Ovation Brands, the nation’s largest company-owned and operated buffet company, announced the promotion of company veteran Richard Wykes to the position of senior vice president (SVP) of restaurant operations for the company’s Buffet Division, and the expansion of duties of Chip Romp to vice president of training and operations support spanning both the Buffet and Ryan’s divisions. Pete Pascuzzi retains the role of SVP of restaurant operations for the Ryan’s Division. The positions report to Greg Graber, chief operating officer for the company.
“We have been laser-focused on reinventing our brands and even pioneered a new segment in our category we call family casual. We now feature the ‘best of both worlds,” with individually made, fresh-for-you entrees, but still offer all you can eat variety. The elevated menu offerings paired with updated decor and casual dining level service and hospitality have contributed to the incredible success we are experiencing,” says Anthony Wedo, CEO and president of Ovation Brands. “This move continues our mission of celebrating the uniqueness of our brands by having strong brand leaders focused on each division to continue to customize our operations and offerings.”
“These individuals have played critical roles in our ability to perfect our ‘Make it Right’ service guarantee and they are the right individuals to be leading our deployment of a new category of family dining across our system,” Graber says.
Richard Wykes, a veteran restaurateur operator with more than 30 years of progressive experience, stated that his objective is to focus on guest hospitality.
“Operations will own the success of the Buffets brands by ensuring we have restaurants operating at an exceptional level and by getting out into the community to invite guests to experience the Buffets reinvention that we have orchestrated over the past two years,” Wykes says.
Wykes has served as the SVP of operations services for the past two years and vice president of operations services for the prior two years for the Buffets portfolio for Ovation Brands, which includes Country Buffet, Old Country Buffet, and Hometown Buffet. He served as regional vice president from 2008 to 2011. He joined the company in November 1993, starting as a restaurant manager and moving up to general manager, area director, and senior area director. Wykes holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from Southern New Hampshire University and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Chip Romp joined the Ovation Brands team in 2013 as vice president of training. In his expanded role he will oversee four key areas—training, implementation, internal audit, and protection and operation services. Previously, Romp was the vice president of training, development, and operations services for Fazoli’s Restaurant. He served as senior vice president of operations services for 14 years at JBC Entertainment.
He graduated from Denison University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a minor in Psychology. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and is a founding member of the Learning Legacy Fund, serving in different support capacities over the past five years.