John Cywinski Joins Modern Restaurant Concepts as CEO

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants
a sign on the side of a building
Qdoba's parent company has a new CEO. Industry vet John Cywinski has joined the company.

Modern Restaurant Concepts, a fast casual restaurant platform comprising the QDOBA, Modern Market Eatery, and Lemonade brands, announced that veteran restaurant executive John Cywinski has joined the company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Cywinski is an accomplished restaurant executive with leadership experience at some of the industry's most recognized and successful brands including Applebee's, Chili’s, KFC, McDonald's, and Burger King.

Prior to joining Modern Restaurant Concepts, Cywinski served as the President of Applebee’s Grill & Bar for six years, where he led a dramatic transformation and resurgence of the iconic $4.4B business. Before his role at Applebee’s, he also served as the President of KFC where he led the successful turnaround of the $4.5B U.S. business from 2010 to 2014 while at Yum! Brands. Prior to joining Yum!, Cywinski spent four years as a franchisee, owning and operating a number of successful Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago, which he has since sold. Earlier in his career, he also served as President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing for the Motion Picture Group of the Walt Disney Studios. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association and is a recipient of IFMA’s Silver Plate Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the restaurant industry.


QDOBA merged with Modern Restaurant Concepts last August.

“The Butterfly team has a compelling and ambitious vision within the restaurant industry that holds great appeal for me,” said John Cywinski, CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. “QDOBA is exceptionally well-positioned, as the number two brand in the Mexican fast casual category, with positive comp sales for 11 of the past 13 years, very attractive restaurant-level margins, broad consumer appeal, and the capacity to double in size over the next decade.”

Keith Guilbault, prior Co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts, is departing to pursue other opportunities. “We would like to thank Keith Guilbault for the seven years he spent at the helm of QDOBA stewarding the company through two transactions as well as the COVID crisis,” said Butterfly Principal Francesco D’Arcangelo. “We believe that the business is well-positioned for success, in large part due to Keith’s leadership. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Rob McColgan, prior Co-CEO of MRC, will remain with the company as President of Modern Market and Lemonade.

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