Jeremiah's Italian Ice announced the appointment of Michael Keller as its new CEO and president. The brand, which recently celebrated the opening of its 116th location, has also brought on its first Director of Research & Development, named a new Director of Supply Chain, and promoted an existing leader to Senior Director of Franchise Operations as it prepares for its next phase of growth.
“Jeremiah’s has grown at an incredible pace,” says Jeremy Litwack, founder of Jeremiah’s. “After 27 years and more than 100 locations opening and operating, I feel that now is the time to pivot my focus, opening the door for new leadership with the skillset and background necessary to take our brand to the next level.”
Litwack will remain involved in the business serving as brand ambassador, leaving Keller to oversee moving the brand, business, and franchise system forward. Keller brings to Jeremiah’s an extensive breadth of experience, having held numerous leadership roles in the industry, including CEO/President of Pearson Candy Company, Chief Marketing Officer of International Dairy Queen, VP of Marketing for Jamba Juice, and SVP of Marketing for Baskin Robbins USA, among others.
Adding to the strength of its leadership bench, Erin Buono joins Jeremiah's Italian Ice as its first ever Director of Research and Development, bringing over a decade of experience in leading breakthrough innovation and product design, formerly for Sonic Drive-In and Virtual Dining Concepts. Additionally, Adam Hing, formerly of Ruth’s Chris, Bloomin’ Brands, Darden Restaurants, and other chains, has been brought on as Supply Chain Director, while Julianna Voyles, formerly Operations Director at Jeremiah’s, has been promoted to the role of Senior Director of Franchise Operations.
‘With a record number of stores opened in 2022, and even more in store for 2023, I am confident that Jeremiah’s growth will continue, and we are proactively positioning the brand and building the necessary infrastructure to support both our current and future franchisees,” says Keller. “I’m honored to step into the role of CEO/President, and work with Jeremy and the new management team to continue the momentum and success the brand has seen within these last few years.”
Jeremiah’s strategic talent moves are not the only changes the brand is making in preparation for a new wave of growth. Sundell & Associates has been brought on to provide distribution/logistics support for the company’s supply chain while senior leadership has focused on a way to strengthen franchisor/franchisee relations with its recently launched Jeremiah’s Franchisee Advisory Council (JFAC). The council, which is made up of Area Representatives and multi-unit and single unit operators representing seven different U.S. regions, is designed to give franchisees a voice in shaping the future of the brand while collaborating with the Support Center team on decision making for the system.
Since Jeremiah’s franchise launch in 2019, the Italian Ice brand has awarded over 280 franchise units across more than 120+ franchise groups and has seen over a +500% increase in new units in less than 4 years. Its rapid growth in the US saw 38 new stores opened in 2022, including entry in four new territories- Colorado, Nevada, Tennessee, and Alabama- bringing Jeremiah’s delicious frozen desserts to 11 states across the country. In addition to its rapid expansion, the franchise brand has ranked in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 for 2023, jumping more than 150 spots from 2022 to #212, and listed in Entrepreneur’s Fastest Growing Franchises list. Jeremiah’s was also recognized in 2022 as one of QSR’s Best Brands to Work For and as a part of Franchise Times Top 500, and was recognized by Franchise Times as a Top Brand to Buy within the Sweet Tooth Category as part of its annual Zor Awards. The success that Jeremiah’s Italian Ice has seen so far has been groundbreaking, and the brand is expected to continue at this momentum throughout 2023 and beyond.