Umami Restaurant Group, creators of Umami Burger and partners in 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, announced its board of directors named Paul E. Clayton as chief executive officer, effective immediately.

“We have grown Umami Burger from a single location to more than 20 restaurants in just five years,” says Adam Fleischman, founder and chairman of the board of Umami Restaurant Group. “Paul has the vision, expertise, and instincts to grow Umami Burger into one of the most creative and forward-thinking restaurant groups in the world.”

“Paul has a history of making strong brands even stronger, and as Umami enters this next phase of national growth his expertise and vision will be invaluable to the company’s success,” says Sam Nazarian, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of sbe and Umami Restaurant Group board member.

Over his career, Clayton has led growth for each of his brands by improving year-over-year sales at the store level, launching innovative marketing campaigns, and driving strategic expansion plans.

Clayton has held leadership positions at globally recognized companies, including president of Burger King North America, overseeing more than 8,300 locations, and CEO at Jamba Juice, where he more than doubled the size of the company. Most recently, he was president of Meineke Car Care Centers, where he launched new brand marketing strategies to drive year-over-year growth in its more than 900 locations.

“Paul has shown throughout his career that you can improve the bottom line by taking care of people, thinking creatively, and never sacrificing quality,” says David Nazarian, CEO and founder of Nimes Capital and Umami Restaurant Group board member. “Those attributes align perfectly with the culture of Umami and will position the brand for continued success moving forward.”

“Umami Burger has captured the imaginations and taste-buds of diners around the globe,” Clayton says. “I am both honored and excited to build on top of the company’s solid foundation and lead its talented team alongside David, Adam, and Sam through the next phase of growth.”