Atlanta-based Huddle House has named Jonathan Benjamin its new chief development officer.

Benjamin, who was most recently vice president of franchise sales at Corner Bakery Cafe, officially stepped into the role on July 11. In his new position, Benjamin will be responsible for spearheading unit growth at the family-dining chain.

“[Benjamin’s] experience translates perfectly to our present and long-term needs,” said Huddle House chief executive Michael Abt in a statement. “Jonathan comes to us at a time when Huddle House is currently positioned for major growth in the Southeast and Texas.”

Mark Whittle, who was the previous chief development officer at Huddle House, left the company a few months ago, and he now works for Atlanta-based Hooters. He had been with Huddle House since 2010.

Huddle House, which has nearly 400 units in 21 states, is expected to add 135 new franchised units to its portfolio during the next four years, the company said in a statement.

The company is also undergoing an extensive redesign program, which calls for 90 percent of the system to be reimaged by 2017. The redesign includes adding plush seating, contemporary colors and a signature tower-style entryway, Abt told Nation’s Restaurant News earlier this year.

Redesigned units have reported sales boosts of 15 percent or more.

Benjamin’s appointment comes after a slew of leadership changes at Huddle House. Abt took over as chief executive in October 2012 [http://nrn.com/latest-headlines/huddle-house-names-michael-abt-ceo], and in June the company named former Tim Horton’s executive Tyrone Counts as its first chief operating officer.

Contact Erin Dostal at erin.dostal@penton.com.
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