Robert Rodriguez is gearing up to assume his new responsibilities as chief operating officer of the Denny’s Corp. later this month.
Rodriguez, who has vast experience in the foodservice industry, comes to the Spartanburg, S.C., restaurant company from Carlson Restaurants’ Pick Up Stix, where he worked most recently as the president and chief operating officer of the Asian, fast-casual chain.
The Denny’s COO spot has been vacant since late in 2009 when the former executive vice president and chief operating officer, Janis S. Emplit, left the company. Mark E. Chmiel, the company’s executive vice president, and chief marketing and innovations officer, also resigned in December.
Prior to 2008 Rodriguez was president at Dunkin’ Donuts. During his tenure there Rodriguez also served as brand officer for Togo’s. Previously he held executive positions with Mrs. Field’s Famous Brands, Gloria Jean’s Gourmet Coffee, McDonald’s and PepsiCo. He began his career at Taco Bell, where he held numerous operations positions. Rodriguez holds a MBA from Northwestern University and a B.S. from University of Redlands.
In his new role, Rodriguez will be responsible for the leadership of Denny’s operations, both franchise and company units.
Debra Smithart-Oglesby, interim chief executive and board chair of Denny’s Corporation, says, â€˜We are confident the Denny’s team will truly benefit from Robert’s vast industry experience. His expertise in working with franchise concepts complements Denny’s long-term franchise-driven growth strategy. Robert’s operational expertise will also contribute to our effort to enhance the Denny’s experience for all of our guests at our more than 1,500 locations.â€™