The Krystal Co. has named Jason Abelkop chief marketing officer and Chris Kermode vice president of supply chain.

The Atlanta-based burger chain indicated the new hires are part of a plan to restart brand growth, which include the opening of 17 to 20 locations this year and an acceleration to about 50 openings per year after that.

Abelkop has more than 25 years in the restaurant industry, most recently as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Ovation Brands, the parent to Old Country Buffet and HomeTown Buffet. Previously he was CMO for Fiesta Restaurant Group and held several marketing roles at Arby’s. He replaces a consultant who had been acting as interim CMO.

Kermode most recently had managed international and domestic supply chain for FoodBrand LLC, a mall and on-site foodservice company, as well as IHOP and Pinkberry. Vice president of supply chain is a new position for Krystal.

“Both Jason and Chris bring the expertise we need to move from turnaround mode to growth mode,” Doug Pendergast, chief executive of Krystal said, in a statement. “Jason has a long history of growing established brands through strategic marketing and brand innovation, while Chris will set in place the processes we will need as we look to more than double in size in the next few years.”

Krystal franchises 350 locations in 11 Southeastern states and is a subsidiary of Argonne Capital Group LLC, which acquired the brand in 2011 and moved its headquarters from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Atlanta.

Correction: July 25, 2014 This article has been updated to reflect that the role being filled by Chris Kermode, vice president of supply chain, is a new position Krystal has created.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com
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