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From emerging concepts to watch like Zoës Kitchen to the largest restaurant company in the world, McDonald's, leadership is always the driving force behind successful brands. Nation's Restaurant News points to 10 restaurant executives to watch in 2013 from brands such as Popeyes, California Pizza Kitchen, Sbarro and more.
President, Cinnabon Inc.
A media darling and a social media powerhouse, Cole had a big 2012, with a star turn on Undercover Boss and an uncanny ability to respond to nearly every customer shout-out on Twitter.
At the helm of the 1,000-unit Cinnabon chain, owned by FOCUS Brands, Cole has orchestrated a larger beverage line, new frosting flavors and a licensing deal with Burger King that brings the Minibon to the more than 7,000 U.S.-based Burger King restaurants. Cinnabon celebrated its 1,000 bakery opening in December, and has plans to grow with 200 new domestic and international openings in 2013. Looking overseas, the chain has opened or plans to open locations in new markets including Libya, Nicaragua, Iraq and Ukraine, and has made major efforts in Russia.
Beyond Cole’s efforts at Cinnabon she has launched an initiative, Changers of Commerce, to encourage businesses to not only create profits, but also create connections with causes or communities they serve. “We are where Main Street meets Wall Street,” she has said. “We are perfectly poised to practice an evolved version of capitalism where we are a visible investor in the success of the community.”