Showmars, Charlotte’s hometown restaurant serving fresh, made-to-order favorites in a casual and family-friendly environment, announced that 23-year company veteran Dean Peroulas has been named CEO, tasked with leading the 31-location chain through its next chapter of growth and innovation.
Founder George Couchell and outgoing CEO Konstantine Zitsos will remain involved as operating partners of Showmars. Zitsos will serve in the additional role of chief strategy officer, supporting Peroulas and the extended leadership team developed over the last several years to take Showmars into the future.
“Dean has been preparing for this role since 1995, when I asked him to join Showmars after being impressed by the character and abilities he displayed while running his family’s restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia,” says Zitsos. “He has spearheaded many of Showmars’ important innovations, from technology upgrades that enhance efficiency to our mobile ordering app. His vision and energy are just what we need to take Showmars to the next level, and I believe now is the perfect time for him to take over the CEO role.”
Peroulas becomes just the third leader in the 36-year history of Showmars, following in the footsteps of Couchell and Zitsos. Continuing a heritage that dates back to a restaurant in Greece started 130 years ago by his grandfather that is still in operation today, Couchell may well have invented the fast-casual restaurant when he launched Showmars in 1982, combining speedy counter service with high-quality menu favorites cooked to order and delivered to the customer’s table in minutes.
Since Couchell elevated Zitsos to the CEO role in 2009, Showmars has grown to 30 locations throughout the Charlotte area while retaining the family-like culture among its 800-plus employees. Zitsos also continued Couchell’s commitment to being a great community partner, with Showmars supporting such causes as Levine Children’s Hospital, the American Heart Association, and numerous food drives and youth sports programs.
In addition to leveraging the company’s strength in operations, Zitsos teamed with Peroulas and others on the extended leadership team to spearheaded Showmars’ recent rebranding, which addressed everything from restaurant décor and an updated logo to a new tagline—“Southern. Fresh. Greek.”—that captures the essence of the Showmars experience.
Showmars also updated its menu to better match consumer tastes and desires. Today’s Showmars menu features more fresh products and more “clean” ingredients like sustainably sourced fish, chemical-free dressings, even ketchup without any high-fructose corn syrup.
Now Zitsos is handing the reins to Peroulas, a lifelong foodservice professional who began working in his family’s restaurant as a teenager. He went on to earn a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Virginia Tech, then began his career with Hyatt Hotels in New Orleans before returning to Roanoke to run his family’s restaurant prior to joining Showmars.
“All of that preparation makes him the perfect person to assume the leadership role in our organization,” adds Zitsos.
Peroulas says his vision for the future of Showmars is focused on maximizing the brand’s ability to meet the needs of its customers—from evolving the menu to match changing consumer tastes to utilizing technology and other methods to provide unparalleled service.
Also on Peroulas’ agenda: growth. He has been at the forefront of Showmars’ expansion outside its hometown of Charlotte, having overseen development of the Wake Forest location near Raleigh that opened in early August. The new location represents a slight departure from the typical Showmars, featuring a more “focus-driven” menu that includes an expanded beverage offering plus unique items like the 100 percent vegetarian “Beyond Burger.”
“Showmars is always evolving to meet the needs of its customers—from adding more fresh and healthy items on our menu to improving convenience with new locations and mobile ordering,” says Peroulas. “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to lead the team we have assembled to continue the Showmars legacy.”
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