Brandon Rhoten Brought in to Lead Marketing at Potbelly
Potbelly Corp. continues to strengthen its leadership team, with the appointment of Brandon Rhoten as svp and chief marketing officer.
The neighborhood sandwich shop says the addition of Rhoten builds on its focused effort to assemble a world-class leadership team as it executes its turnaround strategy.
With more than 15 years of restaurant industry and agency experience, Rhoten brings knowledge and insight from his previous marketing and branding roles. He reports directly to Alan Johnson, president and CEO. Rhoten oversees all aspects of Potbelly’s marketing, including brand strategy, digital marketing, social media, research, loyalty, direct marketing and advertising.
Rhoten joins Potbelly from Papa John’s International Inc., where he served as global chief marketing officer. Rhoten was vp of advertising, media and digital/social at Wendy’s International, where his team received industrywide recognition for its highly successful digital/social media campaigns, which helped lead the brand turnaround.
“The kind of marketer who would have Boyz II Men sing to a cheeseburger and give a year of chicken nuggets to a high schooler for earning the most retweets in history will definitely bring the quirky fun back to Potbelly,” said Johnson. “Brandon’s experience and approach are perfectly aligned with the direction we are setting to expand our brand presence in a world where social and digital drive the conversation. We look forward to leveraging his many years of creativity, brand strategy, bold and disruptive marketing, and success with other well-known consumer brands.”
Potbelly has recruited several highly accomplished restaurant executives with deep expertise in franchise, off-premise, culinary and marketing. Key additions include:
• Jeff Welch, svp of franchise development, brings to Potbelly over 30 years of franchise, real estate and operations experience across organizations such as Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. Welch has full responsibility for franchising, including developing and executing the vision, strategy and tactical plan to deliver long-term profitable and sustainable growth. His efforts will build a stronger foundation for franchise expansion, allowing for accelerated growth and an increased mix of franchised units.
• Debbie White, vp of off-premise, joins Potbelly with over 25 years of sales and marketing leadership roles across PepsiCo, Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza. With a craveable product that travels well and is perfect for many occasions, Potbelly is vastly underpenetrated in its off-premise business. White’s primary focus will be to capture the significant growth potential across all dayparts in catering, delivery, grab & go, and curbside pickup.
• Chef Ryan LaRoche, vp of culinary innovation, is a Michelin-starred chef with over 20 years of success in culinary production from fine dining to fast casual. He served as Executive Chef at Park Hyatt Washington, was Executive Sous Chef to legendary chef Joël Robuchon and most recently was Vice President of Culinary Operations at Mariano’s. LaRoche brings a chef-inspired perspective to menu design and product innovation that will let Potbelly embrace its unique, quirky nature through fun and interesting new ways to excite its customers and make Potbelly’s menu even more craveable.
Since opening its first shop in Chicago in 1977, Potbelly has expanded to neighborhoods across the country – with more than 450 company-owned shops in the United States. Additionally, Potbelly franchisees operate more than 50 shops domestically, in Canada, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and India.