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The Grilled Cheese Truck announced that its board of directors has appointed Al Hodges to the role of CEO and a member of the board of directors, effective immediately. Hodges brings more 35 years of operational expertise as a veteran executive with extensive experience in strategic planning, profit-loss accountability, marketing, sales growth, rapid unit growth, acquisitions, change management, and business turnarounds in the retail food service industry, quick-service restaurants, fast casual restaurants, and organizational growth to his new CEO role.
"We are excited to welcome Mr. Hodges to our esteemed leadership team where we are highly confident he will drive immediate and lasting value creation," says General Wesley Clark, vice chairman of the board of directors and senior veterans advisor. "Given Mr. Hodges's deep and highly relevant industry experience, his family ties to veterans, and his tremendous passion to grow our business into a world-class brand, we have chosen the right man to lead us forward," he says.
"My vision for the future of the Grilled Cheese Truck encompasses all of the professional and core personal values that I have fostered throughout my life and career, leadership, dedication, perseverance, passion, respect, and humility, to name a few. I seek to bring to fruition the growth of shareholder value across our dynamic model— namely our core gourmet truck and store expansion— our franchise, and licensing businesses and to establish our strong foundation as one of a select few companies emerging as veteran-focused," Hodges says. “Our story resonates with main street America because we reside on main street America, and that is where we will live and grow. I am both humbled and truly excited to join this outstanding organization of highly committed professionals and I look forward to together achieving our true promise.”
Prior to joining the Grilled Cheese Truck, Hodges served as vice president of domestic and international operations for Smoothie King, vice president of food and beverage for Mapco Mart Express and as vice president of operations for Fazoli's. Hodges also served as Dunkin' Brands region vice president, where he led a two-year operations initiative known as Dunkin’ Wins, which restructured the field organization, established metrics for outcome based performance drivers, and implemented guest-satisfaction measures that corrected three years of negative same-store sales and declining customer transactions. His executive leadership position at Dunkin' included multi-site operations and strategic business planning for more than 4,600 stores with five billion in revenues, annually opening 150 to 350 locations throughout the nation.
Previously, Hodges held multi-unit executive positions with the RTM Restaurant Group as a region president and partner and franchisee owner where he acquired and built more than 200 restaurants concepts. He served as vice president of marketing and special concepts with Cinnabon and repositioned the brand.