JRI Hospitality, which operates four restaurant brands spread throughout the country, has opened a new office in Wichita to help continue its growth trajectory and added two senior-level executives who will work there.
Mark Scholler has joined the company as its new Chief Development Officer. Scholler previously served as Senior Vice President of Franchise Development for Freddy’s LLC — the parent company of the Freddy’s brand — since 2007, giving him extensive insight into how the restaurants operate. He has almost 50 years of restaurant experience over the course of his career.
Scholler had retired from Freddy’s in December, but Jason Ingermanson, founder and CEO of JRI Hospitality, talked him out of retirement after just 18 days to assist with the new brands and provide institutional knowledge where requested.
Additionally, Chris Hitchcock has joined JRI as its Vice President of Development and Construction. Hitchcock is responsible for selecting and acquiring real estate for our restaurants. His 20 years of expertise in real estate management, negotiation, and assisting in property development are critical to the company’s continued success.
Hitchcock has helped build community excitement for the company’s line of restaurants by progressing and expanding the company’s real estate portfolio. His work involves daily project management, identifying new prospective franchise sites, and overseeing the construction of restaurants while ensuring consistency for JRI brands.
The hires come as JRI continues an extensive expansion across the country. Founded in 2011, JRI Hospitality owns and operates over 75 restaurants, including Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Mokas Cafe, The Original Grande, and Chompie’s Restaurants. JRI is projected to expand its reach with 20 projects per year in the next few years.
The new office is located at 10500 E. Berkeley Square Parkway, Suite 210 in Wichita, in a 3,286 square foot space in the Hartman Oil Company building.
Ingermanson said the new office is part of an overall strategic plan to support the company’s franchise expansion.
“We are excited about the Wichita office expansion and how it will allow us to continue our plans for growth,” Ingermanson says. “We want to ensure that we have the kind of infrastructure and reach we need to support our locations, and the team based in Wichita will be an important part of those efforts.”
Scholler said the opportunity to work not only with the Freddy’s brand but the other three concepts owned by JRI was key in his decision to take the CDO role.
“I feel very good about the potential of all of JRI Hospitality’s brands and am excited to be able to be a part of their expansion across the country,” Scholler says. “I look forward to working with the JRI team to fulfill their mission of ensuring these brands are enjoyed in all corners of the country.”
Hitchcock said the opportunity to join a company with properties across the country and plans for expansion was an ideal fit for his skill set.
“I’m looking forward to helping guide JRI Hospitality’s growth and expand the company’s portfolio of properties,” Hitchcock says. “JRI has a dynamic vision for the future and some exceptional brands to offer its patrons, and I’m confident we will continue to expand the company’s impact to new markets.”
JRI Hospitality is based in Salina, Kansas, with its restaurants located in 13 states. The company is a franchisee of the Freddy’s brand and is actively working to attract new franchisees for the three brands that it owns — Mokas Cafe, The Original Grande, and Chompie’s Restaurants. The company’s focus on one-of-a-kind restaurant experiences and quality customer service is helping fuel the demand for its brands.