Huddle House, the 400-unit franchise, announced it has hired Sean McLendon as director of culinary innovation.
As a restaurant industry veteran with an extensive background in the casual and fine dining segments, McLendon will contribute to Huddle House’s brand evolution by offering expertise in menu optimization. With a proven ability to develop creative culinary innovations, McLendon most recently held the title of corporate executive chef and director of research and development with CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries where he was able to optimize more than 38 core menu items for Gordon Biersch.
“We’re very focused on developing crave-able new menu items, which will be featured as limited time only promotions, as well as improving the flavor of some of our signature core menu items,” says Marc Butler, chief marketing officer of Huddle House. “Sean has an unbelievable track record in the industry, and given his extensive experience, we believe that he is uniquely qualified to help us meet our goals.”
Over the past two years, Huddle House has been focused on delivering seasonal menu items to its loyal guests, which are well-received by Huddle House regulars and have been an effective tool in building business outside of the traditional breakfast day part. With McLendon’s experience implementing up to 24 limited-time offerings annually for such national brands including Old Chicago and Rock Bottom Brewery, he will play a critical role in developing new crave-able LTO menu items for Huddle House.
The hiring of McLendon is part of a rejuvenation of the 49-year-old brand to remain a relevant driving force in the industry for decades to come. The 24-hour family-friendly restaurant chain is expected to add 135 new restaurants over the next four years by offering franchise opportunities in communities around the Southeast region and Texas. Huddle House is also in the midst of converting existing restaurants to incorporate a new prototype design that features a signature tower entrance, plush seating, and contemporary colors. Redesigned restaurants have already seen sales increases of 15 percent or more. To expedite the upgrade, the company recently offered a $25,000 financial incentive to the first 100 franchisees that commit to a remodel by July 31, 2014.