Charly Robinson has left his role as president and chief executive of Real Mex Restaurants Inc., the company confirmed Friday.

Officials with Cypress, Calif.-based Real Mex, parent to the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys Fresh Mex brands, declined to comment further on the reasons for Robinson’s departure or the exact timing.

Robinson was appointed to helm Real Mex 18 months ago, and has been working to build the executive infrastructure for the casual-dining chain operator, which includes about 117 company-owned restaurants under multiple brands.

Real Mex exited bankruptcy in 2012 with new private-equity owners, Z Capital Partners LLC and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC.

The firms invested in an overhaul of the core brands with then-chief executive Dave Goronkin, who left shortly after the sale to become chief executive of San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp.

In January 2013, Real Mex brought in Robinson, an industry veteran whose experience included serving as president and chief operating officer of Orlando, Fla.-based E-Brands Restaurants. Prior to joining Real Mex, Robinson was executive vice president of food and beverage at Warner Hospitality. His resume included executive positions at Planet Hollywood and Rainforest Café.

At Real Mex, Robinson headed the relaunch of Who Song & Larry’s as a Mexican gastropub, designed to attract a younger demographic. Chevys has also staged a brand refresh, and the company was working on El Torito and its more polished sister brand El Torito Grill.

In addition to the three core brands and Who Song, Real Mex also operates the Las Brisas restaurant in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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