Johnny Rockets, the all-American global restaurant chain, announced the appointment of Naresh Vinod Worlikar and Calvin Harris as vice president of international and director of culinary innovation, respectively. As the vice president of international, Worlikar is responsible for developing and expanding market development and ensuring brand excellence overseas. Harris joins Johnny Rockets in a newly formed position to enhance culinary innovation, which will include recipe and product development, testing, and implementation.
“As we continue differentiating ourselves in the competitive better burger category, Naresh and Calvin will infuse a fresh perspective to the executive team that is informed by their extensive restaurant industry knowledge,” says Charles Bruce, president and CEO. “Next year is our brand’s 30th anniversary, and we anticipate immediate contributions from these restaurant professionals while we expand the brand’s global presence.”
Naresh Vinod Worlikar brings more than 30 years of strategic operations and sales leadership experience to the Johnny Rockets executive team. Prior to joining the company, Worlikar held the position of vice president of international franchise operations, Asia for Sbarro. During his time with the Italian-inspired brand, Worlikar developed and implemented supply chain and training systems in Asia and increased restaurant growth by more than 40 percent. Prior to Sbarro, Worklikar held multiple operations roles with restaurant franchise companies, including Subway, Domino’s Pizza, and Little Caesars Pizza.
“Over the last year, Johnny Rockets has seen the strongest international growth in the company’s history, including development agreements in Southeast Asia, China, South America, and more,” says James Walker, president of global operations and development. “Naresh knows the nuances of overseas markets and is an ideal fit to successfully lead our sales and operational strategies.”
Calvin Harris, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, joins Johnny Rockets with more than 20 years of experience in culinary and product development, including stints at Burger King, Arby’s, and TGI Friday’s. Prior to Johnny Rockets, Harris founded successful food manufacturing and distributing start-ups including Harris Food Company and Benevida Foods. After consumer demand for a more innovative Johnny Rockets menu, the brand created the position of director of culinary innovation.
“We listen closely to our guests, and Calvin is a progressive chef who we have charged with responding to their requests by bringing even more quality, ingredient-inspired options to the Johnny Rockets menu,” says CMO Joel Bulger. “We have prioritized making our approach to guest interaction more engaging in 2016, and Calvin will lead us in developing more limited-time menu offerings based on emerging trends and consumer flavor preferences.”