Potbelly Corporation, the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, announced two strategic appointments to its corporate leadership team. Industry veteran Lynette McKee, CFE has been named Senior Vice President of Franchising, overseeing all aspects of franchisee recruitment and sales. Patrick Walsh joins Potbelly as Chief People Officer and will oversee and lead the brand’s People team and human resources across the company.
“Franchise-focused development is one of our five strategic pillars to drive long-term profitability and growth,” says Bob Wright, president and CEO of Potbelly. “Lynette’s deep expertise in the franchising space and her proven ability to build and execute successful franchising strategies at major restaurant brands will be invaluable as we continue to scale the Potbelly brand nationwide. We are thrilled to welcome her to the team and look forward to working together to execute against our long-term growth strategy.”
With more than 25 years of experience in the franchising space and a Certified Franchise Executive, Ms. McKee most recently owned and operated her consulting practice, McKee Services LLC, which she began in 2012 as an advisory services firm specializing in franchising and development. She previously served as Executive Director of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Prior to that role, Ms. McKee was Chief Development Officer at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants and oversaw franchising at global restaurant brands Dunkin’ Brands and Burger King. Additionally, she held franchise leadership positions at the American casual dining company Metromedia Restaurant Group, as well as several hospitality companies. Ms. McKee earned a degree in Education from Vanderbilt University.
“I am thrilled to join Potbelly at such an exciting time in the company’s growth story,” says Ms. McKee. “I look forward to working closely with Bob and the senior leadership team to continue to drive Potbelly’s franchising strategy and help bring the company’s delicious food to more locations across the country.”
“Our people and our culture are at the center of everything we do, especially as we continue to expand our shop footprint. I’m excited to have Patrick leading this important part of our business. Patrick brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources. Over the course of his career, he has established himself as a thoughtful and strategic business leader, who keeps people at the center of work culture,” says Mr. Wright. “He is driven and passionate about our vision to hire people for their character and attitude and train for skill. I am confident he will be a great addition to our team as we look to continuously build upon and improve our already best-in-class workplace.”
Mr. Walsh previously served as VP, Head of Human Resources at manufacturing and supply company Oil-Dri Corporation of America. Prior to that role, he spent more than a decade, non-consecutively, in various human resources positions, including leadership roles, at PepsiCo, most recently as Senior Director of Human Resources. He also has experience in the restaurant industry, having held a leadership position overseeing human resources and talent acquisition at Pizza Hut. Patrick earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I am excited to join such an iconic brand, particularly as we accelerate our growth,” says Mr. Walsh. “I’m enthusiastic about continuing to evolve our work culture and introduce Potbelly to more team members in new regions.”
As Ms. McKee assumes her new role, Potbelly Chief Development Officer Larry Strain will continue to focus on supporting the brand and its franchisees in market planning, brokerage services, and other critical areas related to development through Restaurant Development Experts, the market development advisory firm he founded.