Fresh Brothers, a fast growing pizza chain, announced the addition of two restaurant industry veterans today to support its ongoing growth and expansion plans. Longtime Yard House Restaurant President and Founding Partner Harald Hermann has joined the Advisory Board. Former Chipotle Mexican Grill Director of Operations Houmani Iskandani has been selected as the new Chief Operating Officer. Both executives will assume the roles immediately.
Harald Hermann most recently served as President of Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group. Herrmann helped launch the flagship Yard House in 1996 and led the company’s development and expansion into new markets. After Yard House partnered with private equity in 2007, Harald was named President & CEO until the Darden acquisition in 2012. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association from 2003-2010 and as Chairman of the Board in 2011.
The new addition to the leadership team follows the significant equity investment in 2016 from Southern California investor group Nolan Capital Inc. Founder and lead investor, Peter Nolan, also joined the Fresh Brothers Advisory Board. Nolan is the former Managing Partner and current Senior Adviser of Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity firm with over $24 billion of private equity capital raised since inception.
“We are delighted to have Harald Herrmann join us as an advisory board member and a shareholder,” says Nolan, Founder, chairman and president at Nolan Capital, Inc. “I believe he will provide extraordinarily valuable strategic input given his storied experience in the restaurant industry.”
Iskandani, named the new Fresh Brothers COO, has more than 25 years of operations, management and customer service experience in the restaurant industry. In his position, Iskandani is responsible for leading the daily operations at all 19 stores in Southern California and the future expansion of Fresh Brothers outside of California.
“Houman Iskandani is a seasoned professional and we are excited to have him join our senior management team,” says Nolan. “I am confident that Houman’s vast experience at Chipotle will help accelerate the growth of Fresh Brothers.”
Iskandani originally started at Chipotle as a restaurant manager when the concept had 24 units. From there, he ascended into additional roles within the company and during that time, he opened several new markets including Iowa, California and New England and ultimately, became the Director of Operations. He played a major role in growing the company to more than 2,300 units by 2016.
“It was time to bring someone like Iskandani into our leadership team—he has a true understanding of managing both day-to-day operations and customer service at a very high level and that will play a huge role in our growth,” says Adam Goldberg, CEO and Founder of Fresh Brothers.
Goldberg will remain as CEO for Fresh Brothers. He will focus on developing the company’s new growth strategies including real estate activities, franchise program development and brand management.