Smalls Sliders has appointed 30-year industry veteran Donald “Don” Crocker as its new Chief Development Officer. In his new role, Crocker will spearhead all development strategy including identifying opportunities for expansion, partnership, and enhanced market penetration as the brand is focused on disciplined growth.

With proven track records of driving growth and innovation on a global scale, Crocker’s expertise has made him one of the most sought-after C-Suite executives in the restaurant industry. Most recently, Crocker served as the Chief Development Officer for Inspire Brands where he led the development strategy for new company and franchise openings, capital reinvestment, and real property assets for the company, which has more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide. Prior to that, Crocker spent nearly 20 years at Chick-fil-A, where he pioneered the brand’s explosive nationwide growth into more than 65 new DMA’s alongside having a hand in one third of the brand’s total store portfolio with “go/no go” decisions.

“I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some of the most high-profile, exciting brands this industry has to offer, so I can recognize a brand built for global growth when I see it,” says Crocker. “With how crowded the restaurant space has become in recent years, it’s rare to see a brand really break through the way that Smalls Sliders has in such a short amount of time. I’m eager to truly bring Smalls Sliders and its distinctive product to more communities across our national footprint.”

Crocker’s immediate focus lies on leading initiatives to strengthen Smalls Sliders’ market position and foster strategic alliances that propel the brand toward large-scale growth targets.

“I am excited to have Don join our growing Executive Leadership Team,” says Maria Rivera, CEO of Smalls Sliders. “His experience, insights, and leadership will be invaluable assets as we progress our vision, mission, and purpose. As we move toward our vision to shake up the big burger industry, no one is more prepared to support our growth in the [quick-service] space than Don.”

In March 2024, Smalls Sliders announced it had reached over 200 Cans open or under development, just ten short months after the brand reopened its doors to franchising. Smalls Sliders currently has Cans open across Louisiana and Mississippi, with a robust pipeline of growth set across 16 states in the Southeast and the Midwest. Likewise, Smalls Sliders has expanded its target growth markets to Utah, Colorado, Kentucky and more, ramping up to officially paint the nation its signature ‘Smorange’ color.

Smalls Sliders opened its first Can in 2019. Since its inception, Smalls Sliders has disrupted the QSR industry with its modular build, simplistic menu, and robust development pipeline. The brand continues to garner high-level industry recognition, with QSR Magazine ranking the brand in its annual QSR 50 Contenders list. Other accolades include ranking on Entrepreneur magazine’s “Top New & Emerging Franchises” list in 2023.

Employee Management, Fast Casual, Franchising, Growth, News, Smalls Sliders