Real Mex Restaurants has promoted Rio Gueli to chief operating officer, from executive vice president of operations, the parent to the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys Fresh Mex brands said Tuesday.

In his new role, Gueli will oversee all brands, which also include El Torito Grill, Sinigual, Las Brisas Restaurant, and El Paso Cantina, in addition to the three core brands.

As the company’s executive vice president of operations, Gueli had oversight of the El Torito, Las Brisas and Who Song & Larry’s brands — including the development of a new version of Who Song & Larry’s, which recently opened in California’s Orange County.

The company has been working through a multi-brand overhaul over the past two years after emerging from bankruptcy in 2012, when it was acquired by private equity firms Z Capital Partners LLC and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC.

Charly Robinson, Real Mex’s president and chief executive, said the move represents the company’s long-term talent development plan.

“Over the past 15 months, Rio’s leadership has been instrumental in the execution of Real Mex’s transformational strategy in all aspects of the company’s operations,” he said in a statement. “Rio has played an integral part in the introduction of the new Who Song & Larry’s concept, which recently celebrated its first restaurant opening in Orange County, Calif., and his focus on operational excellence, strong entrepreneurial mentality and commitment to delivering a high-quality guest experience will be invaluable as he steps into this new role.”

Prior to joining Real Mex, Gueli served as director of food and beverage at Bass Pro Group.

Based in Cypress, Calif., Real Mex owns and operates 117 restaurants, and franchises another 13 locations.

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