Popeyes Veteran Joins Granite City as CEO Following Takeover

  • Dick Lynch takes helm at Minnesota-based brewery chain in May
  • Burger King owner bought Popeyes for $1.8 billion in March

With Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen now in the hands of Restaurant Brands International Inc., a high-ranking executive is taking the CEO job at another chain: Granite City Food & Brewery.

Dick Lynch, who served as Popeyes’ chief brand officer, will join Granite City on May 15, according to a statement from the company. He had run marketing at Popeyes for nine years until it was sold in March for $1.8 billion to Canada-based Restaurant Brands, which also owns Burger King and Tim Hortons.

Lynch, 62, takes the helm of the casual-dining chain at a tough time for the U.S. restaurant industry, which posted a fourth straight same-store sales decline in March, according to MillerPulse data. Granite City, which is traded over the counter, saw its revenue decline 4 percent to $35.9 million in the quarter ended Sept. 27, according to its most recent filing.

“Granite City is experiencing very similar trends to casual dining in general, which is down in same-store sales,” Lynch said in an interview. However, “it has the power to be a real destination and really buck the trend of casual dining.”

While at Popeyes, Lynch had been responsible for the company’s brand transformation, which included a campaign drawing upon its Louisiana heritage. Chief Executive Officer Cheryl Bachelder also departed after the deal closed.

Granite City, which was founded in 1999, operates 41 locations, including five under the Cadillac Ranch name. The restaurants sell items such as flatbreads, meatloaf and steak burgers, as well as a variety of craft beers.

Lynch already serves as a board member at Bloomington, Minnesota-based Granite City.

(Updates with Lynch’s comments in fourth paragraph. A previous version of the story was corrected to fix the status of Popeyes former CEO.)
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