant interest in Lemonade, adds, “We’ve been thrilled to be a part of Lemonade, and the opportunity to attract someone of Larry’s caliber to join forces with the Lemonade team could not be more exciting. We look forward to combining Alan’s unique and compelling food offering with Larry’s brand building and operational expertise to truly build this into a category-defining brand that can expand across the United States and eventually around the world.”