The Krystal Company announced Monday (April 2) that it has hired Paul M. Macaluso as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Macaluso replaces Omar Janjua, now the CEO of 179-unit Taco Bueno—a move announced last week.

READ MORE: Krystal hits its stride 85 years later.

Macaluso comes from FOCUS Brands, where he served as president of McAlister’s Deli. He was promoted to the position in December 2016 after five years with the company. He started as vice president of marketing for Moe’s Southwest Grill and worked his way into a position as senior vice president of brand marketing strategy, leading the collective marketing for the company’s six brands, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s, McAlister’s, and Schlotzsky’s. He was at the helm when McAlister’s opened its 400th unit April 2017 in Cedar Hill, Texas.

“Paul Macaluso is sharp, action-oriented and innovative, making him a great fit for our team at Krystal,” said Michael A. Klump, founder and president of Argonne Capital Group, which owns Krystal along with other multi-unit brands, in a statement. “We’re all looking forward to his winning attitude and his ability to drive outstanding relationships and results.”

Macaluso has been in the industry for 25-plus years. He began with YUM! Brands, starting as a general manager and ultimately holding several management roles within the Taco Bell Corporation. Macaluso then led brand strategy, menu development, and product marketing for Burger King Corporation and Sonic Industries.

As president of McAlister’s, he was responsible for significant growth in unit count, same-store sales and profitability along with the launch of several technology initiatives.

“Krystal is the original challenger brand,” Macaluso said in a statement. “And we’re going to make sure we regain share of minds and hearts with our guests. Get ready to share great times in new ways at Krystal, built on our unique food and fun spirit no other restaurant brand can match.”

The company, founded in Chattanooga Tennessee, in 1932, has more than 360 units in 11 states and its Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of 6,000 employees.

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