Garden Fresh Restaurants, known for its 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants nationwide, has appointed Nicole Bushnell as chief marketing officer and John Gigliotti as vice president of Information Technology.
Bushnell comes to the Garden Fresh team from Luna Grill restaurants, where she served as VP of Marketing for the last four years, responsible for all brand strategy, e-commerce and loyalty platforms, creative and content direction, and product development. During her tenure, the chain grew from 18 to 51 locations in California and Texas.
In her new role as CMO at Garden Fresh, Bushnell will lead all brand and marketing activities across the country, positioning the company for growth and category development opportunities. Working in tandem with Gigliotti, she will be advancing the company's move into a tech-forward, modern marketing approach, including the launch of restaurant’s first truly point-of-sale integrated loyalty program later this year.
Prior to her work at Luna Grill, Bushnell was VP of Marketing at Ladeki Restaurant Group, head of marketing for Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar. From 2004 - 2012, she was with Pat & Oscar's Restaurants, rising from Marketing Brand manager to eventual director of Marketing and Brand Development, where she was responsible for creative direction and execution of a menu evolution that lead to an improved guest experience and an increase in guest check averages by 30 percent. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from San Francisco State University and is an executive board member of the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association.
As VP of Information Technology, Gigliotti will focus on enhancing Garden Fresh's overall tech stack, including point of sale, network infrastructure, security posture, and putting together a best in class technology team. Relocating from Austin to San Diego for the move, Gigliotti was most recently with 102-unit operator Chuy's Opco, serving as IT director and overseeing a new integrated point of sale installation, developing internal resources to manage critical security standards and re-working the IT department to better align with company goals.
Before his position at Chuy's Opco, Gigliotti was IT director at Bobby Cox Companies, a 65-unit, 3-brand company, where he established and maintained a reporting structure for all major IT initiatives companywide. From 2006 - 2010, he was IT director at Hootwinc LLC, a 21-unit Hooters franchisee, successfully migrating business systems for multiple departments, including Accounting, Payroll, HR, POS, Food and Labor Management. He has also held various service, technical management positions with Northstar Enterprise, eRestaurant Services, and Pat & Oscar's Restaurants.
“We are excited to welcome Nicole and John to the Garden Fresh family,” says John Haywood, chief executive officer of Garden Fresh Restaurants. “They both have great depth and expertise in evolving brands and operations through the integration of innovative solutions and technology. Their leadership will be invaluable to our mission— ‘make every guest experience memorable.’”