Long John Silver’s parent LJS Partners LLC has named Joseph Lutz chief operating officer.

Lutz, whose 30-year career in foodservice includes his most recent role as senior vice president of airport food and beverage for HMSHost Corp., fills a post that had been vacant since previous COO Alan Caldwell left the brand. He will report to Mike Kern, chief executive of LJS Partners.

“Joe is an excellent addition to our Long John Silver’s team,” Kern said in a statement. “His experience shows his proven ability to lead the operational elements with success and vision. Joe will help energize and lead development and operational efforts that will take LJS to new heights.”

In his last job at HMSHost, Lutz oversaw development and operations for the on-site restaurants in 26 airports in the central and western United States, which included the management of about 200 national and local brands. Prior to joining contract operator HMSHost, Lutz held operations roles with Cinnabon and Taco Bell.

“I’m excited to be joining this talented Long John Silver’s team,” he said in a statement. “We’ve got an enormous opportunity ahead of us, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team.”

Louisville, Ky.-based Long John Silver’s drove a 5-percent gain in systemwide same-store sales for its 2012 fiscal year, Kern previously disclosed to Nation’s Restaurant News. Former parent company Yum! Brands Inc., also based in Louisville, divested Long John Silver’s in September 2011 to LJS Partners, a consortium of investors and Long John Silver’s franchisees, including Kern.

Long John Silver’s has more than 1,275 franchised locations in the United States and Asia. The brand was founded in Lexington, Ky., in 1969.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN