Industry News | September 15, 2017

Lemonade Restaurant Group Hires New COO, CFO

Lemonade Restaurant Group, a Los Angeles-based fast casual restaurant company that serves seasonal California cuisine, has named Ame Hull as Chief Operations Officer and Michael Nishi as Chief Financial Officer.

Hull joins Lemonade Restaurant Group from Pei Wei Asian Diner where she served in dual roles as both Regional Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Operations Services for 205 Pei Wei locations. As part of the Senior Leadership Team, Hull introduced several operational and training systems into the organization and played a key role in improving operational execution in existing restaurants and new restaurant openings.

Before joining Pei Wei Asian Diner, Hull spent twenty years with BJ’s Restaurant Inc. She moved her way up through the organization, completing her tenure as Senior Vice President of Operation Services and Talent Development. In addition to leading operational excellence across the organization, Hull drove talent acquisition and retention programming for new and existing markets and lead the charge for continuously improving efficiencies across all operating procedures.  In her new role with Lemonade, Hull is charged with overseeing the operations and training, and will play an integral role in strengthening both front and back-of-house operations. 

"We’re very fortunate to attract such seasoned and driven individuals to the Lemonade Team. Hull’s passion for restaurant operations and commitment to talent development, combined with Nishi’s financial acumen and expertise in developing restaurant brands will undoubtedly be instrumental as we position our brand for the next level of growth,” says Lemonade President and CEO Larry Kurzweil. 

Nishi, an accomplished international business leader, with specific expertise in helping emerging restaurant companies grow, joins Lemonade Restaurant Group as CFO.  The UCLA alum, boasts over 20 years of financial hospitality experience, holding CFO titles with accomplished restaurant companies: Innovative Dining Group, Slater’s 50/50, and most recently, Wetzel’s Pretzels.  Additionally, Nishi has an appreciation and respect to the entrepreneurial spirit of Lemonade as he also partnered in a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona.  

Upon joining Wetzel‘s, Nishi was instrumental in growing the successful concept from 270 units to over 330. He was responsible for finance, human resources, purchasing, risk and insurance, and IT. In addition to building the current finance team there, he led the financial due diligence process in the sale of the company to a new private equity firm in September 2016.  Nishi will oversee the purchasing and finance division of Lemonade Restaurant Group and work closely with Kurzweil in continuing to develop the proper financial model for the next generation of growth.   

“I am thrilled to join the Lemonade team,” says Nishi. “As a longtime admirer of Lemonade, I look forward to building upon the momentum of continued success the brand has experienced since opening their first restaurant in 2008.”
 

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